Can You Die from Alcohol Withdrawal?

Woman wonders if she can die from alcohol withdrawal.

Having a glass of wine or beer from time to time is something many people enjoy. For some, though, the act of drinking can get out of control and lead to alcohol addiction. One sign of addiction is periods of intense alcohol withdrawal. While these experiences are unpleasant, is withdrawal dangerous? Can you die from alcohol withdrawal?

It doesn’t happen frequently, but yes, alcohol withdrawal can trigger consequences that ultimately prove fatal. It’s not actually the withdrawal itself that’s to blame, but rather it’s the after-effects, which can include seizures or what’s called “delirium tremens”, which have been linked to hallucinations and other dangerous side effects.

Suffice it to say that you don’t want your addiction to progress to this level of seriousness. The way to start your return to sobriety is to enroll in an alcohol detox program.

What Is Alcohol Withdrawal?

Drugs and alcohol trigger long-lasting changes in your body. In the case of addiction, your brain and body come to depend on these substances to function. When you stop drinking, your body reacts by beginning a period of withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal is marked by symptoms that can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Fatigue
  • Interrupted sleep
  • Rapid heart rate or high blood pressure

The way to respond to alcohol withdrawal is by enrolling in alcohol detox, where doctors carefully monitor your condition to make sure the symptoms do not get out of hand.

Can You Die from Alcohol Withdrawal?

The mechanisms currently aren’t very well understood, but the withdrawal period, particularly if it leads to delirium tremens, can trigger seizures which then can lead to death. In general, it’s rare, but still possible.

How might this happen? Some doctors believe that alcohol withdrawal can lead to cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke. The precursor to this may well be a marked increase in heart rate or blood pressure. Keep in mind that one of the real dangers of an alcohol use disorder is the damage you can do to other organs.

Whatever the mechanism, alcohol withdrawal can make you very sick, which is why it’s critical to seek professional help with alcohol detox.

The Process of Recovery

Alcohol detox is the beginning, not the end, of recovery from alcohol addiction. The purpose of detox is to help you step down your use of alcohol and to stabilize your body and mind for the next phases of treatment.

Once you complete alcohol detox, you next move into the counseling stage. Working with a therapist trained in addiction treatment, you will work to understand yourself better and to develop new and stronger coping skills to avoid temptations in the future. You may also participate in group therapy, and alternative forms of therapy emphasizing art, music, or the outdoors.
The final phase of recovery is aftercare. During aftercare, you’ll be provided with important resources, such as counseling and participation in 12-step anonymous programs, to lower the risk of relapse. The support of peers you meet in 12-step programs can be extremely useful in recovery.

Start Your Recovery at Summit Detox

We’ve all probably had a taste of alcohol withdrawal at one time or another, but have called it a “hangover.” People with serious problems with alcohol addiction frequently feel these symptoms in the extreme, to the point where it can put one’s life at risk. Don’t let it get that far. Get the help you need through alcohol detox. Summit Detox can be your partner in this important effort. Our safe, secure, and confidential 20-bed inpatient detox facility offers you the focused attention you need to step down from your alcohol addiction. Our staff is experienced in evidence-based care and will stand by your side at every step in this difficult journey. Take the first steps toward sobriety. Reach a counselor at Summit Detox today by calling 866.341.0638.

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