Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome
Abstinence syndrome is called the state, characteristic for one of the stages of alcoholism, namely – the third. This syndrome – essentially is a hangover, but it differs from the hangover, which is typically experienced by a healthy person the morning after a party or in the evening, having drank too much alcohol.
This name (abstinent) is translated as follows: – “abstinence”. The condition occurs in humans, drinking alcohol, after some time after he reduces the dose of alcohol that enters the body, or even stops drinking. Many alcoholics, who stopped drinking, are probably familiar with this state, acts on the body in a certain way.
It should be noted that the syndrome can be diagnosed only in alcoholics; experts believe that this is an undoubted symptom of alcohol dependence (alcoholism). If the patient has this syndrome, this means he is an alcoholic. Experts report that withdrawal symptoms can be considered as the most important and irrefutable proof that the person is suffering from alcoholism and need a mandatory medical assistance and help of experienced psychologists.
During a typical a hangover state a person who is not sick with alcoholism in the morning can have a sharp headache, vomits, and tremor of the hands. As a rule by lunchtime, these symptoms disappear. This, though unpleasant, the state should not be confused with a pathological condition, called withdrawal symptoms. The syndrome usually lasts much longer: an alcoholic may suffer 3-5 days. Although the causes of ill health in both cases have similarities – a cluster in the body of toxins, metabolic products of alcohol in the blood, an alcoholic syndrome is characterized by the symptoms, including also:
- disorders in work of the heart;
- dysfunction of the brain;
- abnormal liver function;
- problems with pancreas;
- deterioration of the blood vessels.
This “bouquet” of the negative and grave for the body symptoms and it worsens by those symptoms that are characteristic of the common hangover described above.
In addition, when an alcoholic has an abstinence syndrome, the pulse is quicker; breathing becomes more frequent, possibly there is fever and chills. It is important to remember that abstinence syndrome characterized by symptoms such as:
- loss of appetite;
- the acquisition of unhealthy shade of pale skin;
- decrease or increase in blood pressure;
- the occurrence of diarrhea and vomiting;
- the decrease in muscle tone.
Needless to say, how disgusting are feeling of alcoholic, who once again faced with a withdrawal syndrome. Many alcoholics, who experience the syndrome for the first time, think what happens to them is something incredible. Thus, the withdrawal symptoms can even lead to psychosis and delirium tremens, which require mandatory control of professional.
Prolonged heavy drinking – is a “fertile” ground for the development of withdrawal symptoms. This form of the syndrome is considered to be the most severe and poorly treatable. The first three days – are the most difficult period, having stopped alcohol drinking, the patient may feel lonely or serial seizures. Seizures are fraught with involuntary urination and possible biting of the tongue.
This syndrome, as a rule, lasts a few days, but there are a few cases, when someone dependent on alcohol, survived without drinking again during this painful condition. Most often it is not about to drink once, but also to get drunk seriously. Again drunk beverage eliminates the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome and dependent seems to be feeling better. Hangover lasts no more than five days. During this time, the body has time to recover. Besides, most of the symptoms disappear, and there are no complaints of the patient about his health. One of the most dangerous consequences of the withdrawal syndrome, which requires the intervention of professionals, it is a delirium tremens or psychosis.
Abstinence differs from the usual hangover by the intensity. A healthy person usually feels unwell during an ordinary hangover. The alcoholic is in this state feels unbearably bad, to put it simply – is completely broken. The patient has a tremor of the hands and usually shakes the whole body.
Severe consequences of hangover
Among the most serious consequences, with which withdrawal symptoms are fraught, they include the following:
- vomiting and retching;
- hemorrhoids and its aggravation;
- internal bleeding;
- severe headaches;
- insomnia and sleep problems;
- possible wet brain;
- the possibility of exacerbation of chronic and existing illnesses.
1. Vomiting and retching
In the case when there are no complications during patient’s condition at the abstinent syndrome, vomiting may not occur, but in severe cases, the alcoholic is usually tortured by extremely severe vomiting. Vomiting usually contains not only the digested food but also bile coming from the duodenum. Often in the alcoholic’s vomit, there may also be present traces of blood. It is worth noting that the blood in the vomit is very alarming because it is an indicator of the fact that there could be a strong stomach bleeding. Blood spurts during gastric bleeding. Wanting to save the patient in such a state, it is imperative to call experts who will provide emergency aid to the alcoholic.
Why there is a blood in the vomit of alcoholics? Blood comes out of the damaged and worn-out vessels and veins of the digestive tract and stomach of the patient. This phenomenon is called varicose veins and is a consequence of the rapidly developing cirrhosis in the alcoholic. Let’s remember that cirrhosis of the liver – is a condition that can hardly be called consistent with a normal existence.
