Get Help Now: (724)834-7000
alcohol withdrawal symptoms

A study by NSDUH in 2019 reported 85.6% of people 18 years and older have drunk alcohol in their lifetime.

What starts as a social habit can snowball into an addiction. Many people start becoming dependent on alcohol without even realizing it. Their body negatively reacts if they ever decide to stop or take a break.

There’s help available for anyone struggling with alcohol withdrawal. However, recognizing the symptoms and seeking help is the first step towards recovery. 

We’ve provided a quick list of five alcohol withdrawal symptoms to look out for. It’s essential to keep an eye out for yourself and the loved ones around you.

Experiencing Withdrawal Symptoms

If someone you know is going through withdrawal, it’s crucial to assess their severity level. Some individuals can go through withdrawal at home, while others need to be monitored by medical professionals.

1. Anxiety and Irritation

One of the first noticeable symptoms of alcohol withdrawal is anxiety and irritation. The individual may be paranoid, fidgeting a lot, or experiencing panic attacks.  

Alcohol has an extreme effect on the neurotransmitters and serotonin levels of the brain.

Excessive drinking causes changes in mental health. These changes become exaggerated during withdrawal. The individual may even start lashing out.

If you’re someone that they’re directing their frustration towards, it’s essential to set boundaries. Don’t allow them to hurt you emotionally, and encourage them to seek the help they need.

2. Tummy Issues

Alcohol withdrawal often comes with a variety of tummy issues. The individual going through withdrawal may be experiencing cramps, diarrhea, or nausea when eating. 

These issues are aggravating and often not discussed due to people not wanting to discuss their digestion problems. However, if someone you love is taking frequent trips to the restroom or having trouble eating, it’s best to ask what’s wrong.

Tips on easing the pain of tummy issues include:

  • eating bland foods
  • drinking plenty of electrolytes
  • keeping hydrated
  • eating foods with probiotics

Also, stay away from spicy foods.

Individuals experiencing tummy issues, mild sweating, and a headache are typically okay to go through the withdrawal in the safety of their own home. Someone should stay with them throughout the process to ensure they’re being taken care of and guarantee the symptoms don’t worsen.

3. Increased Heart Rate and Breathing

A couple of the more severe signs of alcohol withdrawal include rapid heartbeat and breathing. If the individual is also experiencing anxiety, their heart rate could be even higher.

Excessive drinking damages the heart muscle. Therefore, it’s essential to care for the body and heart when experiencing withdrawal.

Individuals can care for their hearts through gentle exercise. This includes walks around the neighborhood, going for a bike ride, or swimming in a pool. 

In addition to exercise, individuals should give calming, meditative activities a try. These activities include everything from painting with a friend or doing a couple of yoga stretches.

Is the individual experiencing increased heart rate, rapid breathing, and severe sweating? Take them to the nearest emergency room. Doctors will need to run tests and monitor their heartbeat.

4. Seizures 

In extreme cases of alcohol withdrawal, the individual may experience seizures. A seizure typically occurs two days after their last alcoholic drink.

You might notice muscle jerking or stiffness, and the individual may experience abnormal breathing and auditory hallucinations. If a loved one has a seizure, call for medical professionals as soon as possible. 

Has your loved one been through withdrawal before? Someone who’s gone through several cycles of alcoholism and withdrawal is more susceptible to seizures than someone experiencing their first withdrawal.

Don’t hesitate to seek emergency medical help if the individual is experiencing seizures, difficulty breathing, and extreme hydration.

5. Confusion and Panic

Someone experiencing the most severe stages of withdrawal has a high chance of being confused and panicked. They may be experiencing racing thoughts and terrifying levels of uncertainty. 

It’s vital to surround confused individuals with a safe, secure environment. Remove any object they could use to harm themselves or someone else.

Reassuring the individual that they’re safe and being taken care of in a mild tone is helpful. It’s scary to see someone you love being so afraid, but it’s imperative you do your best to remain calm.

Seeking Long-Term Care

Some individuals may think the simple answer is, “Just stop drinking!” Unfortunately, recovering from alcoholism is a long and challenging process for many people. 

Seeking long-term care is beneficial for many people overcoming addictions. Around-the-clock support gives the individual the supervision and motivation they need to process their emotions through the process. 

Care facilities and addiction recovery programs also provide peer support and accountability. Many people find it helpful to meet others who are struggling with the same issues they have. 

Have a serious conversation with your loved one experiencing withdrawal about the advantages of long-term care. Luckily, there are many options of care to choose from. 

Treatment types include counseling, support groups, partial hospitalization, intensive inpatient programs, residential care, and intensive outpatient programs. 

Look Out for Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Watching a loved one struggle with alcoholism is difficult. If they’ve decided to quit or have taken a break, it’s essential to keep an eye out for common alcohol withdrawal symptoms. 

Mild symptoms include headaches, tummy issues, and mild sweating. More severe symptoms include increased heart rate and breathing, seizures, and confusion. Seek medical attention immediately if they’re experiencing any severe symptoms. 

Are you searching for a trustworthy treatment center in the Greensburg, Pennsylvania area? Clear Day Treatment Center can help you and your loved ones struggling with addiction. Check out the complete list of programs on our site, and contact us today for more info.