Alcohol withdrawal: it can come with dangerous symptoms, but is ultimately safer than continuing to use. Effects are especially less severe if withdrawal and detox are appropriately administered.
While most withdrawal symptoms typically last anywhere from five days to a few weeks, some of its effects can lead to complications that may last a lifetime. Heart issues, for example, are some of the most harmful consequences that can come from alcohol abuse and withdrawal.
What is Alcohol Withdrawal?
Withdrawal occurs when alcohol slows the functioning of someone’s central nervous system. The nervous system eventually becomes used to alcohol if someone has been drinking heavily for an extended period of time; and if they suddenly quit drinking alcohol, the system has trouble readjusting. When the central nervous system is unbalanced, it can become hyperactive. This hyperactivity leads to alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
When it comes to alcohol withdrawal symptoms, some are more severe than others. Some symptoms last a day, whereas others can cause complications that last a lifetime.
Withdrawal can cause alcohol withdrawal symptoms (AWS), severe symptoms called delirium tremens (DT), and more. An individual’s symptoms depends on their age, weight, sex, how much they drink alcohol, and other factors.
While withdrawal is different for everyone who experiences it, the most common symptoms and effects may include:
- Muscle weakness
- Metabolism issues
Alcohol withdrawal can also increase one’s risk of heart-related issues.
How Can Withdrawal Cause Heart Problems?
Withdrawal can cause heart problems down the line in multiple ways. Firstly, the effects of withdrawal can lead to low electrolyte levels. Low electrolytes can eventually cause cardiac issues. Also, you can see above that withdrawal causes complications with the metabolism. These metabolism issues can eventually make the heart stop completely.
Heart Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal
Aside from the chance of sudden heart-related death, those who experience withdrawal might be at risk for several heart issues. Alcohol withdrawal may lead to heart problems like arrhythmias, heart attack, and blood circulation complications.
Does Everyone Who Withdrawals Experience Heart Issues?
Not everyone who goes through withdrawal will experience heart issues, however. Those with a long history of alcoholism, genetic history of heart issues, or pre-existing heart conditions are more likely to experience these problems.
To ensure a safe withdrawal and detox process, you should talk to your doctor if you want to stop drinking. Your doctor may perform blood tests, which could predict how your body might respond to withdrawal.
Taking Care Of Your Heart During & After Withdrawal
Withdrawal should be administered by a professional at a medical center or rehabilitation facility. After detoxing is complete, those who went through withdrawal are encouraged to remain abstinent from alcohol and other substances. It is also recommended that all detox patients enroll in an in-patient or out-patient rehabilitation program. These programs will likely include treatment methods such as benzodiazepine medications, one-on-one therapy, group meetings, and more.
Alcohol withdrawal has a possibility of leading to serious heart issues. However, withdrawal is a much safer process than enduring alcohol addiction throughout your life. If you or a loved one has experienced withdrawal or is thinking about quitting alcohol, please contact our substance abuse professionals by visiting us here or calling 866-345-2147.