If you consume alcohol heavily for weeks, months, or even years, you may have both mental and physical problems when you stop or seriously cut back on how much you drink.
This is called alcohol withdrawal. Symptoms can vary from mild to serious.
Should you drink only once in a while, it’s unlikely that you’ll have withdrawal symptoms when you quit.
But if you’ve gone through alcohol withdrawal once, you’re more inclined to go through it again the next time you call it stops.
What Causes It?
Alcohol slows down brain function and changes the way your nerves send messages back and forth.
Over time, your central nervous system adjusts to having alcohol around all the time.
Your system works hard to keep your mind in a more alert state and also to keep your nerves talking to one another.
When the alcohol level suddenly drops, your brain remains in this up condition.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms?
They could range from mild to serious. What yours depend upon how much you drank and for the length of time.
They could include:
More critical problems range from hallucinations roughly 12 to 24 hours following that drink to seizures within the first two weeks after you stop. You can see, feel, or hear things that are not there.
That isn’t the same as delirium tremens, or DTs as you are likely to hear them called. DTs usually start 48 to 72 hours after you put the glass down.
These are severe symptoms that have vivid hallucinations and delusions. Only about 5 percent of individuals with alcohol withdrawal possess them.
The Ones That do may also have:
- High Blood Pressure
- Heavy perspiration
How Is Alcohol Withdrawal Diagnosed?
When the doctor thinks you might have it, they will ask you questions about your drinking history and how recently you ceased. They will want to know whether you’ve gone through withdrawal before.
They’ll also discuss your symptoms. During an exam, they will look for other medical conditions to see whether they might be to blame.
Your physician can guide you regarding the type of treatments that you need.
Unless you’ve got a severe health condition or you’ve had severe withdrawals in the past, you likely won’t need more than a supportive environment to help you through.
- A quiet place
- Soft lighting
- Restricted contact with people
- A positive, supportive atmosphere
- Healthy food and lots of fluids
If your blood pressure, pulse, or body temperature rises, or if you have more severe symptoms like hallucinations and seizures, seek medical attention immediately (dial 911).
Your doctor could suggest inpatient care and drug therapy.
Common medications include benzodiazepines to help treat symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. You may also take anti-seizure meds and antipsychotics, alongside other drugs.
Can You Prevent It?
Fixing alcohol withdrawal is a short-term fix that doesn’t assist the core issue.
When you speak to your doctor about symptom relief, it is a good idea to go over treatment for alcohol abuse or dependence.
The health care provider may give you advice that will help you stop drinking.
Ask your friends and loved ones for support.
If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, consider joining a support group or seeking counseling. Believe in your ability to take control of the pain…
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