The journey to sobriety is paved with obstacles, but getting past them helps you become a stronger, healthier person. One of the biggest milestones when overcoming alcohol addiction is getting past the period of withdrawal, which happens when you decide to quit drinking “cold turkey”.

Symptoms of withdrawal can differ in severity and may not manifest the same for two individuals. They can be both physical and psychological, and some require a lot of strength to overcome. Be it because you want to learn how to spot these symptoms on yourself or you want to help a loved one overcome addiction, here’s what to keep in mind.

Why do withdrawal symptoms appear?

Alcohol acts as a depressant and slows down brain function. When a person drinks frequently and heavily, their brain will start compensating for these depressant effects by overproducing stimulating chemicals. This quickly becomes the new normal for an addict’s brain.

When an individual stops drinking all of a sudden, their brain will continue to overproduce these chemicals, which leads to the unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal. In time, the brain will readjust, but until that happens, the individual may feel unwell.

Not everyone experiences withdrawal symptoms. Some may not experience them at all, while others can find it difficult to overcome them. As experts at one of the best alcohol treatment centers Los Angeles has to offer explain, these symptoms are split into two categories: mild and severe.

Mild symptoms of withdrawal

Individuals that are less dependent will most likely experience mild withdrawal symptoms, including uncontrollable shakes and sweats, headaches, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure and nausea.

These symptoms are bothersome, but they are not necessarily dangerous and can be tackled. They can be accompanied by alcohol cravings, making abstinence that much more difficult. The best way to understand them is to think of your worst hangover. Withdrawal symptoms are similar but can last for a longer time.

Serious symptoms of withdrawal

For those with a more severe drinking problem, symptoms can accentuate, especially within the first 48 hours of not consuming alcohol.

These symptoms include severe manifestations of the symptoms mentioned above, as well as convulsion and seizures, which can become dangerous for the patient. This is why it is recommended to seek professional help, to avoid relapse. In some cases, severe symptoms may evolve into delirium tremens, which can result in medical complications.

Delirium Tremens

Delirium tremens (DT) happen in severe cases of withdrawal and can be fatal without proper medical care. One in 20 people who develop DT end up losing their lives. Usually, DT happens after three to five days of abstinence, and it is recommended you seek medical care if you believe yourself or a loved one may be prone to experiencing it.
Symptoms of delirium tremens include agitation, severe confusion, fever and excessive sweating, hallucinations, heart arrhythmia, mood changes, sensitivity to light and sound, as well as tremors and seizures.

After about5 to 7 days, most of these symptoms will start going away, and you will start feeling like yourself again. However, feel encouraged to seek support any moment you believe these symptoms may reappear.

Author's Bio: 

Leland is a successful blogger whose articles aim to help readers with self-development, entrepreneurship and content management. Connect with Rick on Twitter and LinkedIn.