The Dos and Don’ts of Alcohol Withdrawal: What to Do, What to Eat, and When to Ask for Help

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According to a study by Detox.com, a person can experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms between 6 and 24 hours after their last drink. Symptoms sometimes start out mild but may become more severe, even potentially leading to hallucinations, stupor, and seizures. This syndrome is an extreme form of alcohol withdrawal known as delirium tremens, and it is very difficult to predict whether or not a person will experience it. As such, it is important to know what you should do to withdraw safely before the symptoms even begin.

Make sure you eat lots of healthy foods during the time of withdrawal. As stated by Detox.com, these can include vegetables, fruits, proteins, complex carbs, and cayenne pepper. These foods are healthy for many reasons. Fruits and vegetables—especially green veggies and colorful fruits—are loaded with antioxidants, which can help flush toxins out of your body. Healthful proteins like those found in fish, eggs, and chicken can improve your memory as well as give you an energy boost, and complex carbohydrates like peas and lentils are high in fiber and will help you digest properly.

Just as there are lots of foods you should eat, there are foods you should avoid as well. Though complex carbs are helpful, do not eat fatty foods or products with lots of refined sugars. These are your typical junk foods like chips, cookies, candy, etc., which will provide you with a quick energy boost but no actual nutrition. Also, do not ingest a lot of caffeine because it can make you dehydrated. Instead, drink plenty of water in order to avoid this problem altogether.

Make sure to do a little research so you can know how long your symptoms are likely to last. Most alcohol withdrawal symptoms begin to taper off at about 10 days or so. Knowing this will allow you to feel more informed and more comfortable during withdrawal. This can also help you stay aware of the potential that your symptoms may be unusual and will allow you to recognize the warning signs of delirium tremens.

If you believe you are likely to experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms, you must seek treatment in a detox center immediately, preferably an inpatient facility. This is the best way to make sure you will be safe in the event that your withdrawal symptoms lead to delirium tremens. While you are in detox, make sure you always inform the medical staff if you begin to feel uncomfortable, and try to build a bond with the other individuals in treatment, as this can help immensely in the long-term process of recovery. It can be beneficial to remind yourself that the symptoms of withdrawal will soon pass and that you can fully engage in recovery when you transition from detox to rehab.

Alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous, and some individuals put themselves at risk of experiencing deadly symptoms. However, if you are well informed and seek professional help, you will be able to safely navigate the first stage of alcohol recovery.