A person who is addicted to alcohol experiences withdrawal anytime the substance is not present in the system. Intentional alcohol withdrawal is called detoxification and is designed to help the person overcome the addiction. One of the primary reasons a person is afraid to seek treatment is because of the effects of alcohol withdrawal. It is important that family members understand what this process entails to provide better support for the loved one.
When a person becomes addicted to alcohol, it causes the chemistry in a person to be altered. The body adjusts to the presence of alcohol in the system and compensates by changing other chemicals. When the person does not have alcohol in the system, it causes alcohol withdrawal.
The body develops a craving for the alcohol, which manifests itself in several ways. The person may begin sweating, shaking and even nauseous from lack of alcohol. He or she often becomes irritable and even confused without the alcohol in the system. Depression is another side effect of withdrawal.
Withdrawal symptoms can be seen in as little as two or three hours after the last drink. For more moderate drinkers, they may begin in six to twelve hours. They can be mild or severe, depending on how long and how much the person has been consuming.
Initially, you will notice the person sweating and he or she may complain of a headache or nausea. The addict may be shaky and express mild anxiety. As the withdrawal progresses, the person may experience hallucinations. These may be visual or auditory and can last up to 48 hours. The risk of seizures increases during this time as well as the brain adjusts to functioning without the presence of alcohol.
Alcohol has suppressed certain chemicals in the brain. During withdrawal, these chemicals become active again, but in an extreme way. It can take a few hours or days for them to readjust to the levels they were before the alcohol addiction began. It is during this period that the person will experience the withdrawal symptoms. They will begin to subside in a few days as the body returns to a more normal state.
A person who is trying to stop alcohol addiction must go through a period of withdrawal known as detoxification. Because the experience is unpleasant at best and dangerous at worst, it is best to go through the process in a treatment facility. Trained medical providers can monitor the addict and provide medications or emergency medical care if needed.
One of the biggest dangers of detox is known as delirium tremens or DTs. This condition is rare but extremely dangerous. It is more likely to occur in people who have gone through detox in the past. It affects your breathing and circulation and causes serious changes in the way your brain functions.
Withdrawal is a frightening concept at best, and it is often recommended to go through detox in a controlled facility where you have enough support and trained staff on hand. It is a necessary step to breaking the cycle of addiction and is the first step in the recovery process. While it is never easy to stop drinking, you are more likely to be successful if you have the right resources.
If you or someone you know is ready to stop drinking, become educated on the process of withdrawal. Call Alcohol Treatment Centers Abilene where you or your loved one can detox safely and begin the journey to an alcohol-free life. Dial (325) 603-0959.
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