Alcohol Alcohol Effects

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome- Signs, Symptoms, and Withdrawal

November 5, 2018

I was engaging in heavy and frequent alcohol drinking over a considerable period of time. Needless to mention, I faced severe mental and physical difficulties when I tried to restrict or cut back on my alcohol intake. This is known as alcohol withdrawal. Depending on the severity of the situation, the victim shows dire symptoms. This is because the body gets used to the continuous intake of alcohol and it eventually interferes with the brain’s normal functioning. This, in turn, disturbs the neurotransmitters, thus upsetting the activities of the central nervous system. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter that gives the feeling of relaxation. Also, it releases endorphins to the brain which gives a sense of well-being. Overconsumption of alcohol destroys the GABA balance which is the reason why alcohol withdrawal shows negative physical and psychological symptoms. Symptoms can range from mild to vigorous.

The neurotransmitter that is responsible for your energy, motivation, and enjoyment is dopamine.  Dopamine also regulates the body’s sensation of mood, cognition, motor coordination, and attention. Alcohol triggers the production of dopamine, the reason for the happy feeling when one is tipsy. As a person starts drinking heavily, the brain becomes more dependent on alcohol for the production of dopamine. Hence, when one quits he faces withdrawal symptoms.

                STAGE 1

             SYMPTOMS

            STAGE 2

           SYMPTOMS

               STAGE 3

             SYMPTOMS

Anger Irritability High Fever
Anxiety Breathing problems Seizures
Nausea and vomiting Confusion Delusions
Mood Swings High Blood Pressure Hallucinations
Tremors Mood Swings Delirium Tremens
Depression Abnormal Heart Rate
Heart palpitations Sweating
Fatigue
Appetite loss
Insomnia
Foggy Brain
Abdominal Pain

One of the Most Severe Symptom – Delirium Tremens

Delirium Tremens is a severe symptom of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome, and it requires medical attention. The patient suffers from:

  • Impaired consciousness
  • Diaphoresis
  • Visual and auditory hallucinations
  • Hyper-adrenergic state
  • Disorientation
  • Tremors

 

When Do the Withdrawal Symptoms Start Showing?

  • Stage 1 withdrawal symptoms can start showing from 2 hours after a person has stopped drinking to a day. On an average, the time taken for the stage 1 symptom to show is 8 hours.
  • Stage 2 symptoms are a bit more severe than stage 1 and approximately show themselves a day or two after the person has taken his last drink.
  • Stage 3 symptoms are the most vicious and calls for medical attention. It takes around 3 days for the stage 3 symptoms to appear.  

 

How Long Does the Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

I strongly feel that there is no definite period for the symptoms to stop. During my days of struggle, I personally witnessed victims who fought with the symptoms for just a week.  While for others it can last for up to a month.

It is always better to be under the care of a medical facility during alcohol withdrawal since the withdrawal symptoms can elevate to become deadly.

 

How to Treat a Person Showing Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms?

There are various detox programs for those undergoing alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Also, I had been prescribed to keep myself hydrated, eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables like raspberries and carrots and protein-rich foods like beans and fish.

Typically, benzodiazepines like diazepam and chlordiazepoxide are prescribed to treat alcohol withdrawal. A routine supply of thiamine to the body is also recommended.