Withdrawing from Alcohol: Things to Look Forward To

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a collection of symptoms that individuals who have had an alcohol abuse problem for years, weeks or months may encounter once they stop drinking. Men and women who only drink once in a while rarely have withdrawal signs and symptoms. People who have experienced withdrawal in the past are actually much more likely to get withdrawal signs and symptoms every time they stopped alcohol consumption. What are the signs and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome?

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Signs and symptoms can be severe or moderate, and may include:

Shakiness Perspiring Anxiousness Irritability Fatigue Melancholy Headaches Sleeplessness Frightening Dreams Decreased appetite

More severe withdrawal signs and symptoms could also include high temperature, convulsions and delirium tremens (also called DTs). Individuals that have DTs could suffer from confusion, anxiety and even hallucinations (hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not really there). DTs can be extremely dangerous if they aren't treated by a physician.

Do individuals going through withdrawal should see a doctor?

Yes. Your doctor should know you're going through withdrawal so he or she can ensure it doesn't cause more serious health issues. If you experience withdrawal a number of times without getting the right treatment, your symptoms could get worse every time. So even if your withdrawal symptoms don't seem that harmful, it's essential to see your physician. This is especially true for individuals who have had injurious withdrawal signs and symptoms before and individuals that have other health issues, such as infections, heart disease, lung disease or a record of seizures.

Individuals that quit abusing other substances (like tobacco, injected drugs or cocaine) at the same time they quit drinking alcohol might have extreme withdrawal problems. They should consult a physician before they quit.

How can my physician assist me if I'm in withdrawal?

Your medical professional can provide the encouragement you will need to be successful in your efforts to stop drinking. He or she can monitor your withdrawal signs and symptoms to help prevent more serious health problems.

Your physician can also prescribe medicines to manage the shakiness, nervousness and mental confusion that can accompany alcohol withdrawal. They may keep your symptoms from getting worse if you take these medicines at an early stage of the withdrawal.

What can my family and friends do to assist me if I'm going through withdrawal?

The impulse to drink again throughout withdrawal can be extremely powerful. Encouragement from family and friends can help you defend against that drive. After withdrawal signs and symptoms go away, it's crucial to join a treatment or sobriety program, like Alcoholics Anonymous (see contact information under "Other Organizations"). These programs can supply the support you should avoid relapse.

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome Signs?

More extreme withdrawal symptoms could also include fever, convulsions and delirium tremens (also called DTs). If you go through withdrawal a number of times without getting the appropriate treatment, your symptoms may get worse each time. Even if your withdrawal signs and symptoms don't seem that harmful, it's important to see your physician. After withdrawal signs and symptoms go away, it's important to join a treatment or sobriety program, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (see contact information under "Other Organizations").

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