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Most people in the recovery and treatment community believe that addiction is a chronic disease. This is because once it manifests, without some type of positive intervention, it is almost always only going to get worse, never better. It is also what is known as an “unmanageable” disease. This is because people who have an addiction are unable to control it on their own. However, even though addiction is unmanageable, there are some ways to manage alcohol withdrawal so one can be safe as they begin their recovery.

What Is Alcohol Withdrawal?

Alcohol withdrawal is relatively simple on paper. It is the negative symptoms that people with alcohol use disorder (AUD) experience when they abruptly stop ingesting alcohol. Of course, for people going through alcohol withdrawal, the experience is much more complex.

According to a publication by Acta Neurologica Scandinavica, “An estimated 76.3 million people worldwide have alcohol use disorders (AUDs), and these account for 1.8 million deaths each year. It is estimated that up to 42% of patients admitted to general hospitals, and one‐third of patients admitted to hospital intensive care units (ICU) have AUD. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) is a well‐known condition occurring after intentional or unintentional abrupt cessation of heavy/constant drinking, and it occurs in about 8% of hospitalized AUD inpatients.” These are staggering statistics, and they must be a wake-up call to intensify efforts to help people who are struggling.

Not Taking Alcohol Withdrawal Lightly

Many people think that they are doing the right thing when they decide to stop drinking alcohol “cold turkey.” Yes, the first step toward alcohol recovery is putting down the drink. However, this can be very dangerous depending on certain factors specific to the individual.

For people who struggle with AUD, have been drinking continuously for a long period of time, and have had a lot of alcohol right before they stopped drinking, alcohol withdrawal can be very dangerous. For some individuals, alcohol withdrawal can even cause seizures, stroke, heart attack, and hallucinations (often referred to as delirium tremens).

According to the clinical write-up titled Alcohol Withdrawal, by Doctors Newman, Gallagher, and Gomez, “The prognosis often depends on the severity of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Clinical outcomes such as length of hospital length of stay, length of time in the ICU, and alcohol withdrawal syndrome complications often show significant differences based on alcohol withdrawal syndrome severity and are worse with more severe manifestations of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Mortality is also greater in patients who progress to delirium tremens.” That is how serious alcohol withdrawal syndrome is. Alcohol is one of the very few substances in which its withdrawals can be life-threatening.

Alcohol Withdrawal Management

It is important to remember that the best alcohol withdrawal management involves reaching out to a professional for guidance and help. However, before doing so, some management steps can be taken to ensure that the process is as safe as it can be.

The first step to alcohol withdrawal management is to let someone close know what is going on. They will be able to keep an eye out if anything serious begins to happen before professional intervention can occur. The next way to manage alcohol withdrawal is to stay hydrated and, if possible, consume some calories. Many people don’t realize just how dehydrated and nutrient-depleted individuals struggling with AUD can become.

It is also important to manage alcohol withdrawal in a safe space, preferably with someone else around. Alcohol withdrawal can cause serious confusion and disorientation. Thus, being in a safe space in which an individual will be the least likely to harm themself if they become hazy. If possible, and an individual cannot get to a detox center, it can be very helpful to contact a medical professional (such as a primary care provider) and ask them for their advice on alcohol withdrawal management. In some instances, people have been advised not to stop cold turkey, but to gradually reduce their drinking. Still, this method should only be practiced upon the advice of a professional.

Healing With The Phoenix Recovery Center

Ultimately, here at The Phoenix Recovery Center, our primary concern is that people start their recovery journey in the safest possible way. We have found this to be through a thorough and professional detox process.

Here at The Phoenix Recovery Center, we understand that detox can be a scary proposition. On the other hand, we also understand it to be one of the bravest and most important choices a person will ever make. The key is to remember that, with the right help, the discomfort will pass, and with the right help, the future will always be friendly and bright in sobriety.

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome should not be taken lightly. The best thing to do is to reach out to professionals for help when the symptoms arise. However, while this process is going on, there are some tips and techniques for managing alcohol withdrawal syndrome and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. This includes staying hydrated, trying to get enough sleep, and focusing on replenishing nutrients. If you feel like you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol withdrawal syndrome or any other issues with addiction or mental health illnesses, we can help get you on the road to successful long-term recovery. For more information about managing alcohol withdrawal syndrome, please reach out to The Phoenix Recovery Center today at (801) 438-3185.

The Phoenix Recovery Center
489 W. South Jordan Pkwy
Suite 400
South Jordan, UT