Individuals with an alcohol use disorder or those who drink heavily can experience a range of side effects when they abruptly stop drinking. Like with other drugs, alcohol, when consumed in large and frequent quantities, becomes something that your body relies on. When you suddenly take that away, your body can react negatively, triggering a range of withdrawal symptoms.
Learn more about these alcohol withdrawal symptoms and how to seek help from an alcohol addiction treatment program when you need it.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
If you have a few drinks a week, you won’t experience any withdrawal symptoms in between beverages. The occasional headache caused by occasionally having one too many drinks isn’t the same as true alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
On the other hand, excessive drinking, especially heavy drinking that occurs regularly, can trigger alcohol withdrawal syndrome and the resultant symptoms. Excessive drinking is defined as having 8 drinks a week for women and 15 drinks a week for men.
Once your body builds up a tolerance to alcohol and begins to expect it, you can begin to experience a range of symptoms, which can indicate that you may need professional help to treat your excessive drinking. Understanding these symptoms is the first step toward overcoming them.
Physical Withdrawal Symptoms
Many of the alcohol withdrawal symptoms that you experience will be physical symptoms. They can occur as soon as 8 hours after your last drink, or you may not experience them for a couple of days after your last drink. There’s no way to predict when your symptoms will hit you, so be prepared to experience them in the first few days of stopping drinking.
Physical symptoms can affect many parts of your body, although individual reactions can vary. You might not feel well, experiencing a headache, nausea, vomiting, or a fever. Other physical symptoms of withdrawal include the following:
- Dilated pupils
- Clammy skin
- Excessive sweating
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure
Emotional Withdrawal Symptoms
While physical symptoms might be the most immediate and obvious alcohol withdrawal symptoms you experience, other symptoms can impact your emotional health. Anxiety and a general sense of agitation are common when you’re withdrawing from excessive alcohol consumption. Insomnia, or difficulty sleeping, can also occur. When you do sleep, you might experience frequent nightmares. In extreme cases of alcohol withdrawal, some individuals can even experience hallucinations.
Other emotional symptoms exist as well, including the following:
- Mood swings
- Loss of appetite
While many individuals might focus on the physical symptoms of withdrawal, these emotional symptoms are important to take note of as well. Often, people may chalk these emotional symptoms up to simply the challenge of going without a drink for the first time in months, or even years. However, emotional symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be equally challenging to overcome and further illustrate the need to seek professional help at a men’s or women’s rehab center when they become difficult to manage on their own.
Recovering from Alcohol Withdrawal
Often, these alcohol withdrawal symptoms worsen before they begin to improve. Some individuals experience these symptoms for weeks. While the first few days of alcohol withdrawal might seem manageable, individuals might soon realize, just a few days or weeks later, that they need guidance to navigate these worsening symptoms. As a result, getting professional help to treat excessive drinking and alcoholism and to minimize immediate withdrawal symptoms can put you on the road to recovery.
The partial hospitalization program (PHP) and intensive outpatient program (IOP) options at Midwest Recovery Center can help you achieve an alcohol-free lifestyle. Contact us today at 833.627.0039 to learn more about how you can get started on the path to recovery.