Category Archives: Alcoholism

Woman asks her therapist how dangerous is alcohol withdrawal

Can You Die From Alcohol Withdrawal?

Making the decision to get help to overcome addiction to alcohol is a positive step. But it is not an easy one to make. And you’re probably wondering what’s in store for you. Before any treatment program can begin, you may first have to undergo detoxification to clear alcohol from your body. Perhaps you think you can detox on your own to save time and money. But this can be dangerous. Just how dangerous is alcohol withdrawal? Can you die from alcohol withdrawal?

The short answer is yes, you can die from alcohol withdrawal. The effects of alcohol withdrawal symptoms range from mild to life-threatening. Symptoms begin within two hours of cessation of alcohol use. They can also persist for weeks.

Alcohol Detox Can Be Fatal

The worst outcome from alcohol detox done improperly is that you can die from alcohol withdrawal. In order to be safe, professionals need to medically monitor your alcohol detox. They will be there to assist in the event of an emergency and to ensure comfort and ease symptoms during withdrawal.

Why is alcohol withdrawal so dangerous? How can you die from alcohol withdrawal? An alcoholic relies on alcohol both physically and mentally in order to function. This is a compulsion that becomes an alcoholic’s basic need for survival.

Alcohol is physically addicting. This means that when your body doesn’t have what years of alcohol abuse have given it, you get sick. And this can kill you. For example, alcohol withdrawal can lead to heart arrhythmias (heart rhythm problems) and kidney or liver dysfunction. Sometimes, this can prove to be fatal.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

If you try to detox on your own, without medical supervision and assistance, it can be very unsafe. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms include both physical and psychological symptoms. The following symptoms are common for those suffering from alcohol withdrawal syndrome:

Physical Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Dehydration
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Excessive vomiting
  • High blood pressure
  • Tactile, auditory, and visual hallucinations
  • Hand tremors (also called “the shakes”)
  • Repeated seizures, called delirium tremens, or DTs, which can kill you in alcohol withdrawal

Risk factors for delirium tremens increase with multiple alcohol detox attempts. These risk factors include a history of seizures, older age, liver abnormalities and functioning, and acute medical illness.

Symptoms of delirium tremens usually peak at five days and include:

  • Severe tremors
  • Racing heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Fever of a low grade
  • Excessive sweating
  • Hallucinations
  • Severe anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Seizures

Psychological Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Intense cravings
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Disorientation

Post-Acute Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

If you have an alcohol addiction, you may experience chronic alcohol withdrawal symptoms after the initial symptoms have subsided. This is known as post-acute alcohol withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). These withdrawal symptoms can last a few weeks to a year. Symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of energy
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Dizziness
  • Memory problems
  • Delayed reflexes
  • Being more accident prone

Recovering From Alcohol Withdrawal the Safe Way

The important thing to keep in mind is that you want to get clean and sober. This requires eliminating alcohol from your body during detox and overcoming alcohol withdrawal symptoms. But getting sober doesn’t have to be done alone. There are inpatient and outpatient alcohol treatment facilities that can direct you to effective medically monitored detox programs.

Getting rid of the alcohol in your system is the first step in your overall goal to live clean and sober. You also need to learn coping skills, understand the disease of addiction and start incorporating healthier habits into your life. Participating in 12-step support groups or other self-help groups will also help you maintain your commitment to living in sobriety. The encouragement and support you receive in alcohol rehab and support groups is invaluable in your journey to live free of substance abuse.

can a marriage survive drug addiction

What to Do When You’re Married to a High Functioning Alcoholic

This entry was posted in Alcoholism on February 26, 2019 and modified on April 29, 2019

Alcoholism can destroy relationships. But spouses of high-functioning alcoholics have a particular challenge because their mates often function enough to make it seem like they don’t have a problem. They may deny your concerns about their drinking habits by defending what they are doing right: “Well, I pay the bills” or “I work hard, I deserve to unwind.”

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dna helix

Alcoholism and Genetics: Is Addiction Hereditary?

This entry was posted in Alcoholism on August 20, 2018 and modified on April 29, 2019

To understand the genetics behind alcoholism, it helps to have a basic understanding of the difference between the terms used in research. The terms genetic and hereditary are often used interchangeably; however, this is technically incorrect.

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Alcoholism and Hispanic Women

Alarming Rates of Alcohol Consumption in Hispanic Women

This entry was posted in Alcoholism on July 5, 2016 and modified on April 30, 2019

Both Caucasian and Hispanic women in the U.S. are drinking more than ever before. More are alcoholics and more are engaging in risky binge drinking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has put out alarming statistics and warnings about the dangers of drinking heavily for women. While men have traditionally been bigger drinkers, women are catching up. Hispanic women, in particular, are overlooked when it comes to studies and prevention aimed at drinking.
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