2. Aggravation of hemorrhoids
Aggravation of hemorrhoid – it is an ordinary phenomenon for withdrawal syndrome. A hemorrhoid is a condition when blood vessels have busted and rectum is bleeding.
3. Internal bleeding (intestinal)
Black stools – a sure sign that there is an alcoholic internal bleeding of intestines. In such cases, the stool of the alcoholic has a distinct color of coal. Relatives and friends of the alcoholic who noticed such a stool should immediately call the emergency medical care because bleeding of intestinal threatens the life and health of the alcoholic.
The appearance of a headache during the hangover – is a frequent sign, but if it appears, it indicates that currently resemble old injuries and illnesses of an alcoholic. This is explained by the fact that withdrawal brings all chronic diseases and chronic injuries, as well as increases and intensifies them.
5. The exacerbation of insomnia and nightmares
Alcohol withdrawal syndrome may cause the occurrence of such conditions, which are associated with sleep:
- inability to sleep, or difficulty falling asleep;
- partial insomnia;
- the appearance of nightmares;
- the emergence of obsessive dreams with the same plot.
When such a condition lasts about five days, there can appear cheats visual and auditory perception. For example, in the sound of wheels alcoholic can hear the abuse in his address, and a jacket on a hanger in the corridor he takes for a person who is hiding in a secluded corner. Alcoholic thinks he constantly falls or fails somewhere. In his painful nightmares, a patient can transform into different characters: the participants chase, persecution, attacks. Cases, the presence of animals in alcoholic nightmares are not uncommon also.
Long nightmares tend to become a cause of the fact that there develop such states of alcoholic:
- delirium tremens;
- alcohol delirium;
- obsessive dream.
6. Exacerbation of chronic and currently occurring diseases
Internal bleeding, delirium tremens, and delirium tremens – these are not the only satellite alcohol syndrome. Another danger that waits for those, who are experiencing alcohol syndrome, is that a person begins to suffer from chronic and currently occurring diseases.
During an abstinence syndrome an alcoholic can have such diseases:
- acute pancreatitis;
- chronic pancreatitis;
- lower back pain;
- pain under the ribs on the left side;
- pain in the liver area (so-called alcoholic hepatitis);
- sometimes perhaps even the appearance of cirrhosis (there is a pain in the right upper quadrant).
An alcoholic, who is experiencing these feelings, should be obliged to turn to the medical professional, who diagnose and prescribe adequate treatment.
7. Wet brain
Wet brain – is a deadly complication of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. During the wet brain, there are affected the respiratory and cardiac centers in the body of the alcoholic. This disease, in most cases, is the cause of death of the patient.
Experts report that alcoholic hasn’t any organ that would be healthy, even partly. Anyway, deadly addiction to alcohol affects the entire body of the patient. A patient with alcoholism withdrawal syndrome has a significantly reduced attention. It is extremely unstable, and the patient is unable to focus. Mental functioning is also impaired, and depressed mood of the patient makes the situation worse.
The amount of memory of patients with alcoholism is significantly reduced and there is a disturbed function of both short and long-term memory. Some alcoholics suffering from withdrawal syndrome suffer a less mechanical violation of memory while other patients have fewer violations of logical memory. As a rule, it is difficult to find patients with alcoholism, which during the withdrawal symptoms do not suffer from memory impairment.
Disorders of thought process during the withdrawal syndrome
Thought processes of a human, overindulgence in alcohol drinking, are characterized by abundant easily arise abstinent associations. This occurs as a consequence of intense craving for alcohol, which distorts the feelings and desires of the alcoholic. Social and spiritual guidance of alcoholic significantly distorted, sometimes undergoing drastic metamorphosis.
Alcoholic’s thought processes differ by non productivity, there are no creative elements of humor and understanding at all. Dynamics of thinking is severely impaired, so patients do not take and understand any instructions, their responses are often characterized by the lack of logic and absurdity, and the ability to create associations is superficial. The stronger the withdrawal syndrome, the chaotic mind of a person suffering from alcoholism is. During the old alcoholism, the thinking of sick person differs by special deceleration and random nature of occurrence of logical connections.
Disorders that occur in the psyche during withdrawal syndrome have such features:
- disturbing sadness;
- dysphoric sub-depression;
- apathetic sub-depression;
- pronounced anxiety and related conditions.
