Alcohol and Withdrawal Symptoms
Alcohol, a central nervous system depressant, is a powerful psychoactive substance that produces tolerance and physical dependency when abused. It is the cause of more emergency room visits than any other substance, including painkillers.
Quitting drinking produces a range of uncomfortable physical and emotional reactions that usually require professional treatment. Unlike other substances that produce severe withdrawal symptoms, such as heroin and methamphetamine, quitting alcohol suddenly can be fatal.
Mild Alcohol Withdrawal
Anyone who has ever had a hangover can likely describe the effects of mild alcohol withdrawal with perfect clarity. As the body adjusts to sobriety, alcohol withdrawal produces fatigue, diarrhea, insomnia and night sweats.
These symptoms usually occur following a brief period of heavy drinking. Binge drinking, defined as consuming four to five drinks in less than two hours, can produce a hangover with ease.
Most people who suffer a hangover are unlikely to want to repeat the process. Unfortunately because chronic drinking negatively affects learning and memory, people who are predisposed to alcoholism will continue to drink despite the clearly negative physical consequences.
What to Know About Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
A person who abuses alcohol drinks excessively over multiple occasions. These individuals slowly increase intake until occasional casual drinking increases in frequency and severity to become heavy drinking.
Those who abuse alcohol are more likely to develop alcoholism. Alcohol abuse, however, is not characterized by physical dependence in the same way that alcoholism is.
Whereas a person who abuses alcohol may suffer from frequent hangovers and have a problem with alcohol, this person can skip drinking with ease and can control drinking when necessary. The alcoholic, unfortunately, cannot.
Alcoholism is a progressive brain disease characterized by the onset of withdrawal symptoms when not drinking and an inability to control how much and how often drinking takes place. A person who has developed alcoholism will continue to drink even after severe lifestyle consequences develop.
Although the relationship between these consequences and drinking is clear to those who know the alcoholic, the person struggling will likely deny a problem exists. In fact as alcoholism progresses, the greater the denial grows, even in the face of serious health problems, financial ruin, divorce, legal problems and other obvious signs. Quitting without help is unsafe and nearly impossible.
Alcoholism begins slowly. Early alcoholism actually looks identical to nearly normal drinking behavior.
Unlike someone who can truly quit whenever they want to, however, someone who develops alcoholism continues to drink even after trying to quit. The struggle worsens. Drinking more and more becomes necessary to achieve the same effects. At the same time the brain becomes dependent on alcohol to feel normal.
Sobriety is uncomfortable. Drinking at unusual times, such as in the morning or at work, becomes the norm. Without alcohol, anxiety, insomnia and other serious withdrawal symptoms begin to intensify. The chronic heavy drinker who must use alcohol to avoid withdrawal is trapped.
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Alcohol Withdrawal and Anxiety, Seizures, Insomnia, Night Sweats, Diarrhea, Hallucinations
During prolonged alcohol abuse, the brain becomes reliant on the substance to stay relaxed. Quitting suddenly forces the brain into overdrive, which results in alcohol withdrawal symptoms such as diarrhea, night sweats, itching and fatigue.
In the most serious cases, alcohol withdrawal causes seizures and hallucinations. If someone you love recently quit drinking and is suffering from these symptoms, get help now.
The most serious kind of alcohol withdrawal takes place when a person who has heavily abused alcohol for a long period of time suddenly quits drinking. This condition, called alcohol withdrawal syndrome, results in symptoms such as seizures and intense agitation.
Delirium tremens, also known as the DTs or the shakes, also occurs frequently during alcohol withdrawal syndrome. The DTs are dangerous and always require medical assistance.
In the past, about a third of people who suffered delirium tremens died as a result. With professional pharmacological intervention, that number has been reduced to about five percent. The DTs are why people who have been drinking heavily for a long period of time must get professional help when trying to quit.
Getting Help for Alcoholism and Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome
Alcoholism is a chronic relapsing disease. That means a person who is an alcoholic is extremely likely to start drinking again, even after a period of sobriety.
Alcohol stimulates the brain pathways that affect pleasure, reward and relaxation. Alcohol abuse negatively affects executive functions such as learning, memory, judgment and clear thinking.
Those who suffer from alcoholism are more likely to achieve abstinence if they acknowledge that alcoholism is a disease requiring lifelong treatment. Learning how to avoid the triggers and thought patterns that precede abusive behavior is essential.
At 12 Keys Rehab we help people recover from the negative physical and psychological effects of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Treatment begins in medical detox, where our qualified and compassionate staff helps clients detox safely from alcohol toxins.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms, such as hallucinations, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue and diarrhea, are eliminated or reduced. In only a few days, our clients are able to sleep comfortably, eat nutritious meals and relax without alcohol or drugs.
After detox, the tough therapeutic journey begins. Our recovery program uses the most successful evidence-based treatments known today in conjunction with the design for living invented by Alcoholics Anonymous.
Our certified staff members collaborate in the creation of a personalized treatment plan that takes into account all aspects of recovery. Clients learn why they started using, how they can avoid using in the future, and what they need to do to live healthier, more satisfying lifestyles once residential care ends.
If someone you love is trapped in the web of alcoholism, it isn't too late. We see miracles every day at 12 Keys Rehab, even when rehab has been tried before.
We can answer your questions about addiction, our program and even help get your loved one into treatment.
You don't have to let alcohol define your choices and lifestyle. Call us today and find your path to freedom at 12 Keys Rehab.
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