The physical and emotional damage caused by alcohol withdrawal occurs at different levels depending on your level and frequency of use. If you struggle with clinical addiction, you may experience more serious symptoms than someone who is simply hungover. Learning about levels of care to combat withdrawal ensures you can respond in a safe and healthy way, whether you choose to hydrate or enroll in a professional detox center. Consider these options to take the appropriate steps towards a full recovery if you experience serious alcohol withdrawal.
Alcohol withdrawal shows its first symptoms through dehydration. Your body is working hard to process the alcohol while your blood sugar levels are also changing rapidly. You might feel dry skin and lips, frequent nausea, or lack of hunger along with a headache or thirst. Although each of these are irritating symptoms, the most important reason to focus on hydration to combat withdrawal is to support your brain. Brain hydration affects every function of your body from cognition down to your muscles. By taking care of hydrating immediately, you may feel an ease of symptoms and clarity to take any further steps.
Alcohol may sometimes lead to unhealthy eating habits both during and after drinking. Lowered inhibitions cause lapses in judgment during situations where you’d otherwise choose a healthy option. Although you may feel withdrawal symptoms such as shakes, lightheadedness, or sugar and grease cravings, do your best to choose healthy meals anyway. Natural sugar is a great source of energy and can also help re-balance your shakes or lightheadedness. Leafy greens and plant proteins in your meals will give you a foundation for good energy, which you will need to combat withdrawal long term. Avoid processed or greasy foods as these are just your body’s cravings for calories. When your body receives proper nutrition, it is more prepared to protect you from harmful symptoms.
An alcohol withdrawal headache caused by serious reliance can be excruciating and debilitating. Extreme dehydration can impact the oxygen levels in your brain and cause a headache for days. While hydration and healthy meals are the first step, sometimes the pain persists and you may consider taking medications to ease the pain. Think carefully before choosing medication if you suffer from addiction as basic medicine and pain treatments can trigger addiction further. You can consult with your therapist if you are unsure which options are appropriate for you. If given permission to ease symptoms through over the counter drugs, you will likely use an anti-nausea or headache medicine.
Serious cases of withdrawal are best approached with professional psychological treatment. When withdrawal is more than a one-time hangover or the habits leading up to it are clinically resembling addiction, treatment for withdrawal becomes part of the recovery process. You are likely to experience stress, panic attacks, or even vomiting if your withdrawal follows frequent drinking. Reaching out to your therapist or treatment provider is a healthy way to cope with potential anxiety during withdrawal as the extra level of support can prevent you from using alcohol as a defense. It can feel tempting to drink more to “numb” feelings of withdrawal, but they only worsen after each time and cause more damage than they ease symptoms. Consider official treatment if your withdrawals worsen or you feel a reliance on alcohol to ease them.
Most warning signs are clear when alcoholism is in question. Dependence on it can pose a great challenge to people looking to break the cycle of addiction, and detox centers are a powerful tool used to kick start a healthy recovery. Safe detox environments provide 24/7 support for individuals looking to move past addiction with access to treatment, medication if necessary, healthy food, therapy, and support groups in one place. The mental and physical health complications of withdrawal are extensive and are best prevented in the future if recovery begins with the support of a professional team. Temptations and unsafe triggers are less likely to cause you harm, and you may even see your symptoms lessen faster with your comprehensive support system.
Alcohol withdrawal affects different people in different ways depending on their use and reliance on drinking. The levels of care needed to overcome withdrawal are more serious if you struggle with clinical addiction, so take the time to understand appropriate responses to symptoms if you are unsure. Always be safe and contact your treatment provider to be sure that you are receiving the care you need. Taking action to improve your mental health as well as your physical nutrition is the best way to ensure your body will recover in good health. By educating yourself on the withdrawal experience, you can ask for help and seek care when you need to.