Those who struggle with alcohol addiction can find it challenging to begin the road to recovery due to alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Because of the way alcohol affects the brain, uncomfortable, painful, and even life-threatening symptoms can occur when an individual tries to stop drinking.
Knowing what to expect during alcohol withdrawal can help you learn how to support a loved one who is working to overcome alcohol addiction. Successfully managing withdrawal symptoms and beginning recovery with a strong foundation is possible. Learn about the signs of alcohol withdrawal here.
What Is Alcohol Withdrawal?
Alcohol withdrawal is what happens when someone who is dependent on alcohol suddenly stops drinking. Dependency can be both physical and psychological. The body and brain come to rely on alcohol to function after long-term use, and those who try to stop drinking might feel intense cravings. Drinking again can ease the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, which is why this initial stage of recovery can be so difficult.
Signs of Alcohol Withdrawal
Symptoms of withdrawal will typically begin to appear within six hours of the last drink and usually peak two to three days after. Behavioral symptoms like anxiety might be the most noticeable. Other signs of alcohol withdrawal vary depending on the severity of the addiction. However, some common symptoms may include:
More severe signs of alcohol withdrawal might include seizures, hallucinations, or delirium tremens. Delirium tremens can involve hallucinations, delusions, and physical symptoms like fever and high blood pressure. These symptoms are relatively rare but can be life-threatening without medical support.
What to do After Detox
Treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms won’t treat the underlying addiction. That’s why, after going through detox, it’s essential for those who struggle with alcohol addiction to begin a treatment program. Therapy and counseling can help them learn how to manage cravings, maintain sobriety, and work through the underlying causes of addiction.
Several factors can contribute to the development of an alcohol use disorder, such as a family history of addiction, past trauma, or co-occurring mental health issues. Learning healthy coping mechanisms and confronting behavioral health issues is the only path forward towards better health.
How to Stop Drinking Safely
Someone who has a physical dependency on alcohol will frequently need to go through withdrawal with medical support. Alcohol withdrawal can be more severe than withdrawal from other substances, and without medical intervention and emotional support, it can be tempting to relapse during this challenging time. There is also a risk of death in severe cases.
A detox center can offer a supportive and safe environment to help people learn how to stop drinking safely. Some of the services you may encounter include:
- Healthy foods and fluids
- Medications to ease anxiety or prevent seizures
Individuals with severe alcohol addiction should not attempt detox on their own. Reaching out to a detox center is the safest option for alcohol withdrawal. With the right support, lasting recovery from alcohol use disorder is possible, and going through withdrawal with medical care and counseling can provide a strong foundation.
Ascend Healthcare Helps Teens Overcome Alcohol Addiction
At Ascend, we do not offer detox or withdrawal assistance, but we can help you find the right place to go. If your loved one is showing signs of alcohol withdrawal, you may want to contact your hospital or Ascend for guidance before looking for a residential treatment center. After your teen has completed a detox regimen, they may enter our program for long-term care in a residential facility that treats the underlying causes of addiction.
Through evidence-based therapies and family involvement, we’ll help your teen learn to overcome triggers for relapse and build healthy coping skills. Connect with our team today at 310.388.3713 or reach out to us online to learn more.