How to Avoid Deadly Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Written by Chloe Nicosia

What are the Deadly Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms and How do You Avoid Them?

Few people are aware of just how dangerous alcohol withdrawal can be for someone who has become dependent on the substance. Alcohol use disorder (AUD) encompasses the abuse, dependence and addiction to alcohol and occurred in 15.1 million adults in the U.S.A. in 2015. Deadly alcohol withdrawal symptoms are far more dangerous when a person tries to detox alone. To get through withdrawal safely, a rehab center that can monitor and provide patients with medications during the process is required.

Causes of Alcohol Withdrawal

Our bodies have the ability to adapt to a wide variety of situations and environments. It is this ability that ultimately leads to withdrawal. Alcohol abuse is known to form a tolerance because of how the body adapts to a substance. If enough alcohol is abused, then the person’s body starts to adjust to counter the substance’s effect on the systems in the body. This not only causes a tolerance to form as the effects of alcohol become diminished, but also lead to withdrawal symptoms when use of alcohol ceases due to the adjusted state the body is in.

Common Withdrawal Symptoms During Alcohol Detox

During the detox period, or the days after an alcoholic’s last drink, several commonly experienced withdrawal symptoms occur.

The mild symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are as follows:

  • Sweating
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors in the hands

Deadly alcohol withdrawal symptoms include seizures and hallucinations which can be problematic if the person isn’t being cared for.

Among the most deadly alcohol withdrawal symptoms are delirium tremens. While this condition only occurs in roughly 5 percent of cases, it can have fatal consequences.

The deadly alcohol withdrawal symptoms that occur with delirium tremens include the following:

  • Delusions
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Confusion
  • Fever
  • Profuse sweating
  • High blood pressure
  • Vivid hallucinations

Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline

The alcohol withdrawal timeline starts as quickly as six hours after the last drink that the person had. This is when the mild symptoms begin, which carry on through the detox process. The more dangerous symptoms such as seizures start after about 12 to 24 hours, but some symptoms can be delayed to 48 hours. The most serious symptoms, delirium tremens, start between 48 and 72 hours after the person stopped drinking. The entire process usually lasts for 5 to 7 days.

The Propose of Rehab

So, why use rehab for detox? Getting over the withdrawal symptoms safely and more easily is the number one purpose of rehab for detox from alcohol. A person who goes to rehab for detox can be helped by giving them FDA-approved drugs that can assist with the withdrawal symptoms and lessen the more dangerous symptoms so that they are more manageable and safe.

Relapse is also very likely during the withdrawal stage because of the cravings and overwhelming pressure that the symptoms put on the person to pick up a drink. Some medications can help to prevent relapse by either reducing cravings or blocking the effects of alcohol.

To prevent relapse in the long term, treatment at a rehab center is required. This is because addiction is classified as a disease that is relapsing. A person with addiction cannot be cured, but they rather learn to manage their symptoms through research-based therapies and techniques. A rehab program for addiction can help to teach an alcoholic the skills they need to alter their behavior and ultimately control their urges.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at 1.800.429.7690.

Sources:

https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-facts-and-statistics

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction