Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms occur within one day of stopping alcohol use in drinkers who have become physically dependent on alcohol. Generally, light alcohol withdrawal symptoms appear as loss of sleep, agitation, raised levels of anxiety and panic attacks. Medium alcohol withdrawal symptoms appear as sweating and tremor. Heavy alcohol withdrawal symptoms are appear as vomiting and severe diarrhea. The severest alcohol withdrawal symptoms are called delirium tremors. They are distinguished from lighter symptoms by the presence of confusion, disorientation and visual hallucinations. Alcohol withdrawal may be further complicated by the presence of alcohol withdrawal seizures which are essentially epileptic fits.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms, how to handle them!


Alcohol withdrawal symptoms usually begin between 12 and 24 hours after the last alcohol is consumed. The symptoms peak in intensity after approximately 72 hours and generally resolve themselves by 96 hours after the last drink. Increased agitation and problems sleeping may continue for weeks or months in some cases.

Although alcohol withdrawal symptoms resolve by themselves with time, it is generally not wise to stop drinking at once if you are physically addicted to alcohol. Alcohol withdrawal is sometimes fatal, and other times causes permanent disabling brain damage. The safest and most effective route to stop drinking alcohol is through detoxification. Detoxification uses medication to relieve alcohol withdrawal symptoms. The dosage of this medication is gradually reduced in increments over a period of about one week. When the detoxification is conducted professionally the patient experiences no or few of the usual alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms, Why Do They Occur?


Alcohol withdrawal symptoms occur because one's brain becomes tolerant to (used to) alcohol if it is consumed heavily and regularly. After developing this tolerance, the brain becomes very overactive if its regular dose of alcohol is suddenly withdrawn. The brain's over-activity causes direct effects such as epileptic seizures (discharged electricity in the brain) and memory damage, in addition to bodily alcohol withdrawal symptoms. As a result of this over-activity, greater amounts of adrenaline are release into the body, resulting in the typical alcohol withdrawal symptoms of sweating and shaking.


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