Tag Archives: alcohol abuse

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.

Denial Is the Top Reason Substance Abusers Go Untreated

Denial Is the Top Reason Substance Abusers Go UntreatedIt’s no secret that many people with addictions can go years untreated because they deny they’ve got a problem, but now there are numbers to back it up. About 1 in 12 Americans are in need of substance abuse treatment, new research says, but only a fraction of people are getting it. Failure among substance abusers to recognize they need treatment is the overwhelming reason they don’t get help.

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Boating and Alcohol Don’t Mix

This entry was posted in Alcohol Addiction on July 9, 2015 and modified on April 30, 2019

Boating and Alcohol Don't MixNothing beats going out on the lake on a perfect, hot summer day, or enjoying the long summer evenings on the water with a sunset cruise. Unfortunately, too many people take alcohol with them on their boating excursions and the results can be disastrous, even fatal. Most people don’t take drinking and boating as seriously as drinking and driving. Fatalities are lower on the water simply because there are fewer boats on the water than there are cars on the roads. When you hit the water this summer, leave the alcohol on land. 

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How Do I Know If I’ve Hit Bottom?

This entry was posted in Addiction Recovery on May 13, 2015 and modified on April 30, 2019

How Do I Know If I’ve Hit Bottom?In the 12-step rooms, there’s a lot of talk about hitting bottom, of coming to a place of total desperation, of admitting powerlessness. But how do you know if you’re really powerless? You wonder if maybe you just haven’t found the right solution. You don’t have a DUI charge, you haven’t lost your job and your family is still intact. Yet your drinking concerns you. Is that reason enough to get sober and stay sober? Or do you have to spend the next years of your life sinking deeper and deeper before you’ll qualify for recovery?

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Powdered Alcohol an Accident Waiting to Happen

This entry was posted in Alcohol Addiction on April 17, 2015 and modified on April 30, 2019

Powdered Alcohol an Accident Waiting to HappenAlcohol in powdered form, known as “palcohol,” has been approved for sale, but there is a great deal of controversy about its potential risks, and it may not be legal for long. Critics of palcohol point out that the risks of underage consumption of the product are notable, and they draw attention to the fact that around 5,000 Americans under the age of 21 die from alcohol-related incidents each year. However, some—the company that makes it, at least—contend that there is no special risk with palcohol, instead arguing that its benefits for hikers and campers make it a potentially useful product. So, is palcohol an accident waiting to happen or a case of much concern about nothing?

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Hispanics at Greater Risk of Alcoholic Liver Disease

This entry was posted in Alcohol Addiction on March 15, 2015 and modified on April 30, 2019

Hispanics at Greater Risk of Alcoholic Liver DiseaseIn a new study investigating ethnicity as a factor in developing alcoholic liver disease (ALD), researchers have found that Hispanics who drink are at a significantly greater risk than Caucasians or African Americans. The research indicates that ALD, which is the most common type of liver disease in the U.S., is majorly impacted by ethnicity. Ethnicity is a factor in the age of onset of the disease, its severity and how it progresses. The news should serve as a reminder to Hispanics that drinking above and beyond moderate amounts carries serious health risks.

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Is BMI Linked to Being Served Too Much Alcohol?

This entry was posted in News on January 13, 2015 and modified on December 19, 2018

Is BMI Linked to Being Served Too Much Alcohol?The ability to track your alcohol-related risk depends largely on your ability to accurately track your alcohol serving sizes. However, not all people are aware of what constitutes an alcohol serving or know how many daily or weekly servings increase their exposure to drinking problems.

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Holidays Put Women Under the Most Stress

This entry was posted in Mental Health on December 19, 2014 and modified on April 30, 2019

Holidays Put Women Under the Most StressIn the years during which women rarely worked outside of the home, they did most if not all of the housework, cooking and childcare. These days, although both men and women typically work full-time jobs outside the home, women still do the majority of housekeeping, meal preparation and looking after the children.

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