24/7 Admissions Hotline (888) 277-3316

The Dangers of Alcohol Withdrawal

Friday, November 29, 2019 | By tricia

dangers of alcohol withdrawal

Table Of Contents

Alcohol is woven into the fabric of American culture. People from every corner of the country incorporate alcohol into their lives. From birthdays and weddings to funerals and bad days at work, alcohol definitely has its place among Americans. And while there are millions of people who drink responsibly, there are millions more who do not.

A whopping 6.2% of Americans have an alcohol use disorder. That equals approximately 15 million people. Men historically struggle more with AUD than women, as about 9.8 men have AUD in comparison to 5.3 women. 

It is no secret that alcohol use disorder is one of the most common diseases in the U.S. But, despite it being so common, there are many things that you might not be aware of. For example, withdrawing from alcohol can be extremely dangerous — and even deadly. If you are addicted to alcohol, simply stopping drinking cold turkey can present you with a whole slew of problems. 

 

What Can Happen During Alcohol Withdrawal?

To better understand alcohol withdrawal, it is important to understand dependence. If you are addicted to alcohol but stop drinking suddenly, you will develop withdrawal symptoms. This is because your body is dependent on alcohol. The absence of alcohol sends the body into a frenzy that can only be calmed by more alcohol. If you are addicted to alcohol, then you might be familiar with this feeling. When you experience the beginning stages of withdrawal, it is likely that you reach for a drink to make it go away. As this cyclical pattern continues, your dependence grows stronger. So, when you stop drinking, withdrawing from alcohol can become dangerous. 

 

Delirium tremens (“DT’s”)

Delirium tremens is the most severe type of withdrawal symptoms that you can experience when you stop drinking. The DT’s are not only intense, but they are also deadly. The symptoms that often accompany the DT’s include the following:

  • Severe confusion
  • Delirium
  • Intense body tremors (“the shakes”)
  • Tactile hallucinations (e.g. feeling like something is crawling on your skin when it’s not)
  • Auditory hallucinations (hearing things like sounds or voices that aren’t real)
  • Visual hallucinations (e.g. seeing things that are not there)

The most severe symptoms that can develop with the DT’s are fever and seizures. Both of these symptoms can lead to death if untreated. If you experience the DT’s, it is critical that you go to the closest emergency room.

 

High blood pressure

Quitting drinking cold turkey impacts your blood pressure. The blood in your body hits the walls of your arteries. The strength at which it hits is your blood pressure. Normal blood pressure for an adult is 120/80. But, if you are withdrawing from alcohol, it can be much higher. For example, stage one of high blood pressure falls between 130/80 and 139/89. Stage two of high blood pressure is defined as anywhere between 140/90 or higher. A hypertensive crisis occurs when your blood pressure is higher than 180/120. Alcohol withdrawal can cause you to fall into one of those categories, including hypertensive crisis. When your blood pressure is that high, you must get medical help immediately. High blood pressure (even stage one) can lead to the following and potentially fatal complications:

  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Aneurysm 
  • Heart failure
  • Vital organ damage caused by narrowed blood vessels

If you attempt to withdraw from alcohol on your own and experience one of these symptoms, you could die. Withdrawing under medical supervision can help prevent and/or treat these issues before they turn fatal.

 

Seizures

Similar to benzodiazepines like Xanax and Ativan, alcohol interacts with the GABA receptors in the brain. GABA is responsible for regulating communication among brain cells. Both the presence of alcohol and the absence of it can affect the GABA in the brain. And, when the brain cannot communicate with itself, seizures can occur. 

Having a seizure while in alcohol withdrawal can be very dangerous and cost you your life. You can’t predict if you are going to have a seizure, so if you have one, you could be at severe risk. For example, having a seizure while driving can cause you to crash, harming yourself and/or others. Or, you could suffer a fatal fall during your seizure. 

The intensity of your alcohol withdrawal will be determined by several factors, including the following:

  • How much alcohol you were consuming
  • How often you drank
  • How long your drinking occurred
  • Your mental state
  • Your physical health

If you want to stop drinking, make sure you do so while in the care of professionals. Not only will this help safeguard your health, but it can also connect you to continued care. 

 

How Professional Treatment Can Help You During Alcohol Withdrawal 

Professional addiction treatment can, as previously mentioned, keep you safe during the withdrawal stage. So, if you want to get sober, seeking this type of help is best. You may experience a withdrawal that doesn’t require much medical attention. You may go into severe withdrawal. You will not know how withdrawing from alcohol will go for you until you are in it. Professional treatment can help you regardless of the severity of your withdrawal in the following ways:

  • Provide you with a safe, clean environment 
  • Conduct regular vital sign checks 
  • Prescribe medication to aid in easing withdrawal 
  • Offer support and encouragement to keep moving forward 

Getting sober after struggling with alcohol use disorder is hard. You do not need to add to the difficulty of it by trying to withdraw on your own. 

