Alcohol use can produce distinct complications in both short- and long-term. The short term effects may produce issues which are not directly due to drinking, but from behaviors or impairments which result from inebriation. The long term consequences are more directly threatening, both to one’s mental and physical health.
The dangers of alcohol present themselves almost immediately after use. Even moderate use can cause short-term dangerous side effects such as:
Long-term alcohol use can cause major health complications including:
There are many factors that can lead to fatal alcohol withdrawal symptoms, but there is no way to know or anticipate the exact reaction to removing alcohol from one’s system. Regardless of how long someone has been drinking, or what they drink, once the body has become dependent upon alcohol, removing or reducing daily alcohol intake can cause dangerous and deadly symptoms.
That said, there are some risk factors which can be indicators in the severity of alcohol withdrawal syndrome:
Long-term alcohol use can lead to a physical dependency, wherein the body relies upon alcohol to function. Alcohol is a depressant, and when it enters the body, the brain is flooded in relaxing neurotransmitters while being starved of excitatory neurotransmitters. Over time the brain adapts to this state and fails to work properly without alcohol. At this point, removing alcohol from the system can cause a range of complications and lead to alcohol withdrawal syndrome, a potentially fatal disorder.
The most deadly effects of alcohol withdrawal syndrome are connected to the brain/body’s dependence on alcohol to regulate brain function. Some of the most serious symptoms include:
Alcohol withdrawal seizures can occur 6-24 hours after the last drink of alcohol. They are the result of rapidly changing brain chemistry, and the subsequent neurological impacts. Seizures themselves can lead to other health complications if not recognized or treated quickly.
Delirium Tremens (DTs) can occur in as little as 36 hours after the last drink of alcohol. This can often be fatal if not recognized or treated promptly. Symptoms of DTs include shaking, hallucinations, high blood pressure, severe confusion, and sweating.
Although dangers do exist when withdrawing (detoxing) from alcohol, the risks can be greatly reduced with the help of medical professionals, mental health professionals, and a strong desire to quit. Additionally, there are options when detoxing from alcohol, each of which carries its own benefits. Some safe options for safely detoxing from alcohol:
Alcohol Withdrawal Medications: There are a number of FDA-approved medications for treating alcoholism and alcohol withdrawal treatment options. Working with a general care doctor or practitioner can help you find the right medication for you. Some of the most commonly used medications include:
Tapering Off Alcohol: Alcohol consumption can be gradually reduced to zero, while managing withdrawal symptoms under the direction of a doctor in a self-care setting. Tapering is the practice of gradually reducing the amount of alcohol taken on a daily basis, which allows the body to adjust and respond in less dramatic ways.
Alcohol Detox: Entering an alcohol detox program is a very safe and secure approach to treating alcohol withdrawal. An alcohol detox facility will have medical monitoring as well as appropriate mental health interventions to address a wide range of issues related to an alcohol use disorder.
Alcoholism is a disease, and there are many treatment options available. Obtaining the best care will make the withdrawal and detox process as painless as possible, while also providing a wealth of resources for improving someones life. Pick up the phone, get on the computer, and reach out for help. Asking for help is the first step towards recovery and a new, better way of life.
If you are seeking drug and alcohol related addiction rehab for yourself or a loved one, the sponsored hotline is a confidential and convenient solution.
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Alternatives to finding addiction treatment or learning about substance abuse:
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