Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is the term used to describe the physical and psychological symptoms an alcoholic experiences when he or she stops drinking. These symptoms are caused by the central nervous system’s reaction to suddenly being without alcohol. However, symptoms can occur if the alcoholic drastically reduces the amount of alcohol he or she drinks, even if he or she does not stop entirely.

Alcohol withdrawal occurs in two different stages. The first stage of withdrawal usually begins within a couple of days after the last drink, and lasts for approximately a week. Physical symptoms can include diarrhea, hypertension, migraines, weakness, and nausea. Common psychological symptoms can include fear, agitation, anxiety, and confusion. Life-threatening complications, such as heart attacks and seizures, may also occur.

Alcohol Withdrawal SyndromeAlcoholics who have experienced alcohol withdrawal may consider delirium tremens to be the most difficult symptom.

One reason for this is delirium tremens actually consist of a set of symptoms, rather than one individual symptom. Another reason is it affects both the mind and the body.

Uncontrollable shaking, hallucinations, convulsions, and extreme fear are common parts of alcohol withdrawal. An alcoholic could die during this stage.

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

One reason an alcoholic experiencing alcohol withdrawal syndrome should be in a detox facility is for his or her own safety. It is not possible to know in advance whether his or her symptoms will be minor or whether he or she will experience something that can threaten his or her life. Immediate medical attention may be necessary to save his or her life. When there is a doctor present, the appropriate medical intervention can be performed.

A second reason is alcohol withdrawal can be minimized if medication is administered in a detox center. Being in a safe environment with compassionate professionals is also helpful. His or her physical and psychological pain can be relieved when he or she is at a detox center. After the acute stage, he or she may experience protracted withdrawal. Some of these symptoms can last for longer than a year. He or she may be disoriented, and experience vomiting, headaches, nausea, and insomnia.

Protracted withdrawal also involves alcohol cravings. More than a year after he or she stops drinking, he or she can continue to experience cravings. The cravings can be even worse if he or she is bothered by physical and psychological symptoms. Protracted alcohol withdrawal makes ongoing treatment necessary. If he or she has entered a treatment program after he or she completes the detox process, the inpatient treatment program can be followed by aftercare services.

This outpatient care can reduce his or her chance of relapsing, and help him or her manage his or her cravings. If he or she needs medical or mental health treatment, he or she can receive it. Ongoing counseling can help him or her put his or her life in order, and deal with his or her problems. One benefit of learning about alcohol withdrawal syndrome is being able to understand why ongoing treatment is necessary.

Some people believe all there is to beating alcoholism is giving up drinking, while others think going through detox means all of their problems are over. Both of these misconceptions are far from the truth. For the sake of his or her physical and mental health, peace of mind, and building a better life, treatment is essential. If you have a friend or loved one who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem, strongly advise him to look for a detox center or a treatment facility.

Advise him or her to do it today. While alcohol withdrawal syndrome can be very difficult to deal with, a facility will help him or her get through it. Alcohol withdrawal does not have to mean extreme fear or life-threatening complications. He or she can complete the process and prepare for a better life. A treatment program will help him or her see how a better life is possible, and assist him or her until he or she reaches his or her goal.

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