Understanding the Risks of Cold-Turkey Alcohol Detox

If you love someone or are someone struggling with alcohol abuse, chances are you’re familiar with the physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. These symptoms make it hard not to drink and are sometimes so severe you might be left wondering, “Can you die from alcohol withdrawals?”

Yes, some people do experience death from alcohol withdrawal symptoms. While you won’t actually die from withdrawing from alcohol, severe symptoms might cause complications that lead to death.

Common alcohol withdrawal complications include uncontrollable convulsions, withdrawal seizures, stroke, heart failure, and more. The most serious symptoms (delirium tremens and related concerns) can be deadly if left untreated.

If you or someone you love is considering detoxing from alcohol in Arizona, Changes Healing Center can provide a safe and comfortable setting without the dangers of a cold turkey approach.

Even with the associated risks, though, going through alcohol detox is a necessary step for people who don’t want alcohol use disorder to control their lives.

Keep reading to learn more about what to expect with alcohol withdrawals, including how likely it is for someone to die from alcohol withdrawal and the benefits of medical supervision at Changes during detox and through ongoing treatment.

Contact Changes Healing Center for Alcohol Withdrawal Help

Can Alcohol Withdrawal Cause Death?

Technically, people do not die from alcohol withdrawals in and of itself. Most people experience mild to moderate symptoms during withdrawal. However, there is a risk of more serious symptoms or complications that might require medical treatment to prevent death.

Among the most dangerous symptoms are those referred to as delirium tremens. They can become a medical emergency and are most common in people who stop drinking ‘cold turkey’ after a prolonged period of heavy drinking.

Why Alcohol Withdrawals is Dangerous

Prolonged alcohol use leads to a physical dependence on alcohol because it works as a depressant. Depressants slow down the central nervous system and bodily functions. While the body is slowed, the brain has to work overtime to continue pumping blood and maintaining your heartbeat.

For people who have regular and heavy alcohol use, the brain gets accustomed to this heightened state. It will stay in this state even once you stop alcohol consumption, which can lead to initial symptoms like insomnia, anxiety, tremors, and even seizures.

Fortunately, there are treatment options that can help with the alcohol detox process and help reduce these symptoms. Additionally, a treatment facility that is familiar with alcohol withdrawal like our programs at Changes Healing Center, can identify more severe symptoms as they occur. This allows medical intervention before the symptoms become life-threatening.

Mild to Moderate Withdrawal Symptoms

Moderate Withdrawal Symptoms

Mild withdrawal symptoms that result from quitting alcohol are similar to those experienced by people withdrawing after drug dependence, particularly drug use like benzos and opioids. These drugs and alcohol are all depressants that cause cognitive impairment and leave the brain in a heightened state of energy.

Withdrawal after suddenly stopping alcohol or drug use can feel like a significant illness and cause the following symptoms:

  • Nausea, vomiting, and dry-retching
  • Mild to severe headaches
  • Sensitivity to lights and sounds
  • Feelings of itchiness, pins and needles, or burning
  • Feeling restless, sweaty, or anxious
  • Being disoriented or mentally less aware of things like the time or day of the week

Acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms like these are normal because of the way alcohol affects the body and mind. They’re also symptoms of a hangover, which can happen even after a night of drinking heavily because of the way alcohol interferes with the body’s typical functioning.

Dangerous Withdrawal Symptoms

Some of the most severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms (alongside delirium tremens) include alcohol withdrawal seizures, Wernicke Korsakoff Syndrome, hallucinations, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, and extreme confusion or agitation.

Let’s take a closer look at each one, as we look at the reasons choosing a medical setting for alcohol detox is not only compelling but also potentially life-saving!

Alcohol Withdrawal Seizures

Seizures are typically classified as tonic-clonic seizures or grand mal seizures. Tonic-clonic seizures are the most common type of alcohol withdrawal seizures and they are most likely to occur 6-48 hours after stopping alcohol use.

Sometimes, these result in status epilepticus, meaning a seizure that continues for more than 5 minutes without time for recovery in between. Status epilepticus requires prompt treatment to prevent brain damage.

Wernicke Korsakoff Syndrome

Wernicke Korsakoff syndrome is caused by Vitamin B1 deficiency, which is common in heavy drinkers and those with prolonged alcohol use disorder histories. This can result in Wernicke encephalopathy, a life-threatening condition that results in symptoms like staggering, lack of coordination, confusion, and rapid eye movements.

