It’s possible to fight alcohol withdrawal symptoms safely. You need to know your level of dependence on alcohol, the symptoms and how to fight them.
After years of alcohol addiction, you may reach a point and say enough is enough. This is when you are going to experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
That’s because you might be tired of waking up with a hangover, blacking out, and not knowing what you did the previous night. But because you have been used to drinking heavily, your body may have already become dependent on alcohol.
Alcoholism affects an individual and their loved ones. And withdrawing from alcohol is never easy because it comes with serious symptoms.
A common alcohol withdrawal symptom is delirium tremens. This is a potentially fatal withdrawal symptom. It is such symptoms that make withdrawing from alcohol alone impossible for some people.
What Are Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms?
To know what alcohol withdrawal symptoms are, you need to know what causes them. Alcohol has a depressive effect on the body system. When a person drinks heavily and persistently for a long time, alcohol changes and slows down how their brain functions. It alters how nerves convey messages.
The central nervous system eventually adjusts and gets used to having alcohol in the body all the time. The brain of a person that drinks heavily and persistently works hard to stay awake and ensure that nerves talk to each other.
Once a person stops drinking, the alcohol level in the body suddenly drops. However, the brain remains keyed up. This is what causes alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Common Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Many studies have shown that events or disease processes that follow acute alcohol withdrawal can lead to significant illness or death. Some people experience seizures whose severity may increase over time with subsequent alcohol withdrawal episodes.
Delirium tremens is also a potential complication. This is characterized by mental confusion, hallucinations, and disorientation. Delirium and cognitive impairment can cause chronic memory disorder. This is also called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.
There are also psychiatric problems that are associated with alcohol withdrawal. These include depression, sleep disturbance, and anxiety. Additionally, alterations in mood, physiology, and behavior can follow acute withdrawal. These can motivate relapse into heavy drinking.
Other alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:
- Vomiting and nausea
- Hand tremors
- High blood pressure
- Excess sweating and high fever
- Auditory, visual, and tactile hallucinations
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms have several causes but frequent, heavy drinking for a long time, co-occurring health conditions, and medical history are the major causes. Withdrawal symptoms are likely to be severe in a person that has abused alcohol and other drugs.
How to Safely Fight Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms tend to shift violently and quickly. A patient can experience minor side effects in one hour and extremely severe symptoms in the next hour.
Nevertheless, there are alcohol rehabilitation centers that focus on enabling individuals to overcome symptoms no matter how severe they are, and you can choose between inpatient vs outpatient therapy. There are also other ways via which a patient can fight alcohol withdrawal symptoms safely.
An inpatient rehab center provides one of the ways to safely fight alcohol withdrawal symptoms. This center has medical specialists that are ready to help patients anytime they need assistance. These specialists have the skills and resources required to alleviate withdrawal symptoms no matter how painful they are. They also guide patients through the recovery process.
Some people prefer these facilities because they provide a supervised, safe environment for recovery from alcohol addiction. Essentially, inpatient centers offer 24-hour care that is more intensive. Treatment in these centers involves 30, 60, and 90-day programs.
On the other hand, some people may prefer an outpatient rehab center. An outpatient facility allows patients to go on with their daily activities while recovering from alcohol addiction. This is an ideal option for people whose alcohol withdrawal symptoms are not severe. It’s also ideal for individuals that do not live with influences like drinking triggers around.
Nevertheless, to fight alcohol withdrawal symptoms safely, medication-assisted therapy may be required. Therapy helps by relieving the uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawing from alcohol. Some treatment programs provide medication-assisted therapy.
Alcohol withdrawal can be treated using some prescribed medication. This enables the patient to focus on the other recovery process aspects.
Distraction entails turning away from the initial interest or focus. This enables a person to escape their stimulus that makes them uncomfortable.
Common distraction examples include:
- Listening to specific music
- Watching television
- Taking a walk
- Engaging in vigorous exercise
- Spending time around other people
- Reading books
- Playing games on a computer
A patient that is fighting alcohol withdrawal symptoms should engage in such activities whenever they feel the discomfort.
Counseling and Support
Whether you opt to join a rehab center or fight alcohol withdrawal symptoms at home, counseling, and support will come in handy. Basically, patients need counseling when faced with mild or severe withdrawal symptoms.
Counselors can also find out if there could be underlying factors that led to or influenced alcohol addiction. This can be followed by coaching the patient on the best ways to work through different issues.
Support can come from support groups, friends, and family members. Talking to other people that are also undergoing treatment and recovery helps the patient fight withdrawal symptoms safely. Basically, patients get the motivation to continue the fight and maintain sobriety.
The Bottom Line
It’s possible to fight alcohol withdrawal symptoms safely. The patient needs to know their level of dependence on alcohol, the symptoms to expect, and how to fight them and seek assistance. And if you need help at any step of the recovery process, don’t fear to get it.