How to Treat Alcohol Withdrawal

How to Treat Alcohol Withdrawal

If someone with a dependency on alcohol decides it’s time to stop, they will most likely go through alcohol withdrawal, a physical reaction to the stoppage of alcohol consumption. Alcohol withdrawal is very serious and consulting a medical professional is highly recommended, especially with the presence of an irregular heartbeat, fever, seizures or hallucinations.

Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

The severity of symptoms is generally related to the amount of alcohol consumed and the duration to which the alcohol was consumed. More alcohol over a longer period of time will often lead to more severe symptoms.

Symptoms can begin as soon as two hours after the last drink and may include:

  • shaking
  • headaches
  • sweating
  • confusion
  • insomnia
  • nightmares
  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • elevated heart rate

More severe withdrawal symptoms, known as DTs, may occur in long-time drinkers or heavy drinkers. Severe symptoms may include:

  • low grade fever
  • seizures
  • hallucinations (hearing things, seeing things, and feeling things)

Treating Alcohol Withdraw

There are two important things to understand about alcohol withdrawal:

  1. This is a physical reaction.
  2. Getting through withdrawals is just one part of the treatment.

The best course of action when dealing with alcohol withdrawals is always consult with a medical professional or with a licensed addiction treatment or detox center. Alcohol withdraw is very serious and safety is always important when dealing with intense physical responses.

Treatment should focus on reducing the severity of symptoms while preventing complications from unchecked alcohol abuse. But again, this is just one part of the treatment. An equally important aspect of effectively treating alcohol is with a corresponding therapeutic treatment plan. Individual, group or family counseling plans will combat the underlying causes of the addiction as well as teach techniques and strategies to cope with these issues, leading to long-term recovery.

Mild to moderate cases can be treated through outpatient facilities. Treatments include daily visits with doctors to monitor and treat symptoms, as well as alcoholism counseling for you and/or your family and friends.

More serious cases will require inpatient treatment with constant monitoring.

But the consistent treatment regiments are monitoring and managing the physical response while simultaneously working with therapists and counselors to treat the long-term effect of alcohol abuse so that once the drinking has stopped, it stays stopped.


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