February 2, 2022

What Helps With Alcohol Withdrawal?

Quitting alcohol is one of the most challenging things you can do. After all, facing up to what you did when you were drinking, reconnecting with family and friends, and finding a job or going back to college can be jarring after you get sober. But before all that, you have to go through alcohol detox.

Alcohol detox occurs when you stop drinking after a period of heavy alcohol consumption. During this time, your body adjusts to functioning without alcohol, leaving you experiencing alcohol withdrawal. Although excruciating, many things can help with alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Reducing Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

As you begin to detox from alcohol, there are plenty of things that you can do to reduce alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Below, we have outlined just a few.

  • Eat when your body tells you to. You may have become malnourished after years of alcohol addiction, especially if you have gone long periods without drinking or eating nutritious foods and drinks. When you begin to withdraw from alcohol, make sure to eat healthy meals if you can.
  • Take vitamins and minerals. People living with an alcohol use disorder can quickly become deficient in vitamins and minerals. As a lack of good food and increased alcohol consumption actively reduces the levels of some vitamins, your body may weaken, leaving you experiencing more severe symptoms. Before you start detoxing, make sure you are stocked up. If you are unsure of which vitamins to take, discuss treatment with a medical professional.
  • Drink plenty of water. This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, you may forget to drink water, and you may also lose water through vomiting. Although you may think you need to go overboard when hydrating, two or three liters a day should be sufficient.
  • Take a cold shower. Having a cold shower may be one of the last things you want to do while in withdrawal, but doing so can help when you are suffering. A short blast can fire up your endorphins and leave you feeling a little better.
  • Go for a walk. If you have severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms, going for a walk may not be possible. However, if you can, consider going outside and getting some fresh air. A walk around the block or park can help reduce any aching you may experience and might also help you get a better night's sleep.
  • Utilize breathing techniques. Breathing can help your prefrontal cortex re-engage. When this happens, your critical thinking and reasoning skills will reactivate. These can be particularly effective if you begin to experience cravings.
  • Exercise. If you are in the stage of withdrawal where you are still vomiting, exercising may not be a good idea. However, if you feel up to it, try doing a small amount of exercise. Lifting weights, swimming, and yoga can all help boost levels of endorphins and get you out of a slump.
  • Listen to music. Distracting yourself can be a great tool when going through withdrawal. You might find that your connection with music decreased at the height of your alcohol abuse. Still, now you have no alcohol in your system, you may find that listening to music becomes enjoyable again, even if you are still experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
  • Read a book. Reading a book may not be on the top of your to-do list in the deepest throes of withdrawal, but it may be possible once the worst is over. Get your recovery off to a great start by reading something uplifting.
  • Fast-forward. This effective coping technique can help when you go through the worst of withdrawal and begin thinking that drinking would be a good idea. Play the tape forward and imagine what will happen after you drink again. Think about the pain that will ensue, and remind yourself that you have already come a long way - drinking will mean you have to go through withdrawal again.
  • Avoid those who drink. When you are going through alcohol withdrawal, it is advised that you stay clear of old drinking friends who might encourage you to drink again. These people might suggest that you have "just one more" and may even offer you free alcohol. Stay well away until you feel strong enough to say no.

In some instances, reducing alcohol withdrawal syndrome will only be possible with the help of medical professionals. Although the thought of reaching out for help can be daunting, medication is available to reduce symptoms. Attending rehab if you have tried to stop drinking before or feel like you may experience potentially life-threatening delirium tremens (DTs) may be in your best interest. Here, you will have twenty-four-hour care and support.

It is common to feel alone, especially at the height of alcohol addiction, but remember you are not. Telling friends and family what you are going through may mean that you have support while in alcohol withdrawal. If you do not have friends or family members who support you, consider going to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or another recovery fellowship for support.

Alcohol Withdrawal Medications

There are many medications that you can take for alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These include:

  • Melatonin
  • Chlordiazepoxide
  • Xanax (alprazolam)

Melatonin often reduces insomnia and helps many people sleep, and it can also help you get through the sleeplessness that often comes when you experience withdrawal symptoms from alcohol. In contrast, chlordiazepoxide is used to treat anxiety which is often experienced during alcohol withdrawal.

