Humans tend to have habits. Everyone has their own habits they seem to find it difficult to stop. Some bad habits need some adjusting to get rid of, and in some cases, you’ll get some withdrawal symptoms, and you’ll struggle to stop that habit.
You might be a habitual procrastinator, and you’ll find yourself feeling uneasy when you do everything on time, and you’ll struggle.
Addiction, however, is a different animal altogether. It’s a bad habit, without having any control over your behaviour yourself.
In many cases, one might struggle with withdrawal symptoms, depending on the level of addiction.
AWS (Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome) is when a heavy drinker, suddenly stops drinking. It will impact someone both physically and mentally.
Alcoholism is considered to be a physical and mental health issue by medical professional standards. An addiction to alcohol occurs when an individual becomes physically dependent on alcohol. When the individual ceases to drink alcohol for several hours, physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms will begin to appear.
Alcoholism is often determined by a questionnaire, as the only person who can really measure up the alcohol intake, is the drinker himself. The most known questionnaire would be the CAGE questionnaire. A good test for you to determine whether you might have a problem with alcohol dependence.
The questionnaire asks the following questions:
If you have answered yes to two of these, you might be suffering from alcoholism yourself.
As many Brits do in their spare time, social drinking is a part of the culture. Most people stay sensible, but everybody has had a night where they had a few too many drinks and ended up inebriated by accident.
However, aiming to get drunk is called binge-drinking. Binge-drinking is an official term for exceeding the maximum recommended limit. Health professionals characterise binge-drinking as:
One might assume that binge-drinking occasionally can do no harm. That statement is absolutely false. When you drink too much, you can fall into a coma or even worse, it might lead to death.
In some cases, one might like the feeling of inebriation and will keep chasing that feeling and high, which could lead to an increase of binge-drinking sessions. At some point, this will become a requirement rather than something one would do for fun.
Many alcohol dependents will come across many mental health symptoms during their withdrawal stage. Depression, anxiety and irritability are some of the most common. However, these are underlying issues most of the time, that could have driven one to drink.
A lot of people who have been suffering from anxiety and depression self-medicate with alcohol, which could cause a vicious cycle to happen.
Drinking alcohol might help someone with depression or anxiety in the short term, but binge-drinking will lower the serotonin levels in your brain after a few hours, which regulates the feeling of happiness in your brain.
You would feel even worse the next day, and it would push you to drink more, which in turn would exacerbate your mental health issue.
After a period of prolonged drinking, your serotonin levels would be at a very low point, which then could develop into a full depression.
Restlessness and insomnia are some other well-known withdrawal symptoms. There are many reasons why one could suffer from insomnia during withdrawal.
It might be a direct result of the depression caused by the lack of serotonin in your brain. Many people with depression will struggle with sleeping.
Not only will alcohol lower your serotonin levels, but also that of another chemical in your brain, dopamine.
Dopamine is linked with your motivation levels and reinforcing pleasure. If you struggle to fall asleep, it’s most likely because you have a low level of these, which will, in turn, makes you less tired, and you’ll be up all night before you know it.
The ‘shakes’ is one of the most documented and well-known alcohol withdrawal symptoms, a lot of alcohol addicts come across. After a period of heavy and prolonged drinking, one might start experiencing body tremors.
Alcoholism and alcohol abuse cause tremors in diverse ways. In many cases, shaking from alcohol withdrawal is a physiologic tremor, which disappears after you complete the withdrawal process.
Extreme emotions can increase physiologic tremors, so if you are anxious about withdrawal and alcohol detox, the trembling might be stronger.
Shaking will also occur because alcohol abuse has damaged your nerve cells. Alcohol is considered a depressant, by reducing activities in your brain.
Your brain becomes gradually more used to that consistent low level of stimulation as one maintains a heavy or frequent drinking habit.
Once you stop drinking, your brain gets stimulated with more activity than it is ready for. Your nervous system feels overwhelmed, and hyperactivity symptoms like shaking and tremors as a result.
Other withdrawal symptoms are night sweats for instance. This is because the alcohol is being broken down through sweating in your body.
Only 10 per cent of the alcohol in your body goes out through your urine. The rest will be broken down through metabolism working throughout your body.
Therefore, after stopping drinking, your body will try and push and sweat all the alcohol out of the body.
It absolutely is not. The above-mentioned symptoms are minor compared to what some heavy drinkers can develop. For instance, delirium tremens. This is a serious condition, and the symptoms are all the above, but much worse.
You could possibly die if you decide to suddenly withdraw from alcohol. We advise you to find a rehabilitation clinic and do this under the supervision of health professionals.
Many before you have had an issue with alcohol, and they got to quit drinking. So can you. Before it becomes an issue as big as explained above, we advise you to quit drinking as soon as possible. With Rehab 4 Addiction, we can help you find the perfect place to get rid of this horrible addiction.
An average rehab will have a setup in place to help you detox, which is cleansing your body from alcohol. After detox sessions, there are opportunities to speak to therapists who can help you identify when your cravings for alcohol start, and how to prevent getting in these situations.
For more information, read up on our alcohol detox page.