The excessive use of alcohol can and often does lead to alcoholism or Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). Subsequent attempts to quit drinking after alcohol dependence has formed can have devastating impacts on the physical health and wellbeing of the user. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS), a collection of alcohol withdrawal symptoms that make quitting drinking particularly challenging for the user, often spike with the sudden discontinuation or abrupt reduction in regular alcohol intake. As regular alcohol use is scaled back, treatment for alcohol withdrawal may be required to ensure the safety of the individual. Alcohol detox, the safe, medically monitored method of stabilizing symptoms of alcohol withdrawal is the first step of the recovery and healing process.
At SJRP our Florida alcohol detox center provides compassionate alcohol detox in a medically monitored setting for the safety and comfort of our clients. If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol addiction, give us a call at 833-397-3422 to learn more about our alcohol detox program.
Alcohol withdrawal can be extremely dangerous, especially if you attempt to quit drinking without proper medical attention. Whether you or your loved one suffers from alcohol addiction, it is important to be aware of the many alcohol withdrawal symptoms, and potential complications that could arise if you attempt to quit drinking after several years of successive use. In the event you come across someone who may need your help, call St. John’s Recovery Place for immediate alcohol detox support and to learn more about alcohol withdrawal treatment options.
If you or your loved one suffers from alcoholism, it is important to familiarize yourself with the alcohol withdrawal process and potential treatment options prior to stopping your alcohol use. This way, you can begin your journey to recovery in the most thorough and safe manner possible.
What Causes Alcohol Withdrawal?
Alcohol withdrawal begins with alcohol dependence. Alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder (AUD), by definition, occurs when an individual cannot control their alcohol use. Even when they experience severe negative consequences as a result of their alcohol abuse, someone struggling with alcoholism will continue to drink. They simply cannot quit on their own regardless of the struggles they go through as a result of their drinking habits.
But how do you become addicted to alcohol? Alcoholism or alcohol addiction often begins with a pattern of binge drinking, a situation that includes periods of heavy drinking followed by periods of abstinence. When groups of people go out to party and drink heavily one weekend after the other, this is a form of binge drinking which can form into developing a higher tolerance towards alcohol and a need for more alcohol each time you go out.
Once alcohol tolerance forms, if you continue seeking more alcohol to either feel good, or to feel better, you’ll notice that eventually, you begin to drink more frequently, not just on the weekends, but during the week now as well. More problems related to alcohol begin to occur and the more you drink, the less time you spend with friends or family. Soon, your work begins to suffer, and you cannot seem to get yourself to stop drinking, or to stop thinking about drinking. Now you have a drinking problem, but you aren’t sure how to get rid of it, so you decide to try and stop on your own, cold turkey.
This abrupt decision to quit drinking may cause alcohol withdrawal to occur. The term alcohol withdrawal refers specifically to the changes your body goes through physically when you stop drinking alcohol suddenly after prolonged and heavy use. Alcohol withdrawal, like any other type of withdrawal, can be incredibly uncomfortable, and although oftentimes not highly dangerous, if you decide to try to undergo alcohol withdrawal without proper medical assistance, you may face potentially life-threatening complications. Few instances of withdrawal are as dangerous as alcohol withdrawal.
Alcohol is a depressant which means alcohol slows down the brain’s level of functioning to produce a sedating or depressing effect on the user. This state of brain activity eventually causes the body to compensate for the effects of the alcohol, producing more naturally occurring stimulant chemicals, in larger than average quantities in heavy drinkers. You may feel reassured by this, thinking that the body overcompensates when overconsuming alcohol in order to function normally, but this is not what is happening. The reality is, continued drinking will cause cravings to begin to set in, and soon those who have alcohol dependence become addicted. Eventually looking for any excuse to drink, at any given time.
This constant drinking comes with consequences and symptoms of its own. You may begin to recognize the consequences and decide to quit drinking in hopes of life adjusting back to “normal.” But, if you stop drinking too suddenly you run the risk of your brain is extremely overstimulated in a short period of time. The effects can be extremely difficult to cope with, dangerous, and potentially deadly. Alcohol withdrawal is very uncomfortable unless you receive appropriate medical detox for alcohol withdrawal. Attempting to detox from alcohol without medical care can be disastrous.
What Are The Symptoms of Withdrawal?
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can range widely in both severity and the range of time in which they may take effect. Some alcohol withdrawal symptoms may occur within 8 hours following your last drink and some may not appear for several days after last consumption. You may be curious as to how and why alcohol has such a large range of time before withdrawal symptoms appear. It may even seem rather strange to you.
Just as the effects of drinking alcohol vary widely, depending on the individual’s body composition, and outlying factors such as how much they had to eat the day before binge drinking, alcohol withdrawal symptoms vary much the same. Given the severity in which some of these symptoms may occur, it is understandable to be anxious about alcohol withdrawal and what it might look like for you. Of course, you want to know what to look for.
Some of the more common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal that you can look out for include:
- Mood swings
- Inability to think clearly
- Clammy skin
- Enlarged (dilated) pupils
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty sleeping
- Rapid heart rate