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Alcohol is such a common substance that is so commonly abused that we often take for granted how hard it can be for people to stop drinking and sober up. Many alcoholics consider themselves to be “social drinkers” and don’t think they have a problem. They realize they have a problem when they decide to stop drinking and the onset of withdrawal symptoms starts in on them. Interesting enough, alcohol withdrawal can cause a myriad of withdrawal symptoms, including death in some instances. Let’s look at what happens to an alcoholic’s body when they decide to stop drinking and get sober.

After potentially years of drinking, when an alcoholic decides to stop drinking, their body is in for one hell of a shock. The first symptoms will include headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, shakes, irritability, thirst, dry mouth, and more. Withdrawal can begin within several hours if the alcoholic stops drinking “cold turkey.” Cold turkey is a term that is used to describe quitting an addictive substance, like alcohol, without reducing consumption over time and stopping the consumption immediately.

Other more serious side effects of alcohol withdrawal include severe hallucinations, dizziness, unconsciousness, fever, increased sweating, and muscle tremors. People may also experience seizures and other physiological symptoms including pain in the abdomen, vision impairment and more.

During later stages of alcohol withdrawal, addicts can expect to experience increased blood pressure, severe confusion, severe pain throughout the body, and a user’s body can begin to shut down if there are underlying conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, cancer, Diabetes, and more. Alcohol withdrawal can become a medical emergency very fast; especially during the first few stages of withdrawal. The temptation to satisfy the symptoms with drinking will be very high, and the rate or relapse is even higher.

Unfortunately, alcohol is an addictive substance that can require more and more in order to feel satisfied. Social drinkers enjoy the state of relaxation they experience from having one or two drinks, but chronic alcoholics can drink all day and not even realize they are “drunk” or that they need to keep drinking in order to maintain that state of function. There is plenty of evidence of chronic alcoholics who are “drunk” all day and who cannot function in society with a drink. Many people know someone who sips on a bottle throughout the day — just to keep going. People do this because they know that coming down off that high is much worse than stealing a few drinks of vodka in the morning.

It’s a difficult choice to make, but with the proper help and support, alcoholics can reduce their dependency on alcohol altogether. Despite the negative impacts alcohol withdrawal can have on the body, it is the best option for anyone. Getting clean can change people’s lives for the better, and seeking the proper help can make the transition much more tolerable and increase the likelihood of the treatment sticking for the long term.