Alcohol Withdrawal

Man drinking alcohol on a bench

Alcohol withdrawal can be very tough, more so than from other drugs. Surely, anyone who is overindulging in alcohol would benefit from a cessation of drinking, but it is also important to know the dangers and risks of withdrawing suddenly or going “cold turkey.”

At a Narconon center, an alcoholic finds a completely drug-free rehab program that helps him thoroughly detoxify, which aids the person in recovering physical as well as emotional health. Every participant then learns the life skills that will keep him or her safe in challenging situations after graduation.

While many rehab programs for alcoholics state that “relapse is part of the recovery” from alcoholism, the goal of the Narconon program is to enable a person to achieve long-term recovery and remain alcohol-free.

Some Individuals May Need to Start with a Medical Detox

In an unkind twist of fate, those who finally take action to overcome their alcoholism can be subjected to severe and life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. After very heavy alcohol consumption over a period of time, sudden cessation of drinking can bring on agitation, fever and seizures. It can also trigger delirium tremens, a state of severe confusion that can also include hallucinations. In the case of heavy use, a person may need a medical detox prior to completing a nutritional based drug-free withdrawal, as is used in the Narconon program.

Who is Prone to DTs and Other Severe Symptoms?

It is not something every alcoholic will experience. Alcohol abusers must hit and maintain a certain level of alcohol consumption for a certain period of time before they will experience severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Of course, the exact quantity of alcohol that must be consumed will vary from person to person. But as a general guideline, severe withdrawal symptoms may trigger after several months of daily consumption of:

  • Four or five pints of wine OR
  • 7 to 8 pints of beer every day OR
  • A fifth of hard liquor (equivalent to 17 shots) OR
  • A combination of these drinks that contain an equivalent amount of alcohol.

Alternatively, if a person is an alcoholic, drinking continuously over a period of ten or more years, they may also trigger these severe symptoms on quitting.

What Care is Needed for a Person Going Through Alcohol Withdrawal?

The severe withdrawal that follows heavy alcohol use can be life-threatening. In this case, it’s important to have medical attention until symptoms subside. Medical monitoring should ensure that the person is not becoming dehydrated due to sweating, vomiting or diarrhea, and that they are not retaining excess water, which can also occur, just depending on the person’s physical condition. Alcoholics are also normally seriously deficient in nutrients and minerals, and these lacks can wreak havoc on their mental and physical stability. Good medical support for the alcoholics entering recovery should minimally include electrolytes, thiamine, folic acid and magnesium, to help stabilize the body and mind. This regimen can help alleviate some adverse effects of alcohol withdrawal.

In addition to the severe symptoms listed above, alcohol withdrawal can also include:

  • Headache
  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Agitation, anxiety and irritability
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heightened sensitivity to light and sound
  • Disorientation, an
  • Difficulty concentrating.

Conventional medical care for severe alcohol withdrawal requires sedation for the agitation and mental confusion that usually results. In the US, short-lasting benzodiazepines such as lorazepam (Ativan) are usually prescribed. Outside the US, anti-seizure medication that results in less sedation may be used.

Can a person go through alcohol withdrawal on an outpatient basis? Occasionally, and only with a thorough initial medical evaluation first. The withdrawal must be expected to be mild and the recovering person must be basically healthy and have a capable observer for every minute of the withdrawal.

How to Find a Good Medical Detox

Most drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers have relationships with facilities that perform medical detox. If you are trying to help a loved one recover from alcoholism, contact your closest Narconon drug rehab facility. If it is determined that a medical detox is needed, the staff there can help you locate one that will provide quality care in the healthiest possible manner for the one you are trying to help.

Recovery from Alcohol Abuse at Narconon

happy couple walking

And when that is complete, the Narconon drug and alcohol rehab program will help the person climb all the way out of their addiction, not just half-way. This drug and alcohol recovery program can set their feet on a stable and sober path for the rest of their life. It’s a long-term residential program that covers all the bases:

  • Thorough physical detoxification using exercise, nutrition and a dry-heat sauna
  • Nutritional support for physical recovery from the ravages of addiction or alcoholism
  • Counseling to help rekindle the hope of a happy life
  • Life skills training to boost the abilities that will maintain a drug-free life after graduation

The long-term, residential Narconon alcohol rehab program enables an alcohol addict to focus completely on recovery, on repairing the damage of the past and on planning a positive, productive future. Get help with alcohol addiction today.

Alcohol Abuse Does Destroy Lives—Don’t Let it Ruin the Life of your Loved One

While media seems to give more attention to illicit drug abuse than alcoholism, alcoholism is far more widespread, and takes lives and ruins people far more often. It’s just more socially acceptable to drink, in most circles, than take drugs like heroin, crack cocaine, methamphetamine or purloined OxyContin.

Famous figures have been dying due to their alcohol consumption for as long as there has been alcohol. In recent decades, these deaths have included: singer Billie Holiday, baseball player Mickey Mantle, writers F. Scott Fitzgerald and Truman Capote and musician Jim Morrison. Each year, about 15 million people report that they abuse or are dependent on alcohol, compared to about seven million abusing drugs or both.