If you are addicted to alcohol then you know how tight of a grip it can hold. That’s why alcohol withdrawal is not an easy process. However, by knowing what to expect you can better prepare yourself for the experience and beginning a life of sobriety.
What is Alcohol Withdrawal?
Withdrawal occurs when you have been consuming alcohol for a long time and in heavy amounts, then stop. Your body and your brain have become used to having alcohol in your system. When your intake of alcohol stops it is a shock to your body. This is why alcohol addiction is so debilitating as you feel that you need alcohol simply to function and survive.
When Does Withdrawal Occur?
Withdrawal occurs when you no longer are consuming alcohol. This is either
- By choice, such as through participation in a detox program.
- Unwillingly because you are no longer to obtain alcohol.
For those who are in the throughs of alcohol addiction they may have already experienced withdrawal symptoms but were able to stop them by drinking. This is because the symptoms can be so difficult and painful that they will try their best to avoid them at all cost.
What are Typical Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms?
When withdrawing from alcohol the typical symptoms include:
- Increased heart rate.
- Mood changes.
- Sleep issues.
Sometimes seizures occur to those who are withdrawing from alcohol. Symptoms begin within six hours of not consuming alcohol. The most serious of symptoms (such as tremors and hallucinations) occur between 48-72 hours of alcohol cessation. It generally takes up to seven days for most people to no longer experience symptoms.
How Can I Safely Withdrawal from Alcohol?
Although the process looks intimidating is it possible to be clean of alcohol. If you are serious about getting sober you have options available to you. One is admitting yourself to an inpatient alcohol treatment program. This is particularly helpful if you expect to have severe withdrawal-related symptoms and have been a heavy drinker. An inpatient program will also help with:
- Vital sign monitoring, such as heart rate and blood pressure.
- IV fluids.
- Medications that will help keep you calm or sedated.
Another option is outpatient treatment. This is helpful if you are expecting milder symptoms and the advantage is that you can participate in detox without the same time commitment as inpatient treatment. Yet, don’t be fooled. Just because you participated in outpatient treatment does not mean that are less like to experience symptoms.
Therapeutic Support with Alcohol Withdrawal
Another benefit of an alcohol treatment program is therapeutic support. Detox and treatment is a difficult experience for anyone which brings along a range of emotions. Often alcohol addiction is associated with life experiences that have led you to using. For example:
- Having an abusive parent.
- Witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event.
- Losing someone you loved.
- Social rejection and isolation.
- Unsatisfying work or losing your job.
Addiction is a complicated disease with many facets. Yu need someone who can help you understand what is happening an aide you not just through withdrawal but also recovery.
Group Support for Withdrawal
Peer support is incredibly helpful for those struggling with withdrawal. Group therapy and peer support groups will have people who have been there and walked in your shoes. It is reassuring to know that what you are not alone and that the process, in its own way, is “normal.” You can gain strength from seeing others who are going through withdrawal with you. Also, talking with other who have been through it and are now in recovery is empowering too.
Why Should I Withdraw from Alcohol?
After reading this you may be even more adamant about not quitting alcohol. However, consider the long-term consequences of alcohol abuse:
- Your liver continues to be damaged with cirrhosis of the liver.
- The heart muscle actually stretches, causing it to droop.
- You are at a higher risk for a high blood pressure, heart attack, or stroke.
- The blood vessels in the pancreas swells, causing pancreatitis.
- You are at a higher risk for developing cancer, especially in the throat, mouth, breast, liver, and esophagus.
Plus, there is the emotional toll that alcohol abuse plays on your relationships with those whom you care about and who care about you.
Alcohol withdrawal is an intimidating process for many people. However, you don’t have to do it alone. With help of professional support as well as others going through withdrawal, you can begin to take the steps towards a healthier life.