When heavy drinkers decide to quit drinking they will experience some physical withdrawal symptoms from the alcohol, they can range from a slightly annoying withdrawal to a severe and potentially life threatening. The severity of the alcohol withdrawal symptoms all depends on how often the alcoholic drinks. The more often they dink the more dependent they become to the alcohol. Even people who drink daily but not heavily, or may drink heavily but not daily can be chemically dependent upon alcohol. Withdrawal from alcohol occurs mostly in adults, it may also occur in teenagers and children.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can last from 24 hours to weeks, some of the minor symptoms include:
• Difficulty sleeping
• Night sweats
• Nausea and vomiting
• Increases heart rate or blood pressure
As the alcoholic becomes more dependent they may or may not develop a life-threatening condition called Delirium Tremens (DTs). If you are having any of these symptoms it is important that you treat the situation as a medical emergency.
• Memory Loss
• Extremely high heart rate
The most dangerous type of alcohol withdrawal symptoms is called DTs, or delirium tremens. It takes place in 1 out of 20 people who suffer from withdrawal symptoms. Delirium tremens is when the brain is not able to smoothly adjust to its normal chemistry after alcohol is stopped, not surprisingly most symptoms of withdrawal are symptoms that take place when the brain is over stimulated. It creates a state of confusion and leads to dangerous changes in the way your brain controls your circulation and breathing. Your body’s vital signs may change unpredictably, which puts you at a risk of a heart attack.
If you have had a past experience with withdrawal symptoms you are likely to have them return if you start and stop heavy drinking again. If you have consumed enough alcohol to have withdrawal symptoms then it is likely that you may have damaged other organs. It is a good idea to go get a physical, do blood test, and check for alcohol related damage to your organs from your doctor. The doctor will most likely check for vitamin deficiencies and evaluate your diet as well, poor nutrition is common when someone has become dependent on alcohol. On your way out of the office he might also give you a brochure for alcohol treatment. You should be 100% honest about how much you’ve been drinking so that the doctor can make an accurate assessment. After alcohol withdrawal is complete its absolutely necessary that you do not go back into the old behavior of drinking. Alcohol treatment programs are available almost anywhere and are important to you because they improve your chances of staying off alcohol. Only 20% of alcoholics are able to abstain from alcohol permanently without the help of programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous. An alcoholic who doesn’t stop drinking can expect his/her life to decrease by at least 15 years.
Although you may want to stop drinking on your own with no help this may be very dangerous, time consuming, and difficult. Take advantage of any or all resources and support that may be available to you. Consider addressing this problem with alcohol so that it will no longer hurt you, your loved ones, and your employment. This is a brave move and a good start to finding your solution to the problem.