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How To Deal With Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome refers to a range of symptoms that occur when a person suddenly reduces, abstains or discontinues alcohol consumption after being a heavy drinker for a long time. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may start as early as two hours after the last drink and can last from days to weeks. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are also noticed in people who take medication to get rid of their alcohol addiction. [1]

The condition can be extreme and life-threatening and must need medical assistance depending on the types of symptoms and the ability of the person to cope with them. The symptoms may vary from mild to severe which may include shivering, shakiness, sweating, nausea, anxiety, loss of appetite, insomnia, headache, hallucinations, increased heart rate and seizure.

Here are some points to keep in mind if you or one of your dear ones is dealing with alcohol withdrawal.

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1. Stay hydrated

At an early stage of alcohol detoxification, dehydration along with other symptoms like nausea, headache and fatigue are common. Therefore, it is important to drink water during this period to keep your body hydrated, reduce nausea and get rid of toxins easily. Try fresh fruit juices, broth and supplement the essential factors like glucose, electrolytes, minerals and vitamins.

2. Distract yourself

It is natural to get persistent cravings for alcohol during the alcohol withdrawal period. You must remember that the craving will eventually disappear and therefore, you must not get carried away by the temptation. The best way is to distract yourself from these thoughts by getting involved in other activities like your favourite hobby or playing with pets.

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3. Ask support

Support from family and friends is one of the essential necessities for helping an individual deal with and overcome alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Tell your family and relatives about your detoxification process and ask them to help in the journey. Also, make them understand your condition and it will help provide you with extra needed care and support them. Support from the dear ones will give the person more secure and positive feelings and help in early recovery.

4. Maintain proper sleep timings

Sleep disturbances are common during the recovery process from alcohol dependency and may persist for several weeks and months. It will take a little time for your body to get adjusted to the normal biological rhythm. One of the important alcohol withdrawal symptoms is sleeplessness. Have a nice sleep to deal with the alcohol withdrawal symptoms. [2]

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5. Take cold showers

Hydrotherapy is a treatment method for many illnesses, including alcohol withdrawal. Bathing in cold showers help boost immunity, reduce anxiety and depression and promote better sleep, all needed to overcome alcohol addiction. Cold showers also help release a hormone named noradrenaline that helps override the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

6. Behavioural therapy

Behavioural therapy is a recommended therapy for people with an alcohol withdrawal syndrome. The therapist will help you learn how to control your actions and improve your behaviour. This, in turn, will help cope with difficult and rigorous situations that can again make you depend on alcohol use. Behavioural therapy, both motivational and cognitive help you deal with alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

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7. Eat healthily

An alcohol detox diet that contains fruits, vegetables and whole grains are crucial during alcohol withdrawal to make for the lost nutrients during the healing process. Chronic alcohol usage can cause many vital organs such as the kidney and liver to dysfunction. A balanced diet will help bring back the body's functional harmony through foods rich in vitamins, proteins and minerals.

8. Manage alcohol withdrawal anxiety and depression

Alcohol withdrawal not only causes physical symptoms but emotional and mental health problems too. The anxiety and depressive symptoms during the withdrawal period are often described as everyday sadness, emptiness, lack of enthusiasm and hopelessness that may last long and turn into clinical depression. It is good to remind yourself that these feeling are a normal part of a healing process and are temporary.

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9. Prescription drugs

Based on the severity and duration of the alcohol withdrawal symptoms, your medical practitioner may prescribe you medicines that may contain benzodiazepines. Such medications may help you control anxiety, shakiness and confusion. Anticonvulsant drug carbamazepine is another choice for mild to moderate symptoms. [3]

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10. Deep breathing exercises

Deep breathing exercises are a relaxation technique that acts as a natural painkiller and help improve immunity, blood flow and energy levels and reduce anxiety and inflammation. They help activate the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for decision making and cognitive behaviour. Deep breathing exercises also help decrease the cortisol, the stress hormone of the body. [4] Other activity such as yoga and meditation can also be effective.

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11. Rekindle old hobbies

During a recovery process, a person may often feel that they have a lot of time in hand to spare for their favourite old hobbies, which they may have missed due to the drinking habit. Rekindle your old hobbies or indulge in new ones and be productive.

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To Conclude

Recovery from alcohol withdrawal requires a strong determination. No matter how much you feel like to quit, it is important to understand that ultimately the feeling will pass. Therefore, staying persistent and determined during the process is the best way to get over the addiction.