Humans tend to have habits. Everyone has his own habits they seem to find 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 doing whatever that habit is. 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 different cases, one might struggle with withdrawal symptoms, depending on your level of addiction of course.
Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (AWS) is when a heavy drinker, suddenly stops drinking. It will impact someone both physically and mentally. Depending on the level of addiction, you might suffer from things like mild anxiety or things like Delirium Tremens, which is a serious condition.
Psychological Alcohol withdrawal symptoms
Many alcohol dependants 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 they could develop into a full depression.
Restlessness and insomnia are some of the 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 to your motivation levels and reinforcing pleasure. If you struggle to fall asleep, it’s most likely cause 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.
Physical alcohol withdrawal symptoms
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 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 habits. 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 percent 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.
Is it safe to do it on my own, withdrawing from alcohol?
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 of 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.
How long will it take for me to withdraw from alcohol?
The timeline can differ per person. There are many people who could take a while before they feel normal again. Some people will only have the symptoms for a few days. This varies per person, but the average heavy alcoholic will suffer from three stages of withdrawal.
Stage 1; the mild period, after 8 hours of not drinking
One might suffer from mild symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, nausea, abdominal pain and/or vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue, tremors, depression, foggy thinking, mood swings, and heart palpitations.
Stage 2: the moderate period, after 24 hours of not drinking
Most withdrawal symptoms will be; increased blood pressure, body temperature and respiration, irregular heart rate, mental confusion, sweating, irritability, and heightened mood disturbances
Stage 3: severe/delirium tremens, after 72 hours of not drinking
Hallucinations, fever, seizures, severe confusion, and agitation.
After 3-5 days, most of the alcohol withdrawal symptoms should be gone. If you would like to read more information on how to get help for alcohol detox and rehab, visit our homepage. Alternatively, you can make an appointment with your GP, who can help you find a free clinic if you cannot afford one.