Risks and Dangers of Alcohol Withdrawal

Can alcohol withdrawal be dangerous? The simple answer is yes. It can trigger serious conditions like seizures or psychotic episodes, and can sometimes be fatal. An individual who wants to withdraw from alcohol should seek medical guidance, so that they can be properly diagnosed and treated.

Why Does Alcohol Withdrawal Require Treatment?

A lot of people don’t realise the how dangerous alcohol addiction withdrawal can be. While all cases of substance abuse have withdrawal periods, alcohol withdrawal is one of the few that can actually be deadly. Why is that?

The answer can be found in the way alcohol affects the body. When an individual is a chronic user of alcohol over a long period of time, it alters their brain chemistry. Some of the signals and chemical reactions in the brain become dependent on the alcohol. As a result, when the individual stops drinking abruptly, the brain is left unprepared for the lack of alcohol. This leads to other problems that can grow worse as time goes by.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

These can range from mild to extreme. Withdrawal from alcohol begins within 6 to 24 hours after the individual has had their last drink. Initial symptoms include shaking, headaches, sweating, anxiety, nausea and vomiting. The more serious symptoms surface approximately 12 to 24 hours later. The individual may find that they are getting confused, experiencing tremors, getting agitated and hallucinating.

It only gets worse. One or two days later the individual can start to experience seizures, high blood pressure, fever and delirium. This is the most dangerous time during the alcohol detox, as there have been cases of people dying in this period. Once the individual is past the 48 hour mark, the symptoms start fading and by the time a week has passed, they are usually over the acute withdrawal period. It is important to note that the risk of relapse is very high during withdrawal.

How Medically Assisted Detox Can Help

After learning the dangers of alcohol withdrawal, it is quite clear why the individual who wants to detox from alcohol must do so with medical assistance. A doctor will be able to prescribe medications to ease the withdrawal symptoms and provide the necessary care. An individual wanting to medical care for the alcohol detox must take the following steps:

  1. Find a certified clinic to go through the withdrawal phase. This can be a hospital or a residential treatment center.
  2. Talk to a doctor to understand the treatment options out there and make a decision about what kind of program is best suited to the individual.
  3. Follow up therapy is a must. Merely going through a detox program will not cure the individual’s addiction to alcohol. 12 Step  Programs, counseling and other kinds of therapy is needed to help the individual come to terms with their addiction and identify new and healthy coping mechanisms

Sustain Recovery has a unique approach to adolescent care. A typical residential treatment program supports a stay of 30-90 days but may be longer to help an individual find longer-term solutions to addiction. Call us to find out how we can help you get on the road to recovery.