Alcohol Withdrawal

Table of Contents

  1. Causes of Alcohol Withdrawal
  2. Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal
  3. Causes of Alcohol Withdrawal
  4. Treating Alcohol Withdrawal

You can never predict when alcohol withdrawal could set in, as it could be in the morning or at any time of the day. So, you shouldn't worry so much about the alcohol withdrawal timeline, but rather how to manage it.

Let's review the alcohol withdrawal process.

Causes of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal may affect you if you have a history of alcohol. Someone who drinks a lot may become susceptible to alcohol withdrawal when:

  • A head injury occurs
  • You are sick or infected with something dangerous
  • Drinking stops abruptly
  • Drinking is reduced suddenly
  • The body becomes deprived of nutrients due to not eating enough while reducing alcohol intake

An alcohol use disorder usually irritates and excite the nervous system at the same time.1 The moment you make alcohol a regular part of your daily intake, the body starts relying and depending upon that alcohol. So, once this process changes, alcohol withdrawal sets in.

Here is How it Works

Alcohol can affect the brain's neurotransmitter that acts as the brain's messenger to the nervous system. Alcohol can inhibit these transmitters and cause you to feel good while you drink.2

It's possible to experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms the moment neurotransmitters are set free. They are already used to fighting alcohol, and when they can't, they become overly excited. This is what then it triggers the alcohol withdrawal symptoms that you may be experiencing.

Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal could appear within the next three days after your alcohol withdrawal. However, some alcohol withdrawal symptoms could begin to surface after a week or even a longer time.

Still, a few symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are:

  • Feeling agitated and easily irritated
  • Becoming unusually anxious
  • Developing chest pains
  • Feeling fatigued
  • Develop problems in regards to eye and muscle movements
  • Unusual levels of perspiration
  • Exaggerated breathing and heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Hearing and seeing imaginary things/hallucinations
  • Increased sensitivity to touch, sound, and light
  • Sudden mood changes
  • In some instances, seizures

These are a few symptoms of alcohol withdrawal that you could experience just after alcohol withdrawal. But, as each person and their physiology is unique, you may experience some symptoms not highlighted here. That's why is always encouraged to speak with a medical professional if you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms and considering reducing your alcohol consumption.

Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline

The expected alcohol withdrawal timeline begins as early as two hours into your withdrawal. However, it could start at six hours or even a day after our last alcohol consumption.

You can better understand your alcohol withdrawal timeline as they are divided into stages.

Stages of Alcohol Withdrawal

There are four stages of alcohol withdrawal, and these stages function with an alcohol withdrawal timeline.

Stage 1

This first stage begins 6-12 hours after your last consumption of alcohol. You may start witnessing these minor symptoms of alcohol withdrawal:

  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety

Stage 2

The second stage of alcohol withdrawal begins in the 12-24 hours after your last alcohol intake. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal at this stage is majorly about hallucinations.

Some of these hallucinations may include:

  • A sense of burning, itching, or numbness
  • hearing things
  • seeing things

Stage 3

At the third stage, symptoms of alcohol withdrawal start 24-48 hours after your last drink.

Stage 4

You may start experiencing the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal in the next 48-72 hours after your last alcohol. At this stage of alcohol withdrawal, all the withdrawal symptoms should have peaked.

Possible Treatments

Now you know the various alcohol withdrawal timelines, and you can treat alcohol withdrawal through multiple methods. But the most common ways of alcohol withdrawal treatment are:

By administering intravenous fluid into your system

  • Anticonvulsants to address seizures
  • Antipsychotic medications to address hallucinations
  • Rehabilitation centers

If you feel you need a little more help in treating your disorder, then you should speak to a medical professional or rehab center. Support groups may also help. Support groups include people going through alcohol withdrawal just like you.


Resources

    1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1765664/pdf/v075piii16.pdf
    2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4065474/

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