Alcohol is in our culture everywhere. It's used to celebrate, to decompress, to connect socially, and can easily become a daily habit. If you are concerned about your own or someone else's drinking, it is helpful to know the signs of physical dependence and withdrawal, two key words to understand when considering whether alcohol use if problematic. When the body becomes accustomed to having alcohol regularly, it develops dependence on the substance, causing withdrawal symptoms in its absence.
- Tremors and shakiness
- Eating and sleep disturbance
- Elevated temperature
- Hallucination and agitation, ranging in severity
- Change in pulse rate, racing in severe cases
- Seizures and/or convulsions
- Delirium, disconnection from reality
In the book How to Change Your Drinking by Kenneth Anderson, he recommends three ways to prevent alcohol withdrawal.
- Don't drink every day. Have at least a few days of abstinence each week.
- If you are drinking every day, don't drink more than four. Here's a link to learn how to count your drinks.
- Don't mix alcohol with anti-anxiety medications like Xanax and Klonopin.
Reaching out for counseling and support when alcohol becomes a problem can be a powerful step in the road to recovery. It is one of the most dangerous substances to stop using because of the profound physical effects on the body.