Signs, Symptoms and Stages of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol Withdrawal: Signs, Symptoms and Stages

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Understanding Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol is completely legal for those of a certain age. This makes it a somewhat controlled substance, but still one that is readily available. Alcohol lowers inhibitions and anxiety for those who drink it. It can also have a broad range of side effects that are dependent upon the person and how much is consumed. These can include slurred speech, loss of coordination, poor decision making, risk taking, and even loss of life if too much is consumed. Not everyone who drinks is an alcoholic. But if your life is negatively affected by alcohol on a consistent basis then you likely have an alcohol use disorder. When you decide to stop drinking, alcohol withdrawal will occur. Alcohol is available in various forms including wine, beer, and hard liquor.

Liquor Beer, and Wine Addiction and Abuse

Beer is an alcoholic drink most often created from hops, yeast, barley, and water. When compared to wine or liquor it has the lowest alcohol content by volume (ABV). This usually falls between 2 and 12 percent overall. For the average occasional drinker, it takes between 3 and 5 beers to be over the legal driving limit. Beer has taken its place in American culture and the rise of craft beer has made consumption even more common and fashionable. Even people who only drink socially or during certain activities are susceptible to alcohol us disorder, especially when social drinkers continue to drink when others have stopped.

Wine is created from fermented grapes or other fruits. An average glass of wine (5 oz.) has the equivalent to 12 ounces of beer. Wine is most common at dinner parties or upper-class events which can make it difficult to spot someone who has an alcohol use problem with wine. Since women make up a higher percentage of wine drinkers than men, they are often targeted by advertisers. When consuming wine, women often become impaired more quickly as they have less body mass and less water in their system. Since women process the alcohol slower their brains and organs are exposed to alcohol for longer periods when they are drinking.

Liquor or hard liquor is an umbrella term used for hard alcoholic drinks or spirits like vodka, tequila, gin, and rum. Liquor has a much higher ABV than beer or wine and is often mixed with nonalcoholic drinks such as juice, soda, or water. The carbonation in soda actually speeds up the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream, leading to faster intoxication. Those who abuse liquor tend to need less in the beginning, but build a tolerance quickly.

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Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol is a depressant that effects the central nervous system. It slows down the mental and bodily processes from the beginning. Even from the first drink the feelings of anxiety and stress may decrease with an increase in confidence for most. Since alcohol is so socially acceptable, it can be difficult to tell the difference in casual use and actual abuse. However, if a problem does exist the consequences may include some of the following: physical harm, illness, strained relationships, work issues, and financial difficulty.

Addiction to Alcohol

Alcohol addiction, commonly referred to as alcoholism, is a craving for alcohol with the inability to stop drinking in spite of negative consequences and problems. The most common sign of alcoholism is an increased frequency in the amount consumed and feeling withdrawal symptoms when drinking does not occur. Another sign may be that personal and professional responsibilities are forgotten or ignored in favor of drinking or trying to drink.

Alcohol Withdrawal

When someone with an alcohol use disorder decides to stop drinking, withdrawal will occur. The symptoms of withdrawal can vary from person to person, but some are pretty common.

Since the first day of alcohol abstinence usually follows a heavy night, weekend or week of drinking, the first day is like a strong hangover. The person may be shaky, anxious, have a pounding heartbeat, be sweaty, unable to eat, and experiencing dry heaves.

The second day for moderate and heavy alcoholics typically means stronger symptoms with headaches, increased pulse rate, high blood pressure, and body aches. Some may start hallucinating, be irritable, and tired. Those who are most severe may experience seizures and confusion, but these are not as common.

Day three for moderate and sever drinkers tend to be experiencing worse symptoms at this point with shakiness, anxiety, and even chest pain, as well as insomnia.

The fourth day for light and moderate drinkers often brings about a great deal of relief, but those with severe problems may continue to get worse with paranoia, hallucinations, and continuing headaches.

Day five often brings the day that most people fail, but those who stay strong are probably over the worst of their symptoms.

Starting on day six, most symptoms will have subsided for the majority of alcoholics, but cravings and altered sleep patterns are still often an issue. This can be a problem that lasts for months for some as they have to retrain their bodies to a normal sleep pattern.

Going through alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous and it should not be attempted without medical care. For those who are heavy drinkers, the body may react negatively to alcohol withdrawal and create medical issues that need hospitalization. This is why seeking help is so important.

Getting Help

If you or a loved one is an alcoholic and wants help then seek the best at The River. The River, located in Thailand has earned top ratings from those who have attended the in-patient program. The River offers a 12 week stay in a facility with beautiful views and highly trained staff. Working with each individual, The River takes a three-pronged approach to use behavioral therapy and a mind-body connection to help the individual learn life skills to reenter life addiction free. The River is so certain of their methods that anyone who relapses within a year of getting clean can return for a free month if needed. You are worth so much more than an addiction to alcohol, call The River and book a stay to get your life back on track.