What does Withdrawal from Alcohol Feel Like?
According to the Center for Disease Control, there are approximately 88,000 deaths each year in the United States, which can be attributed to excessive alcohol use, which can be attributed to excessive alcohol.
Going through withdrawal from alcohol is not an easy road but an important one as it is a step in the path of recovery. It is very difficult and the effects can last for some time. If possible, it is best to be under medical supervision as they are equipped and best to handle any types of emergencies or issues that can arise. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms could start as quickly as within two hours after the last drink, they can continue for several weeks, and have the ability to range anywhere from mild anxiousness and shaking to much more severe complications, like seizures and delirium tremens, more commonly known as DT’s. Dt’s are very dangerous and can result in death; they are typically characterized as confusion, rapid heartbeat, and fever. The estimate of people who die from the DT’s is between 1 and 5 percent.
You need to be aware that withdrawal from alcohol can worsen rapidly and it is not advised that you go through withdrawal symptoms alone. You must seek medical attention as quickly as possible once symptoms start even if they seem to only be mild. Withdrawing from alcohol with the right treatment can significantly reduce the risk of developing withdrawal seizures or DT’s, which could save your life.
What are some of the minor symptoms?
Minor alcohol withdrawal symptoms can appear 2 to 12 hours after you stop drinking and you may even have a measurable blood alcohol level when they begin.
These symptoms include:
- Hand tremors
- Mild form of anxiety
- Intermittent nausea and possible vomiting
There is a time period between 12 and 24 hours after you stop using alcohol that you may experience tactile hallucinations which make you feel like there is an object there but there really is nothing there, these will typically end within 48 hours. Even though these are called alcoholic hallucinosis, they should not be confused with the hallucinations that are associated with the DT’s.
More common symptoms include:
- Nervousness, being jumpy or irritable
- Mood swings
- Bad dreams or nightmares
- Unclear thinking
People with moderate-to-severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may need inpatient treatment for their own safety.
Treatment may include:
- Round the clock monitoring for blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate, and blood levels of different chemicals in the body
- Fluids and/or medications provided through an IV
- Sedation using medication until the withdrawal has subsided
For those who have mild-to-moderate alcohol withdrawal symptoms, you may be more comfortable in an outpatient setting. You should not be alone, always have someone with you especially in the first few days. You may even have to visit your Physician the first few days just to be sure all is well.
Treatment might include:
- Medication to help with the withdrawal effects
- Blood tests
- Patient and family therapy
- Monitoring, testing and treatment for any additional medical problems