Alcohol is addictive and millions of people around the world struggle to quit or at least control their drinking. For many, the struggle degenerates into alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
Nearly half of the alcohol addicts develop withdrawal symptoms when they suddenly stop drinking. It is one of the reasons why they may fall back into alcohol addiction.
Overconsumption of alcohol has multiple negative effects on your health, including weight gain, heart issues, weakened immune system, hypertension, and liver damage.
Are you struggling with alcohol withdrawal?
Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms develop in heavy drinkers who either abruptly stop drinking or reduce the quantity of alcohol they drink too quickly. The condition is a result of the overstimulated brain due to alcohol dependence.
The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal range in severity and can sometimes be fatal. Some common symptoms include tremors or shaky hands, disturbed sleep, anxiety, and other physical and mental symptoms.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms appear as early as 6 hours after your last drink.
How to prevent alcohol withdrawal
The best way to prevent alcohol withdrawal is to gradually slow your drinking by consuming even lesser alcohol each time. Do that until you are drinking the recommended amount of alcohol, which is not more than one drink for women and two or fewer drinks for men.
If you are a heavy drinker or have a prolonged history of drinking, you should seek medical help and counseling about quitting alcohol. A doctor can advise you on how to safely quit alcohol and reduce the chances of alcohol withdrawal.
In cases where you aren’t able to avoid them, early treatment of alcohol withdrawal symptoms is critical to reducing their severity, preventing further complications, and improving the chances of full recovery.
Alcohol withdrawal syndrome can be fatal and can require hospitalization to monitor the patient and manage any complications. It may take weeks to return to a normal, healthy life.
Medical guidance and support is critical to beating alcohol withdrawal
If you want to quit alcohol after a long period of heavy drinking, it is important to have close personal support, a reassuring environment, and careful and regular monitoring of early signs of alcohol withdrawal.
There are multiple support groups that help people with alcohol addiction and complications related to it. These groups will provide you with the support and resources you need. Alcoholics Anonymous and American Addiction centers are some of the available support groups.
Bayard M, et al. (2004). Alcohol withdrawal syndrome. aafp.org/afp/2004/0315/p1443.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Alcohol use and your health [Fact sheet]. cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2018). Alcohol use disorder. mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alcohol-use-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20369250