Like chlordiazepoxide, Xanax is mainly used to help reduce anxiety, and it can also help decrease severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. However, Xanax is a member of the benzodiazepine family and is addictive, so it must be used under medical care and supervision.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person. The symptoms you may experience might differ from the symptoms someone else in recovery experiences.

Although mild symptoms generally reduce after a few days, severe withdrawal symptoms exist and can last for weeks. However, common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Sweating

Severe Withdrawal Symptoms - Delirium Tremens

If you have been drinking heavily for an extended period, you may experience symptoms called delirium tremens (DTs), which is the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal.

DTs can cause withdrawal seizures and are extremely dangerous, even life-threatening. This is why it is recommended that you complete alcohol detox under medical supervision if you think this may happen when you detox.

Causes of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal occurs as part of changes in the brain that surface in response to excessive drinking. The neurochemical details of alcohol withdrawal are complex, but they typically involve the central nervous system being depressed for an extended time and overcompensating as a result. The most important thing to know is that alcohol withdrawal is treatable, and it will not last forever.

Can I Stop Drinking Immediately?

If you have been drinking relatively small amounts of alcohol for a short amount of time, then it may be safe for you to stop drinking right away. However, if you have been drinking for a long period and your alcohol level suddenly drops, you may experience DTs.

If you feel you may have more severe symptoms, you should enlist a health professional's help.

What Should I Do After I Stop Drinking?

If you have been able to stop drinking, congratulations! Alcohol dependency can be incredibly tricky to navigate out of, so you should be pleased with yourself. But what do you do when you have stopped drinking? You might feel like your life is suddenly empty, but here are a few things you can do to replace alcohol use in your life.

  • Join Alcoholics Anonymous. AA is a fellowship of people who meet regularly to share their recovery experiences. You may find you can connect with people at AA through shared ways of thinking. AA is also beneficial as it has been proven effective when quitting alcohol long-term. If AA is not for you, there are other mutual support groups that you can check out.
  • Take up a sport. This can be a great way of exercising and meeting new people. Irrespective of whether you have previously played a sport or have never tried playing team games before, try taking up a sport and see how you feel.
  • Help out people less fortunate than you. Another great way of staying sober and helping yourself feel better is to donate your time to other people - you may find that you get more out of it than you put in.
  • Meditate. Studies show that people who meditate regularly experience reduced levels of anxiety and depression and feel more content with their lives. During your recovery from an alcohol use disorder, meditation can be a great tool to use.

Avoiding Cross Addiction - Don't Self Medicate

Once you have completed your alcohol withdrawal, you will likely understand that picking up a bottle again would be very unwise. How about taking drugs, though? After all, you have a drinking problem, not a drug problem, right? Wrong!

Be very careful around drugs if you have had a drinking problem, as drugs can act in the same way as alcohol. Picking up a drug after putting down a bottle can take you back to square one, and it might even leave you needing substance abuse treatment.

The reason for this is that people in recovery frequently have addictive personalities. While one person might be able to indulge in drugs without developing a substance use disorder, this is usually not the case for people with alcohol addiction.

Alcohol Withdrawal - Unavoidable and Worthwhile

If you are reading this, it is likely that you or someone you love is either in alcohol withdrawal or will go through it soon. You may be feeling nervous about this, and you may find yourself wondering whether detoxing from alcohol is the right thing to do.

The reality is that alcohol withdrawal is unpleasant, but it is a stage that a person with alcohol addiction has to go through before becoming well again. Not completing alcohol withdrawal means remaining addicted to alcohol.

If you feel like you cannot go through withdrawal by yourself or worry that you may be in danger if you attempt it without medical supervision, contact Empowered Recovery.

Our team of dedicated professionals are trained to deal with all aspects of alcohol withdrawal, so you can be sure you will be as safe and as comfortable as possible in this important part of your journey. Feel free to contact us to discuss how we can best meet your needs.

