Many types of drugs can be dangerous, cause withdrawal symptoms, or even be fatal. Many more substances can make a person feel like they are dying, or at minimum, suffering from one of the worst physical illnesses ever. However, the withdrawal symptoms of few drugs (either legal or illicit) are as dangerous, uncomfortable, or potentially fatal to deal with or experience than are alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Because alcohol is both legal and also so widely socially accepted, many people do not realize how dangerous it can be. This also makes recognizing or admitting having a problem with alcohol, suffering from alcoholism, alcohol dependence, or alcohol use disorder that much more difficult. Many people actually deal with alcohol withdrawal symptoms more than they realize, but it is not until they admit having a problem with alcohol, realize they need to stop or moderate, and try to do so on their own that they begin to understand how difficult an alcohol detox and the associated alcohol withdrawal symptoms really are to their physical, emotional, and mental state.
Alcohol withdrawal and associated alcohol withdrawal symptoms is what happens to a person when they experience withdrawal from alcohol, meaning that in some way they have become dependent on alcohol and without it they begin to experience distressing and potentially dangerous physical and psychological issues. Amongst all substances, alcohol is probably the best known for being difficult, dangerous, and potentially fatal.
So, what are some of the alcohol withdrawal symptoms that a person may experience? It is important to remember that everyone’s alcohol tolerance is different, their physical and emotional reaction to alcohol is different, their genetic makeup is different, so how people individually react to and experience alcohol withdrawal can range dramatically. However, there are some very common alcohol withdrawal symptoms that anyone that has developed a tolerance, dependency, or addiction to alcohol make go through. Those are:
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in mood
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Insomnia or other difficulty sleeping
- Tremors or shakes
- Gastrointestinal issues or disturbances
- Heart palpitations
- Rapid or abnormal breathing patterns
- Forgetfulness or memory problems
- Severe disorientation
- Delirium Tremens
- Falls or other physical injuries
These alcohol withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe, with severe symptoms being potentially life threatening. Approximately one in ten people (10%) that go through alcohol withdrawal are impacted by seizures, which can be dangerous both as a fall or accident hazard as well as having the potential for experiencing delirium tremens (or DTs.) Delirium tremens (DTs) is a rapid onset on confusion that can last from 2-to-3 days, and includes shaking, shivering, sweating, irregular heartbeats, very high body temperature, and hallucinations.
While the focus of many alcohol withdrawal symptoms is physical, there is also a great toll taken on the individual from a mental, psychological, and emotional standpoint. As mentioned above, many people deal with mood swings, heightened anxiety, very deep depression, constant irritability, and an overwhelming feeling of restlessness. This occurs, both the physical and emotional alcohol withdrawal symptoms, in the acute phase of withdrawal and detox. There is also something known as Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS), which refers to many withdrawal symptoms that can be experienced for months after the acute withdrawal phase, and is very common for those going through an alcohol detox and that have experienced alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
A typical alcohol detox, to aid someone to safely and comfortably go through alcohol withdrawal, lasts between 7-to-10 days, however it is important to remember that everyone is different and everyone’s body processing alcohol different and responds to alcohol withdrawal different. Some may not need that amount of time, while others may need several more days to manage acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms and get to a place of physical and medical stabilization.
What is vitally important to remember is that alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous, uncomfortable, and potentially fatal, which is why it is always recommended to receive medical and clinical care at a detox facility, rehab, or addiction treatment center going through the detox process. Medical care is able to provide safety, medical monitoring, and appropriately indicated detox medications, while clinical care is able to support patients mentally, psychologically, and emotionally. Here at Innovo Detox, we make sure to provide all patients coming to detox for alcohol and experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms, 24/7 medical care, 24/7 recovery support, and 7-day-per-week clinical care and support. Patients are seen by a psychiatrist and nurse practitioner, who can prescribe the appropriate detox medication protocol and monitor them if any changes need to be made. Nurses offer support to monitor patients round the clock, to make sure their medical needs are met, while therapists and counselors will provide aid to get through the difficult beginning stages of detox and continue on once they are feeling physically better. Innovo Detox also offers a quiet, calming, supportive environment, where patients can relax in their rooms or in the patient lounges, watching television, playing games, or reading. Our culinary staff is also working daily to provide patients with the best meals, keeping them fed with delicious food that will aid them in getting through detox, overcoming withdrawal symptoms, and meeting all of their dietary and nutritional needs.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be difficult and scary, but with highest quality care, a best-in-class environment, and all necessary FDA-approved medications, a medical detox provides the best opportunity to detox safely and comfortably. The added support helps patients get through what can be a dangerous situation in the best possible way, while helping them to be set up with the best chance of success in never having to experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms ever again.
If you or someone you know needs help with addiction or co-occurring disorders, please give us a call. Innovo Detox offers the latest in evidence-based medical, psychiatric, and clinical care for those in need of detox and medical stabilization in Pennsylvania and the surrounding Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or a loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a detox, rehab, treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (717) 619-3260 or email our team at [email protected]. For more information on our company or services, please visit our website at www.innovodetox.com.