Effects of Alcohol Abuse and Withdrawal

Those who abuse alcohol are more likely to suffer accidental injuries.

Alcoholism not only destroys connections with family and loved ones, it can make a direct impact on your safety due to impaired judgement skills coupled with lowered inhibitions. Accidental injuries and death caused while operating a motor vehicle, machinery or swimming are more likely to happen when one is under the influence of alcohol. Studies show that one is more likely to commit or be a victim of a violent crime when a person develops an AUD. Making poor decisions such as engaging in risky, unprotected sex or falling victim to sexual abuse is more likely for individuals who drink excessively. Sadly, those who have drinking problems are even more likely to attempt or complete suicide. Therefore, it’s imperative to find a skilled alcohol treatment center to help guide a person through the recovery process.

Alcohol abuse leads to a multitude of health issues.

Risks are most certainly a legitimate reason to consider undergoing an alcohol rehabilitative treatment, however, it’s important to highlight the devastation AUD’s have on one’s health. Many people are aware that women who consume alcohol during pregnancy can lead to birth defects and miscarriages, but did you know that it can interrupt menstruation? Furthermore, men have reported cases of erectile disfunction. Your liver, stomach, heart and pancreas are also at risk when one consumes too much alcohol. High blood pressure, inflammation of the liver (alcoholic hepatitis), pancreatitis and digestive problems are just a few conditions that are linked to the consumption of alcohol. Complications in diabetic patients are common since drinking alcohol can lower a patient’s blood sugar, resulting in hypoglycemia. It’s common for those who drink excessively to have weakened immune systems, making your body less resistant to diseases and illnesses. Thinning bones (osteoporosis) is linked to those who consume high levels of alcohol, resulting in fractures, especially when one’s hand/eye coordination is also impaired. Patients have also reported neurologic complications such as short-term memory loss, dementia and disordered thoughts. Risks to certain cancers have also been associated with excessive alcohol use including breast, colon, liver, esophagus, mouth and throat.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

As with other addictions, the first step towards recovery is recognizing that there’s a problem. Movies and television have stereotyped those with an alcohol use disorder as a sloppy, unemployed person, who stumbles through life with a handle of hard liquor in hand. Eliminate that image from your mind! Most men and women who are struggling with alcohol addiction and alcohol withdrawal live relatively high-functioning lives, meaning they are well-respected, some are parents, have great careers and are vital assets to the community. Unfortunately, it’s easy for just a couple of drinks after work to transform into a serious problem.

Once a person becomes physically or psychologically dependent on alcohol, their “drinking issue” has now manifested to alcoholism. Even if the person is aware of the negative impacts that drinking causes to his/her life, the individual will continue down the rabbit hole. Often the person no longer recognizes the negative impact alcohol has made on his/her life or is not willing to accept the situation at hand. It usually takes a significant life event (DUI or Jail time) for one to recognize that he/she is suffering from an addiction, or at least admits there is a problem. A study discovered that alcohol-associated deaths accounted 88,000 deaths annually, which accounts for 10% of all US deaths (Campos, 2018).

Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be described in five phases:

6 Hours:

Minor withdrawal symptoms begin about six hours after your last drink. These symptoms include anxiety, headache, insomnia, nausea and abdominal pains. Those with long histories of heavy drinking could have a seizure as soon as 6 hours after ceasing alcohol consumption.

12 to 24 Hours:

A small amount of people experience auditory and visual hallucinations at this point.

24 to 48 Hours:

Minor withdrawal symptoms continue during this time period. Additional symptoms may include shaking and heavy sweating.

48 to 72 Hours:

People can experience delirium tremens (DTs) or alcohol withdrawal delirium during this phase. A very high heart rate, elevated body temperature and seizers.

72 Hours:

This is the phase when alcohol withdrawal symptoms are most severe. People may experience illusions (seeing things that aren’t there) and a racing heart. High blood pressure, continued perspiration and fever may also occur.

Alcohol Withdrawal
timeline of the effects of alcohol addiction and the stages of alcohol withdrawal.

Medically Monitored Alcohol Detox

Most people struggle with the idea of needing professional medically assistance alcohol abuse treatment. The truth is, the success rate for individuals who try to quit drinking on their own is very low. Moreover, many people are not aware of the level of severity alcohol withdrawal symptoms can have over them. Patients report side effects such as nausea, shakiness, depression or fatigue during the detox process. Some may experience spikes in blood pressure and temperature, suffer mood swings or experience anxiety. Pain will likely become debilitating and patients may begin trembling, experience hallucinations and seizures. During this time of discomfort, our compassionate staff will be by your side 24/7. The team at Daylight Recovery Center is well-versed with the detox process and prides themselves with providing a safe and trusting environment for patients during this difficult time. The key to helping someone overcome an addiction successfully is to provide the tools and knowledge that the patient needs, in a compassionate, safe and encouraging environment, for him/her to live a fulfilling life free from alcohol addiction.

Campos, M. (2018, December 20) Alcohol use disorder: When is drinking a problem? Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/alcohol-use-disorder-when-is-drinking-a-problem-2018122015585

Nall, R. (2019, June 10) How Long Does It Take to Detox from Alcohol? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/alcoholism/how-long-does-it-take-to-detox-from-alcohol

Ambardekar, N. (2017, August 27) What Is Alcohol Withdrawal? Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/alcohol-withdrawal-symptoms-treatments#1