How Do I Know If I’m Experiencing Alcohol Withdrawal?

People recovering from alcohol addiction might experience withdrawal after they quit alcohol abuse. If you have a loved one or friend on the road to recovery, it is essential to know the withdrawal symptoms and what you can do to give your loved one the support they need and make the process a lot less difficult for them. Perhaps you’re asking, “How do I know if I’m experiencing alcohol withdrawal?” In that case, please consider the following: 

What is Alcohol Withdrawal?

Alcohol withdrawal is a term used to describe the various symptoms when a person quits consuming alcohol after a prolonged period of addiction or chronic alcohol disorder. Some people also refer to it as alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Most people living with alcohol dependency usually experience withdrawal symptoms between 6 to 24 hours after their previous consumption. Withdrawal symptoms can be mild for some people, while others may have more severe experiences that come with seizures, hallucinations, or even delirium. 

What Are The Causes?

As the term suggests, withdrawal from alcohol addiction is the process of cutting back on or limiting a person’s alcohol intake. Generally, alcohol leads to a decrease in the brain’s activity. Extensive and regular alcohol consumption can create a new balance between inhibitory and activating nerve pathways. Any sudden interruption in chronic alcohol intake can cause overactivity, which results in typical alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

How To Know If You’re Experiencing Alcohol Withdrawal

Here are some of the symptoms you can expect during alcohol withdrawal:

How Do I Know If I'm Experiencing Alcohol Withdrawal?
  • Mild Withdrawal Symptoms: Feelings of anxiety, agitation, and restlessness often set in within 6 to 36 hours after the last drink. Usually, accompanying these feelings are hypertension, vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, headache, rapid heartbeat, increased sweating, shakiness, and of course, intense cravings for alcohol.
  • Alcohol Hallucinosis: Within 6 hours to 2 days after your last drink, you may experience alcohol hallucinosis, which can last for about a day or two. The earlier mild symptoms may not occur here, but visual hallucinations may set in. For example, you may ‘see’ things like insects or other animals around you even when they’re not there. You may also perceive physical contact with something that doesn’t exist (tactile hallucinations) or falsely hear sounds that aren’t there (auditory hallucinations).
  • Withdrawal Seizures: Within 12 to 48 hours after your last drink, you may also experience withdrawal seizures, characterized by convulsions that can affect your entire body. These can either occur solitarily or in clusters of two or even three. 
  • Withdrawal Delirium: Within 48 to 96 hours after your last drink, withdrawal delirium (otherwise known as delirium tremens) may set in. You should treat this as a medical emergency and seek professional help immediately. This stage is characterized by a disturbance of cognition and attention and a fluctuating course of the disease. You can also experience the mild symptoms already mentioned at this stage too. 

If you think that you are currently experiencing alcohol withdrawal and its various symptoms, please do not hesitate to seek professional assistance as soon as possible. Alcohol addiction is treatable, and the adverse effects are reversible.

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