You may have mental and physical issues whether you stop drinking alcohol, or severely limit the amount to which you drink. These symptoms and side-effects can simply be labeled alcohol withdrawal and symptoms may vary from mild to severe.

Today, we’re going to take a deeper look at alcohol withdrawal discussing the timeline, the symptoms, and treatment involved.

What is Alcohol Withdrawal?

Withdrawal is a set of symptoms of variable clustering and degree of severity, typically for a long time and/or high doses, that occur after cessation or reduced use of a psychoactive substance. It is a sign of neurological dysfunction that accompanies addiction. One of the symptoms people often deal with when facing addiction is withdrawal. The limited psycho-pharmacological concept of dependence also has a defining characteristic.

The duration and nature of withdrawal syndrome are time-limited and refer to the form and dosage of a drug administered before avoiding or reducing use. In reality, withdrawal syndrome symptoms are the opposite of acute poisoning.

Causes of Withdrawal

When doctors call it a depressive influence, alcohol affects the body. It retards your brain activity and influences how your neurons communicate. Your central nervous system adapts to alcohol over time. The body works vigorously to wake the brain and to speak to you. Your head will be locked when the level of alcohol suddenly falls. That is why disability takes place. Learning more about the timeline and the signs helps the person to see what is to be expected and to feel comfortable.

Withdrawal Timeline

Nevertheless, a person who is addicted to or who abuses alcohol can hardly be issued. In many instances, these people have lost control of their drinking capacity. For others, it is impossible to know where to start because of the signs of depression that come up when trying to stop drinking.

The following are general rules on when alcohol withdrawal symptoms are expected to occur:

Six Hours (6)

Mild signs of withdrawal usually start around six hours after your last drink. This means if a person had their last drink 6 hrs ago, they may start to feel some minor forms of withdrawal.

Twelve to Twenty-four Hours (12-24)

For people with severe alcohol dependencies, severe withdrawal symptoms can start to kick in about 12-24 hrs after their last drink. They can start to have minor hallucinations, hearing or seeing things that are not actually there.

Twenty-four to Forty-eight Hours (24-48)

Mild symptoms of withdrawal usually continue over this period. Headache, diarrhea and disturbed stomach may include these symptoms. If you only have minor withdrawal, you usually experience a peak of the symptoms at 18 to 24 hours after the last drink as they steadily decline over the next four or five days.

Forty-eight to Seventy-two Hours (48-72)

For those with more severe addictions, they may experience something called delirium tremens (DTs) or alcohol withdrawal delirium. Someone that starts to experience this kind of effect is said to experience delusions, accelerated heart rate, convulsions, and even elevated body temperature.

Seventy-two Hours (72+)

This is when the signs of alcohol withdrawal are generally the worst of all. Symptoms such as abnormal heartbeat and hallucinations may occur.

When someone is intoxicated, dopamine levels are raised in the brain, contributing to a wave of good feelings. Alcohol can improve attitude, increase confidence, and reduce inhibitions. Such effects dissipate as alcohol exits the bloodstream. Nonetheless, alcohol withdrawal can last for more than a year, including emotional mood swings, sleeplessness or tiredness.

Withdrawal Symptoms

The medical profession recognizes three levels of withdrawal of alcohol, each with its own set of symptoms. Six hours after the last drink, such results will occur. Seven to ten days after the last drink, the most severe symptoms will arise.

Minor symptoms of withdrawal

  • Excessive Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Headache and Nausea

Moderate symptoms of withdrawal

  • Memory Loss
  • Hallucinations
  • Abnormal heartbeat and pulse rate
  • Seizures

Major symptoms of withdrawal

  • Delirium
  • Fever
  • Death
  • High blood pressure

More severe complications occur from 12 and 24 hours after the last drink and convulsions within the first 2 days after you quit. You can see, sound or hear stuff you don’t have.

Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal

When dependence is not treated, it can be dangerous. The effects of withdrawing from a substance can be very difficult to deal with. Over the years, many people have tried and managed to overcome withdrawal symptoms from alcohol through treatment programs.

When people decide to stop alcohol use and become clean, they can start to look for alcohol addiction treatment programs and support. Rehab facilities give people 24/7 health care as they detox from alcohol. Through their treatments, the effects of alcohol withdrawal can be alleviated.

The alcohol detox schedule can also be developed by a doctor to help clients recover comfortably and with ease. Once they are fully healthy and clean of the toxins, they can start to develop other healthy habits that further ensure their long-term sobriety. Following alcohol rehabilitation, it is important to invest in living an overall healthier lifestyle.

These people may be sober, but not all healthy emotions and behaviors associated with alcohol dependency have been correctly addressed. Through recovery treatment programs, a person can learn how to identify unhealthy patterns of behavior that may contribute to their past habits.

Through abstinence and recovery programs, a person will start to attend counseling and support groups to help grow on their walk through sobriety. If you have mild to severe withdrawal symptoms, you may need treatment. These include instances of:

  • The use of benzodiazepines. Physicians prescribe these drugs to reduce the chance of seizures during withdrawals of alcohol. Examples include diazepam and lorazepam (Valium), Alprazolam (Xanax) and Ativan. Doctors often use these medicines to treat the withdrawals of alcohol.
  • Medications with neuroleptics. Both drugs can help inhibit the function of the nervous system and can help to prevent alcohol-reducing hallucinations and anxiety.
  • Aid in nutrition: Physicians should provide nutrients such as folic acid, magnesium, and thiamine to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal and to fix the nutritional deficiencies caused by alcohol consumption.

There is a lot more that goes into alcohol withdrawal treatment, but these are just some of the essentials for you to know. Withdrawal can be an extremely uncomfortable thing to deal with, but it can be managed through proper treatment and support. If you or a loved one are dealing with alcohol addiction and would like to seek treatment in order to best fight back against withdrawal and dependency, reach out today.

Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2009. Call 602-346-9142.