Read more blog posts in this category:
TESTIMIONIAL

Quitting alcohol is one of the most challenging things you can do. After all, facing up to what you did when you were drinking, reconnecting with family and friends, and finding a job or going back to college can be jarring after you get sober. But before all that, you have to go through alcohol detox. Alcohol detox occurs when you stop drinking after a period of heavy alcohol consumption. During this time, your body adjusts to functioning without alcohol, leaving you experiencing alcohol withdrawal. Although excruciating, many things can help with alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Reducing Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

As you begin to detox from alcohol, there are plenty of things that you can do to reduce alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Below, we have outlined just a few.
  • Eat when your body tells you to. You may have become malnourished after years of alcohol addiction, especially if you have gone long periods without drinking or eating nutritious foods and drinks. When you begin to withdraw from alcohol, make sure to eat healthy meals if you can.
  • Take vitamins and minerals. People living with an alcohol use disorder can quickly become deficient in vitamins and minerals. As a lack of good food and increased alcohol consumption actively reduces the levels of some vitamins, your body may weaken, leaving you experiencing more severe symptoms. Before you start detoxing, make sure you are stocked up. If you are unsure of which vitamins to take, discuss treatment with a medical professional.
  • Drink plenty of water. This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, you may forget to drink water, and you may also lose water through vomiting. Although you may think you need to go overboard when hydrating, two or three liters a day should be sufficient.
  • Take a cold shower. Having a cold shower may be one of the last things you want to do while in withdrawal, but doing so can help when you are suffering. A short blast can fire up your endorphins and leave you feeling a little better.
  • Go for a walk. If you have severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms, going for a walk may not be possible. However, if you can, consider going outside and getting some fresh air. A walk around the block or park can help reduce any aching you may experience and might also help you get a better night's sleep.
  • Utilize breathing techniques. Breathing can help your prefrontal cortex re-engage. When this happens, your critical thinking and reasoning skills will reactivate. These can be particularly effective if you begin to experience cravings.
  • Exercise. If you are in the stage of withdrawal where you are still vomiting, exercising may not be a good idea. However, if you feel up to it, try doing a small amount of exercise. Lifting weights, swimming, and yoga can all help boost levels of endorphins and get you out of a slump.
  • Listen to music. Distracting yourself can be a great tool when going through withdrawal. You might find that your connection with music decreased at the height of your alcohol abuse. Still, now you have no alcohol in your system, you may find that listening to music becomes enjoyable again, even if you are still experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
  • Read a book. Reading a book may not be on the top of your to-do list in the deepest throes of withdrawal, but it may be possible once the worst is over. Get your recovery off to a great start by reading something uplifting.
  • Fast-forward. This effective coping technique can help when you go through the worst of withdrawal and begin thinking that drinking would be a good idea. Play the tape forward and imagine what will happen after you drink again. Think about the pain that will ensue, and remind yourself that you have already come a long way - drinking will mean you have to go through withdrawal again.
  • Avoid those who drink. When you are going through alcohol withdrawal, it is advised that you stay clear of old drinking friends who might encourage you to drink again. These people might suggest that you have "just one more" and may even offer you free alcohol. Stay well away until you feel strong enough to say no.
In some instances, reducing alcohol withdrawal syndrome will only be possible with the help of medical professionals. Although the thought of reaching out for help can be daunting, medication is available to reduce symptoms. Attending rehab if you have tried to stop drinking before or feel like you may experience potentially life-threatening delirium tremens (DTs) may be in your best interest. Here, you will have twenty-four-hour care and support. It is common to feel alone, especially at the height of alcohol addiction, but remember you are not. Telling friends and family what you are going through may mean that you have support while in alcohol withdrawal. If you do not have friends or family members who support you, consider going to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or another recovery fellowship for support.

