Withdrawal refers to the onset of symptoms following the discontinuation or decrease of alcohol consumption. Typically, an individual addicted to alcohol will experience symptoms of withdrawal for about a week when he stops drinking. However, some alcohol addicts experience protracted withdrawal symptoms for a longer period of time after they quit drinking.
Protracted withdrawal symptoms may involve substance-specific symptoms that continue after the expected withdrawal period or it can involve non-substance specific symptoms that develop, progress or remain during the addict’s recovery process. Other terms used to describe this condition include chronic withdrawal, extended withdrawal, long-term withdrawal, post-acute withdrawal syndrome and subacute withdrawal. Protracted withdrawal symptoms can be a major obstacle for a recovering alcoholic to overcome. Because these symptoms can appear without warning, they can act as an instantaneous trigger for relapse back into alcohol addiction.
Why Do Only Some Recovering Alcoholics Experience Protracted Withdrawal Symptoms?
There are many factors that determine withdrawal. An individual’s symptoms’ severity, duration and bodily reaction can all vary. It is believed that protracted withdrawal symptoms develop because of cellular, molecular and neurocircuitry changes that take place in the brain before treatment. These brain changes are what may cause unpredictable or lengthy symptoms of withdrawal. It can take weeks, months or even years for some of the neurological changes to return to normal, and as a result an individual’s behavior, health and emotions can all be affected long-term. Another factor that may contribute to protracted withdrawal symptoms is a co-occurring illness. Symptoms of another illness can instigate symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol.
Common Symptoms of Protracted Withdrawal from Alcohol
A few common symptoms of protracted alcohol withdrawal include the following:
- Intense cravings for alcohol
- Anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure when you normally would)
- Stress sensitivity
- Memory problems
- Panic attacks
- Suicidal ideation
- Delirium tremens
- Nausea and vomiting
- Problems with sensory perception, interpreting information and mental cognition confusion
What Can Be Done for Protracted Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms?
Treating the symptoms of protracted alcohol withdrawal is imperative to an individual’s recovery as well as his health. Professional detox and recovery services can help an individual overcome these symptoms as well as prepare an individual for how to deal with symptoms that appear in the future. Because of this, it is important that recovering alcoholics continue to receive treatment after they leave a rehab program. Continued treatment can assist patients when withdrawal symptoms do arise and help individuals get back on track in recovery. It is important that individuals understand protracted withdrawal in order to avoid it or cope with it without having a relapse. Professional help can also reduce the risk of relapse by identifying and treating co-occurring disorders that may contribute to protracted alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Treatment Help for Alcohol Addiction Withdrawal
If you are ready to quit your addiction to alcohol, we can help. Please call our toll-free helpline today to speak with an addiction counselor who can assist you with your exact recovery needs. Counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer your questions and provide you with information on everything that has to do with alcohol addiction, treatment and recovery. You have many options when it comes to treating alcohol addiction. For safe, specialized and successful alcohol addiction treatment and recovery services, please call our helpline now.