Quitting alcohol can be challenging no matter how heavily you drink. Even someone who has a glass of wine every night and a few drinks with friends on the weekends may find it difficult to participate in social situations without imbibing. If you regularly drink more than a glass or two, you might experience alcohol detox symptoms when you stop drinking. Understanding what withdrawal symptoms entail and how to reduce their intensity can help you get through this stage successfully and prevent relapse.
What Causes Alcohol Detox Symptoms?
If you have ever experienced a hangover, you’ve gotten a glimpse into what alcohol withdrawal can feel like. Often, a hangover is caused by excess alcohol in your system. Alcohol detox symptoms occur when your body becomes disturbed by the elimination of alcohol from your system.
When you drink, alcohol changes the way that the natural chemicals in your body interact. Your brain function also slows down. Some neurotransmitters increase their activity while others are inhibited. The receptors for these neurotransmitters adjust to make up for the imbalance.
Additionally, your brain changes when you abuse alcohol for a prolonged time. Some of these adaptations affect your reward, stress, and motivation pathways. This process also reinforces the positive effects of alcohol consumption, like relaxation and avoidance of anxiety-producing triggers.
Over time, your body gets used to the way that it functions with a consistent influx of alcohol in your system. You start to require more alcohol to continue experiencing the rewarding feeling that you get from drinking. However, when you stop using it, your body overcorrects itself, and you feel entirely off-balance. Furthermore, these alcohol detox symptoms diminish as your body readjusts to sobriety.
What Do Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Feel Like?
Alcohol detox symptoms are similar to a hangover. Some of the most common include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Shivering and shaking
These symptoms come on about six hours after you stop drinking. They may also increase in severity over the next few days. Within 12 to 24 hours, some people start experiencing confusion, hallucinations, and seizures.
People who have struggled with severe alcohol addiction may suffer from alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Additionally, this may involve dangerous high blood pressure and heart rate levels. Delirium tremens occurs in the most severe cases.
Who Experiences Detox Symptoms From Alcohol?
People who have been addicted to alcohol for more than a decade, drink heavily or have attempted to abstain from alcohol repeatedly are more likely to experience severe symptoms.
Delirium tremens can be fatal without proper medical supervision. Clients with metabolic disturbances that result from abstinence, such as low electrolyte levels, may also develop cardiac complications or breathing disturbances.
If you’re thinking about quitting alcohol, seek medical attention. Some people experience significant symptoms even when they report that they only have a few drinks every night. You could put yourself in danger if a health professional does not supervise your withdrawal.
At Ardu Recovery Center, a Salt Lake City alcohol detox center and rehab, we can help you get through the detox process comfortably and with ease. We can offer medication when necessary and monitor you to keep you healthy and prevent relapse. In addition to our detox program, we also offer the following:
Finally, you can rise up after alcohol detox with the right combination of physical care and psychological support. Contact Ardu Recovery Center at 801-810-1234 to find out how we can help.