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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 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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