If you’ve landed up on this page, chances are that you’re either contemplating quitting alcohol or you must’ve already. Kudos to you, let’s begin by giving you a little pat on your back for taking this first brave step towards alcohol-free life. Another scenario may be that you’re reading it to help your loved one who’s going through bouts of alcohol addiction and wants to quit or experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Great job done by you dear good Samaritan, for making efforts to help someone by offering encouragement and support. Apart from a strong will, a person also needs a strong support system, such as you, to get rid of alcohol dependency. Now assuming, that you’ve done a thorough research on the subject, more glory to you! But, if you’re running around like a headless chicken, breathe easy we say, we’ve got some useful information to share with you.
Let’s get a clearer picture of few basics here. To what degree would you get alcohol withdrawal symptoms depends on the question whether you are a moderate or social drinker or are you heavily addicted to alcohol.
Moderate drinking is consumption of alcohol within the prescribed limits of guidelines which are not more than 2 units per day for women, no more than 3 units per day for men. It also specifies the per week consumption of maximum 14 drinks for men and 7 drinks for women. Social drinking is a commonly accepted norm in various cultures across the world. To say that a person is a social drinker, it usually means that the individual only drinks occasionally in the company of others and usually drinks within the prescribed limits. Moving to heavy drinking, as per the guidelines, for women it means consuming alcohol more than 8 drinks per week and for men it is alcohol consumption of more than 15 units per week. Heavy drinking falls in the high-risk category. When an individual is a heavy drinker and reduces the consumption of alcohol significantly, or suddenly stops drinking altogether, there are varied withdrawal symptoms he/she would experience.
Alcohol is known to affect a part of brain known an ‘amygdala’ which triggers the ‘fight or flight’ response. The conflicting fight or flight response is initiated when this part of brain cannot form a correct distinction between a real and a perceived threat. Alcohol suppresses the ‘fight or flight’ responses thus making one feel more relaxed. When heavy drinkers quit drinking alcohol, it alters the chemicals in the brain and the ‘amygdala’ gets into a hyper active mode. So, these withdrawal symptoms are caused by the way our brain responds to heavy consumption of alcohol.
The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may appear anywhere ranging from six hours to a few days after the last drink consumed. They may worsen for over two to three days and may persist for weeks to follow. They are more noticeable when one wakes up with lesser blood alcohol content.
The symptoms include varied mild to moderate emotional and physical symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue, nausea etc. They are more severe if an individual is a heavy drinker. But do not be discouraged, if you’ve decided to quit drinking alcohol you must plan it wisely. Another important point to remember is that you must take necessary medical assistance once you decide to get rid of alcohol dependency to keep a better tab on your health. We’ve listed down various symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal.
Psychological and Emotional Symptoms
-Feeling of shakiness/ tremors
-Increased heart rate
-High Blood Pressure
In some extreme cases, these symptoms may get aggravated and even cause hallucinations, seizures, high fever. In the worst-case scenario and to an extreme level, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can also potentially turn life-threatening and one must seek immediate medical assistance.
To conclude, we’ll reiterate the words of wisdom for you. Never go cold turkey with alcohol, which means that you mustn’t quit suddenly. Make this a gradual shift because your body and mind need time to adapt. Remember that being brave and being stupid are two different things, please do seek medical assistance to make this brave transition to alcohol-free life. However, do not be discouraged, with appropriate medical assistance and a rock-solid emotional support system, you or your loved one can get rid of this dependency.