Alcohol withdrawal symptoms occur when individuals stop drinking alcohol after chronically ingesting it. It is important to note that people can respond differently when they stop drinking and not everyone experiences these withdrawal symptoms. However, those who have been drinking frequently, heavily, and for a long time will likely have some withdrawal symptoms if they stop drinking suddenly. The withdrawal symptoms can affect people both psychologically and physically. The detoxification of alcohol can take anywhere from 3-14 days.
The intensity of the withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on the duration and the quantities of drinking. Hangovers are a common symptom in those who drink too much. It can include headaches, fatigue, thirst, and even nervousness. Some may even report nausea and abdominal cramping. However, alcoholics may report fewer hangovers than those who are non-alcoholics because they have become accustomed to these symptoms.
Psychological symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can include the feelings of anxiety, depression, fatigue, difficulties sleeping or experiencing bad dreams, feeling shaky and jumpy, being irritable or easily excited, or experiencing quick emotional changes.
Some physical symptoms can include: nausea and vomiting, headaches, a loss of appetite, insomnia, a fast heart rate (palpitations), dilated pupils, clammy skin, paleness, and shaky hands.
Less common and more severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms can include hallucinations and confusion. Hallucinations associated with alcohol are known as delirium tremens (DTs). The hallucinations are auditory and visual and may last several days. During this period, the person may be disoriented and may get very little sleep. It is important to seek medical attention if you or anyone you know is experiencing delirium tremens. The mortality rate is around 15% for those experiencing this symptom without any medical supervision. Other severe symptoms include agitation, fevers, and blackouts. Some may even experience convulsions (seizures) that can happen up to 48 hours after the last time the individual consumed alcohol.
One well known treatment of alcohol withdrawal is the use of benzodiazepines, a group of anti-anxiety drugs. It decreases the intensity of withdrawal symptoms and it can prevent delirium tremens and reduce the risk of seizures. However, some doctors may not use anti-anxiety medication in patients with mild withdrawal symptoms because these drugs may be abused. One major problem of this drug is that it isn’t as effective overtime, causing people to increase their dosage, which increases the risk of overdosing.
You may find it comforting to join local support groups when experiencing these alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS From ALCOHOL and DRUGS. Real World. A Terrible Experience