Many people try to quit drinking without assistance from outside sources and fly solo with the alcohol detox process. Although it is possible to successfully make it through alcohol withdrawal symptoms on your own, it is not always a good idea. Because alcohol withdrawal can become unbearable for most alcoholics, relapse is a huge factor experienced by many people who try to quit drinking cold turkey. However, there are worse problems that can be experienced when trying to quit alcohol alone. Heavy drinkers, long-time alcoholics, and those with possible underlying health problems may experience dangerous withdrawal symptoms during the alcohol detox exercise that can possibly be fatal.
According to a report published through the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, more than 5% of alcoholics can experience severe seizures during withdrawal. Seizures can begin in just a few hours after the last drink, with 90% of seizures most likely to occur within the first 48 hours after quitting alcohol. Some people may even experience seizures for several weeks. Seizures can be dangerous for many reasons, including the potential for dangerous falls. Additionally, seizures may interrupt breathing, decrease blood flow to the brain, and cause heart rhythm disturbances, any of which may lead to coma or even death.
Delirium Tremens, or DTs, are a very real risk to those with severe alcoholism or those who have tried many times to quit drinking in the past. As part of the alcohol detox activity, the alcoholic tries to refrain from drinking alcohol. Symptoms of DTs may begin within 2-3 days of your last drink and may last for more than a week. These symptoms can include seizures, but typically involve delirium, confusion, visual and auditory hallucinations, mood instability, and extreme fear or paranoia. Hallucinations may be vivid and those with DTs cannot tell the difference between these and reality. There is a very real risk of harm to oneself or to others during DTs. Suicide or death from accidents are common during DTs. While delirium tremens only affects about 5% of all alcoholics, the mortality rate may reach to more than 15%. Getting help with alcohol detox greatly reduces the risk of death due to DTs.
Those with underlying health problems, especially regarding the heart, have an increased risk of potentially fatal withdrawal from alcohol when trying to practice alcohol detox alone. Withdrawal from alcohol may result in many symptoms that place strain on the heart, including increased body temperature, high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, and palpitations. Those with cardiovascular disease, heart problems, or other medical issues are at an increased risk for heart seizures or stopping of the heart when trying to quit drinking without help.
Get Help for Alcohol Withdrawal to Reduce Dangerous Risks
The decision to quit drinking is a great choice, but is best done through an experienced treatment facility where symptoms can be monitored around the clock for maximum safety. Certain alcohol detox facilities may offer the use of medications to help reduce some of the more severe symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal, further lessening the risk of any complications. Once the detoxification process is complete, this is just the first step to living a sober life free from alcoholism. To supplement a successful alcohol detox campaign, it is important to seek an alcohol recovery program to learn how to avoid alcohol use in the future. Maintaining enough support after treatment will also help you to stay away from alcohol so that you can be happier and healthier.