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How Do I Get Help for Alcohol Withdrawal?

When you’re struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD), you will need help for alcohol withdrawal as part of your treatment. Withdrawal is one of the first signs of alcohol dependency and can be identified through many physical and psychological symptoms. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and even deadly. Common symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Loss of Energy
  • Sweating
  • Confusion
  • *Delirium Tremens
  • Increase in Blood Pressure
  • Anxiety and Irritability
  • Shaking
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Heart Palpitations

Delirium tremens (DTs) is a condition caused by severe withdrawal from alcohol that results in seizures. It can be fatal and affects approximately 5 percent of people going through withdrawal. DTs is most prevalent in those who have a severe addiction and history of alcohol withdrawal.

If you or a loved one is experiencing these symptoms, medically supervised detox must be sought immediately.

What is Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome?

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome refers to a group of severe symptoms experienced by people who become physically dependent on alcohol if they abruptly stop or significantly decrease drinking.

People addicted to alcohol make poor decisions and have issues with coordination, as doing so depresses the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS is responsible for controlling certain brain functions and is important in overall functioning.

People experiencing alcohol withdrawal syndrome may have these common symptoms, typically occurring 2-3 days after cessation of drinking:

  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Changes in Mood
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Hyperthermia
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of Energy
  • Headaches
  • Hallucinations
  • Gastrointestinal Issues
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • High Blood Pressure

A person with alcohol use disorder (AUD) will eventually become tolerant to the substance. Their brain will adjust to – and require – alcohol to not feel sick. If a person does cease drinking suddenly, their central nervous system (CNS) will go into shock and experience withdrawal symptoms. This makes it difficult for people with AUD to quit drinking, as symptoms can be severe and even life-threatening. This is why detox should be provided within a medical setting by experienced physicians, nurses and other medical professionals.

What Does Help for Alcohol Withdrawal Look Like?

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal start within six hours from when a person last drank, peaks after about two to three days and typically last for around seven days. Nausea, sweating, insomnia, tremors and irritability may occur during the first 12 hours, in addition to increases in heart rate and blood pressure. A person detoxing from alcohol will experience an increase in symptoms after two to four days. Delirium tremens (DTs) become present in severe cases and include hallucinations and seizures. Mental health issues usually occur from the third to the fifth day following the beginning of detox. DTs may still be present during this time. After the fifth day of detox, a person will decrease physical symptoms, although mental health issues usually remain. Insomnia, irritability and anxiety may be experienced for weeks or months following the start of treatment. Once detox is completed, behavioral therapy and other phases of rehab begin.

Alcohol Detox Treatment

Alcohol is one of the most dangerous substances from which to detox. Treatment for alcohol detox should be provided by medical professionals, including doctors and nurses. It should be performed within a medical setting such as a drug and alcohol rehab facility or hospital. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can be prescribed to reduce physical (for example, chronic pain and seizures) and mental health (issues that include anxiety and depression) symptoms. A person must meet MAT eligibility criteria to qualify. Benzodiazepines are prescribed by a physician and progress and vitals, including hydration and blood pressure, are monitored. Additionally, counselors, therapists and case managers can address mental health and behavioral issues and manage co-occurring mental health disorders. Medical conditions associated with alcohol abuse or pre-existing health issues are also managed and treated. Detox should not be attempted alone under any circumstances.

Where Can I Get Help for Alcohol Withdrawal?

Although there are numerous alcohol and drug rehabs nationwide, our treatment centers at Recovery Unplugged are among the top-rated in the country. We offer a holistic approach and individually-tailored plans that address both the body and mind, with many treatment options available depending on individual needs. We offer trained doctors and therapists and support services that include but are not limited to case management, individual therapy, group counseling, and music-assisted therapy. We have locations across the country that offer services within a safe, compassionate and supportive environment and we accept most private insurance plans. Contact us today so that we can help you or your loved one begin the process of recovery and safely withdraw from alcohol.

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