As someone drinks, dopamine increases in the brain. This results in pleasant feelings and elevated. However, alcohol is primarily a central nervous depressant. This means that is slows down the body and brain – cognitive abilities, motor skills, and the ability to stay conscious and coherent all decrease as alcohol is continually consumed.This is where alcohol detox comes into play.
Habitual drinking can cause both tolerance and dependence. The brain gets accustomed to the dopamine-altering effects of alcohol, as well as the general sedation. When someone tries to detox after a period of frequent alcohol use, withdrawal effects occur, which are precisely the opposite of being drunk.
The effects of alcohol withdrawal syndrome can range from mild to life-threatening.
We offer state-of-the-art treatment for addiction, in combination with holistic care and clinical therapy. Our staff is comprised of an expert team of physicians, nurses, therapists, and other mental and medical health care professionals. Together, our team is ideally suited to treating the patient using a holistic, comprehensive approach.
Alcohol Detox: Withdrawal Effects
Alcohol withdrawal is likely to start between 6-24 after cessation. Withdrawal can be broken down into three stages of severity:
- Stage 1 (mild): anxiety, insomnia, nausea, abdominal pain and/or vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue, tremors, depression, mental fog, moodiness, and heart palpitations
- Stage 2 (moderate): increased blood pressure,and respiration, increased an/or irregular heart rate, mental confusion, sweating, irritability, increased moodiness
- Stage 3 (severe/delirium tremens): hallucinations, fever, seizures, severe confusion, and agitation. This stage, if not monitored and treated, may result in death.
The severity of withdrawal symptoms depend upon several factors. Frequency and duration of use, medical history, the presence of mental illness, and one’s ability to cope with stress may all contribute to how severe a person reacts.
Additionally, if the person is detoxing on other drugs in addition to alcohol, this can certainly increase the effects. Not every person will have the same symptoms, nor will they last the same amount of time.
By far, the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal syndrome is delirium tremens. This stage occurs in about 4% of persons going through withdrawal. This stage can be fatal if not treated.
Delirum tremens probably won’t being until at least 24-48 after alcohol leaves the bloodstream. However, it can occur without warning, and there is not conclusively way to be sure if it will happen. This is why medically-assisted alcohol detox is so important.
During this stage, if a physician is not present to monitor vital signs and symptoms, it is not only terrifying for the individual, but can be deadly. If you are a heavy drinker, you should never stop drinking “cold turkey” without medical supervision. And cutting back can be extremely difficult for a chronic alcoholic.