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Withdrawal Stages for Those Who Have a Physical Dependency on Alcohol

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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 November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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Simplify

I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

Absolutely.

And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

  • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
  • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
  • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

Be Mindful

You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

Reflect

As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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