Published on August 3rd, 2019
In the United States, over 16 million people struggle with alcohol use disorder.
Although many people decide to quit drinking alcohol, the withdrawal symptoms might put a stop to their efforts.
If you’re someone who has been struggling to get your life back, this article is for you. Read on to learn everything there’s to know about alcohol withdrawal, so you can start the road to recovery.
1. Being An Alcoholic
You might have heard the term alcohol withdrawal, but you’re not sure if you have ever experienced it.
If you’re a social drinker and only drink heavily on weekends, chances are you have never experienced alcohol withdrawal.
However, if you have been drinking heavily for years, months, or even weeks, your body will have a negative response when you quit cold turkey.
Once the alcohol leaves your system, you might experience negative mental or physical side-effects. Your body becomes dependent on the alcohol and once it’s gone, it needs time to adjust to it.
This is similar to the headache coffee drinkers experience when they skip on their morning latte.
2. How Does Alcohol Withdrawal Work
The process of alcohol withdrawal starts the moment you take a drink. Your liver starts to process out alcohol the moment it reaches your system. However, if you drink too fast, other parts of your body will start to absorb the alcohol, such as your brain.
You will notice the alcohol has reached your brain when you begin to experience feelings of happiness and relaxation. Excess alcohol intake will result in slurred speech and difficulty performing simple tasks.
Alcohol in your brain will also suppress many neurotransmitters which is why so many people feel at ease. However, once alcohol stops suppressing the neurotransmitters, your brain starts to send these signals again.
3. Symptoms Timeline
Although physically everyone goes through the same process, people experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms differently.
The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can begin as soon as 2 hours after your last drink, but they can peak in the first 24 to 48 hours.
Depending on how long the person has been heavily drinking, the symptoms might be mild to severe.
The Most Common Timeline Of Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Presents As Follows:
- Six to 12 hours: Nausea, vomiting, shaking, agitation, anxiety, and headaches
- 12 to 24 hours: Seizures, hand tremors, disorientation
- 48 hours: Delirium tremens, insomnia, fever, excessive sweating, seizures, hallucinations
Most people feel the most severe withdrawal symptoms during the first 24-hour window.
If you’re experiencing mild withdrawal symptoms, you might be able to deal with them at home. However, if the symptoms get worse you might have to seek medical attention.
When you experience severe withdrawal symptoms, you might need to be hospitalized. To help you deal with the symptoms, you might be placed under IV fluids and the medical team will have to monitor your vitals and chemical levels
5. Get Help For Your Symptoms
Now that you know what to expect from alcohol withdrawal, it’s time you take the steps towards sober living.
Remember that withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person, but you will experience the most severe symptoms within the first 48 hours.
When you notice the symptoms getting worse, you should seek medical attention.
Keep reading our blog for more helpful tips.