If the patient’s age is less than thirty-five years, he will have more clearly anxiety, over the age of thirty-five, there is a prevailing mood of depression. Being in a dreary mood, patients blame themselves for addiction to the bottle. In addition, alcoholic blames himself for what actions he performs, being intoxicated. Various life events that happened to alcoholic aggravate a bad mood of the patient. The feeling of hopelessness and despair sometimes pushes alcoholics to suicide, although often such cases are of a demonstrative character and are intended to serve as an instrument of blackmail of alcoholic’s relatives and friends. There are cases when in such a way an alcoholic gets the money for the next portion of alcohol from loved ones.
An alcoholic, who has an intensely anxious mood, is afraid to die because of a sudden attack or cardiac arrest. Such patients sometimes call an ambulance or a doctor to the house, so he registers them cardiovascular medicine. Sometimes this anxiety leads to a sense of what the patient is having trouble with breathing because of a lack of air. Withdrawal syndrome in alcoholics is not only characterized by anxiety disorders but can also be a reason for panic attacks.
The craving for feeling the state of intoxication by alcoholic becomes much stronger after hangover. In order to satisfy the desire of a hangover, the alcoholic is ready to sell for pennies all the property that he has, to jump from the balcony of the family, or to get off the ropes and bound in rope sheet. It is not uncommon when an alcoholic does not stop even before committing the crime to get money for alcohol.
There are also cases, when the craving for alcohol, on the contrary, disappears, and there is a clear rejection of the alcoholic odor of any kind, and even liquor. It is an indicator of the return of abstinence syndrome, during which the alcoholic’s sleep is becoming better and there are other health problems experienced by the patient. The longest neurological symptoms do not disappear – the alcoholic may feel long disturbances of muscle tone and the so-called truncal ataxia.
How to help a patient who is suffering from withdrawal syndrome?
Many relatives and friends of alcoholics are thinking about how to remove this syndrome. Removing alcohol syndrome from an alcoholic, who suffers from addiction, if the syndrome has not yet had time to cause complications, can be successfully performed by a qualified drug specialist. Best of all is to treat alcoholic from withdrawal symptoms in the drug clinic, where the patient is constantly monitored by the medical staff, able to provide medical assistance at any moment.
Treatment of alcohol abuse at home can have serious implications for the alcoholic. In addition, relatives of the alcoholic can’t always properly control home how a patient observes a sober lifestyle, which is a prerequisite for the treatment of this disease. Also, relatives often are not able to control how the patient complies with the other doctor’s prescription. There are cases when the patient is like agrees with all the requirements of a specialist, but in practice, the alcoholic acts differently.
As a rule, the initial phase of inpatient treatment of alcohol withdrawal syndrome is the injection of a specialized alcoholic salt solution, which is able to normalize the electrolyte balance in the body of the patient. The solution is injected intravenously in a hospital environment. The solution is also complemented by sedatives, heart medications, drugs, vasodilators, diuretics and other necessary for the therapeutic effects drugs.
Getting rid of a hangover, the patient is able to restore his mental activity, returned to normal. Time for recovering to the level of mental norms depend on how hard the withdrawal proceeds. Of paramount importance is the duration of disease, which determines the depth of patient’s encephalographic deviations. Many alcoholics also improves memory function, reduced craving for alcohol and the alcoholic waning number of associations.
Relief of withdrawal syndrome can completely restore the social and moral values, which have been distorted by destructive addiction to alcohol. In such cases, the alcoholic personality deformation can be considered a temporary condition that goes away after treatment.
In the case when syndrome’s symptoms have disappeared and mental distortion occurs, there is so-called alcohol degradation of the individual patient. In this state, an alcoholic has the following disorders of thought processes:
- the inability to distinguish between main and secondary;
- decreased ability to abstraction;
- violation tendency to generalize and the appearance of traction to detail;
- reduction of critical thinking;
- reduced productivity of thinking.
Self-evaluation of the patient with alcohol withdrawal syndrome depends on alcoholic’s constitution of character, his psycho, and his relationship with the alcoholic’s loved ones and friends. Self-evaluation of the patient can vary from under depression to the extreme irritability and nervousness. There are not frequent depressions at patients with alcoholism when the patient begins to think about how to commit suicide.
Abstinence syndrome – is a condition the symptoms of which may become more difficult with each new attack. An alcoholic, who doesn’t get treatment, puts their health at obvious risk. In addition, we must not forget that alcohol syndrome is capable of having a devastating effect on the human psyche. Frequent changes in the psyche of the patient may be virtually irreversible. Referral to a specialist of drug addiction and psychologists – is a necessary measure for those suffering from alcoholism. If a patient with alcoholism himself unable to turn to doctors, his family members are required to take the patient to specialists, who can save alcoholic and protect his body and mind from the destructive influence of alcoholic beverages.