Alcohol is one of the most highly addictive substances. Millions worldwide struggle with alcohol use disorder (AUD) and find their lives turned upside down because of their addiction. Countless lives are lost each year thanks to alcohol misuse.
Quitting drinking is no easy feat. Although a person might realize that they have a serious problem, simply stopping isn’t the answer. This is because alcohol withdrawal is dangerous and results in serious side effects, some of which can be fatal if the person attempts to self-quit. If you’re dealing with AUD, you might want to get the help you need but fear that withdrawal will be painful.
What Is Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome?
Alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) is a series of symptoms you can experience if you regularly consume large quantities of alcohol and then suddenly stop. It can also develop if you’re a heavy drinker who cuts way down on your level of alcohol. Typically, symptoms of AWS can range from physical to emotional, mild to moderate to severe and result in uncomfortable or even dangerous side effects.
In the worst cases, alcohol withdrawal syndrome can be life-threatening. Although it’s possible to safely endure alcohol withdrawal, you can’t quit cold turkey. Instead, you need to enter a rehab treatment facility where you have access to the right staff personnel and medication management to help you ease through your symptoms.
What Causes Alcohol Withdrawal?
Heavy alcohol consumption affects many areas of the brain and body. It triggers the central nervous system and gives a sedative effect on the brain, resulting in certain neurotransmitters being blunted. This is what makes you feel relaxed and pleased when you drink. However, when you consume large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis, it’s easy to quickly become dependent.
This leads to wanting more and more so that you can achieve the same effects continuously. However, if you cut back or try to stop altogether, your brain chemistry gets a shock as it tries to readjust. This can result in uncomfortable and sometimes, even painful, withdrawal symptoms. Everyone is different, so how alcohol withdrawal affects one person might not affect you in the same way.
What Are the Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal?
Symptoms of AWS commonly begin anywhere from a few hours to a few days after you stop drinking alcohol. They include abdominal pain and nausea, which can cause a lot of discomfort. Cramping and other issues such as vomiting can adversely affect your appetite as well. Increased heart rate and high blood pressure can also occur when you experience alcohol withdrawal.
These are potentially dangerous side effects that can pose risks to your health. You may also have tremors, sweating, anxiety, confusion, headache, nightmares and insomnia. Many people dealing with AWS react with irritability, which is completely normal as their bodies have to adjust to not having alcohol. Severe withdrawal symptoms include extreme confusion, seizures, fever and even higher blood pressure, heart rate and respiration. Hallucinations are also more severe and can be auditory, visual and even tactile in nature. These are serious symptoms and are considered a medical emergency.
Is Alcohol Withdrawal Painful?
Depending on the severity of the symptoms, alcohol withdrawal can be painful. Any severe seizures and problems stemming from high blood pressure and faster heart rate can definitely cause pain. However, when you get treatment for your alcohol addiction, your symptoms will be properly managed. Some people are able to go through treatment in the comfort of their own homes, but others may need to stay in a hospital or rehab facility where they can be continuously monitored and receive fast care from a doctor or other medical professional whenever necessary.
Many people who experience alcohol withdrawal syndrome are able to get through their treatment while taking benzodiazepines. Chlordiazepoxide, Lorazepam or Alprazolam can help ease your discomfort while you undergo treatment. Ready to get the help you need? We’re here for you every step of the way. Call us at 833-820-2922 today to get started.