What Happens to Your Body in Alcohol Withdrawal

A lot of people know it is bad to consume alcohol and know it is good to not consume alcohol, but they do not know that it is a major challenge to once be a consumer of alcohol and then try to stop afterwards.

When an addictive drinker suddenly stops or significantly reduces their level of alcohol intake, they experience some symptoms in their body called Alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS). With AWS, it is possible for a person to experience a combination of physical and emotional symptoms, which can include a mild anxiety and fatigue to nausea.

Did you know that the first several days after a person quits drinking, he or she may experience withdrawal symptoms? Over time, the person’s body becomes dependent on their drinking frequency and patterns. However, when you abruptly stop drinking, your body requires time to figure out what chemicals it is missing. This phase is what produces the painful side effects.

When you begin to take in alcohol, the alcohol is broken down, or metabolized, by an enzyme in your liver cells known as alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH). ADH breaks down alcohol into acetaldehyde, after which the enzyme –aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) further breaks down acetaldehyde into acetate, quickly. This process helps rid alcohol from your system through urine. Any alcohol that is not metabolized is absorbed by other parts of your body, like your brain.

When alcohol affects the brain, a person may experience feelings of happiness and relaxation. An excessive amount of alcohol around the brain can lead to symptoms of drunkenness – slurred speech, difficulty walking and memory lapses. However, because chronic drinking affects your tolerance, your body will crave more alcohol in order to produce the same feelings.

Alcohol suppresses certain neurotransmitters in the brain, which causes a person to feel at ease after drinking. When you quit drinking, the neurotransmitters are no longer inhibited by alcohol. This results in hyperexcitability – the reason why withdrawal symptoms affect you differently from alcohol consumption.

This is a timeline of what happens to your body in the alcohol withdrawal process:

  • At Six to 12 hours post-ingestion, your body begins to experience agitation, anxiety, headaches, shaking, nausea and vomiting
  • At 12 to 24 hours post-ingestion, the body begins to experience disorientation, hand tremors, and sometimes seizures.
  • And at 48 hours post-ingestion, seizures might continue, followed by insomnia, high blood pressure, tactile, auditory and visual hallucinations, high fever and excessive sweating, and lastly delirium tremens.

A person can start feeling the alcohol withdrawal symptoms in a short while as early as two hours since the last consumption. Typically, symptoms will climax within the first 24 to 48 hours. This is when you may experience the most uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia, rapid heartbeat, and changes in blood pressure, sweating, tremors, and fever

Alcohol withdrawal side effects vary in each person. Quite a number of people are undecided about quitting alcoholism because of the thought of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. However, alcohol addiction treatment specialists can provide you with therapy and prescribed medications to help relieve pain by reducing withdrawal symptoms, getting better becomes an easy journey.