Drinking alcohol affects the efficiency of neurotransmitters in the brain. When somebody has an alcohol use disorder, their brain and the central nervous system become dependent on the drug.
If they abruptly stop alcohol consumption, they will likely experience a range of physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms.
Management of alcohol withdrawal can be conducted at home for mild symptoms, while more severe symptoms should be addressed in a medical setting to prevent life-threatening side effects.
Tips For Treating Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome
People with alcohol dependence will start to experience withdrawal symptoms a few hours after their last drink. These symptoms may be mild or more serious depending on the severity of the addiction.
If only mild symptoms are present, detoxification may be conducted at home safely. However, most healthcare providers recommend treating any symptoms of withdrawal in a clinical setting.
When alcohol withdrawal begins, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are common physical symptoms. During this period, people can become dangerously dehydrated.
Throughout the detoxification process, it’s important to ingest plenty of water and electrolyte-heavy fluids to replenish what the body is flushing out.
While eating food during alcohol withdrawal may not seem appealing, it’s important to start eating as soon as the initial wave of vomiting and nausea passes.
The BRAT diet is a regimen of bland foods such as bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. These nutrient-heavy foods will help nourish the body and will also be easy on the stomach.
If you have trouble holding down food during this period, you can try eating in smaller amounts at frequent intervals rather than larger meals.
During alcohol withdrawal, people should try to control their environment as much as possible. This can be accomplished by limiting interruptions, avoiding light and loud noises, and strong smells.
Clinical Treatments For Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome
Although mild symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and headaches are a normal part of the detox process, persistent symptoms or more severe symptoms should be treated by a medical professional.
If medical conditions include increased heart rate, disorientation, high blood pressure, alcohol withdrawal seizures, or delirium tremens (DTS), you should seek the help of a qualified substance abuse specialist.
Medications Used For Alcohol Withdrawal
One of the most effective methods of treating alcohol withdrawal is medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
MAT for alcohol addiction generally involves benzodiazepine medications such as lorazepam, oxazepam, chlordiazepoxide, and diazepam. Anticonvulsants and antipsychotics are also used to help treat alcohol withdrawal.
Intravenous Fluids And Other Supplements
In a clinical setting, people are often administered IV fluids to keep the body hydrated. Vitamin and mineral supplementation is also given in liquid or pill form.
Supplements to take during alcohol withdrawal may include magnesium, thiamine, glutamate, and other nutrients that may be lacking after prolonged alcohol abuse.
How Long Does Treatment Last For Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome?
Alcohol withdrawal treatment typically lasts for at least three days before symptoms begin to dissipate and normal bodily function resumes.
People with severe alcohol addiction may continue to feel residual depression, cyclical headaches, cravings, and more for months or years after the initial effects of alcohol withdrawal.
What Happens After Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment?
After alcohol withdrawal treatment, clinicians recommend that people continue their recovery in an inpatient or outpatient program for addiction.
Treatment options for alcohol addiction may include:
- dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders
- individual and family counseling
- 12-step programs
- sober living communities
Find Rehab Services For Alcohol Addiction At Bedrock Recovery Center
At Bedrock Recovery Center, you can get the evidence-based rehabilitation services you need to recover fully from alcohol and opioid addiction, or other substance use disorders.
Call our treatment center today for more information about our residential treatment program for severe alcohol withdrawal.
Bedrock Recovery Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.