How To Withdraw From Alcohol

How To Withdraw From Alcohol

Alcohol may be considered a drug. It is a depressant that has the potential to slow down vital functions- affecting the mind and reducing a person’s ability to make sound judgements. However, the effect of alcohol, depends on the quantity consumed. When consumed moderately, the stimulant effect of the substance is felt. However, if a quantity beyond what the body can handle is consumed, the depressant effect sets in.


Alcohol Abuse And Addiction

Alcohol addiction or alcoholism refers to a dependence on the substance, due to continued use. It is otherwise known as alcohol abuse that has resulted in some level of tolerance for the substance. As a result, the brain is physically and chemically rewired to adapt to the effects of continuous alcohol consumption. It is because of this that an addiction to alcohol is typically exhibited by a heavy reliance on drinking such that, the individual can hardly stay sober for an extended period of time.

In spite of this, there are different ways in which alcohol addiction is exhibited. This depends on how often alcohol is consumed, and the type of alcohol that is consumed.


Alcohol Withdrawal

This occurs when an attempt is made to either stop, or significantly reduce alcohol consumption after a prolonged period of excessive use and addiction to the substance.  Symptoms can range from mild anxiety and shakiness, to severe complications such as seizures and delirium tremens (also known as DTs. Symptoms of this condition includes confusion, rapid heart beat and fever). Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can become really bad. This is why medical help and supervision is ideal.

These symptoms are as a result of a disruption in the brain’s neurotransmitters. The situation is such that, since the brain has become accustomed to functioning with excessive amounts of the substance, when heavy drinkers suddenly stop or considerably reduce alcohol levels, the brain goes into a state that could be described as brain hyper-excitability. The effect of this state, is expressed in the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

In all, the severity of the symptoms depends on the level of addiction. Some people suddenly quit and feel very minimal withdrawal symptoms, while others may suffer significant effects.


What To Do

Withdrawing from alcohol by gradually tapering off the substance, is a better option than quitting completely. This is because, a gradual reduction in the amount consumed, will help the body and brain become more easily accustomed to functioning with a reduced amount of alcohol in the system, until you completely quit. In other words, the withdrawal symptoms are mitigated.

This is done by either using medications, or by gradually reducing the quantity of alcohol consumed. Also, medically monitored detox is vital here. Medications can be used to treat symptoms such as nausea, dehydration, seizures and insomnia. Benzodiazepines are commonly used to reduce the potential over-activity of the central nervous system. Also, the general body reaction to withdrawal can be effectively monitored.

The fear of withdrawals should not deter you from quitting. Becoming sober can be uncomfortable for a while, but the reward that comes after is well worth it.


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