Mild alcohol withdrawal
Mild symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are very similar to a hangover and include feeling sick, mild shaking, mild disorientation, and generally feeling uncomfortable and unwell. Your body will be craving a drink and will try to convince you that this is the answer to all your ills. Of course it isn’t.
You may also have difficulty getting to sleep if you regularly drink in the evening, and you may feel nervous or anxious about how you’re going to make it through the next few days without a drink.
Most mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be dealt with using will power and the support of family and friends. Your GP may prescribe tranquilisers, such as diazepam (Valium) to calm your nerves during this period, and may kick off the course with a large intravenous dose.
Moderate to medium alcohol withdrawal
The higher your dependency on alcohol, the more severe your withdrawal symptoms will be. This can include shakes, hallucinations, palpitations, seizures, extreme anxiety and other psychotic behaviour.
Once again, your GP will be able to prescribe drugs to help you through these symptoms, and may arrange for you to be admitted to a specialist unit to monitor your progress, especially if you have a history of mental problems, or if you have little or no support at home.
In addition to diazepam, your GP can prescribe beta blockers, such as propranolol, to calm your heart, and anti-seizure medication, such as carbarmazepine. It should be noted however, that none of these drugs ‘cure’ alcoholism or stop you wanting to drink, so you will also need willpower and lots of moral support.