After weeks or maybe months of binge drinking, you’ve suddenly decided to quit alcohol altogether. You’ve been warned that quitting cold turkey can backfire on you but you never heeded that sound advice. Now, you feel like you’re going through hell and back. Are you experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms? This is the most likely scenario. If you’re still in denial and you want to confirm whether your symptoms are indeed signs of alcohol withdrawal, read on to find out whether you started to experience the following after your last alcoholic drink.
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While not all symptoms occur in all patients, these are the most common ones.
1. You’re having tremors or seizures
Within five to ten hours after your last alcoholic drink, if you experience tremors (meaning your body is trembling or shaking), then this is a sign of withdrawal. This symptom usually peaks at 24 to 48 hours and is typically accompanied by an increase in blood pressure, rapid pulse rate and breathing, nausea, vomiting, and excessive sweating. You could also experience alcohol withdrawal seizures within six to forty-eight hours after your last drink. The seizures could occur over several hours and peak at 24 hours. Having a seizure is a symptom of severe withdrawal so emergency assistance should be sought out.
2. You’re having trouble sleeping
Insomnia is another symptom of alcohol withdrawal. Most people who experience alcohol withdrawal find it difficult to have a shut-eye. They also experience vivid dreams and nightmares.
3. You feel anxious and irritable
If you can’t seem to settle or calm down for no reason, alcohol withdrawal may be hitting you. It can also feel like you are suddenly irritated at everyone or anything.
4. You start hallucinating
People experiencing alcohol withdrawal commonly hallucinate within 12 to 24 hours after their last drink. If you start seeing multiple moving objects like coins falling or insects crawling, even though others do not see them, this is a sign of alcohol hallucinosis, which means seeing or feeling things that are not real. The hallucinations can be very vivid and imaginative that you or others might think that you’re going crazy.
5. You feel confused and disoriented
Heavy alcohol drinkers typically start feeling a sense of confusion and disorientation when in withdrawal. Because they’re brain and body are so used to the alcohol, the sudden halt can wreak havoc in their system. If symptoms of confusion and disorientation are also accompanied by shifts in your breathing, stupor, irrational thoughts, and all the other symptoms stated above, you could be experiencing Delirium tremens. This is a dangerous condition that occurs 2-3 days after your last drink and is considered as a severe form of alcohol withdrawal. This could cause serious problems such as severe dehydration, an abnormal increase in blood pressure, and even cardiovascular collapse.
What to do when experiencing alcohol withdrawal?
Experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms often means that your alcohol habit has brought damage to your body and your brain. If you are experiencing any symptoms, it is best to consult a doctor to check the extent of the damage. Tests have to be done on your heart, your liver, nerves, blood, and GI tract, among others, to check for alcohol-related injury. Your doctor will then recommend the best option for treatment, not only for your symptoms but for you to overcome alcoholism as well.
If you’re experiencing severe symptoms, immediately call emergency assistance. Do not think that these symptoms will just pass and go away on their own. Severe symptoms like seizures are life-threatening so it is important to address this as soon as possible.
If you are thinking of quitting alcohol for good, seek professional help. Many people think that they are invincible and are not vulnerable to alcohol withdrawal. This is the reason why many try to do it alone by quitting cold-turkey. If you are only an occasional drinker, this might not be difficult to achieve. However, if you are a heavy drinker, meaning you cannot pass or survive a day without alcohol in your system, quitting by yourself could lead to unbearable symptoms that may push you to relapse and drink again. On the other hand, professional treatment centers can perform safe and proven detox methods that can make your withdrawal symptoms easier. You will also be provided with a comprehensive treatment plan so you can start your journey to lifelong sobriety.
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse, help is available. Alcoholism is an illness that can be cured. Contact Anaheim Lighthouse to learn more about our specialized programs.