How To Safely Get Through Alcohol Withdrawal
Its 100% possible to get through alcohol withdrawal safely with the right medical care. There are many effective treatments available to get you through withdrawal and recover from alcohol altogether. Seeking treatment is always a much safer option than trying to go through alcohol withdrawal on your own. A healthcare provider can tell you whether you can go through withdrawal at home or if you should get medical treatment. As always, ask your doctor before attempting withdrawal.
Here are some of the most commonly used treatments to help people get through alcohol withdrawal and further recovery from alcohol addiction.
Badness Coming Back Out
I also had a lot of weight to loseI had seventy pound, easily to get to the ideal weight that I wanna be.Ive lost 30But by losing all that weight, its releasing all the toxins from the cellulite in your body.Your body hasnt got the option of trapping the toxins into the fat anymore, so it has to deal with it it has to release them in some way, and when its releasing them its diverting resources that it would otherwise give you to keep yourself going.And thats with my personal experience.Like I say, its gonna be different for everyone.
Typical Recovery Sleep Problems
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration , 25% to 72% of people with alcohol use disorders report sleep troubles. The more prevalent, disruptive effects include more frequent awakenings, worse sleep quality, reduction of deep sleep, and earlier-than-usual waking times, leading people to feel they did not get enough sleep.
Studies have found that:
- Sleep problems can last for many months after quitting drinking.
- Recovering alcoholics typically have more problems with sleep onset than with sleep maintenance.
- Many recovering alcoholics had sleep problems that predate their alcohol dependence.
Research also shows that sleep disruption can last long after alcohol withdrawal symptoms cease. They may continue to occur in the two to six months of abstinence following withdrawal. Currie notes that recovery and abstinence are more challenging if you aren’t able to get enough good-quality sleep.
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How Is Alcohol Withdrawal Diagnosed
Alcohol withdrawal is usually diagnosed in the hospital or a rehab center, where people might go intentionally to detox or because their withdrawal symptoms have become a medical emergency. Healthcare providers often use an assessment called the Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment for Alcohol, or the CIWA-Ar, to figure out how severe someones withdrawal symptoms are. The scale asks about different symptoms, including nausea, hallucinations, and anxiety.
Your healthcare provider might also conduct a physical exam to see how severe your withdrawal symptoms are. They may check for signs of dehydration, a fast or abnormal heart rate, and fever, among others.
Cold Turkey Vs Tapering
If you have been using alcohol heavily, it is never recommended to simply quit cold turkey. Quitting cold turkey is widely regarded as a dangerous move for the simple fact that it can trigger seizures and other dangerous side effects. In order to avoid seizures and minimize withdrawal symptoms, it is important to gradually taper off of alcohol. Those who quit cold turkey or taper too quickly will likely experience significantly more severe withdrawal symptoms.
In order to successfully taper off of alcohol, it is best to come up with some sort of tapering protocol based on how much you currently drink . On average it is recommended to reduce your alcohol consumption by about 2 drinks per day until you are down to zero. So if you start at 30 drinks a day, cut down to 28 drinks your second day, 26 your third day, etc. until you have reached zero.
Although you may be highly motivated to kick your drinking habit and function sober, it is recommended to avoid trying to taper too quickly. If you have been drinking consistently, you should not be making drastic cuts in the amount of alcohol you drink daily. People who drop from 25 drinks per day to 10 drinks then 0 drinks are going to likely end up with very debilitating withdrawal symptoms some of which may be dangerous.
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Alcohols Lasting Effects On Sleep
Because of the damage that alcohol can do to your sleep cycles, sleep problems are common, even if you stop drinking. You may notice some worsened insomnia during alcohol withdrawal. However, you may continue to have trouble sleeping for years after you stop drinking.
Some people in recovery may try to start drinking again to improve their sleep. However, the alcohol will continue to damage their sleep cycles, and the problem will not get better.
Preventing Alcohol Withdrawal Insomnia
There are some ways to provide yourself with an alcohol insomnia cure. Although none of the possible strategies may work correctly, many may help to lessen the symptoms. Alcohol causes insomnia when it gradually leaves your system, creating sleeplessness as a withdrawal symptom. Therefore, helping your body to adjust is the best way to prevent further restless nights.
Methods of easing insomnia alcohol withdrawal include:
- Relaxing activities before bed
- Eat Omega 3 to help your body replenish
- Eat Protein to help your body recover
- Find a safe, natural substitute for the substance
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Alcohol Withdrawal Insomnia Symptoms
Alcohol insomnia tends to be quite recognizable due to its symptoms. Insomnia from alcohol may present itself in some ways, including:
- Frequently waking during the night
- Not being able to fall asleep at all
- Restlessness and nightmares
- Anxiety when trying to sleep
- Waking up still feeling exhausted
The symptoms of insomnia from alcohol withdrawal also tends to worsen other symptoms, such as mood swings and depression. This is down to the persons lack of sleep. That is why it is important to get to the roots of what is causing the sleep disorder, as there may be a way to lessen it.
