The Ugliness of Alcoholism Withdrawal
Alcoholism withdrawal is a very real and very serious problem that requires medical attention and follow up treatment.
What is Alcoholism Withdrawal?
Alcoholism withdrawal is a body’s response to not having enough alcohol. This happens to serious alcoholics when they do not give their body alcohol for a period of time. Because alcoholics feed their bodies excessive amounts of alcohol every day, their bodies go into withdrawal when they are deprived of alcohol for a period of time. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can last 5-10 days after the person has had their last drink. Sometimes it lasts longer, especially if the person is also a drug user.
Sometimes alcohol withdrawal symptoms are nominal. A person may experience some shaking or get the sweats. The technical term for this is delirium tremens (DT). In more advanced stages of DT, the person will become confused, anxious or hallucinate. Mild symptoms of alcoholism withdrawal include rapid heart rate, vomiting, enlarged pupils, clammy skin and abnormal eyelid movement. Very serious alcoholism withdrawal symptoms include fever, convulsions and blackouts. Severe alcohol withdrawal problems can be compounded if the person has also been using other drugs, including tobacco.
If you or someone you love is experiencing alcohol withdrawal, they need to see a doctor. These symptoms can become sever and can result in serious health problems so they need to be treated. Fortunately, many people who experience alcohol withdrawal have been put in the hospital or are in being detoxified. Detoxifying a person means that they have been confined to an area (usually a hospital) and have been forced not to drink for a period of time.
Doctors will monitor the symptoms and will be able to help in the event that the person experiences seizure. They can also prescribe medication that will help ease the feelings of anxiety and restlessness. However, the doctor may not give an alcoholic these medications because they want the body to get to a normal, drug-free state. They also may not want the alcoholic to trade one addiction for another.
Doctors can also provide someone who’s going through alcoholism withdrawal with emotional support. They can lead a willing alcoholic to support groups and help them find treatment plans.
Avoiding the Tipping Point
Alcoholism is a tricking disease because it can sneak up on people. An alcoholic usually starts out as a social drinker. They drink with friends on weekends and have a few drinks a couple of times a week. Then the number of drinks and the frequency with which they drink increases. However, they may not notice this because they’re preoccupied with other things in their lives.
To keep yourself from slipping into alcoholism, pay very close attention to your drinking habits. If you’re frequently in situations that involve alcohol, keep a written record of when you drink and how much you drink. Also, pay attention to your genetics. If alcoholism runs in your family, you’re much more likely to be an alcoholic than someone who does not have alcoholism in their family. Alcoholism withdrawal is a wicked experience, but it can be avoided if you make a serious effort not to go down that road.