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Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms: All You Need to Know

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms: All You Need to Know

Alcohol recovery is a long and challenging journey. Post-treatment care is significant to reduce the risk of relapse. Early identification of signs and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome is critical to help preserve sobriety and ensure that the recovering individual does not fall back to alcohol consumption. We, at Cadabams, offer regular home visits and check up. Our professionals are with you every step of the way to ensure that the individual and the caregivers are not alone and continue to be on their road to recovery.

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome is a group of symptoms that can be life-threatening and occur when an individual completely stops consuming alcohol or significantly reduces the intake after a long period of alcohol consumption. These symptoms may start anywhere from 8 hours to several days after the individual stops consuming alcohol and may last for a day or even weeks, depending on the person.

Alcohol consumption is a well-known health hazard and it has far-reaching impacts on the brain. Excessive intake of alcohol alters the chemical levels in the brain – some chemicals might get suppressed while others may increase beyond the normal levels. The chemical changes in the brain are highly reliant on the level of alcohol consumption. When a person suddenly quits alcohol, it can disrupt the previously established chemical pattern in the brain, further resulting in alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Some of the key alcohol withdrawal syndrome symptoms are:

  • Tremors in hands
  • Nausea
  • Feeling anxious
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Sleeplessness or disrupted sleep
  • Delirium, in extreme cases

These symptoms, in many cases, occur in three stages:

Stage 1: Anxiety, sleeplessness, nausea, loss of appetite, tremors, fatigue, abdominal pain, and mood swings are usually considered mild. These symptoms may surface within 8 hours after the last drink and may continue for a considerably long period if the person had been a heavy drinker.

Stage 2: Increase in body temperature, respiration, blood pressure, confusion, sweating, mood disturbances, and irritability are considered moderate and may occur within 1 to 3 days of the last drink. Though these conditions might not be life-threatening, they may require medical assistance.

Stage 3: Delirium, which involves symptoms such as fever, hallucinations, agitation, and severe confusion may occur. These symptoms are considered severe and occur within a week of the last drink.

While the above 3 stages are common for all, the symptoms may vary from one individual to the other. The intensity of the symptoms also varies depending on the alcohol consumption levels. Withdrawal symptoms largely are influenced by a host of factors such as the amount of alcohol intake, the period of time they have been drinking, family history, mental health issues if any, and stress levels.

Rehab centers like Cadabam’s Anunitha and professionals provide treatment and medication to manage the withdrawal symptoms. Moreover, they also help to reduce cravings or urges to consume alcohol.

What Are The Signs?

Tremors (shakes) – These usually start within 5 to 10 hours after the last alcohol drink and typically peak within 24 to 48 hours.

Alcohol hallucinosis – This symptom usually starts within 12 to 24 hours after the last drink, which might last as long as 2 days.

Delirium tremens – This generally begins 2 to 3 days after the last drink, but it may be delayed by more than a week. Its intensity peaks usually 4 to 5 days after the last drink.

Alcohol withdrawal seizures – Seizures may occur 6 to 48 hours after the last drink, and it is common for several seizures to occur over several hours. The risk peaks at 24 hours. 

Tips to Manage Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms may vary in different individuals and can be managed with self-care, precautionary measures, and medical assistance in acute cases.

Here are some of the key tips that can be leveraged to manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Stay Hydrated: Alcohol, when consumed in an excessive quantity may often lead to dehydration. If one quits alcohol all of a sudden, it’s going to impact the hydration levels in the individual’s body immensely. Hence, it is strongly advised to keep oneself hydrated at all times, especially for the first couple of weeks of alcohol abstinence. Consuming more fluids like vegetable soup, electrolytes, and nutritional drinks will help to get rid of dehydration and prevent vomiting.

Detoxification: Detoxification is an effective way to manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms. If administered correctly, it can yield the desired results. During the detoxification process, it’s important to schedule the plan and strictly follow the protocols. Also, seek support from friends and family members during the process to strengthen your support system and avoid potential relapse scenarios. Try to avoid doing it all yourself, especially during the first week of detox as you may have mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms and may need support from others.

Avoid Stress: Stress is a lot more harmful to individuals who are trying to abstain from alcohol. It is common for the person to slip into depression and a host of other mental issues as the alcohol withdrawal symptoms keep manifesting. There will always be a strong urge to just have one drink, but it can be detrimental. At such times, the person must try to relate alcohol with pain not pleasure and should engage in creative and entertaining activities.

Eat Healthy: Eating healthy vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cucumber & asparagus) and fruits (tomato, berries, grape & pomegranate) can balance your body’s metabolism. Eating healthy can help your body’s digestive system to get back on track which was previously impaired due to excessive alcohol consumption.

Along with the above, you can try practicing yoga, meditation, and soothing activities to calm your body and mind, which in turn, will help you in controlling your urges to consume alcohol during the abstinence phase.

Why Choose Cadabams?

Our team of psychiatrists comprises experts in psychosocial rehabilitation, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)), Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT), and family-focused therapy that has proven to be highly effective in treating alcohol dependence. We have over two decades of expertise in handling the most complex and severe cases of Alcoholism.  

We are widely trusted by various healthcare experts to provide addiction relief with care and love. Our drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, Anunitha is a comfortable facility with state-of-the-art infrastructure where we provide a holistic treatment plan for addiction recovery. We develop personalised treatment options to ensure steady rehabilitation and equip the family members or caregivers with adequate tips to assist in their loved ones’ recovery journey. 

Call us on our de-addiction helpline +91 96111 94949 for further details on getting alcohol treatment in India or Alcoholism related emergencies.  

Disclaimer – We strive to treat our patients with dignity and the utmost sensitivity. We understand that addiction is a disease and not a sign of weakness. The term alcoholic or alcoholism is used not in a derogatory fashion but to remain relevant to user search trends and common usage. In case you or a loved are struggling with alcohol abuse and share a unique viewpoint on how we can improve this content for our readers, please reach out to us at info@cadabams.org