When a person consumes alcohol it only takes about five minutes for it to start affecting the brain. Alcohol produces stimulant effects at first but it's actually a depressant. The stimulating effects begin to make a person more talkative, cheerful, less inhibited, more self-confident and relaxed. These stimulant effects are often the reason many people begin to abuse alcohol in the first place.
Alcohol's Effects on the Body
Alcohol has an effect on every organ in the body and whether a person drinks too much over an extended period of time or even in one day it can cause damage to the heart. Most people especially when they're young don't realize excessive drinking can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, liver disease, brain damage and even certain forms of cancer.
It's easy for a person to develop a tolerance to alcohol if they drink on a regular basis. Once a person develops a tolerance to alcohol, they have to drink more than they use to in order to achieve the same effects they once received. This can even happen to a person that drinks in moderation if they continue to consume alcohol a regular basis.
Eventually as time goes on tolerance can lead to dependence and a person is now physically dependent on alcohol and has to take a drink in the morning to relieve irritability, anxiety, depression and shakiness in order to function. Unfortunately withdrawal symptoms are nothing close to the stimulating effects that may have led to a person's abuse of alcohol in the beginning.
Symptoms of withdrawal due to alcohol dependence can start being experienced anywhere from five to ten hours after a person has had their last drink and could continue for possibly weeks depending on the individual. The heavier a person has consumed alcohol on a regular basis the more likely they are to experience withdrawal symptoms and how intense they may be.
The more common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include nervousness, depression, irritability, mood swings, anxiety, shakiness, fatigue, and bad dreams. Other symptoms can include headaches, decreased appetite, problems sleeping, trembling, and sweating.
Delirium Tremens are a more serious form of withdrawal that can be experienced if a person is dependent on alcohol and they stop drinking. This form of withdrawal often affects individuals that have been dependent on alcohol for longer than ten years or more. Symptoms can include:
- Mood swings
- Heart palpitations
- Decreased appetite
- Problems with sleep
As you can see, even though the initial feelings a person experiences when they drink makes them feel cheerful, more relaxed and even self-confident, if they become alcohol dependent they end up having to drink, or they're unable to even function.