With alcohol dependence on the rise in the United States, we are also seeing the rise of severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms that can sometimes end in death or permanent disability.

When those who have developed a severe alcohol dependence decide to stop drinking, they tend to experience a wide range of alcohol withdrawal symptoms. You may be wondering, what occurs when a person experiences alcohol withdrawal?

The Facts About Alcohol Dependence

The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has estimated that nearly “87 percent of the adult population” has consumed an alcoholic beverage within their lifetime. The amount of people consuming alcohol on a regular, even daily basis has paved the way for increased alcohol dependence. According to a study published in 2005, 2 million Americans experience the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal each year.

The 3 Stages Of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal can basically be broken down into three different stages, according to American Addiction Centers.

  • Stage 1: Anxiety, insomnia, nausea, and abdominal pain characterize this stage, which begins 8 hours after the last drink
  • Stage 2: High blood pressure, increased body temperature, unusual heart rate, and confusion come with this stage, which begins 24-72 hours after the last drink.
  • Stage 3: Hallucinations, fever, seizures, and agitation come with this stage, which tends to begin 2-4 days after the last drink.

Although alcohol withdrawal symptoms generally decrease in effect within about 5 to 7 days, there is a more severe symptom that can develop: generalized tonic-clonic seizures.

Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizures

In rodent models experiencing alcohol withdrawal, the withdrawal seizures are triggered by neuronal networks in the brainstem. Similar occurrences may take place in the human brainstem.
The brain substrates that trigger these seizures are largely in the brainstem and, therefore, are distinct from those believed to be responsible for other clinically important seizure types.
These seizures are different than other seizures because they are pharmacologically induced.

How To Decrease The Severity Of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal is often not considered when someone decides to stop drinking. Although ceasing alcohol intake may be a step toward living a healthier lifestyle, the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can trigger harsh consequences. The solution is to reduce alcohol intake or prohibit the intake of alcohol altogether over time.

With severe addiction, is very dangerous to stop drinking “cold turkey” and attempt to withdraw on your own, unsupervised. Should you seek medical supervision, it will reduce the risk of suffering permanent serious consequences and increase the patient’s chances of a successful recovery, with a proper long-term treatment plan.

When you choose a medically assisted alcohol detox center, like Nexstep Medical Detox, you can count on receiving the rest, meals, and experienced medical supervision you need during each stage of withdrawal. Symptoms can change in an instant, so you always have a listening ear and watchful, caring staff nearby and ready to act. To find out more, please contact us.