Author: Alex Thompson

Alcohol use disorder Diagnosis and treatment

how to treat alcohol withdrawal

If you are thinking about quitting drinking, talk to your healthcare provider. Medical supervision, behavioral health treatment, and mutual-aid groups can help you through alcohol withdrawal and stay stopped. The alcohol withdrawal timeline varies, but the worst of the symptoms typically wear off after 72 hours.

  1. Studies show support groups play an instrumental role in helping people develop healthy social networks that result in continued sobriety.
  2. They’ll want to know if you’ve ever gone through withdrawal before.
  3. You may find yourself daydreaming about having another drink.
  4. It becomes overexcited because there’s no more alcohol to slow it down.
  5. They can be managed with prescribed medications such as benzodiazepines.
  6. If you are still experiencing withdrawal symptoms after three days, talk to your healthcare provider.

Often, cravings can come quickly and in succession of each other. Relapses happen during rehabilitation, but what’s important is how you move forward from it. You may want to talk with a loved one or therapist about why it happened and what you can do differently next time. Drink plenty of fluids, but you don’t have to drink just water.

If you decide to get treatment, your doctor can recommend the type of care that you need. During an exam, they’ll look for other medical conditions to see if they could be to blame.

Social Support and Treatment Programs

But some people choose to manage alcohol withdrawal themselves. Here are suggestions for how to get through alcohol withdrawal at home. Treating alcohol withdrawal is a short-term fix that doesn’t help the core problem. When you talk to your doctor about symptom relief, it’s a good idea to discuss treatment for alcohol abuse or dependence. For most people, alcohol withdrawal symptoms will begin sometime in the first eight hours after their final drink.

how to treat alcohol withdrawal

Millions of people join support groups to help stop drinking and stay stopped. Studies show support groups play an instrumental role in helping people develop healthy social networks that result in continued sobriety. It affects about 50% of people with alcohol use disorder who stop or significantly decrease their alcohol intake. AUD is the most common substance use disorder in the U.S., affecting 28.8 million adults. Like deep breathing, meditation can help you stay balanced and relaxed during your withdrawal. At times, it’s easy to forget why you entered recovery in the first place.

Causes of Alcohol Withdrawal

If your doctor thinks you might be going through alcohol withdrawal, they’ll ask you questions about your drinking history and how recently you stopped. They’ll want to know if you’ve ever gone through withdrawal before. Research shows people who have a supportive social network are more likely to remain alcohol-free after withdrawal.

What yours are depends on how much you drank and for how long. If you drink only once in a while, it’s unlikely that you’ll have withdrawal symptoms when you stop. But if you’ve gone through alcohol withdrawal once, you’re more likely to go through it again the next time you call it quits. For people at low risk of complications, an office visit to your primary care provider, along with at-home monitoring and virtual office visits, may suffice. People at high risk of complications should enter a short-term in-patient detox program. For people who experience hallucinations as part of alcohol withdrawal, these may begin in the 12- to 24-hour time frame.

The craving for alcohol may be a persistent challenge during and after withdrawal. There will be multiple points throughout the process where you will be tempted to drink. It’s helpful to think of your craving as a wave; Cravings build, peak, crash and dissipate. The point is that eventually, your craving will go away — the wave will crash. Tell your close friends and family before you begin your detox, and ask them to support you. Consider creating a visiting schedule so you are never alone during the first week of detox.

– Read a book.

Continuous monitoring and access to medical care are essential. In general, going through withdrawal at home should be avoided unless your doctor recommends it. If you are detoxing at home, anything beyond mild symptoms should trigger you to seek medical help. Delirium tremens (DTs) is a serious condition that some people struggling with alcohol withdrawal go through. It is characterized by severe nausea, seizures and hallucinations.

These first few weeks are critical because they are when the risk of relapse is highest. But treatment varies based on the severity of alcohol withdrawal and the likelihood that it could progress to severe or complicated withdrawal. Go to the nearest emergency room or call 911 (or your local emergency service number) if you or a loved one has any concerning symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal can range from very mild symptoms to a severe form, known as delirium tremens. It’s much better to focus on something you enjoy than to focus on the discomfort of your withdrawal symptoms.

If your provider suspects that you have a problem with alcohol, you may be referred to a mental health provider. People with alcohol use disorder should be monitored by a medical professional when withdrawing from alcohol. Moderate to heavy drinkers can also benefit from medical supervision in the acute withdrawal stage. Talk to your doctor or a drug treatment specialist about what to expect as you experience alcohol withdrawal.

How is alcohol withdrawal diagnosed?

You may want to speak with a loved one or therapist about a strategy to prevent relapses from happening. The experience of withdrawing from alcohol can be uncomfortable and difficult. Some people may relapse, or drink alcohol again, to relieve the symptoms. Avoid people who may encourage you to drink alcohol or may not support your decision to stop. It may be easier on your rehabilitation to skip visits with “drinking buddies” or avoid gatherings with a focus on drinking.

It often raises many questions, especially regarding effective strategies for managing symptoms and ensuring safety. While you may not feel like exercising during withdrawal, a small amount of exercise is a great tool for coping with alcohol withdrawal. Exercise releases endorphins into your brain, creating natural happy feelings within a person. Not only is exercise one of the most effective natural remedies for alcohol withdrawal, but it’s also good for your self-confidence and recovery. Your doctor could suggest inpatient care and drug treatment.

Those with a wider circle of support have a better chance of staying sober. The main management for severe symptoms is long-acting benzodiazepines — typically IV diazepam or IV lorazepam. When you stop consuming alcohol after prolonged, heavy use, your CNS can’t respond or regulate itself fast enough.