Many people are unaware of the dangers of alcohol withdrawal. Whilst the harmful effects of alcohol addiction are well known, it is important that awareness is raised around what can happen with sudden withdrawal.
This of course does not apply to those who occasionally have a few drinks. Alcohol withdrawal applies to those who drink heavily enough for physical dependence to occur. This will usually be a male that drinks more than 100 units a week, or a female that drinks more than 70 units. It can also apply to people that binge drink, and consume large amounts of alcohol in one sitting.
Alcohol withdrawal is the body’s way of rebelling against the fact the substance has been removed. This can involve fairly minor withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, shaking, vomiting, nausea, cramping, trouble sleeping. However, it can also lead to more extreme symptoms such as confusion, hallucinations and even withdrawal seizures. Alcohol withdrawal seizures carry with them the risk of cutting off oxygen to the brain. This can result in brain damage, or in some circumstances, death.
Therefore, yes alcohol withdrawal can kill you, but this is not a reason to think that a person cannot stop drinking. As long as the person is given a medicated detox, they should be safe and more comfortable while they detox. In order to be certain the person is taken care of in the best way possible, residential detox programmes are able to provide supervised detoxes.
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