Alcohol or booze is the most commonly abused substance in the US. Alcohol addiction damages the body, destroys families and causes an average of 6 deaths per day. As you prepare for alcohol detox and withdrawal, you may find yourself wondering can you die from alcohol withdrawal. Giving up booze can lead to alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) or life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Fortunately, an alcohol addiction treatment center in Northern VA or one near you can provide Medicated-Assisted Treatment (MAT) to assist in your safe recovery.
Alcohol Addiction Starts with One Drink
Excessive drinking and heavy or binge drinking are the main causes of alcohol use disorder (AUD) or addiction. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that people consume to relax and have fun. Prolonged alcohol use changes the way the brain works. It also damages the brain and organs, weakens the immune system, and changes how you think and act. Whether it’s a beer, a glass of wine, or a shot of liquor, one drink can turn into several drinks. The more a person drinks, the more alcohol they need to feel better. This pattern only leads to dependence, drunkenness, and frequent hangovers.
Alcohol Withdrawal is Risky
Alcohol withdrawal encompasses the changes the body goes through when you suddenly stop drinking after a long time of heavy alcohol use. However, a person should never attempt to do it on their own because of the risks involved. People also have many questions about the withdrawal process. Two frequently asked questions are, “Can you die from alcohol withdrawal?” and “Is alcohol withdrawal dangerous?” The answers can make a difference in how those battling alcoholism go about kicking the habit.
Alcohol Detox and Withdrawal Symptoms
If you google “can you die from alcohol withdrawal,” you’ll find information that suggests that alcohol withdrawal can be deadly. Death is possible in cases where people try to withdraw at home. Mild to severe symptoms usually occur but will depend on the person’s alcohol use history. Symptoms can set in roughly 8 hours after the last drink, peak around day 2-3, then start to fade by day 5-7. Heavy drinkers addicted to alcohol may develop alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) which includes these possibly life-threatening symptoms:
- Delirium tremens
- Extreme agitation
- Severe dehydration
- Increased blood pressure or heart rate
- Severe confusion or mood disturbances
The most serious form of alcohol withdrawal syndrome is delirium tremens (DTs). Those who decide to receive addiction recovery care at a detox center or residential rehab will have access to 24-hour medical supervision. Some detox clinics also use medication to reduce the symptoms, so the person can complete the process.
Can You Die from Alcohol Withdrawal?
Although 88,000 people die each year from an alcohol-related cause, the question can you die from alcohol withdrawal needs a more direct answer. Withdrawal does not cause death, but a person can die during withdrawal due to complications from delirium tremens. People can reduce the risk of life-threatening symptoms by seeking medical assistance from a trusted rehab facility.
Medications such as benzodiazepines are FDA-approved for treating severe symptoms such as anxiety and seizures. Naltrexone reduces the urge to drink. Disulfiram discourages alcohol drinking by triggering nausea or vomiting if the former user takes alcohol. Acamprosate helps the brain to function normally and also reduce cravings.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment
15 million Americans aged 18 and older had an alcohol use disorder in 2015. 6.7 percent of them received treatment. The programs rehab facilities like Sagebrush Treatment Centers provide are designed to help clients recover and abstain from alcohol. The idea is to target all aspects of alcohol abuse. While detox cleanses the body of ethanol, psychotherapy addresses co-occurring disorders. You will also learn positive ways to have fun without drinking. Here are examples of treatment programs that provide various levels of care:
- Residential program
- Outpatient treatment program
- Intensive outpatient program
- Partial Hospitalization
- Holistic treatment approach
Alcohol Withdrawal Doesn’t Have to be Fatal
Asking “Is alcohol withdrawal dangerous?” or “Can you die from alcohol withdrawal?” helps you get the right treatment to heal. Withdrawal at Sagebrush Treatment Centers is a safer option than attempting to withdraw at home. We’re located in McLean, Great Falls and Vienna, VA. Our doctors and therapists are experienced in alcohol withdrawal and will monitor you to keep you safe. To find out more, call 866.488.1156.