Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome Symptoms
Alcohol is a normal part of society around the world. Just about anywhere one goes, they can find alcohol served or sold. While it can be a catalyst for a good time in some settings, it can be incredibly harmful and even life-ending in other contexts. Alcohol is not a mysterious drug – its effects are well known – and that’s probably one of the most disturbing facts. This highly addictive substance can be more than just an outward problem for some, some can center their entire lives around it, and put them in an early grave.
The CDC defines moderate drinking as more than 4 drinks every day for a month. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal will usually appear in an individual who consumes more than this amount, and would then be considered an “excessive” drinker.
Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome
Consistently crossing this line and consuming excessive amounts of alcohol can lead to a physical dependence on alcohol. These physical dependencies usually amount to general uncomfortability, and can be resolved by more drinking. If one wants to completely rid themselves of the dependency, they must go through withdrawal, which generally means facing these symptoms head on, for weeks on end.
These symptoms generally include:
- Uncontrollable shaking
- Rapid/irregular heartbeat and elevated blood pressure
- Excessive sweating
- Increased sensitivity (light, skin sensitivity)
Unfortunately, these symptoms are a huge barrier to many trying to get clean. Since alcohol dependence is such a well-studied area, many people know of the dangers that accompany quitting. Thankfully there are still options to help individuals who want to get clean:
- Traditional Rehab
- Daytime outpatient programs
- Evening outpatient programs
- Sober Houses
Reckless Drug Use When Drinking
Reckless alcohol use usually doesn’t stop with just alcohol, and can lead into many different dependencies at once. The mixtures of alcohols and different drugs are also well known enough that people regularly abuse them together, though their effects and dangers are multiplied.
The combinations of these substances can lead to hospitalization or even death:
- Alcohol and opioids
- Alcohol and benzodiazepines
- Alcohol and stimulants
- Alcohol and antidepressants
- Alcohol and antipsychotics
While many of these drugs are controlled, they are still prescribed and one who already drinks often must fight the compulsion to mix these substances together.
Relationships and Alcoholism
Regular alcohol intoxication and excessive drinking can put a massive strain on good relationships. Family members and good friends might reach out to a loved one that is suffering from alcohol addiction, if you or a loved one experiences any of these traits make sure to sit down and open the conversation:
- Daily overconsumption
- Blacking out
- Drug use accompanying drinking
- Impaired social or occupational ability
- Missing school or work to continue drinking
- Legal difficulties
- Unusual arguments with family and friends
Remember that any one of these issues alone is not a sign of a drinking problem. Couple a number of these with excessive alcohol consumption and it may be time to open a dialogue. Remember that if at any point you or a loved one thinks that there is a problem, it’s never impolite to begin a conversation in private.
Blackouts come in the form of an excessive night of over-drinking. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can cause major gaps in memory, this is what’s known as a blackout. In some cases, partial blackouts occur, in which the individual might remember stuff as time goes on, or seeing photos or videos from the night before might bring the memories back. In other cases, memory loss is permanent.
Knowing if a friend is blacked out is hard to tell, if you think a friend is blacked out, ask them a simple question 3-4 times throughout the night after you suspect the blackout has occurred. Something easy like “what’s the color of your shirt exactly?” If they respond the same way every time, without hesitation, they may be blacked out. Someone who hasn’t blacked out might recognize the repeated question and eventually respond with “you already asked me that.” If you suspect a friend has blacked out, take them home.