Got the Shakes? These are Signs You Need Alcohol Detox
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Alcoholism is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. It’s estimated that about 15-million people struggle with it, and fewer than 10% of those sufferers get the treatment they need. One of the main problems is that the majority of people don’t know how to spot alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Alcoholic tremors are just one of the many symptoms of alcohol withdrawal that mean detox is necessary. Keep reading to learn the signs of alcohol withdrawal, and what you can do.
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The Signs of Addiction
It can be hard to tell if someone is an alcoholic. They may drink so much that most of the symptoms are hidden. However, if you suspect someone may be an alcoholic it’s important to pay attention to their habits.
Does the person tend to drink at inappropriate times? Do they get through a lot more drinks a lot faster than everyone else in the room? Does their tolerance for alcohol seem incredibly high?
If someone is exhibiting these behaviors, they could be an alcoholic. If their drinking starts to affect their personal relationships, working life, and hobbies, this could be another big sign.
The easiest way to tell if someone is addicted and in need of detox, though, is to look for withdrawal symptoms.
Many alcoholics will go through withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit alcohol cold-turkey on their own. If you spend some time with that person in a situation where they can’t drink, you might notice some changes in their temperament. Let’s go over the signs of withdrawal and what to look out for.
The Signs of Alcohol Withdrawal
There are a lot of common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal that you can look out for in suspected alcoholics. These symptoms will most likely start 6 to 12 hours without alcohol, but may start sooner for some. The further along their addiction is, the sooner they might exhibit symptoms.
Some of the most common signs of alcohol withdrawal include:
- Alcoholic tremors (shakiness)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Anxiety, mood swings, short temper
- Excessive sweating and clamminess
- Loss of appetite, general feeling of unwellness
- Depression, tiredness, and dilated pupils
If you notice any of these symptoms when you’re around a suspected alcoholic who hasn’t been drinking, they may need detox. Pay close attention to the person and make sure they’re okay. If the symptoms get too severe, you should call a doctor.
Some of these symptoms are harder to spot than others. Asking is hard, too, as the sufferer may lie, brush them off, or show embarrassment.
The easiest symptom to notice is probably alcoholic tremors. Tremors look like involuntary shaking. It can happen to the entire body or just a particular area, and the tremors can be quite violent and noticeable.
With worse addictions come more severe symptoms, though. Let’s take a look at the more severe stages of alcohol withdrawal.
Severe Alcohol Withdrawal (Delirium Tremens)
One of the most severe forms of alcohol withdrawal is called delirium tremens. At this point, the sufferer needs to detox ASAP for the good of their health and wellbeing.
Delirium Tremens usually comes on after a period of binge drinking without eating enough food. If you’ve tried to stop drinking before and experienced withdrawal symptoms, you’re more likely to suffer from delirium tremens. Other factors that boost Delirium Tremens include head injuries and illnesses.
The symptoms of delirium tremens tend to come on long after an alcoholic has stopped drinking. This could mean two or three days, to as far as 10 days after a binge. Delirium tremens comes with similar and more sever symptoms than acute alcohol withdrawal, including:
- Alcoholic tremors and shaking
- Irritability, aggressive behavior
- Disorientation, confusion, and delirium
- Low attention span
- Sleeping for days at a time
- Mood swings, including sudden fear and excitement
- Restlessness and trouble sleeping
- Seizures in the worst case
Again, if you notice any of these symptoms you should absolutely call an ambulance. Delirium tremens is a life-threatening condition, especially if it leads to seizures. Do not hesitate to call 9-1-1, no matter how much the sufferer brushes it off.
How to Detox
The first step is to get your alcoholic loved one to realize the issue.
This can be very difficult, but it is possible. It may require an intervention from friends and family or a simple heart-to-heart. In the worst cases, it may be a trip to the hospital or police station that convinces them they need help.
There will likely be a struggle, especially if it includes going to a rehabilitation center. However, it’s important to do all you can to help your loved one. Their life is at risk, and no effort is too much when it comes to alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
The best way to detox an alcoholic is by sending them to rehab. Rehab workers know how to ween someone off of alcohol safely while offering top-of-the-line relaxation and counseling. They run a judgment-free space for alcoholics to recover how they need to.
Some alcoholics go through home detox, but this isn’t recommended. The cold-turkey method is especially not recommended, as it can shock the system completely. It may lead to delirium tremens, or even death.
If you absolutely must detox at home, weening off of alcohol is the correct way to do it. The alcoholic continues to drink, but in lesser and lesser amounts. This is combined with exercise, healthy eating, and general relaxation.
It’s important to surround the sufferer with love and compassion in this hard time. Never leave an alcoholic alone during home detox. The only way they’ll get through this is with help and love.
Alcoholic Tremors are Just the Beginning
Alcoholic tremors are perhaps the most commonly touted symptom of alcohol withdrawal, but they’re just the start. If you see someone suffering from alcoholic tremors, chances are they could use your help. They’re on the right track trying to detox, but detox is almost never successful alone.
If you or someone you love is suffering from alcohol withdrawal symptoms, don’t hesitate. Seek detox help right away. There’s a life at stake, and you could save it.
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