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MAIN Arrow to HealthHealth Arrow to AlcoholismAlcoholism Arrow to Alcohol Withdrawal Alcohol Withdrawal

alcholic going withdrawlThere are several changes that take place in the body when a person suddenly stops drinking after a constant or prolonged period of alcohol consumption. Alcohol has a sedating effect on the central nervous system. The brain adapts to the sedating effect of alcohol by producing chemicals that have a stimulating effect, so when a person suddenly stops drinking alcohol, the brain is still producing the stimulants. This is what results in classic alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

People who have a long standing habit of alcohol consumption can suffer severe withdrawal effects if they suddenly kick the habit. But even those who are only moderately dependent on alcohol can suffer mild withdrawal symptoms similar to the that brought on by a hangover.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms

Alcohol withdrawal produces a wide range of symptoms including insomnia, anxiety and irritation. It also causes physical symptoms such as headache, gastrointestinal upset, mild fever, cold sweats, and rapid heart rate.

Symptoms may range from mild to severe. Those who suffer from severe symptoms may experience "the DTs" or delirium tremens often marked by hallucinations, tremors, nightmares, nausea and vomiting.

Severe cases can last for days or even weeks, with intermittent lose of consciousness or seizures and possible risk of physical injury.

Alcohol withdrawal treatment

Vitamin therapy (B-complex and thiamin) may be prescribed for mild symptoms of withdrawal. However, immediate medical attention may be called for in more severe cases, depending on related conditions, since rapid heart beat and high blood pressure often increase the risk of stroke or heart attack. Sometimes, hospitalization may be required, and medications such as valium or librium administered to ease withdrawal.

Because of the high risks to overall health, those who desire to stop consuming alcohol should avoid quitting "cold turkey." Intake of alcohol should be limited over a period of time, rather than completely eliminated, in order to prevent associated symptoms that may become life-threatening. It is for this reason that it's often highly advised that those who attempt to kick their drinking habit do so with the help of a health professional or counselor.


More about alcohol withdrawal around the Web:



Alcohol Withdrawal - Expert guide from About.com with information on the causes and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal including specific treatment options.

How to Taper Off Alcohol - Discussion on the dangers of quitting "cold turkey", with an overview of alcohol withdrawal symptoms, drug treatment, and related references.

Physician's Guide to Helping Patients with Alcohol Problems - Online brochure from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism with an advice for doctors on how to treat alcoholism and withdrawal symptoms in patients.

Alcohol Withdrawal - Alternative Medicine - Tips and advice on related vitamin therapies, nutritional supplements, diet and lifestyle changes.


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