When someone who drinks heavily stops ingesting alcohol, they will often experience a range of unpleasant symptoms due to alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS).
AWS occurs due to the way alcohol abuse affects brain neurotransmitters and the central nervous system. Symptoms range from headaches and nausea to potentially life-threatening conditions such as delirium tremens.
Alcohol withdrawal nausea is one of the most common symptoms of withdrawal that usually starts a few hours after a person’s last drink was consumed.
Causes Of Alcohol Withdrawal Nausea
Alcohol withdrawal nausea is caused by the irritating effect alcohol has on the lining of the stomach. When the mucous membrane in the stomach is overproducing mucus, nausea and vomiting are common side effects.
Severe cases of alcohol withdrawal nausea will be accompanied by constant dry heaving and diarrhea. This is due to the powerful effect alcohol has on the gastrointestinal system.
Tips For Coping With Alcohol Withdrawal Nausea
Both mild and severe cases of AWS may feature nausea as a symptom. Most mild symptoms can be treated at home, while more severe cases should be addressed with medical supervision.
Hydration is extremely important during the alcohol detoxification process. People can hydrate at home with water and electrolyte drinks or in a medical environment with IV fluids.
The BRAT Diet
Some people with nausea and vomiting symptoms may not feel the need to eat. When food is finally ingestible again, the BRAT diet is one of the best ways to get nutrient-rich foods in your body that won’t upset the stomach.
BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. It’s advised to start eating these foods during alcohol detox in frequent, small amounts at first and progressively adding larger meals to the diet.
Store-bought drugs such as Pepto-Bismol and Kaopectate are useful in reducing inflammation and slowing down the flow of fluids in the intestines, which will help alleviate nausea.
Some people have used acupuncture to relieve the symptoms of mild to severe alcohol withdrawal to great effect.
If there’s not an acupuncturist near you, gently massaging the area between the tendons two inches below the wrist can help stimulate nausea relief.
Treatment Programs For Alcohol Withdrawal And Addiction
If you or a loved one have an alcohol use disorder, help is available at evidence-based rehab centers where management of alcohol withdrawal symptoms is conducted by healthcare professionals.
Addiction treatment options may include:
- dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders
- inpatient and outpatient care
- support groups for substance abuse
- medically monitored alcohol detox
- 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous
- medication-assisted treatment (MAT) using benzodiazepines and anticonvulsants
- intervention services
Some withdrawal symptoms are mild and may be treated without medical advice or supervision. For severe withdrawal symptoms, a medical emergency may occur without proper medical care.
Acute withdrawal symptoms that require medical attention include high blood pressure, withdrawal seizures, intense hand tremors, disorientation, or unresponsiveness.
Find An Alcohol Rehab Program At Bedrock Recovery Center
Call Bedrock Recovery Center for more information on treatment for alcohol dependence and other substance use disorders. Our residential treatment program can help you achieve long-term recovery.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513311/#:~:text=GABA%20is%20the%20primary%20inhibitory,alpha%2Dcells%20to%20beta%20cells.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohols-effects-health/overview-alcohol-consumption
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-2/134-142.htm
- National Institute of Health (NIH) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5597013/