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Can You Die From Alcohol Withdrawal?

Sometimes quitting alcohol can simply mean making small and manageable changes to your lifestyle. But for many, alcohol withdrawal can make stopping drinking more difficult.

When you engage in prolonged heavy drinking, there is potential for addiction. Cutting out alcohol when you have a physical dependence can have adverse effects, including intense cravings and alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms are usually unpleasant, but they can be dangerous on rare occasions, and, in extremely rare cases, they can be fatal. This is why you should never quit alcohol cold turkey at home without seeking medical advice.

If your relationship with alcohol has taken a turn for the worst and you find yourself struggling with an addiction, detoxing and going through alcohol withdrawal at a rehab center, such as our own, is recommended.

During your time in rehab, you will receive constant care and support, and your alcohol withdrawal will be monitored.


What Are the Dangers of Alcohol?

Alcohol is a powerful drug that can profoundly affect your mind and body when abused. As a central nervous system depressant, alcohol consumption slows down messages sent between your brain and body, leading to a range of rapid-onset effects, such as:

  • Euphoria
  • A warming sensation
  • A feeling of relaxation
  • Lowered heart rate and blood pressure
  • Reduced reflexes and coordination
  • Reduced cognitive function

Government guidelines advise women not to drink more than one drink containing alcohol per day. In contrast, men should avoid drinking more than two drinks a day. However, many people often overlook this advice to feed their addiction.

What Are the Dangers of Alcohol Abuse?

Drinking heavily is defined as consuming around eight drinks or more per week for women and 15 drinks or more per week for men. Binge drinking typically occurs if a woman consumes four or more drinks within a two-hour period or five for a man. This kind of excessive drinking is considered alcohol abuse.

Alcohol abuse can cause adverse short and long-term health problems to arise. Potential long-term health consequences of alcohol include:

  • Heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Mouth, colon, liver, and pancreas cancer
  • Brain damage

In addition to the above, long-term health consequences of alcohol abuse can include alcohol poisoning, a condition that requires medical attention. Some signs of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Severe confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Slow or irregular breathing
  • Low heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Unresponsiveness

If you think you may have an alcohol addiction, securing help is in your best interest. At our rehab center, we can provide you with the treatment you need to withdraw from alcohol in a safe environment. Likewise, don’t be afraid to talk to someone if you have a problem with alcohol abuse or addiction.

Alcohol rehab support area:

What Does Alcohol Addiction Look Like?

Alcohol triggers your brain to release dopamine, which causes the state of euphoria to occur after a few drinks. Through drinking heavily and frequently, alcohol corrupts our brain’s natural reward pathways.

Many things activate our reward pathways, such as music, food, and exercise. But our brains soon learn that alcohol causes instant pleasure and begins to crave it at all costs.

An addiction to alcohol causes both physical and psychological symptoms. However, you might not realize you are experiencing these symptoms, or you may not be ready to accept them. Yet, the only way to prevent them and combat an alcohol use disorder is via treatment.

Common physical signs of addiction include:

  • Tolerance to alcohol and needing more for the desired effect
  • Sudden weight gain or weight loss
  • Sleep problems, such as insomnia
  • Unexplained bruises and injuries
  • Lethargy
  • A disorganized appearance
  • Alcohol withdrawal symptoms

Common psychological symptoms of addiction include:

  • Short-term memory loss
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Exacerbated mental health issues

If you have developed an addiction to alcohol, your behavior will also begin to change, causing behavioral symptoms to impair your life. Changes in your behavior might be the first clue that you need help. Likewise, changes in your behavior may cause your loved ones to question your health and well-being.

Like many other people, you might not believe that your behavior is changing, and you may not believe you have an alcohol use disorder. However, if you notice that alcohol has slowly gotten the better of you, reach out for help.

Behavioral signs of addiction include:

  • An obsession with getting your next drink
  • Finding excuses to drink
  • Drinking in secret
  • Irritability and agitation when you can’t drink alcohol
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Poor hygiene
  • Prioritizing alcohol above things you once loved and enjoyed
  • Prioritizing alcohol over spending time with your friends and family
  • Defensiveness, secrecy, and lying about the extent of your alcohol use
  • Risky behavior, such as driving under the influence or unprotected sex

Sadly, addiction can slowly take over every aspect of your life. With addiction, you are no longer in control. But treatment is available to support you through the withdrawal process and help you make a long-term recovery.

What Are Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms?

If you have an alcohol dependence, the only way to overcome your problem is by seeking treatment at a rehab center. Usually, the first stage of treatment is detoxification.

During detoxification, alcohol withdrawal occurs as alcohol is removed from your body, which enables you to physically begin to recover. However, due to being physically dependent on alcohol, detox can cause you to experience withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal can be uncomfortable, but detoxing is an essential step to becoming alcohol-free, and such symptoms are a sign that your body is rewiring itself.

Common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Tremors
  • Fatigue
  • Sleeping problems
  • Vivid dreams
  • Low mood and depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Cravings

Symptoms can start as soon as six hours after your last drink and peak at around 72 hours before tapering off. Rehab centers are designed to keep you comfortable throughout the duration of your detox. They also provide other resources for your recovery, such as therapy and mental health support.

For most people, the detox process only takes up to one week. However, for others, detox may take longer to complete, and more intense and severe withdrawal symptoms may arise.

What Are Delirium Tremens (DTs)?

In the case of severe addiction, detoxing may give way to more intense withdrawal symptoms. These are called delirium tremens (DTs). This particular withdrawal symptom is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition; however, they usually only occur in about 5% of detox cases when a person has a severe prolonged alcohol addiction.

People who experience delirium tremens usually do so around 24 to 48 hours after they stop drinking.

Symptoms of delirium tremens include:

  • Panic attacks
  • Shaking
  • Chest pains
  • Agitation
  • Nightmares

More serious symptoms of delirium tremens include:

  • Severe confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Fever and sweating
  • Heart palpitations
  • Grand mal seizures

If you experience delirium tremens, supervision from medical professionals is vital. This is because life-threatening complications include sepsis, cardiac arrest, coma, and seizures. However, by attending a rehab center, these symptoms can be managed using medications, such as benzodiazepines.

Can You Die From Alcohol Withdrawal?

Like other people, you may wonder whether you can die from alcohol withdrawal. Due to the treatments available via rehab centers, such as our own, and medication, the chances of this are very rare.

The risk of DTs and other withdrawal symptoms make it important to detox at a specialized rehab facility such as ours. Here you will receive personalized treatment under the supervision of dedicated medical professionals, and all effort will be made to keep you safe and comfortable during your alcohol detox and alcohol withdrawal.

To find out more about alcohol withdrawal at our rehab center, please contact us today.

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    3651 Canton Road,
    Marietta, GA 30066

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