Alcohol Withdrawal: Accurate Answers to Critical Questions

Alcohol withdrawal can be a terrifying experience. The concept alone often acts as a barrier for many yearning for long-term sobriety and recovery. Alcohol withdrawal is a serious matter, with potentially devastating effects if untreated. It’s critical to understand the realities of alcohol withdrawal as a loved one or the person that will endure the experience.

Knowing what to expect as you navigate recovery, including how to select treatment and elements of proper care, should be considered throughout the process. While some recover alone, research shows recovery odds increase with professional treatment.

When it comes to alcohol withdrawal, endless horror stories exist. Those in recovery speak of nights spent shaking in hospital beds. Others experience cold sweats, hallucinations, uncontrollable and violent tremors, and gastrointestinal issues. These are just a few possible side effects that one may experience during alcohol withdrawal.

Gatehouse Treatment recognizes that alcohol withdrawal can be an incredibly frightening experience for everyone touched by alcohol use disorder. We hope this post provides factual answers to the questions you are most scared to ask. This information may empower you to take the steps necessary for genuine recovery.

For more information about GateHouse Treatment and how we can help you through this challenging chapter, reach us at (855) 448-3588.

1) How Long Does Alcohol Withdrawal Last?

Alcohol withdrawal is a challenging and uncomfortable experience for many individuals with alcohol addictions. The overall withdrawal and alcohol detox experience can range from mild to severe. Symptom timelines and intensity will vary depending on the use severity and other variables. These variables may include the patient’s emotional state and mental health. A generalized timeline for withdrawal symptoms may manifest like this:

  • 6-12 hours after consuming the last drink, mild withdrawal symptoms begin. These may include headaches, moderate anxiety, sleep difficulties, light tremors, and gastrointestinal distress.
  • 24 hours into withdrawals, some individuals experience a range of hallucinations.
  • 24-72 hours into withdrawal, several symptoms peak. However, beyond this point, distress should begin to taper down.
  • The risk of seizures is highest between 24 to 48 hours of the last drink, so close monitoring is vital.
  • Delirium tremors may appear within 48 to 72 hours of the previous consumption.

Depending on your treatment selection, your withdrawal experience may last several days to multiple weeks. During this time, monitoring and receiving professional support is critical. Withdrawing from alcohol can be very dangerous, and having all the help you need is essential.

2) Can You Die from Alcohol Withdrawal?

Many individuals in the throes of active addiction wonder if cutting alcohol use cold turkey after years of abuse can lead to death. While withdrawal can result in severe complications and can be very dangerous, depending on the severity of your symptoms, death is infrequent. However, it does happen. The two most notable withdrawal symptoms associated with death are seizures and delirium tremens.

Seizures during detox most likely occur in individuals with long histories of heavy use. These seizures can cause choking, physical injury, and breathing difficulties. Delirium Tremens, or DT, is a severe condition that can also manifest during alcohol withdrawal. DT can cause extreme confusion, hyperactivity, heart complications, and disorientation. This confused state can lead to many brutal and sometimes fatal outcomes.

Knowing that the dangers associated with alcohol withdrawal can be fatal, especially in heavy users, it is always best to seek medical attention when withdrawing. In many instances, the situation may require constant monitoring and administration of certain medications.

3) Does Alcohol Withdrawal Cause Anxiety?

For many, anxiety is a significant aspect of the withdrawal experience. While the physical pain and discomfort of alcohol withdrawal can be overwhelming, stopping chronic alcohol abuse can also create substantial feelings of anxiety. Increases in anxiety can be attributed to the withdrawal process but are additionally apparent because many individuals suffering from alcohol use disorder medicate their anxiety symptoms with more alcohol. Ironically, this only contributes to higher anxiety levels as the body tries to compensate for the alcohol.

Over time, the unnerving anxiety experienced during alcohol withdrawal can cause some people to feel hopeless and even suicidal. It’s important to recognize these symptoms immediately and access additional support if needed.

For many people in recovery, having a therapist, coach, or addiction specialist on hand can help them cope with complicated feelings that follow withdrawal. Fortunately, for many, anxiety generally subsides as the individuals experience more prolonged periods of sobriety.

4) Can Alcohol Withdrawal Cause Seizures?

Withdrawing from alcohol can be a complex process with genuine health risks, including seizures. As mentioned, for some, especially those with histories of heavy use, removing alcohol abruptly can lead to seizures, a scary side effect of stopping use.

Due to the severity of alcohol withdrawal and its significant health risks, it is essential for anyone starting their alcohol recovery journey to seek professional help rather than attempting to do so on their own.

5) How Can GateHouse Treatment Help Me Through Alcohol Withdrawal?

GateHouse Treatment hopes this blog post answers some of your difficult questions regarding alcohol withdrawal. We understand that withdrawing can seem frightening, but we know the freedom on the other side of this painful addiction. By understanding these facts, we hope you feel empowered to select a safe option while you take steps toward the sobriety you deserve.

Gatehouse Treatment understands that taking those first steps after years of heavy substance use can seem nearly impossible. The good news is that millions worldwide choose recovery each day and transform their lives. The incredible addiction specialists employed at Gatehouse Treatment are here to support you throughout your recovery process. We offer treatment services like monitored detox, outpatient care, and inpatient resources.

With a compassionate approach, we empower individuals on the path toward long-term sobriety to live healthier and happier lives.

Please, recognize the recovery journey begins when you act to end the destructive and limiting addiction cycle.

If you or a close loved one is struggling with addiction, please do not hesitate to call (855) 448-3588 or contact us here.

GateHouse Treatment Editorial Staff
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