Alcohol Withdrawal Medications

There are many medications that you can take for alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These include:
  • Melatonin
  • Chlordiazepoxide
  • Xanax (alprazolam)
Melatonin often reduces insomnia and helps many people sleep, and it can also help you get through the sleeplessness that often comes when you experience withdrawal symptoms from alcohol. In contrast, chlordiazepoxide is used to treat anxiety which is often experienced during alcohol withdrawal. Like chlordiazepoxide, Xanax is mainly used to help reduce anxiety, and it can also help decrease severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. However, Xanax is a member of the benzodiazepine family and is addictive, so it must be used under medical care and supervision.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person. The symptoms you may experience might differ from the symptoms someone else in recovery experiences. Although mild symptoms generally reduce after a few days, severe withdrawal symptoms exist and can last for weeks. However, common withdrawal symptoms include:
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Sweating

Severe Withdrawal Symptoms - Delirium Tremens

If you have been drinking heavily for an extended period, you may experience symptoms called delirium tremens (DTs), which is the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal. DTs can cause withdrawal seizures and are extremely dangerous, even life-threatening. This is why it is recommended that you complete alcohol detox under medical supervision if you think this may happen when you detox.

Causes of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal occurs as part of changes in the brain that surface in response to excessive drinking. The neurochemical details of alcohol withdrawal are complex, but they typically involve the central nervous system being depressed for an extended time and overcompensating as a result. The most important thing to know is that alcohol withdrawal is treatable, and it will not last forever.

Can I Stop Drinking Immediately?

If you have been drinking relatively small amounts of alcohol for a short amount of time, then it may be safe for you to stop drinking right away. However, if you have been drinking for a long period and your alcohol level suddenly drops, you may experience DTs. If you feel you may have more severe symptoms, you should enlist a health professional's help.

What Should I Do After I Stop Drinking?

If you have been able to stop drinking, congratulations! Alcohol dependency can be incredibly tricky to navigate out of, so you should be pleased with yourself. But what do you do when you have stopped drinking? You might feel like your life is suddenly empty, but here are a few things you can do to replace alcohol use in your life.
  • Join Alcoholics Anonymous. AA is a fellowship of people who meet regularly to share their recovery experiences. You may find you can connect with people at AA through shared ways of thinking. AA is also beneficial as it has been proven effective when quitting alcohol long-term. If AA is not for you, there are other mutual support groups that you can check out.
  • Take up a sport. This can be a great way of exercising and meeting new people. Irrespective of whether you have previously played a sport or have never tried playing team games before, try taking up a sport and see how you feel.
  • Help out people less fortunate than you. Another great way of staying sober and helping yourself feel better is to donate your time to other people - you may find that you get more out of it than you put in.
  • Meditate. Studies show that people who meditate regularly experience reduced levels of anxiety and depression and feel more content with their lives. During your recovery from an alcohol use disorder, meditation can be a great tool to use.

Avoiding Cross Addiction - Don't Self Medicate

Once you have completed your alcohol withdrawal, you will likely understand that picking up a bottle again would be very unwise. How about taking drugs, though? After all, you have a drinking problem, not a drug problem, right? Wrong! Be very careful around drugs if you have had a drinking problem, as drugs can act in the same way as alcohol. Picking up a drug after putting down a bottle can take you back to square one, and it might even leave you needing substance abuse treatment. The reason for this is that people in recovery frequently have addictive personalities. While one person might be able to indulge in drugs without developing a substance use disorder, this is usually not the case for people with alcohol addiction.

Alcohol Withdrawal - Unavoidable and Worthwhile

If you are reading this, it is likely that you or someone you love is either in alcohol withdrawal or will go through it soon. You may be feeling nervous about this, and you may find yourself wondering whether detoxing from alcohol is the right thing to do. The reality is that alcohol withdrawal is unpleasant, but it is a stage that a person with alcohol addiction has to go through before becoming well again. Not completing alcohol withdrawal means remaining addicted to alcohol. If you feel like you cannot go through withdrawal by yourself or worry that you may be in danger if you attempt it without medical supervision, contact Empowered Recovery. Our team of dedicated professionals are trained to deal with all aspects of alcohol withdrawal, so you can be sure you will be as safe and as comfortable as possible in this important part of your journey. Feel free to contact us to discuss how we can best meet your needs.

~ What Helps With Alcohol Withdrawal?

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