Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Alcohol withdrawal can have life-threatening consequences if the symptoms are not properly treated. Chronic alcohol use that persists for many weeks, months or years can have devastating effects if the user abruptly quits drinking. These effects are known as alcohol withdrawal symptoms, and though they are not always dangerous, there are cases in which withdrawal from alcohol has lead to fatal consequences for the addict.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms begin as early as just a couple of hours after the last drink and can persist for many weeks. The symptoms range from mild instances of anxiety or headache to severe cases of delirium tremens. When alcohol consumption is excessive and takes place over a periods of many years, there is an increased risk for withdrawal symptoms to be highly dangerous to the addict.
Mild Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
You may have felt alcohol withdrawal symptoms before and not even realized it; if you’ve ever had a hangover after a long night of drinking then you already know some of what alcohol withdrawal feels like. Headaches, nausea, shakiness, and insomnia are all mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms that are felt both when you quit drinking after a binge and when you have a hangover.
These symptoms can begin within about 2-12 hours following your last drinking and will usually persist for about 24 hours. If you are simply hungover, the symptoms will go away relatively quickly but if you are truly addicted to alcohol, these withdrawal symptoms may persist or even become worse over the next days.
Moderate and Severe Cases of Alcohol Withdrawal
Delerium tremens can develop anywhere from 48 hours to about 3 days following your last drink if you have been a chronic drinker for quite some time. The symptoms of delerium tremens include:
- sweating profusely
- becoming disoriented
- severe anxiety and upset
- high blood pressure
- rapid hear beat
Severe alcohol withdrawal may also include hallucinations. An alcoholic who experiences hallucinations, seizures or irregular heat beat when suffering from alcohol withdrawal is at an increased risk of serious medical consequences and should seek prompt medical attention.
Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Many of the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be treated with medication. It’s important to seek medical care if you experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms that persist for more than a day or two or if these symptoms become severe. If you have a history of severe withdrawal symptoms, have had seizures as a result of withdrawal in the past, suffer from additional medical and psychiatric illnesses or have been through alcohol detox more than once you should seek residential treatment and around-the-clock medical care during the early phases of alcohol withdrawal to ensure your own safety and protection.
While there are many different types of treatment available, the only true way to know what method of treatment is going to be safe and effective for you is to seek professional help. A doctor, substance abuse counselor or similar professional can provide you with quality guidance and care during this most difficult time in your life.