If you're someone who suffers from an alcohol addiction, you may have already tried to quit multiple times. Unfortunately, alcohol withdrawal symptoms have likely forced you to turn back to drinking. These symptoms, which can include sweating, nausea, confusion, paranoia, and even seizures, are no laughing matter. That's why you need to consider a two-pronged approach to treating your withdrawal: replacement medicines and exercise. You also need to know what to do if you suffer from more severe problems.
Drugs Used To Treat Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Drugs.com lists 16 medicines that are used to treat withdrawal symptoms. Some of these medicines (such as Valium) are anticonvulsants, which helps stop seizures and other severe symptoms from occurring. Other medicines (like Tenormin) are cardioselective beta blockers. This means they block the reception of dopamine in your brain and stop you from craving alcohol.
Finding the right medicine depends on how you best think you will be deterred from drinking. Some people prefer antiadrenergic agents (such as Catapres-TTS), because they actually make a person sick to the stomach when they drink. Others just want their cravings eliminated, while others want to lower the severity of their withdrawal with anticonvulsants.
Combating Withdrawal With Exercise
Few people realize that exercise is actually one of the most effective ways to curb cravings and to even lower the severity of alcohol withdrawal symptoms. This fact was tested in a study at the University of Maine. In this exercise, scientists discovered that alcohol-addicted hamsters who exercised were much less likely to drink than those who did not exercise.
How does this work? They theorize that people are replacing one pleasurable (but harmful) activity for a pleasurable (but healthy) activity. Any addiction, including addiction to alcohol, activates excessive amounts of dopamine in your brain. This is what causes your withdrawal: when your body isn't receiving the dopamine it craves, it feels pain.
However, when you exercise, your body generates dopamine. As a result, your body receives the dopamine it used to get from alcohol. As a result, your cravings are likely to go down. It is important to talk to your doctor before making any change to your physical exercise routine.
Managing More Serious Withdrawal Symptoms
Although replacement medicines and exercise should alleviate many of your minor withdrawal symptoms, there is a chance that major issues could occur. Withdrawal seizures, delirium tremens, and other serious problems may occur, and put your life at danger. What can you do if you experience these problems?
Some people have been able to use anticonvulsants to help decrease their seizure symptoms. In some instances, that has stopped the onset of delirium tremens. However, if it does occur, treating delirium tremens requires extended care, as it can last almost two weeks. During this time, hallucinations may occur. As a result, the only treatment for this problem is getting to a doctor for immediate care.
For more information, contact an alcohol rehabilitation center in your area.