What Are The Symptoms Of Alcohol Withdrawal?
Each person will experience alcohol withdrawal a little differently. Some people have only mild withdrawal side effects, whereas some people go through severe detox symptoms that require medical intervention.
Learning how to deal with alcohol withdrawal is easier if your symptoms are mild. Some of the milder alcohol withdrawal symptoms include
- Sleep problems
- Upset stomach
If alcohol withdrawal side effects progress, you may experience hallucinations, meaning you might see, feel, or hear things that aren’t really there. While this experience can be startling, most people will recognize that their hallucinations are not real.
Severe cases of alcohol withdrawal can lead to seizures. If untreated, seizures may progress to a potentially fatal condition called delirium tremens. This condition includes symptoms such as high blood pressure, fever, disorientation, visual hallucinations, elevated heart rate, and agitation.
Left untreated, delirium tremens can lead to serious complications, including sepsis, respiratory arrest, and ongoing seizures, which can be fatal. The only safe alcohol withdrawal remedy in cases of delirium tremens is seeking medical care in an emergency department, where you will receive medications and appropriate medical interventions to treat severe alcohol withdrawal.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline
If you’re looking for advice on how to get through alcohol withdrawal, you’ll probably also be interested in the alcohol withdrawal timeline, which gives you an idea of when withdrawal symptoms appear, and how long they last.
Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal typically occur within the following general timeline:
- 6 to 12 hours after the last drink: Mild symptoms like anxiety, sleep problems, tremor, and headache begin to appear.
- 12-24 hours after the last drink: Hallucinations appear, and they typically resolve within two days.
- 24 to 48 hours after the last drink: Some people may experience withdrawal seizures.
- 48 to 72 hours after the last drink: Severe cases of alcohol withdrawal may progress to delirium tremens, which requires immediate medical attention.
How Long Do Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Last?
The length of alcohol withdrawal symptoms can vary, based upon the severity of your withdrawal symptoms. If you have been drinking for a longer period and in larger quantities, you are more likely to experience severe withdrawal symptoms.
Mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms usually resolve within 5 to 7 days. On the other hand, severe cases that progress to delirium tremens can persist for up to 2 weeks.
What Helps With Alcohol Withdrawal?
If you’re looking for information on how to ease alcohol withdrawal at home, it’s first important to understand that some cases of alcohol withdrawal may require medical treatment. Before attempting to detox on your own, it’s important to consult with an alcohol rehab program so that you have support and guidance throughout the process.
Some people may be able to detox at home, without medical intervention; however, it’s important to stay in touch with a supportive service so that you can seek medical care if withdrawal symptoms worsen. Some patients may need to be admitted to the hospital to receive medications to treat withdrawal symptoms and prevent serious complications from seizures or delirium tremens.
If you’ve been cleared by a doctor or addiction specialist to detox at home, the following natural remedies for alcohol withdrawal symptoms may be useful.
Creating The Optimal Environment.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable. You may experience a headache, upset stomach, or sleep disturbances. Spending time in a calm, quiet environment with low lighting can be helpful. You may feel a little ill for a few days; it may be best to stay at home and rest.
Focusing on Fluids and Nutrition.
Staying hydrated can help you to feel better while you’re undergoing alcohol withdrawal. Your doctor or treatment program may also recommend that you take supplements like thiamine or magnesium to help the body recover from alcohol misuse.
Asking a Doctor About Medications.
In some cases, you may benefit from taking medication to help with reducing alcohol withdrawal symptoms. If you experience moderate to mild side effects of alcohol withdrawal, a doctor may prescribe medications for you to take on an outpatient basis.
This means you’ll be given a prescription that you can take at home, rather than being admitted to a hospital or inpatient facility while you undergo withdrawal. Ask your doctor if medications are an option for you. In some instances, medication is a necessary alcohol withdrawal remedy.
Using Tools to Manage Cravings.
During alcohol withdrawal, cravings may make it difficult for you to complete the detox process, but learning to manage these cravings can be effective. One strategy is to think about the consequences associated with your alcohol misuse. Has drinking led you to get in trouble at work? Perhaps it’s interfered with an important relationship or caused you to get in trouble with the law.
Think about what the consequences of drinking are for you, and remember these consequences when you’re tempted to drink. There is also evidence that physical activity can be beneficial for treating alcohol withdrawal, so you might consider exercising. A moderate walk or bike ride can help you to get through withdrawal side effects.
How To Avoid Alcohol Withdrawal
People sometimes wonder if there is something they can do to avoid undergoing alcohol withdrawal. The truth is that once a person has developed a dependence on alcohol, there is really no magic strategy for preventing withdrawal. The only true solution for stopping alcohol withdrawal is to keep drinking within the recommended limits of 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men, to reduce the risk of alcohol dependence.
One of the ways to ease alcohol withdrawal so that symptoms are not as severe is to take medication. A type of drug called benzodiazepines have been found to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms, which can make you more comfortable.