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Withdrawal Stages for Those Who Have a Physical Dependency on Alcohol

Withdrawal Stages for Those Who Have a Physical Dependency on Alcohol

Alcohol withdrawal is not a harmless side effect of the addiction. It is an extremely serious condition that has the potential to become life-threatening. There are four phases that happen when an alcoholic decides to break their addiction to the drink. This separation can produce immediate symptoms that are intense and sometimes painful, depending on how much they’ve been drinking and the duration of the alcohol addiction.

People with a mild dependency can experience withdrawal, but it will be in a different manner than those who have been battling a long-term addiction and heavy dependency. It would be wise to consult a doctor when deciding to kick alcohol addiction, ensuring that if the symptoms become extreme, there is someone to call and visit for treatment.

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Stage One

This first stage of alcohol withdrawal is presented by tremors. The tremors can begin 8 to 12 hours after the individual has stopped consuming alcohol. The tremors can be worsened if the person experiences agitation. Other symptoms in the first stage of withdrawal include vomiting, nausea, headache, rapid heartbeat, insomnia, heavy sweating, and anxiety. The symptoms can start to fade after the first 24 hours.

Stage Two

The second stage of withdrawal is presented by hallucinations. These have a tendency to begin 12 to 24 hours after the person has stopped drinking. Hallucinations are experienced by 25% of alcohol dependent people that are going through withdrawal. In this stage, the person may see or hear things that are not there, and these instances are mixed with periods of unclouded understanding. Those who are in stage two may continue to experience the symptoms had in stage one, and the stage one symptoms have the potential to become worse during this time.

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Stage Three

The third stage of alcohol withdrawal is marked by seizures. This can begin 6 to 48 hours after they have stopped drinking alcohol. 10% of withdrawal patients are affected by seizures and they are sometimes called “rum fits”. Rather than just one seizure, this stage can be presented with several generalized seizures.

Stage Four

This last stage of alcohol withdrawal is known as delirium tremens. Around 30% of those experiencing alcohol withdrawal will experience this fourth stage. It can begin 3 to 4 days after the person has stopped drinking, to as long as two weeks after. The symptoms of stage for include inattention, confusion, tremors, hallucinations, rapid heartbeat, fever, pupil dilation, and sweating. This stage can be deadly, and the individual going through alcohol withdrawal should have medical treatment. Almost 15% of those in stage four alcohol withdrawal that do not get medical treatment will die, from either respiratory or cardiovascular collapse. There is no way to stop delirium tremens once it starts, and it is the most dangerous part of the withdrawal timeline.

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Protracted Withdrawal

This can last up to a year after an addict has stopped consuming alcohol. The symptoms will likely include anxiety, depression, blood pressure that is unstable, trembling hands, impaired memory, fatigue, and irregular breathing. All of its symptoms and the length of time it takes to recover will vary from person to person.

There are medications that can be prescribed by a doctor that will slightly lessen the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Many alcohol abusers that do have these withdrawal symptoms have a shortage of several vitamins and minerals and will benefit from nutritional supplements. Specifically, alcohol abuse can create a shortage of magnesium, thiamine, zinc, phosphate, and folate. Alcohol abuse may also cause low blood sugar. Those who only have a mild dependency on alcohol can also experience withdrawal, but it will be different than those who are long-term users. They will likely experience a general feeling of unease along with shaking, stomach upset, and headache.

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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