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Is Alcohol Withdrawal Dangerous?

Alcohol addiction is one of the most common disorders in the world. Many people who have an addiction can overcome it with the right help. If you're worried about alcohol abuse in your own life or about somebody you love, you're in the right place.

Deciding to become sober is always a step worth taking. Quitting is possible for a person no matter their age or background. If you or somebody you love is thinking about quitting drinking for good, you may wonder if alcohol withdrawal is dangerous.

The truth is that, yes, it can be dangerous if done unsupervised and cold turkey. However, in the long term, it is much more hazardous to continue to drink heavily. That's why it's important to have supervision or guidance when you first get sober.

Understanding Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol is a depressant that slows down the functioning of the central nervous system, causing a feeling of relaxation and less inhibition. When a person becomes addicted to alcohol, they have typically been abusing alcohol for a long time. Repeated alcohol abuse makes their body become conditioned to the presence of alcohol. It’s used to having its fill of drinks, and will give out uncomfortable signals when it senses it is being deprived.

This deprivation sends out warning signals to the body, causing withdrawal symptoms. Many withdrawal symptoms are mild, but there’s no guessing what they will be when you’re in the middle of it.

Alcohol Withdrawal: Is it Dangerous?

Yes, alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous under certain conditions.

Alcohol addiction is a disease that changes the brain as well as the body. A person who is addicted to alcohol will develop a tolerance to alcohol. A drinker pneeds to drink more alcohol, more often to get the same effects they seek.

When a person wants to quit drinking, they often think they should do it on their own. Most people who eventually quit have tried several times. Many alcoholics who try to stop will discover that they suffer from withdrawal symptoms. This means that they get shaky, sweat, have tachycardia, experience headaches or fevers, or a host of other medical symptoms.

Dangerous Withdrawal Symptoms

Some people with a physical dependence on alcohol are able to quit without any professional intervention. There are many people, for example, that get sober through 12-step meetings. However, there are exceptions that may require medical assistance. A person who has been drinking heavily for years may experience wild mood swings, anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations or seizures. They may become delusional and aggressive. An alcohol-addicted person may also be masking mental illness symptoms that become exacerbated during withdrawal.

It’s important to have supervision and clinical help available to address any of these issues. Withdrawal symptoms can appear withing just 8-12 hours of not drinking. They can also seem to appear out of nowhere several days after a person’s last drink. Later onset symptoms are usually more severe and can include seizures, delusions and other life-threatening symptoms. This is why it’s important to seek professional help when detoxing from alcohol.

Getting Help

Realizing you need help is the first step to a new beginning. We've helped many people find their way to long-term sobriety and reclaim their life without the use of any substances. Learn more about how we can help by calling 619-363-4767.



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Mark G
Mark Gladden brings both personal and professional experience to his role as co-founder of Present Moments Recovery. Now in long-term recovery himself after struggling with addiction for years, Mark understands firsthand the challenges men face in achieving and maintaining sobriety. It was this insight, combined with a desire to help others, that led Mark to establish Present Moments Recovery.

Get in Touch with Our Caring Team

We are waiting for your call. Don’t hesitate, pick up the phone and dial 619-363-4767 today.

Your first call will be greeted by one of our intake counselors who will be able to provide information on what program would be appropriate for your situation, as well as information about the process of getting treatment at our facility, if appropriate.

If Present Moments is the right fit for your current situation you will be speaking to Admissions Director Mark Gladden, who will be your guide throughout the process of arranging travel and undergoing an initial detox (if necessary). Mark has been the guide for dozens of men and women who have gotten their lives back by entering treatment at Present Moments. He has earned his reputation as being truly dedicated to the recovery of others. Mark will be the one to ‘show you the ropes’ when it comes to admitting to our facility for treatment

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