After an episode, it’s not uncommon for a person to develop chronic memory disorder alongside signs that can appear similar to dementia or even psychosis.

Other Symptoms of Delirium Tremens

Finally, high blood pressure and increased heart rate can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. This is more common in people with pre-existing health conditions or who have cardiovascular damage from years of alcohol abuse.

When these severe withdrawal symptoms occur, medical supervision is often required to treat alcohol withdrawal. For people wondering, “Can alcohol withdrawal kill you?” it absolutely can.

What is Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome?

 Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is the name for the group of symptoms experienced by people who suddenly stop their alcohol intake. Some people who experience withdrawal symptoms have acute alcohol withdrawal with milder symptoms like nausea and anxiety. This may feel like an acute illness and last up to 48 hours, depending on the amount and type of alcohol consumed.

Others experience delirium tremens, which are severe symptoms that occur in individuals who are drinking heavily and frequently. Delirium tremens can occur as early as 6 hours after you’ve had your last drink.

24 Hour Alcohol Detox And Rehab Helpline.

Do I Need to Detox from Alcohol?

For people wondering if detox and alcohol treatment programs are necessary, in many cases, it has life-changing effects. After detoxing, your body will start to heal itself. With any hope, your relationships will start to heal as well.

As a family member of a loved one struggling with alcohol addiction, I’ve seen firsthand how heavy alcohol use disorder impacts a person’s life. While my aunt is more than three years sober today, she struggled with alcohol dependence throughout my childhood.

This led to questionable (and sometimes dangerous) decisions, strained relationships, and numerous physical problems. After three years of sobriety, many of these things have been healed, including our relationship.

If you’re wondering if you should quit, chances are that you’ve seen all the ways alcohol has negatively impacted your life. It’s never too late to change and start healing. You can start detoxing as soon as you’ve decided that your last drink will be your last.

The Importance of Safe Withdrawal from Alcohol

Alcohol use Disorder Treatment

A small percentage of people who experience delirium tremens never get the chance to get better. At Changes Healing Center, we can make the withdrawal process safer so you can start fighting alcohol addiction and take control of your life.

Treatment might include diagnosing alcohol use disorder, managing symptoms when alcohol withdrawal occurs, and treating co-occurring mental disorders.

How a Doctor Can Treat Potentially Life-Threatening Symptoms

During early treatment for alcohol withdrawal, it’s not uncommon for medical professionals to prescribe vitamins that may help reduce withdrawal symptoms. Alcoholics often have a nutritional deficiency from heavy drinking, which affects nutrient absorption and depletes water-soluble vitamins and minerals in the body.

Furthermore, under medical supervision, clients can safely stop drinking. Doctors can diagnose acute withdrawal and monitor clients for a more severe form of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. In addition to medical intervention, they can help clients find support for their addiction treatment.

Other Benefits of Getting Help for Withdrawal

The withdrawal process is difficult. For many people, it’s so difficult that it seems easier to pick up another drink than it would be to go through withdrawal. However, if you do pick up another drink, you’ll never get to the benefits that exist on the other side of withdrawal.

Having help getting through withdrawal symptoms at our addiction treatment center helps you during and after recovery. You can find support groups that understand your experience and provide help to make sure that your last drink is your last.

Mental Health Treatment Alongside Addiction Recovery

Treatment For Addiction Recovery

Taking control of your mental health is another critical way to support addiction recovery. It isn’t uncommon for mental conditions to occur alongside alcohol misuse.

A medical professional can ask questions and diagnose illness using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) and determine if additional support would help your recovery.

Changes is proud to offer Joint Commission-accredited dual diagnosis programs that help our clients address co-occurring disorders together and get the best chances for lasting recovery from both conditions.

Get Proven Alcohol Treatment Options Now!

Get Support for Sobriety at Changes Healing Center Today

At Changes Healing Center, we will work together to manage and overcome your or your loved ones’ alcohol abuse today. Our team is ready to provide support and medical intervention for clients experiencing symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and put the pieces in place for lasting success and sobriety.

Remember, all calls are confidential, so please reach out and contact us to get options for safe and supportive alcohol detox and recovery programs now!