Alcohol abuse and dependence often require extensive treatment at specialized detox and rehab clinics, with medications and psychotherapy used to treat the associated withdrawal syndrome. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms range from mild to life-threatening, with the severity and length of the withdrawal period dependent on the length and extent of abuse. If you or anyone you know needs help managing their alcohol withdrawal symptoms in a safe and supportive environment, call Drug Treatment Centers Delray Beach at (561) 404-9749 today, let them assist you in finding the right rehab center for your needs.
Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a set of physical and psychological symptoms that can occur when someone stops or dramatically reduces alcohol consumption. Largely due to a hyper-excitable response in the central nervous system as it reacts to lack of alcohol, the symptoms of withdrawal can be dangerous if not treated properly. The alcohol withdrawal syndrome is managed during the detox phase of treatment, with ongoing therapy then applied during the latter part of the rehab program to treat the causes of addiction. Medications can be used during detox, with benzodiazepines often prescribed to alleviate symptoms and reduce the possibility of relapse.
The withdrawal syndrome is a result of alcohol discontinuation, with addicts slowly developing tolerance and dependence over time with continual exposure to the substance. When people consume alcohol on a regular basis over a long time period, the brain adjusts its own chemistry to compensate for the effects of the drug. By producing naturally stimulating chemicals such as serotonin and norepinephrine, the alcohol-affected brain initiates and becomes dependent on new neuronal connections. When alcohol is discontinued, the brain is not able to readjust its chemistry, with withdrawal symptoms as the end result. Medications are often used to alleviate potentially dangerous symptoms, with medical staff also on hand to observe and support patients through the withdrawal process.
Alcoholics experience a wide range of symptoms when they stop drinking, with an acute withdrawal syndrome experienced in the early days and a post-acute or protracted phase also possible in severe cases. Typical symptoms include sweating, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, depression, seizures, autonomic instability, hand tremors, transient hallucinations and delirium tremens. Symptoms typically start within 12 hours of the last drink, progressing beyond the 24 hour period in the majority of cases. While most people will start to experience an improvement past the 48-hour mark, delirium tremens and other severe symptoms can last for days or even weeks following discontinuation.
Delirium tremens are the most dangerous alcohol withdrawal symptom, with the body in a temporary state of confusion as the brain struggles to regulate circulation and breathing. Delirium tremens can temporarily reduce the amount of blood flow to the brain, causing confusion, disorientation, nervous or angry behavior, stupor or loss of consciousness, irrational beliefs, severe sweats, sleep disturbances, and extreme hallucinations. It's very important for people to go through the withdrawal syndrome at a specialized detox clinic so these severe symptoms can be managed and medicated accordingly.
While detoxification helps to manage and treat the alcohol withdrawal syndrome, it alone does not treat the precedents of alcohol abuse and dependence. Therapy programs are always recommended following detox, with therapists and counselors working with patients to analyze and understand the underlying reasons for addiction. Common psychotherapy programs initiated during this phase include cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational therapy, family therapy, art therapy, music therapy, group counseling, 12-step programs and relapse prevention.