 

Get Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder Right Now

Anything can happen when you end your active addiction and begin living a healthier life. Having the support of a professional team of individuals can help you navigate this uncharted territory. Whether you suffer an intense withdrawal or breeze through it, support at the beginning of treatment is vital. At our treatment center, we can give you that support along with our years of combined experience and expertise. 

So, do not wait one second more. Call us right now. We can help you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Don't Just Take Our Word For It

  • I'm from the suburbs of Chicago and have been in quite a few treatment centers. Circle of Hope is hands down the best and most comfortable rehab I have ever been in. Not to mention how caring and helpful all the staff are. The door to my counselors office was always open when ever you needed to talk. Everyone genuinely cares there and that’s what made it a special place for me. My four boys are going to get back their Sober and clean Dad back thanks to the help from Circle of Hope.

    Jeremy G.

  • Circle of hope changed my life!! Great food, great staff, wonderful place! Awesome to get to know the amazing clients and see that i was not alone in my recovery. I made friends for life in the short time i got to spend there. Not a better facility anywhere in my opinion!!The team of employees, from the Technicians all the way up to the Owner, all have a patient first mentality.

    Leto M

  • Going to treatment at circle of hope was one of the best programs Ive participated in, they helped me get my life back. They have amazing staff and over all good natured people. They focus on all aspects of counseling , case management, meetings, different types of therapy, including trauma, one on one counseling. This is coming from someone who has been traumatized and neglected. They helped me get to the root of the problem. Which most times can feel very uncomfortable but they provide groups that you participate in and communicate to other addicts and hear their life stories. They really are an organization of team working to help heal the conflicted minds of us addicts that we faced everyday. I would highly recommend this treatment program to anyone suffering from substance abuse or mental health.

    Skyy S

Tour Our Facility

Media Room

Kitchen Area

Media Center

Outdoor Patio

Outdoor Pool Area

Front of Housing

Latest Articles

  • substance abuse yoga therapy california

    6 Awesome Benefits of Yoga in Therapy for Substance Abuse

    Many addiction treatment centers have begun offering yoga as a complement to their traditional therapy for substance abuse. This ancient practice has shown to provide numerous benefits for individuals in drug therapy or alcohol therapy. Here are just

    LEARN MORE
  • inpatient substance abuse treatment california

    5 Amazing Benefits of Inpatient Drug Rehab

    Many people wonder whether there are any benefits of an inpatient drug rehab over the outpatient program. Nevertheless, there are a plethora of reason to choose the inpatient drug rehab program. Patients who choose this form of treatment normally hav

    LEARN MORE
  • substance abuse recovery skills california

    5 Simple Secrets To Totally Rocking Your Sober Freedom

    For some, the prospect of becoming sober is a scary one, as it forces them to confront their own existence and come to key realizations about their character. But your sober freedom can totally rock if you let it, so be sure to read on and learn more

    LEARN MORE
  • rehab for spouse california

    How to Get Help for My Husband’s Drug Addiction

    If you’re living with a spouse who suffers from drug addiction, it’s normal to feel powerless in this situation. However, there are several things you can do to help your husband get the treatment he needs. The right substance abuse treat

    LEARN MORE
  • dealing with depression

    Rehab Depression: How To Handle Bad Days

    Rehab depression is a common phenomenon for those who are in addiction recovery. Being away from your daily existence, as well as all of your friends and loved ones can be very difficult and cause you to feel as if you are slipping away from the rest

    LEARN MORE
  • what to expect drug rehab

    What To Expect When Entering An Inpatient Treatment Facility

    Entering an inpatient treatment center can be a scary proposition for those with a substance abuse problem. Not only are they going to have to give up their drug of choice, but they’re going to have to meet new people, and share things with those p

    LEARN MORE
  • questions about drug rehab

    5 Questions To Ask Rehab Centers

    Finding the right rehab centers when we are struggling with drug and alcohol abuse can be challenging. With the variety of services provided, level of treatment available, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. That’s why it is important to know exac

    LEARN MORE
  • drug and alcohol detox los angeles

    Detox Methods: Inpatient vs Outpatient

    If you’ve decided to give up drugs or alcohol, then a rehab treatment program is often the best choice for beating addiction. But you have a choice: inpatient vs outpatient. Which one is better suited for your situation? We explain the details

    LEARN MORE
  • anxiety and substance abuse rehab

    Anxiety & Substance Abuse

    Some anxiety comes naturally for everyone – awaiting test results, working against an impending deadline, or expecting to hear bad news. For most of us, this feeling dissipates when the moments pass and life goes on. People suffering from anxiety d

    LEARN MORE
  • loved one needs addiction treatment

    How to Convince Someone to Go to Rehab

    Helping convince someone you care about to go to rehab can be a true challenge. When they don’t recognize the gravity of their situation, it can feel like you’re talking to a wall. However, once enough is enough and something has to chang

    LEARN MORE

This time today, you or your loved one could be in treatment. Get help now!

We Are Here To Help 24/7

(888) 277-3316