Understanding Alcohol Withdrawal
If you have ever over indulged on New Year’s Eve, you have probably awakened the next morning with some mild alcohol detox symptoms. However, at the time you were experiencing them, they may not have felt especially mild to you. You may have had trouble sleeping that night, felt as though the room was spinning around, experienced extreme nausea and even vomiting. While all these alcohol detox symptoms may have made you feel miserable, they were not the most serious symptoms you can experience when you go through alcohol withdrawal.
As you read on, you will discover the causes, symptoms and treatments for both mild and serious alcohol withdrawal. While most of us easily recover from the mild symptoms, serious alcohol withdrawal can require medical intervention.
Causes of Alcohol Detox Symptoms
Essentially, when someone consumes alcohol and then stops, they are going to go through at least a mild form of alcohol detox or withdrawal. These withdrawal symptoms are frequently experienced even by the occasional social drinker. Usually these mild symptoms manifest themselves as a headache, slight nausea, upset stomach and similar discomforts that we normally refer to as a hangover.
However, if someone has continuously consumed heavy amounts of alcohols for several days or longer, their alcohol detox symptoms will also be more serious. In fact, it can take them days or weeks before their body begins to feel normal, and they feel that they have recovered fully from the affects of the alcohol.
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Recognizing Mild Alcohol Detox Symptoms
Nearly everyone who has ever drank too much, even once, can remember their first hangover. Even a couple of beers, a few glasses of wine, or several shots of straight alcohol can later cause alcohol detox symptoms in someone who has never been drunk before. In fact, some young people may almost consider their first hangover as something to brag about, as though they have successfully survived some difficult ordeal. Although most of us have experienced mild alcohol detox symptoms, and remember them clearly, here is a brief summary: pounding headache, fatigue, sweaty palms, enlarged pupils, shaky hands, clammy skin, lack of coordination, difficulty sleeping, nausea and vomiting.
Nearly all of us will recognize these symptoms, even if we have not experienced them personally. Frequently, these alcohol detox symptoms have been used as the source of humor in many television shows and movies. All of us have laughed at the bumbling movie character that wakes up and rushes to the bathroom to throw up after a night of wild partying.
Mild Hangover Cures that Relieve Alcohol Detox Symptoms
Since so many people have experienced hangovers, or mild alcohol detox, there are an almost infinite number of possible hangover cures. Everyone seems to have their own idea of what works for them. As long as this is an occasional problem, you may want to give some of them a try, as long as your alcohol detox symptoms are mild. What are some of the cures that have been suggested?
Almost everyone universally agrees that the most important steps you can take to deal with a hangover is to get some sleep, and drink plenty of water and juice. These activities alone will give your body a chance to rest and recover. The water will help re-hydrate the body, and juice will replace some of the lost vitamins. Avoid trying to re-hydrate your body by drinking coffee. Caffeine actually dehydrates us, and it makes it more difficult for you to get enough sleep. In fact, energy drinks that contain caffeine have recently been pulled from the market after several teens and young adults died. In large doses, the combination of alcohol and caffeine can be toxic. Although a small cup of mild coffee will probably not kill you, you are better off skipping the coffee until your body has had a chance to recover from the alcohol abuse.
There are other beverages and foods that some people have recommended as hangover cures, too. Frequently mentioned are the sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade that are designed to help rebalance our body’s electrolytes. Some people like to nibble on dry crackers or toast. Taking a shower may help you to feel better. Other suggestions include taking Alka Seltzer, or getting some exercise. I even found a website that suggested eating pickles or drinking pickle juice as a hangover cure. Although I can’t personally recommend it, you may want to give it a try.
There are also some recommendations that are promoted on different websites, that you should probably not try. First, avoid taking aspirin, Tylenol and Ibuprofen. These products have been known to cause liver damage or stomach bleeding, particularly when combined with alcohol in your system. Second, avoid trying to cure your hangover by drinking more alcohol in the morning. Although putting more alcohol into your system may temporarily help ease a hangover, in the long run you will end up increasing the chances that you are damaging your health and could end up with serious alcohol detox problems.
Recognizing Serious Alcohol Detox Symptoms
Although we may find mild hangovers merely a necessary part of learning to “handle our booze,” serious alcohol detox can be much more dangerous. In extreme cases, alcohol poisoning can result in unconsciousness and cause death. If you or someone you know ever experiences severe alcohol detox symptoms, it is essential that they receive immediate professional medical assistance. Some of these serious symptoms include: extreme depression, black outs, hallucinations, fever, muscle tremors, seizures, convulsions, or delirium tremens (DTs).
Seeking Treatment for Serious Detox Symptoms
If someone is experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, either while they are drinking or once they stop, they should seek medical attention. If you are with someone who has been experiencing these symptoms and then passes out, seek medical assistance for them immediately. According to alcohol-treatment-info.com, there are emergency treatments that can help ease these symptoms, including some medications such as Valium, Librium, Serax or Ativan. However, do NOT give these medications to someone on your own, without seeking medical assistance, first. Depending on the particular symptoms that the patient is experiencing, they may need to have other medical interventions performed instead of medication. In addition, self treatment can lead to an increased chance of liver damage or other serious medical problems.
If you are interested in learning more about treatments for alcoholism or Alanon, an organization for the friends and family members of alcoholics, you may also want to read some of the articles listed below:
Problem Drinkers May Need Alcoholics Anonymous
The AA "Big Book" Has Helped Thousands of People
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