Alcohol withdrawal occurs when heavy drinkers greatly reduce or stop alcohol consumption. Although it most often happens to people with addiction, it can also happen to those who abuse alcohol. People can experience emotional and physical alcohol withdrawal symptoms during this process. The side effects can be scary if people don't know what to expect.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline
The severity of alcohol withdrawal symptoms vary greatly. How long they've abused the drug and how much they drink affect these symptoms. These factors also affect when these symptoms arise, worsen and subside.
In general, however, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can start in as few as six hours after the last drink. The first symptom is usually shaking, and this progresses to sweating, high blood pressure, and fast heartbeat. Some people also feel agitated and nauseous, and they could vomit or have trouble sleeping.
The first and second days of withdrawal are the second stage. During this time, existing symptoms may worsen and more serious symptoms could develop. Some people have panic attacks, night terrors, delusions, and seizures.
The third stage of alcohol withdrawal occurs during the third to fifth days. It usually involves mood swings and nervous feelings. Delirium tremens—the most severe symptom—may also develop in some cases.
Although alcohol withdrawal symptoms typically subside by day six, some heavy drinkers feel the effects for months. Most of these are mental symptoms such as anxiety, mood swings, trouble sleeping, and agitation. Some people's energy levels even vary from day to day.
As the most severe withdrawal symptom, it's important for people to know what delirium tremens looks like. It usually develops after alcohol leaves the bloodstream and without warning.
The condition can make people very confused and agitated as well as cause seizures and a fever. People may even experience auditory and visual hallucinations. In some cases, they may feel burning, numbness or itching that doesn't exist.
Experts consider delirium tremens to be a medical emergency. If you or someone you know has heart disturbances, a fever or hallucinations, call 911 immediately.
Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
With the risk for severe symptoms such as delirium tremens, people who want to stop drinking shouldn't do it alone. Detox centers can provide medical supervision to ease the symptoms and prevent severe ones. They ensure that people's bodies eliminate alcohol from their bloodstreams in a safe environment. This service involves 24-hour medical monitoring and care that might include medications.
Get Unique Alcohol Recovery Treatment at The Clearing
The Clearing offers a unique, 28-day residential rehab program with Spiritual Psychology-based treatment. Our goal is to heal every part of your being. We focus on your physical, mental, spiritual and emotional condition. Our team uses basic skills and therapy strategies in order to help you achieve this goal.
During treatment, you may participate in workshops, projects and homework assignments. Along with addictive behaviors, our program treats other issues such as:
Don't let the threat of alcohol withdrawal symptoms stop you from getting help.