Know the Signs of Alcohol Withdrawal

How to manage alcohol withdrawal
Alcohol is one of the only substances from which withdrawal can be deadly.

Once someone with an alcohol addiction has decided to stop drinking, attempting to detox at home is never recommended. The physical and psychological symptoms associated with acute alcohol withdrawal can be severe and, in some cases, life-threatening.

Physical symptoms can include increased blood pressure, shaking, sweating, shivering and, in some cases, high fevers and seizures that can result in death. If left untreated, this can progress to delirium tremens (DTs). Delirium tremens (DTs) are the most dangerous symptom of severe alcohol withdrawal. DTs are a rapid onset of confusion and delirium that usually occur about three days after the last drink. DTs usually only occur in people who have consumed large amounts of alcohol for more than a month.

Mild withdrawal symptoms – such as anxiety, nausea and headaches – usually begin within eight hours of the last drink. The more severe symptoms, such as high blood pressure, confusion and seizures peak within 24 to 72 hours of the last drink.

While some of the symptoms begin to taper off after five to seven days of abstaining from alcohol, others may continue for weeks. Often, the physical withdrawal symptoms are the first to disappear. However, emotional and psychological symptoms, such as anxiety, depression and restlessness, can stick around for far longer.

At Gateway Foundation, patients entering treatment with an alcohol use disorder have access to 24-hour medical and nursing care through our withdrawal management program. In addition, our patients are able to learn about what they are experiencing and why, making it easier to deal with and understand their symptoms. This allows for a safe and comfortable transition as the individual begins their journey to lifelong recovery.

About Gateway Foundation
Since 1968 our goal has been straightforward: to help clients get their life back on track and achieve a life of sobriety, free from drug use and symptoms of mental illness, that is productive, socially responsible and healthy. Gateway Foundation is the largest nonprofit treatment provider in the country that specializes in the treatment of substance use disorders, providing treatment for men, women, adolescents and clients diagnosed with co-occurring mental health disorders.

Gateway's professional clinicians help thousands of individuals successfully complete treatment by developing a personalized plan that treats the underlying causes of substance abuse—not just addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Call 877.505.HOPE (4673)
to learn more about our treatment programs.


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