Can Alcohol Withdrawal Be Fatal?

When you or a loved one decides to begin their alcohol addiction recovery journey, the first significant physical hurdle is alcohol withdrawal. The next step includes flushing alcohol out of your system so you can start the journey to sobriety. However, depending on how accustomed your body has become to the presence of alcohol in your system, the withdrawal effects can be debilitating. 

Although withdrawal can be excruciating, can it be fatal? Read on to learn more about the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and how getting the right medical treatment can help.  

What Are the Initial Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal?

Every person beginning their alcohol detox has a different experience based on a wide range of factors. Some people may start feeling withdrawal symptoms only a few hours after their last drink, while it may take longer for others to experience the same symptoms. Some of the most common initial symptoms include:

  • Tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea 
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Sweating

More severe symptoms are present in extreme cases and can make alcohol withdrawal a more traumatic experience. For example, people with severe alcohol dependence may experience symptoms like hallucinations and seizures. 

Are you or a loved one struggling with alcohol? Call us today at 866.345.2147 to get help.

Can Alcohol Withdrawal Be Fatal?

For most people looking to get sober, alcohol withdrawal is an unpleasant experience. Still, the right support system and assistance from a respected alcohol detox center can help make the process more manageable. However, in some cases, without the proper level of care and support, severe symptoms can be fatal. Two severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal that require prompt medical care include status epilepticus and delirium tremens.

Status Epilepticus 

Of the people experiencing alcohol withdrawal who have seizures, 3% may develop this serious type. Status epilepticus differs from a typical episode based on the severity and duration. Most episodes follow a similar pattern of length and don’t usually occur one after another. However, status epilepticus episodes can be continuous without allowing for a proper recovery. Without treatment from a medical professional, status epilepticus can lead to disability or even death. 

Delirium Tremens

Often occurring two to three days after the last drink, delirium tremens is the most severe symptom of alcohol withdrawal and is the most likely to be fatal. It usually affects those with a history of heavy alcohol use and the complications can prove devastating. As the body becomes more dependent on alcohol, any sudden stops in drinking, not eating enough, suffering a head injury, or having an infection can trigger delirium tremens. 

When an individual is dependent on alcohol, their brain’s neurotransmitters are accustomed to working harder to compensate for the presence of this substance in their system. Although they stop drinking, their body continues to act as though alcohol is still in their system. Some symptoms of delirium tremens include:

  • Hand tremors
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Dehydration
  • Fever

Having medical personnel nearby can help identify delirium tremens early and provide the assistance needed to counteract the symptoms before they worsen. 

Trust Silver Pines Treatment Center With Your Alcohol Addiction Rehab in Mahanoy City, PA 

When you or a loved one begins their alcohol recovery journey, making it through the initial withdrawal symptoms is one of the most vital components of the process. While specific symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be fatal if ignored, having proper medical support and treatment is vital to ensure you get the help you need.  

Silver Pines Treatment Center has worked with countless clients, and we understand that alcohol withdrawal affects everyone in different ways. We work with each client to understand their situation and specific treatment needs, helping them navigate the early days of their recovery and ensure they’re in a safe space. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Call us at 866.345.2147 or fill out our contact form to get help today.