What Are The Symptoms Of Alcohol Withdrawal That Are Dangerous?
When a person drinks every day for months or years, they will experience mental and physical symptoms when they go through withdrawal. What are the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal? People who want to stop drinking want to know what to expect when they stop. Depending on how much a person drinks and for how long, the symptoms of withdrawal can range from mild to serious.
What Are The Symptoms Of Alcohol Withdrawal?
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) “140 million Americans, 12 or older, use alcohol.” Of that number, twenty-three percent are binge drinkers. Six percent have an alcohol use disorder, but according to statistics very few in this group ever seek treatment. When heavy drinkers drastically reduces his or her alcohol intake or suddenly stops drinking, a combination of physical and mental withdrawals symptoms will occur. Some of the withdrawal symptoms are troublesome, others can be distressing, and some are very severe. In the most extreme cases, withdrawal can be life threatening. Some of the symptoms include the following:
- Anxiety and restlessness
- Muscle weakness and fatigue
- Nightmares when sleep comes
- General confusion
- Nausea and diarrhea
- Body tremors
- Frequent mood swings
- Serious fear
- Excessive sweating
- Heart palpitations
- Alcoholic hallucinosis (hallucinations)
- Seizures (these commonly occur in the first 48 hours of detox)
What are the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal for people who have been heavy drinkers for a long time? An alcoholic wanting to quit should be evaluated to determine how serious the disease is in order to be the proper detoxification program is designed to fit his or her specific needs, and it may need to be medically monitored. If he or she has been drinking for a long time, and inpatient program is the safest approach to detoxification. Heavy and long-time drinkers can experience some serious alcohol withdrawal symptoms, which include delirium tremens (DTs). The symptoms may include the following:
- Profound confusion
- Severe agitation
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Profuse sweating
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline
The alcohol withdrawal symptoms timeline cannot be standardized because there are so many variations depending on the individual going through the process. It depends on the severity of the alcohol use and the length of time the individual was drinking. Complications can occur in the early stages of alcohol withdrawal and direct access to emergency medical treatment. The following alcohol withdrawal symptoms timeline is approximate and will not be exact for every person .
Minor Withdrawal Symptoms – Persons who have been drinking for a shorter period of time and who may not have much physical damage to the body and brain will experience the following withdrawal symptoms beginning around six hours after alcohol use has stopped. The withdrawal can take between 24 and 72 hours or longer in some cases. Symptoms normally peak between 12 and 24 hours and include:
- Excessive sweating
- Nausea (possible vomiting)
It would be unusual for individuals going through a minor alcohol withdrawal symptoms timeline to experience hallucinations, seizures, or psychotic episodes.
Moderate To Severe Withdrawal Symptoms – Individuals who have used alcohol in greater amounts and for longer periods of time will experience the same symptoms as in a minor withdrawal, and they will also experience more uncomfortable and dangerous symptoms. The withdrawal can start as soon as two to eight hours following the last drink, and symptoms can include:
- Hallucinations can appear after 18 hours (approximately) and last up to a 30 days in severe cases.
- Seizures may start occurring six hours after the last drink and generally peaks between in about 18 hours. The risk for seizures remains for several days.
- Delirium tremens (DTs) is severe and dangerous. Symptoms include severe disorientation, hallucinations, seizures, and all other alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Inpatient treatment and medical management is required. It generally appears between 48 and 72 hours and can continue for two weeks (approximately) after the last drink. If the symptoms continue on for 30 days or more, it is most likely there are other issues in play such as psychological disorders or medical conditions.
Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment At Home
Alcohol withdrawal treatment at home can be dangerous. There are a great variety of complications and problems that can occur. Before even considering this option, talk to a medical professional who can evaluate your condition and determine what detox criterion you require.
Alcohol causes negative influences in the body and brain. Heavy drinking can cause significant physical trauma to the brain, liver, and heart. If you are abusing alcohol, you need to get help as soon as possible. A phone call can get you started down the road to sobriety and a healthier lifestyle. Today is the day to make the decision and the phone call.