Alcohol use disorder is one of the biggest addiction problems in the United States. We hear plenty about the opioid crisis, and that is an epidemic, but alcohol causes more deaths than even opioids. Alcohol can kill slowly over time or it can kill in an instant. It is also a cause of many vehicle accidents. Many people who have a problem with drinking would like to quit but find it more than difficult. Heavy drinkers may even wonder, “Can alcohol withdrawal kill you?” Let’s take a closer look at how alcohol affects the body and why withdrawal requires help from an alcohol detox center.
What Does Alcohol Do To the Body?
To understand whether alcohol is going to do damage to the body if you quit abruptly, it’s important to know how alcohol affects the body.
Alcohol is a depressant much like benzos and opioids. That means alcohol depresses the central nervous system and slows down bodily functions. When a person drinks continually for an extended period of time, the brain must compensate for this slowed reaction in the body. The brain realizes that it can’t be slowed down completely because it needs to work to pump blood, help the heartbeat, and so on. So, the brain goes into a more hyperactive mode to counteract the slowed CNS.
If you quit drinking suddenly, the brain gets completely out of adjustment. Your brain stays in a keyed up state even though the alcohol level drops. This leads to alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Can Alcohol Withdrawal Kill You?
Once you begin experiencing the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, you’ll have approximately one week or so before you’ll be in the safe zone. Your body will go through some predictable phases as it passes through alcohol withdrawal detox.
The most serious symptoms show up about 12 to 24 hours after the last drink and can persist for a couple of days, then they gradually subside. Some of the symptoms you may experience include:
- Anxiety, hallucinations
- Shakiness, tremors
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sweating, fever, and chills
- Headaches, disorientation
- Accelerated heart rate, high blood pressure
Additionally, withdrawal symptoms from heavy alcohol use can lead to seizures.
So, can you die from withdrawing from alcohol? The answer is yes. If you go into seizures, then you are at an increased risk of death. Seizures can cause you to aspirate food, which will get into your lungs and choke you. Also, if you have a seizure while alone, you may fall and strike your head which could result in death.
No matter how you look at it, alcohol use disorder is a serious condition and withdrawal requires the aid of a medical detox program.
Find Help for Alcohol Detox
At BoardPrep Recovery’s addiction treatment center, we specialize in helping people safely detox from alcohol. Our certified and professional staff knows how to ensure your safety during alcohol withdrawal. We use medication-assisted treatment for maximum comfort and ease of symptoms. Some of our programs include:
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Young adult alcohol rehab
- Alcohol addiction treatment for professionals
- DUI and Court Liasion services
Now that you know the hard truth that alcohol withdrawal can kill you, it’s time to seek treatment. Don’t wait until alcohol ruins your life. You can find sobriety by contacting us at 866.796.4720. We’ll help you get on the path to healing.