When To Call A Professional
Get help if you or someone you love has an alcohol-related problem. Alcoholism is an illness that can be treated.
If you have an alcohol dependency problem and have decided to stop drinking, call your doctor for help. Your doctor can advise you and can prescribe medicines to make withdrawal symptoms more tolerable if they occur. Your doctor can also put you in touch with local resources that will help you to stay alcohol free.
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What Options Exist For Treating Insomnia In Alcoholic Patients
A number of effective pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatment options exist to manage insomnia. Most have been evaluated in non-alcoholic insomnia patients so their efficacy in alcoholic patients is uncertain. Moreover, treating insomnia in the alcoholic patients requires special consideration because of the abuse history and potential for overdose with some pharmacological agents when mixed with alcohol. Clinical guidelines have been recommended for addressing insomnia complaints in early recovery.43 Good sleep practices should be discussed with all recovering alcoholic patients, but adjunctive insomnia treatment should be initiated if sleep problems persist beyond one month and are accompanied by daytime impairment and/or psychological distress.
What Causes Alcohol Withdrawal
Alcohol is a depressant that mimics GABA, which is the primary inhibitory or calming neurotransmitter in our brains. The alcoholic brain decreases its long-term GABA production because it has learned to rely on alcohol for the same effect.
To make matters worse, alcohol suppresses glutamate, which is an excitatory neurotransmitter. Glutamate has the opposite effect as GABA, making our brains hyperactive and our experience of the world hypersensitive.
When an alcoholic stops drinking suddenly, two important things happen:
- Glutamate rebounds to high levels within 3-8 hours
- GABA does not return to normal levels
Many of the symptoms above are caused by a lack of GABA and an excess of glutamate.
Alcoholism is a complex condition, and many other biochemical processes are involved in alcohol withdrawal symptoms. But in case youve been suspecting that youre doomed or youre losing your mind, it can be very helpful to be aware of the GABA/glutamate mechanism.
The following graphic may help you to grasp a fuller picture of the biochemistry involved:
Alcoholism is not a sinister curse it is a biochemical disorder that can be conquered.
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Sleep Problems Associated With Alcohol Cessation
Between 25 and 72 percent of people in treatment for an alcohol use disorder complain of sleep problems, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration . These sleep issues can include insomnia, disrupted sleep patterns, sleep apnea, or other sleep-disordered breathing. SAMHSA statistics indicate such sleep problems can last weeks, months, or even years after drinking stops.
Multiple studies support the finding that those in recovery from an AUD often experience sleep disturbances that last up to months or longer, and that getting to sleep was the most reported challenge. The lack of quality sleep poses a threat to recovery, as it may be associated with adverse health effects or relapse.
David Hodgins, professor of psychology at the University of Calgary, was quoted by ScienceDaily as stating, Sleep has a reputation among the recovering community of being one of the last things that fall back into place for an individual. Its also recognized as a potential precipitant of relapse.
Can Alcohol Withdrawal Be Fatal
Alcohol withdrawal can absolutely be fatal, especially if you try to go through it on your own.
Although theyre relatively rare, the following are three conditions related to alcohol withdrawal that can be life-threatening. If you notice any of their symptoms, its important to get medical care immediately.
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What Happens After Two Weeks Of No Alcohol
After getting past the initial danger and unpleasantness of withdrawal, those who quit drinking will begin to experience the benefits of better sleep and adequate hydration. In general, people tend to start feeling happier, with fewer mood swings and a better overall mood.
Concentration tends to improve drastically, and blood pressure begins to normalize. This, in turn, helps to lessen the risk of associated health problems with the heart and liver.
Who Is At Risk For Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome
People who have an addiction to alcohol or who drink heavily on a regular basis and are not able to gradually cut down are at high risk of AWS.
AWS is more common in adults, but children and teenagers who drink excessively may also experience the symptoms. Youre also at risk for AWS if youve previously had withdrawal symptoms or needed medical detox for a drinking problem.
The define heavy drinking as more than eight drinks per week for women and more than 15 drinks per week for men. The following are the equivalent of one drink:
- 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits or liquor, including gin, rum, vodka, and whiskey
- 5 ounces of wine
- 8 ounces of malt liquor
- 12 ounces of beer
Binge drinking is the most common form of heavy drinking. For women, its defined as four or more drinks in one sitting. For men, its defined as five or more drinks in one sitting.
Your doctor will review your medical history, ask about your symptoms, and conduct a physical exam. Some signs your doctor will look for include:
- hand tremors
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Why Does Alcohol Make Me Sleepy
Since alcohol has sedating effects, it can make people feel sleepy. One of the main effects of alcohol is on enhancing the function of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid , the bodys main inhibitory neurotransmitter.2 In basic words, GABA slows everything down. This slowing of brain activity can contribute to a sense of tiredness, making a person feel more sleepy.
