Alcohol Withdrawal: Symptoms and Timeline
Many of us are occasional drinkers, some frequent. Many of us know that “hangover” that you get after a long night of partying. However, these nights of excessive drinking along with drinking too frequently can cause problems in your body. Not only are you getting these problems by drinking, but you will also receive plenty of symptoms when you withdraw from it. Withdrawing is much better than continuing to drink because then you can place yourself on the path to recovery. Whether you are currently a drinker or have been one in the past, knowing these symptoms will help prepare you to do away with alcohol for good. (Or in serious moderation).
The most common symptom you get from drinking alcohol, not even withdrawing from it, is the well-known “hangover”. What you will feel during a hangover is a drowsiness, or heaviness from the effects of the alcohol on your body from the night before. Alcohol can be dangerous if you drink too much, and many people are known to have “blackouts” where they cannot remember anything from that point in time. Even though this is not a withdrawal symptom, it is a foreteller of the future symptoms you can experience if you continue to over-indulge in alcohol.
Causes of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome
Don’t beat yourself up if you have one too many fun nights. There is always room for change. If you are not a frequent heavy alcohol drinker, then you are lucky. It is much harder to withdraw from alcohol completely or cold turkey if you have become dependent upon it. However, the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal might scare you, but do not let that keep you from getting better. Here are some of the causes of alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
Heavy, prolonged drinking, especially excessive daily drinking, disrupts the brain’s neurotransmitters, which are the brain chemicals that transmit messages. Initially, alcohol enhances the effect of GABA, the neurotransmitter that produces feelings of relaxation. Chronic alcohol consumption suppresses this neurotransmitter, and eventually more alcohol is required to achieve the same effect. This is known as building “tolerance”. When heavy drinkers suddenly or significantly stop drinking, the neurotransmitters are suddenly no longer suppressed. The neurotransmitters rebound, which results in a phenomenon known as brain hyper excitability.
All of the effects of alcohol withdrawal such as anxiety, irritability, agitation, tremors, seizures, and DTs are the opposite of those associated with alcohol consumption.
Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline
Alcohol withdrawal may trigger life-threatening side-effects in order to cope up with the drinking habit which you have suddenly stop doing so. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms may start as early as 2 hours after the last drink and they may peak during the first 24 hours. Around this time the side-effects would become more drastic which includes accelerated heartbeat, anxiety, high blood-pressure, tremors, and fever and so on. The effects depend upon the time period of how long a person has been drinking and how frequently. Below is the general alcohol withdrawal timeline.
♦ Six-12 hours after stopping:
♦ 12-24 hours after stopping:
- Increased body temperature
• Accelerated heartbeat
♦ 48 hours after stopping:
- High blood-pressure
• Delirium tremens
• Excessive sweating
• High fever
• Auditory and visual hallucinations
Fortunately, the symptoms won’t last long. All symptoms tend to decrease after 5-7 days. After the symptoms have gone away the only real challenge is fighting the addiction or urge to drink. However, you will also overcome this and be determined not to bring yourself back to a point of disease and discomfort.
Can Alcohol Withdrawal Cause Death?
Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be very severe, and it is suggested that you undertake your withdrawal under the care of a supervisor or physician. Alcohol withdrawal concerning a seriously heavy drinker can and may lead to death. Please be very careful about how you undertake the process. Your healing is important, and you do not want to cause any more problems than you may have started. The first decision you should make is to let someone know that you are deciding to quit drinking. Then you will already be on the way to recovery and have made a great decision!
Many people drink alcohol on a regular basis without any issues. Moderate alcohol consumption even has some health benefits. But patterns of binge or heavy drinking should be avoided to save your body from health problems, or addiction to alcohol in the future. One out of every three visits to the emergency room is related to the consumption of alcohol. You are not alone. An estimated 16.6 million American adults in 2013 had an alcohol abuse disorder.
Certainly, it is preferred that people who want to quit drinking after a great deal of time should seek proper treatment and should avoid sudden stops in the habit. It is always advised that a good amount of energy and time should be invested in the therapy to avoid potential urges and triggers that can get you back to drinking. Focusing on the positive aspects of live will induce inspiration and courage for you to go through the transition and come out on the other side smiling.
By reading this article it is to your benefit that you may further know what you may be experiencing. You’ll know be ready for your freedom from alcohol abuse.