Each night I put my head on my pillow and I am grateful that I never gave up on my sobriety
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
AUD stands for Alcohol Use Disorder. This simply means that when a person starts drinking they cannot stop. This is a mental disorder. The continued drinking spree offsets an individual entering into a period of physical withdrawal, which is known as alcohol withdrawal syndrome or AWS.
How Is Heavy Drinking Defined?
Heavy drinking is defined as consuming 35 units of alcohol per week for women and consuming 50 units or more per week for men.
Who Does AWS affect?
AWS does not discriminate. Young and old experience the side effects of alcohol, however, AWS will become worse with age, as the body takes longer to regulate.
How Is AWS Diagnosed?
Methods of diagnosis including the following:
- Blood tests: New Life Marbella Laboratory will provide the relevant blood, stool, and saliva test, dependent on investment level.
- Physical exam: physical assessment is needed to assess symptoms that you are experiencing.
- Medical history: an assessment will be needed to understand how long and how much an individual has been drinking. No patient is the same, therefore, New Life Marbella provides a bespoke approach to treatment.
- Miscellaneous tests: this includes a toxicology screening to measure the amount of alcohol that is in your body and assessments which asks a series of questions relating to your symptoms
Oftentimes, medical professionals will administer a 5-minute 10 item survey-style assessment that helps determine the severity of the withdrawal symptoms that a person is experiencing. The total score is 67 points.
Find out more about the New Life luxury alcohol rehab centre in Marbella and how it can help you.
The following symptoms are assessed:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Auditory disturbances- hearing things that are not there
- Visual disturbances- seeing things that are not there
- Tactile disturbances- unusual feeling in, on, or under the skin. I.e. the feeling of bugs crawling under the skin.
- Clouding of sensorium- unable to think clearly or concentrate
What Are Symptoms Of Withdrawal?
These symptoms include:
Below, we list common mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms:
- Tremors (handshaking)
- Difficulty sleeping
The previously mentioned symptoms, in addition to the following:
- Abnormal breathing(rapid, shallow)
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure
Mild and moderate symptoms in addition to the following:
- Hearing or seeing things that do not exist- (auditory and visual hallucinations)
- The mental state of confusion
- Lack of awareness
Physical vs Psychological Symptoms
Psychological symptoms involve the mental effects of alcohol withdrawal.
These symptoms include:
- Mood swings
- Irritability and agitation
- Difficulty concentrating
Triggers can be considered a psychological withdrawal when your mind and body has acclimated to consuming alcohol at a specific time of day, specific place, or doing certain activities. These triggers can place a patient at risk for relapse if they are not properly managed. These may include drinking at a certain time of the day, or with certain people, or at a certain location.
What Is The Timeline Of Experiencing Symptoms?
Early withdrawal may produce mild withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are typically felt within 6-12 hours after an individual’s last drink. After 24 hours without a drink, these symptoms may increase, this is usually when the symptoms begin to peak.
Within 24-72 hours, most symptoms will have peaked and they will begin to taper down. However, in some cases, individuals may experience symptoms for a longer period. Within 4-5 days, most of your physical withdrawal symptoms should subside.
There are times when the symptoms can last for a few months, this usually refers to difficulty sleeping, fatigue, mood swings, and irritability.
What Causes Alcohol Withdrawal?
When a person drinks a lot and regularly over an extended period, the body and the mind becomes used to the effects of alcohol. Alcohol becomes a coping mechanism, and when this coping strategy stops, this leads to symptoms of withdrawal.
These withdrawals are caused by the binding effect alcohol has on the Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) neurotransmitters located in your brain.
These neurotransmitters calm the mind and the body when they attach to GABA receptors. GABA increases with alcohol consumption. Misuse of alcohol and other substances, negatively affect GABA receptors.
This causes you to drink more to continue producing the same calming effect. When you stop drinking your body goes through withdrawals from the inability to regulate GABA.
What Is Delirium Tremens?
How Do I Treat Alcohol Withdrawal?
First things first, a person will need to detox from alcohol, which is the removal of harmful substances from the body. This can be done with or without medication depending on the severity of the withdrawal symptoms. However, the safest and most reliable form of detoxification is via medical supervision.
Medical Detox (Inpatient)
24-hour medical supervision, in a hospital scenario. New Life Marbella offers 24/7 nursing and clinical supervision.
Medications Used For Withdrawals
The New Life Marbella Medical Director and GP may prescribe benzodiazepines to help with the physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms from alcohol, These medications are considered sedatives that help with sleep disturbances, irritability, and fatigue.
Other medications can be prescribed to help with triggers, cravings, and relapse prevention. However, we advise strongly against self-prescribing, as addiction can move from alcohol to prescription dependency. This is known as bunny hopping.
These medications include the following:
- Lorazepam also is known as Ativan
- Diazepam is also known as Valium
- Naltrexone (Revia, Vivitrol)
- Acamprosate (Campral)
The danger with detox is if a person experiences any form of seizure or psychosis. These symptoms may occur during severe withdrawal periods.
These medications include the following:
- Gabapentin (Neurontin)
- Valproic Acid(Depakene)
- Oxcarbazepine (Trileptal)
- Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
Some other commonly prescribed medications include the following;
- Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
- Clorazepate (Tranxene)
Vitamin supplements can help you replenish any nutrients that you have lost during your period of alcohol misuse. If you feel dehydrated, make sure to drink plenty of fluids such as water or fruit juice. If there are any questions we would advise speaking to a team member at New Life Marbella or visiting our Biohacking page.