Alcohol is classified as a central nervous system depressant, which affects the brain’s neurochemistry. The point of ingesting alcohol is to feel relaxed and at ease. However, in the brain, alcohol reduces the reactions of the CNS and decreases activity related to norepinephrine which is a hormone that makes people feel anxious and stressed. Norepinephrine provides people the fight-or-flight response necessary for survival but increases stress. Alcohol suppresses that by invigorating the neurotransmitter GABA which allows someone to feel euphoria and comfort after they drink. However, when a person drinks all the time, they disrupt the normal brain functions and feel far more stress and anxiety because their brain and CNS are compromised.
What Helps Alcohol Withdrawal?
The only cure for alcohol withdrawal without medical intervention is to consume more alcohol. It’s literally the only way someone on their own can feel better (or normal). This is why people suffering from an alcohol addiction can’t stop drinking on their own very effectively. In so many ways, the odds simply aren’t in their favor.
Medical doctors will sometimes advise a person to drink a measured amount of alcohol to suppress the alcohol withdrawal to prevent heart attack and seizures if the person cannot be seen by a medical team quickly. For this reason, alcohol withdrawals should be a priority in emergency rooms to help prevent more alcohol consumption while issuing a benzodiazepine swiftly — but often, it is not.
The safest solution is to be admitted into a medically supervised alcohol detox center instead of the local hospital. Unfortunately, in the hectic atmosphere of the emergency room, hospitals all too often ignore or underserve the needs of alcoholics and addicts. A treatment center that provides medically supervised alcohol detox helps the person stop drinking, restore their health, and allows them to rest and recover.
What Are Alcohol Withdrawals?
Alcohol withdrawals occur when a person has become physically dependent on alcohol. Alcohol withdrawals are extremely dangerous, and a person can die from them. The alcohol withdrawal symptoms cause the following to occur as soon as the alcohol levels reach zero in a person’s body. They include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Anxiety and intense worry
- High blood pressure
- Chills and fever
- Suicidal thoughts
Why Does Alcohol Cause Withdrawals?
Because alcohol reduces norepinephrine release, the body does not necessarily stop being prepared with hyperactive responses. In other words, even though alcohol is telling the brain not to become anxious and ready to fight or flight, it does not mean that the brain isn’t prepared. Essentially the brain is on hold while the alcohol flows through the body. The second the alcohol wears off, the brain floods the person’s system with vast amounts of norepinephrine and stress. This is why the heart rate jumps, why a person feels so nervous, and why they have hallucinations.
Excessive activity of the CNS (i.e., CNS hyperexcitability) that may culminate in motor seizures, and hallucinations and delirium tremens in the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal. It is these more severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal that are the most dangerous.
What Do The Experts Say About Alcohol Withdrawal?
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism explains the physical and even more detrimental psychological alcohol withdrawal symptoms in detail.
Withdrawal symptoms associated with cessation of chronic alcohol use are opposite to the effects of intoxication. Physical symptoms include rapid heartbeat, elevated blood pressure, excessive sweating, and shaking. Psychological symptoms include irritability, agitation, anxiety, dysphoria, insomnia, and inability to feel pleasure. The symptoms associated with psychological distress may cause the significant motivational factor that leads to relapse to heavy drinking. (NIAAA)
Alcohol Detox in Massachusetts
Evoke Wellness alcohol detox enlists medical doctors, psychiatrists, and substance abuse counselors to oversee a medically managed alcohol detox. The detox patient is monitored 24 hours a day by a medical team. A person undergoing alcohol detoxification receives benzodiazepines under taper protocols. In addition, beta-blockers such as Propranolol and Clonidine may also be prescribed to alleviate physical discomfort and insomnia.
After alcohol detox has been completed, recovery isn’t over. Rehab treatment will delve into the causes of your addiction. This way, you’ll better understand your triggers and how to resist them in recovery. With addiction, relapse is always a possibility. However, with the right alcohol addiction treatment, you stand a far better change at a successful, long-term recovery.
The priority for our patients is their physical and emotional comfort. We provide emotional support, medications, counseling, and regular doctor assessments until stable. For fast help, one phone call to 866.931.6429 provides access to medications and emotional support.