Alcohol withdrawals are one of the most dangerous, and should be monitored by a professional.
Alcohol has a depressant affect on the central nervous system. It slows down brain function and changes the way nerves communicate back and forth. It also disrupts GABA neurotransmitters which ties into a persons sense of wellbeing or relaxation. It also affects dopamine levels regulating changes in mood, cognition, enjoyment, motivation and motor coordination. Over time the brain becomes accustomed to chronic alcohol exposure suppressing the CNS system and the body tries to counteract this and keep the brain in a more awake state. Neuron messaging changes and it tries to key up communication. When the alcohol is removed from the body, the system stays in a hyper state. This is very uncomfortable for the alcoholic and it is what causes them start drinking again. Alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous and should be monitored by a medical professional.
Alcohol withdrawal lasts 3-10 days following alcohol cessation.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Rapid heart rate
Restless leg syndrome
Skin crawling sensations
Severe Alcohol Withdrawal is called Delirium Tremens
This occurs as rapid onset of confusion, shaking, sweating, hallucinating, irregular heart rate, high fevers and seizures. It can result in death. It is estimated that DT’s occur in 5-10% of alcoholics
While these symptoms are very uncomfortable for the user, they will be managed during the duration of the detox. If you choose, Medication can be started to decrease withdrawal symptoms this will be tapered so that when you do come off the withdrawal symptoms will not be as severe and more manageable.
Typically the withdrawals will be around 3-10 days depending on the way your body eliminates the toxins. The emotional symptoms, and cravings will last much longer. However, active engagement in a recovery program along with therapy can help to minimize cravings and triggers. Your brain chemistry changes as your brain heals. It takes time endorphinstherapy, exercise and good nutrition, support groups, and doing service to other addicts or service groups.
This process is an extremely hard thing for addicts to face and the hardest part of addiction. As family members we don’t want to see them suffer so we try to help in ways that we know how. Sometimes it can be enabling and will not be making them better. The best option for an addict is to get the right treatment for their circumstances and to have continuous meetings with support groups and therapy.