Does Every Alcoholic Go Through Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome?

Alcohol takes a great toll on the human body. At the bottom point of most alcoholism is a complete dependency and reliance on alcohol. Replacing food, water, and other sustenance, alcohol is the body’s main source of survival. Detoxing from alcohol can send the body into shock. Prolonged exposure to chronic drinking to the point of withdrawal when no alcohol is consumed will require a clinically supervised detox. The body is deeply attached to alcohol, psychologically and physiologically. Detox rids the body of alcoholic toxins, but those toxins have become a necessity. In part, the body is happy to purge, but the process of addiction in the mind- alcohol dependency- sets an entirely different argument. Excessive drinking alters the function of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. These chemicals dictate the daily operations of the brain. Most widely recognized is dopamine which communicates pleasure. Alcohol also changes GABA, which communicates calm, and glutamate, which participates in both excitement as well as memory transmission. Consuming alcohol creates a hyperproduction of these chemicals because it actually limits their productability. Eventually, when the drinking stops and there is no more limitation, the brain essential rebounds into hyperexcitability. Unable to regulate itself, the brain produces symptoms of withdrawal and detox. This is alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

Symptoms of withdrawal can begin occurring in as little as 12 hours after the last drink. Clinical detox is recommended for alcohol withdrawal because there is a high risk for seizure. Heart rate and blood pressure can spike. In the case of hallucinations, panic, anxiety, and paranoia could cause someone to pose a threat to themselves or others.

Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Shaking
  • Seizures
  • Delirium Tremens
  • Alcoholic Hallucinosis (non-DT hallucinations)
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Sensations of bugs crawling on or in the skin

There are different approaches to detoxing from alcohol. For severe abuse of alcohol a detox facility is most highly recommended. In a facility patients will be under 24 hour supervision from trained nursing staff with access to medications and hydrating IV treatments. Medically assisted detox using prescription drugs like buprenorphine staves off symptoms of withdrawal. Detoxing at home is possible but runs the highest risk of relapse. Cravings are the most strong during the detox period.

Refuge Recovery offers detox for alcohol withdrawal, as well as partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs for alcoholism treatment. Call us today for more information on how our programs can help you or a loved one with an addiction to alcohol (323) 207-0276

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