Individuals who have been drinking alcohol excessively for a long period of time and decide to suddenly stop drinking; they may experience a variety of moderate to severe symptoms which are directly related to alcohol withdrawal. Any time someone quits a substance such as alcohol cold turkey without first gradually minimizing the amount of alcohol they consume, they will go through alcohol withdrawal.
This can actually lead to a condition which is known as alcohol withdrawal syndrome which has its own set of signs and symptoms and can range from mild and moderate symptoms to some that are quite severe.
About Alcoholic Withdrawal Syndrome
Drinking large volumes of alcohol for long periods of time is what ultimately leads someone to become dependent on the substance which includes creating a higher tolerance for alcohol and thus needing to gradually increase the amount they drink, physical dependence on alcohol and alcohol withdrawal syndrome should they quit drinking. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome typically comes with the central nervous system entering a hyper-excitable state after drinking heavily and then quitting suddenly and has symptoms covering a wide variety of physical, emotional and psychological ailments.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome
Alcohol withdrawal syndrome comes with its own set of signs and symptoms which vary widely on the severity. Each individual will feel various symptoms based on how much alcohol they would drink on a daily basis, for the length of time they were an alcoholic and dependent on the substance, and a person's individual chemistry, as well as the person's genetics and age. The mildest of alcohol withdrawal symptoms include headaches, dizziness, mild cases of insomnia and anxiety while the most severe symptoms may include delirium, hallucinations and body convulsions. Generally, someone who has recently quit drinking and gone through the detoxification process before will not feel their withdrawal symptoms as severe as those who are quitting drinking for the very first time.
Additional signs and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome include agitation, anorexia, panic attacks from the anxiety, catatonia, confusion, depression, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, de-personalization and de-realization, euphoria, gastrointestinal problems, hypertension, fever and chills, moodiness and extreme irritability, intense migraines, heart palpitations and irregular heartbeats, psychosis, restlessness, seizures, tachycardia, tremors, and weakness. In the most severe cases, symptoms which are a result from alcohol withdrawal syndrome can lead to death such as hallucinations and confusion which may cause a person to cause harm to themselves, and intense heartbeat irregularities.
In some individuals, the initial signs and symptoms of alcoholic withdrawal can last longer than the expected week or two with most individuals. Usually, someone deals with these symptoms for a short period of time during detoxification where their body and mind has to adjust to the lack of substance that it has been surviving on for a certain amount of time. However in some cases, this person's withdrawal symptoms will continue beyond this stage in a condition known as protracted alcohol withdrawal syndrome, or post-acute withdrawal syndrome. The symptoms experienced by someone with protracted withdrawal may last up to a year which can be extremely unpleasant given the severity of the symptoms they feel for this period of time. The most common signs and symptoms experienced by someone with protracted withdrawal include nausea and vomiting, headaches, confusion, disorientation, insomnia, anxiety o depression, and poor judgment.
Medications for Withdrawal Symptoms
A variety of medications are available in prescription form to treat many of the withdrawal symptoms individuals face after quitting alcohol. These prescription medications vary greatly as each person's body chemistry will cause the drugs to have slightly different effects. The most common drugs to prescribe to someone with alcohol withdrawal syndrome are classified as benzodiazepines which include the brand names Lorazepam and Diazepam which are given to individuals with anxiety and depression. They have been known to help with suppressing some of the emotional and psychological withdrawal symptoms. For individuals experiencing some of the more severe symptoms of alcoholic withdrawal syndrome, there are antipsychotic agents such as haloperidol which can help with the confusion and hallucinations. Additional medications include Baclofen, Barbiturates, Clomethiazole, Clonidine, Ethanol, Flumazenil, Trazodone, and Magnesium. Additionally, some individuals may be treated with a combination of diet, exercise, therapy, and natural herbal remedies for their various signs and symptoms of withdrawal ranging from physical signs like vomiting and headaches, to emotional and psychological effects such as insomnia and anxiety.
Drug Rehab Treatment Centers
Alcohol withdrawal syndrome can take a toll on the individual dealing with these unpleasant and often painful conditions, as well as those around them who are trying to help. While you may want to quit drinking on your own and not involve anyone in the process, it can be extremely helpful contacting someone who is experienced with alcohol withdrawal and the symptoms associated with it. Drug rehab centers have staff with personal experience and knowledge in order to get you through this frustrating and unpleasant detoxification process.