Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

How often have you heard someone say, “I need a drink”? How often has that someone been you? Have you heard it in your office or with friends? Those words are uttered all too often in a variety of contexts. Does that person, let’s call her Gail the banker, really know what it means to need a drink?

It’s safe to say that, in popular culture, alcohol is used to cope with stress, in social situations, at special events and in general as the single most abused substance in the world. Whatever the situation may be, problematic and/or heavy drinkers may exhibit physical symptoms that make the need for alcohol a debilitating reality.

So, what about Gail the banker?

If Gail the banker feels like she needs a drink, she is likely suffering from an alcohol-use disorder. Worse yet, if Gail the banker is dependent on alcohol and then quits, withdrawal symptoms set in, and they are not pretty. When Gail the banker quits drinking, she will be at increased risk for the many alcohol withdrawal symptoms that exist, together called alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

Let’s talk a little about alcohol use disorder, AKA alcoholism, and its symptoms, and then let’s talk about alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Then let’s talk about recovering from alcoholism properly.

Alcohol-Use Disorder

In 2015, according to the Health & Social Care Information Centre, 28.9 million people in Great Britain report drinking alcohol in the previous week. This equates to 58% of the population., with males being almost twice as likely as women to experience distress around alcohol use.

So how do you know if you suffer from an alcohol-use disorder?

For one to have an alcohol use disorder, one would experience some or all of the following symptoms:

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Inability to control how much you drink

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Feeling the need to cut back on drinking, or trying to do so unsuccessfully

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Spending significant time recovering from alcohol use

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Strong urges to drink

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Interruptions at work or at home due to drinking

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Continuing to drink regardless of negative effects

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Losing interest in hobbies or social life due to drinking

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Drinking in unsafe situations, such as driving or watching your child

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High tolerance to alcohol

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Withdrawal symptoms when not drinking

The bullet point “Withdrawal symptoms when not drinking” is of interest because many problematic drinkers are not aware of the risk for alcohol withdrawal, which can be scary and even deadly. If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms, or especially several of them, please seek professional treatment immediately. Quitting without assistance can be extremely dangerous. The alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be managed with the proper care but can be fatal without it.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms according to an article published by Drinkaware,

The NHS estimates that around 9% of men in the UK and 3% of UK women show signs of alcohol dependence. This means that drinking alcohol becomes an important, or sometimes the most important, factor in their life and they feel they’re unable to function without it.

The numbers speak for themselves – this is a significant problem across the country Alcohol withdrawal has two general levels of severity: common symptoms and medical emergency. The difference is clear. While any form of alcohol abuse is dangerous, there is a clear line between the college weekend drinker and the homeless drunkard. Anyway, common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are:

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Anxiety/nervousness

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Depression

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Fatigue

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Irritability

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Jumpiness/shakiness

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Mood swings

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Nightmares

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Unclear thoughts

Some of these may seem like everyday symptoms that may be experienced from a variety of causes, however, if you or someone you know struggles with alcohol abuse, these symptoms are signs of alcoholism. It is utterly important to pay attention to your body and recognize the difference between these withdrawal symptoms and those that warrant medical intervention.

Please seek help if you or someone you love are exhibiting any of the following symptoms:

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Clamminess and/or sweating

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Enlarged pupils

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Headache

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Insomnia

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Appetite loss

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Nausea and/or vomiting

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Increased heartrate

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Seizures (fits) in the most serious cases

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Tremors

All of that just because of alcohol? Yes. Alcohol is a depressant and it can wreak havoc on the brain and the body. During heavy alcohol use, your brain’s neurotransmitters become accustomed to being bathed in alcohol, and when you suddenly stop turn off the tap your brain goes into overdrive, sending shockwaves through your brain’s neurotransmitters and to your body as well.
This results in the above-mentioned withdrawal symptoms.

Technically, alcohol has been suppressing those neurotransmitters for however long the abuse has been occurring.

So, let’s say Gail the banker feels like she really needs a drink before her brain goes into overdrive. However, after a lengthy conversation with her desk mate, Kathy, about drinking habits and health and whatnot, she decides to quit. How does she do it?

At some point, you yourself may need to consider how to survive the symptoms and begin a safe journey to recovery.

REHAB IS THE FIRST STEP TO RECOVERY.