Consuming alcohol on a daily basis for long periods of time can lead to a psychological and physical dependence on alcohol. When the person attempts to stop consuming alcohol; alcohol withdrawal symptoms appear. The degree of the symptoms will depend upon the level of dependence the person’s body has developed.
Binge Drinking Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Some people consume alcohol in large quantities with the intention of becoming intoxicated. Known as binge drinking, it is prevalent in younger people. Many young people begin their path to alcoholism (dependence on alcohol) with binge drinking. Drinking is usually done socially in the company of friends or at parties and occurs on the weekend or during leisure time. The hangover that usually follows binge drinking is actually short term alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
When someone who has a pattern of binge drinking; emotional and psychological alcohol withdrawal symptoms may occur. The person may feel an inability to enjoy themselves in a social setting without alcohol. Feelings of isolation and anxiety may plague the person due to being different from the other people present (and drinking) in the social setting. When certain enjoyable activities (such as sports events or parties) are associated with alcohol consumption, the person may feel inadequate when trying to engage the activity without alcoholic drinks. Alcohol may have provided the person a sense of well being and the person may not feel comfortable without consuming alcohol.
In order to be successful in their plight to stop alcohol consumption, the person may need to form a support network of people who do not drink and refrain from being in situations where the temptation or pressure to drink is around. In time, as the person learns different social behaviors and can engage in leisure activities without alcohol, the symptoms should subside.
Mild to Moderate Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
When a person moves from occasional binge drinking to consuming alcohol on a more routine basis (often progressing to daily); alcohol becomes a means to cope with stress and life. The person starts to need the alcohol in order to function. At this point emotional dependence occurs and physical dependence begins. If alcohol consumption is stopped, the person will develop alcohol withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms may include:
- Nervousness and anxiety
- Irritability and mood swings
- Confusion and fatigue
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sweating (palms and face) and cold clammy skin
- Insomnia and disturbing dreams
- Heart palpitations, person may feel they are experiencing a heart attack.
Mild to moderate alcohol withdrawal symptoms are seldom life threatening but make it very difficult for the person to keep their commitment to not drink alcohol. A person has a much better chance of being successful if they are honest about their alcohol consumption and seek the assistance of a trained professional. If symptoms cannot be overcome; an inpatient rehabilitation facility may help.
Severe Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
When a person has drunk alcohol on a daily basis for a long period of time, the body becomes dependent and cannot function without it. If alcohol is withdrawn severe life threatening symptoms can occur. Delirium tremors may happen that cause the person to convulse, have hallucinations and lose mental capacity. The heart can beat erratically and may stop all together.
If a person has alcoholism of this severity, treatment needs to occur in a medical facility with close monitoring. Sedative drugs and supervision will help ensure the person’s safety. If you think you have an alcohol problem of any degree; your chance of stopping alcohol consumption successfully is much better if you seek professional help and have the support of friends and family.