And while this may seem like a reason to use alcohol to manage insomnia, with continued use, you quickly develop a tolerance to alcohols sedating effects.7 This rapid development of tolerance is associated with increased self-administration of alcohol before bedtime, which could potentially escalate to an alcohol use disorder.
How Long After Stopping Drinking Will I Stop Feeling Tired
It may take about three to twelve months after treatment before you stop feeling tired. During the detox process, your body and your brain try to readjust to life before alcohol use.
The severity of the physical symptoms and the psychological symptoms depends on several factors, such as the severity and duration of alcohol use.
People who are mild drinkers may feel slightly tired when they stop drinking. But the symptom may not persist for weeks.
However, those struggling with chronic alcohol addiction may struggle with the feeling of tiredness for months after treatment.
Many people feel tired after drinking. This feeling is because of the calming and relaxing effect of taking a drink. A night of over-indulging may result in you fighting weariness the next day.
Drinking lowers your Rapid Eye Movement , leading to poor quality sleep. When you wake up, you’ll feel drained of energy and will struggle to concentrate.
When you choose recovery, the body experiences alcohol withdrawal symptoms as it works to get rid of the toxins. Most recovering alcoholics report having trouble sleeping .
This symptom is expected in early recovery and may persist for three months. In cases of chronic alcohol addiction, the feeling of exhaustion may last up to a year.
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Vivid Dreams: Alcohol Withdrawal Nightmares
One that is often disregarded or neglected to mention though, is the vivid dreams alcohol withdrawal can lead to.
For those who are unaware or not expecting, these dreams can highly be disturbing, and prevents us from sleeping, or even tempt us to drink again just to sleep deeply and avoid experiencing them again.
But what causes these vivid dreams, and are they something to be concerned about?
Lets have a look at the science behind it.
Amount Consumed / Tolerance
How much alcohol do you consume? Those who have been binge drinking daily for a year may have a very difficult time kicking the habit if they have a high tolerance. The amount of alcohol that you consume on a consistent basis will have great influence on your level of tolerance.
Obviously someone who doesnt drink much will have a low tolerance, whereas someone who consistently consumes large quantities is likely to have a large tolerance. Individuals with higher tolerances are likely to experience more severe withdrawal symptoms when they quit.
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What Is Insomnia And Why Is It Linked To Detox
Insomnia occurs when a person has persistent symptoms related to difficulty falling or staying asleep. It also includes consistent unrestful sleep that occurs despite adequate sleep. Insomnia is linked to detox because it is very common in those going through drug or alcohol withdrawal and in the early stages of recovery. According to a study in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, the occurrence of insomnia is five times higher for those in early recovery than in the general population.
Can Alcohol Cause Sleep Apnea
Alcohol and sleep apnea are interrelated. Sleep apnea can be caused or worsened by drinking. Doctors have found that on its own, alcohol can narrow your upper airway and lead to sleep apnea problems, even if you have never had them before.
There are health risks linked to drinking and sleep apnea, especially if you snore. These risks include:
- Heart attack
- Sudden death
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How Long Does Insomnia Last After Quitting Drinking
Multiple studies have found that insomnia lasts anywhere from 3 to 6 months after quitting drinking.
Unfortunately, its not a topic that has been studied in too much depth, which is why theres such a wide range.
There are individual factors like sleep quality before quitting drinking, severity of symptoms, and others that cant all be accounted for in a single study.
Ive reviewed the most relevant research in this post if youd like to learn more.
Symptoms Of Alcohol Withdrawal Insomnia
Alcohol and sleep withdrawal
Withdrawal symptoms, including insomnia, will usually set in within eight hours of the last drink, peaking within 24 72 hours. Unfortunately, insomnia after quitting drinking can last several weeks or even months, so its especially important to address the issue head-on.
Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal insomnia are usually obvious and include:
- Not being able to fall asleep at night
- Frequent night wakings
- Feeling constantly tired and waking up still feeling exhausted
Lack of sleep from insomnia and alcohol withdrawal can exacerbate other symptoms too, so its very important to get to the root of the problem. As the body gets used to life without a substance, users frequently experience mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression, that can make it difficult to sleep.
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Fixing Your Sleep Will Work Wonders For Your Sobriety
Everyones situation, drinking history, and health is unique, which is why for chronic sleep issues, I recommend starting with your doctor.
Lifestyle changes are equally important. Changing your routines and behaviors to accommodate better sleep is 100% worth it.
I promise you there is nothing happening on Twitter worth sacrificing your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing for, which is what we do every time we start playing around with our sleep.
If youve been struggling for a while with insomnia in early sobriety, please know that it will not last forever.
I wish I had a special superpower that could tell you exactly when and how it will get better for you, but I dont. Give it time.
Know that you are not alone.
Sleep problems like insomnia are very common in sobriety. The fact that you are here, reading this, taking it seriously is a major step forward on the path to better sleep.
You will get through this!