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Alcohol Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms - Detox Treatment

Alcohol Withdrawal Signs: How To Know You Need Professional Alcohol Detox Treatment

May 20, 2019

Alcohol withdrawal is much more intense than most people realize. Because the substance itself is not illegal, people often think that those who become addicted to and/or dependent on alcohol can easily stop on their own, rather than needing treatment the way someone would for meth or heroin abuse. This is not the case. In fact, alcohol dependence can cause some of the most dangerous and potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms of any substance of abuse.

Alcohol detox is a safe, effective option for those who are likely to experience mild to severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms. It is usually followed by alcohol rehab, as dependence often goes hand-in-hand with addiction. To learn more about alcohol detox in Florida, call our 24-7 hotline at 800-719-1090.

Who Needs Alcohol Detox?

People who have become dependent on alcohol will often require alcohol detox to safely recover. Detox is a professional medical treatment program that helps people rid their bodies of dependence on a drug or a substance while receiving medications and treatments that allow them to safely navigate the process. With that said, the National Institute on Drug Abuse states detox alone is not a treatment for addiction, which is why it must be followed by alcohol rehab.

According to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms are one of the four main signs that someone is experiencing alcoholism, also known as alcohol addiction or dependence. This means that if you stop drinking, you will begin to experience severe side effects. In the case of alcohol abuse, these effects are both physical and psychological in nature. Alcohol detox can help you go through these effects safely in a controlled, medical environment.

Who Experiences Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms?

Not everyone who drinks experiences alcohol withdrawal when they stop. Usually, these are people who drink large amounts often and consistently. The more someone drinks and the more often they do this, the more likely they are to experience alcohol withdrawal. However, people can still experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms after drinking too much in one sitting.

Someone who has already gone through alcohol withdrawal in the past is more likely to experience it again. They are also more likely to experience severe or life-threatening symptoms. It is important never to underestimate the potential for alcohol withdrawal symptoms to take effect in someone who drinks consistently. Even if you or someone you love seems to have their alcohol abuse under control, stopping suddenly can cause these effects, especially if you drink often and consistently in large amounts.

Alcohol Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms will often occur around six to eight hours after the individual has stopped drinking. Sometimes, though, the symptoms can suddenly start to occur hours or even days after that. This is just one reason why you should seek professional help if you think you are likely to experience alcohol withdrawal. Symptoms can last from several days to several weeks and are usually at their worst after the first 24 to 72 hours of withdrawal.

Below are the common symptoms and signs of alcohol withdrawal:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Nightmares
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Exhaustion/fatigue
  • Shaking of the hands
  • Tremors
  • Jumpiness
  • Confusion/inability to think clearly
  • Cold, clammy, pale, or sweaty skin
  • Lack of hunger
  • Dilated pupils
  • Headaches
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
 

There is also a serious and severe version of alcohol withdrawal that can be life-threatening.

Delirium Tremens

Delirium tremens is the name given to the more complicated and dangerous form of alcohol withdrawal. Its effects may start to occur between 48 and 96 hours after the individual has last had a drink. Sometimes, however, they can occur days or even as long as a week after the last drink. The symptoms of this condition include:

  • Delirium.
  • Fear.
  • Sensitivity to touch, sound, light, etc.
  • Severe mood swings.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Agitation.
  • Anxiety.
  • Inability to control mental functions.
  • Stupor.
  • Sleep that can last hours or even days.
  • Sudden energy bursts.
  • All-over body tremors.
  • Fever.
  • Pain in the chest or stomach.
 

Certain individuals have a greater likelihood of undergoing delirium tremens. For example, someone who has experienced an injury (especially a blow to the head) or is suffering from an illness at the time of withdrawal is more susceptible to delirium tremens. People who drink heavily for a period of 10 years or more are also more likely to experience this condition.

Finally, the NLM states that those who drink certain amounts of alcohol daily for prolonged periods of time have a heightened chance of experiencing delirium tremens. These include:

  • Those who drink seven to eight pints of beer a day for several months or more.
  • Those who drink four to five pints of wine a day for several months or more.
  • Those who drink one pint of hard liquor a day for several months or more.
 

Delirium tremens is considered a medical emergency. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the mortality rate among patients exhibiting [delirium tremens] is 5% to 25%.

How Do I Know If I Need Professional Alcohol Detox?

Knowing whether you need to seek professional detox for alcohol abuse can be hard. As stated previously, people often do not take the process of overcoming alcohol abuse, dependence, and addiction as seriously as they should, since alcohol use is legal and extremely pervasive in today’s society. What’s more, it can be hard to admit that you need help. Consider the different situations listed below to determine what you need for your safe recovery from alcohol dependence.

  1. If you believe there is any chance that you might experience delirium tremens, seek alcohol addiction treatment and detox now. This condition is as dangerous as it is unpredictable. According to the NIAAA, it only occurs in about 5% of alcohol withdrawal patients, but it can begin in a window as large as two to 10 days after one’s last drink.
  2. Already being in a safe, professional facility will make it easier to get the help you need if you are at risk for delirium tremens. If you have ever undergone withdrawal from alcohol before, seek professional treatment.
  3. Often, someone who has undergone withdrawal before will experience worse symptoms the next time. This means seeking treatment is a much safer option. If you do not have the support you need at home, seek professional treatment.
  4. People undergoing withdrawal from any drug or substance should receive help from friends or family members at home. Those who do not have this type of support will especially require treatment in a professional facility.
  5. If you are suffering from another condition—multiple drug addictions, a mental disorder, a physical illness, etc.—seek professional treatment. Another condition could potentially worsen the effects of alcohol withdrawal. Also, a professional detox center could help you safely navigate the symptoms of your withdrawal and another condition without severe suffering or trauma.
 

The above contexts are strong signs that you will require professional alcohol detox. However, anyone with a dependence on alcohol who has begun to experience or thinks that they will experience the signs and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can receive safe, effective care in a professional alcohol rehab center. This is also a much safer choice because seeking alcohol detox often leads to alcohol addiction treatment and a more stable recovery.

How Do I Get Help for Alcohol Withdrawal?

If you think you are likely to go through alcohol withdrawal or you have already begun to experience the symptoms, call Summer House Detox Center at 800-719-1090 anytime, day or night, to speak with an addiction specialist who can help you connect with safe, effective drug and alcohol detox in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It’s never too late to begin your journey of recovery and to start your life anew. Visit us at 13550 Memorial Highway Miami, FL 33161. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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