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Alcohol withdrawal syndrome: symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Although it is an alcohol, it is a substance accepted throughout the world as an essential element in most social gatherings; it should not be forgotten that it is a drug since its effects on the central nervous system can be devastating. In the same way, like many other drugs, it can produce dependence in those who consume it indiscriminately.

When a person who is dependent on a substance, such as alcohol, in this case, stops using it suddenly, it can produce a condition with many adverse effects. In this FastlyHealarticle, we will explain alcohol withdrawal syndrome: symptoms and treatment so that you know what to do if someone close to you suffers from this condition.

What is alcohol withdrawal syndrome?

When a person has consumed alcohol regularly and in excessive amounts for a long time, their body adapts to the effects of alcohol, generating tolerance and getting used to its presence, thus creating an addiction. As a result, when the affected person abruptly reduces alcohol consumption, the body produces a series of physical and psychological disorders known as withdrawal syndrome.

Causes of alcohol withdrawal syndrome

Alcohol is a substance considered a drug as it directly affects the central nervous system. This effect decreases the number of nerve impulses by stimulating a receptor system with an inhibitory function, a product that is similar to that produced by anxiolytic drugs. As a consequence of the constant presence of alcohol in the body, the amount of inhibitory receptors in the central nervous system decreases. As a consequence of this decrease, when alcohol consumption is stopped, the nervous system cannot regulate nerve impulses correctly, creating a state of hyperarousal that explains the symptoms of withdrawal syndrome.

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome

The severity of the symptoms that occur as a result of the withdrawal syndrome depends mainly on certain factors such as the intensity of addiction and alcohol consumption, certain genetic factors, age, and the presence of other diseases. Symptoms can appear within hours or a few days after stopping alcohol consumption.

Most withdrawal symptoms are due to central nervous system hyperarousal, and generally, the most common include:

  • Alcohol consumption anxiety
  • Insomnia and sleep disorders
  • Hypervigilance
  • Tremors and excessive sweating
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

In more severe cases of withdrawal syndrome, symptoms such as:

  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Delirium tremens causing tachycardia, hypertension, fever, and extreme agitation

In some cases, it can even lead to death due to cardiovascular problems, trauma, or metabolic disturbances. These more serious conditions usually last 5 to 10 days.

Wondering how long the alcohol withdrawal syndrome lasts? In the following article we will tell you about it.

Treatment of alcohol withdrawal syndrome

The goal of alcohol withdrawal syndrome treatment is to adequately eliminate alcohol consumption while controlling the symptoms caused by the syndrome.

After 2 or 3 days after stopping alcohol, the patient can enter the most critical stage of the withdrawal syndrome, in which most of the symptoms are manifested. Treatment involves anxiolytic and anticonvulsant medications to control the more severe symptoms, such as hallucinations and seizures.

Due to digestive disorders resulting from loss of appetite and vomiting, it is essential to ensure that the affected person’s diet is adequate, administering vitamin supplements if necessary. Drinking plenty of water is recommended to avoid dehydration. In the most severe cases, hospitalization of the affected person may be required to prevent a possible hypertensive crisis and promote adequate hydration through an intravenous line.

Once the critical phase of the withdrawal syndrome has been overcome, treatment focuses on preventing the affected person from returning to addiction when consuming alcohol again. The most important thing is the patient’s willpower. When necessary, you can consult with psychologists, and the support of family members is also essential.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Alcohol withdrawal syndrome: symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our category of Mental disorders .

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