Alcohol use disorder (AUD), also known as alcoholism, is a condition characterized by the excessive consumption of alcohol and the inability to control or stop drinking. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), in 2020, an estimated 14.5 million adults aged 18 and older (5.8% of the U.S. population) had alcohol use disorder. Additionally, it is estimated that 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes annually, making it the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. The NIAAA also states that alcohol misuse cost the United States $249 billion in lost productivity, health care expenses, and crime-related costs in 2020. AUD is a serious issue that typically requires professional treatment and support to overcome.
Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome
Alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) occurs when an individual who has been excessively consuming alcohol for an extended period suddenly stops or significantly reduces their alcohol consumption.
Common symptoms of AWS include:
These symptoms range from person to person, from mild to severe, and can even be life-threatening in some cases. It is essential for individuals who have been drinking heavily to seek professional medical help when trying to quit, as alcohol withdrawal syndrome symptoms can be dangerous if not properly managed.
What Are Alcohol Shakes?
Alcohol shakes, also known as alcohol tremors, are a symptom of alcohol withdrawal that occurs when an individual who has been drinking heavily stops or reduces their alcohol consumption. The shakes result from the brain and nervous system trying to readjust to functioning without the presence of alcohol. If one is a chronic alcoholic, tremors can occur within a few hours to a day after the last drink. Tremors characterize alcohol shakes in the hands and fingers, and sometimes the whole body, which can range from mild to severe. These tremors can make it difficult to perform everyday tasks and can be accompanied by other symptoms such as agitation, insomnia, and nausea. In severe cases, it can progress to seizures and delirium tremens which can be fatal if not properly treated.
How To Stop Alcohol Shakes
Treatment of alcohol tremors requires seeking professional medical help. The first step in treating alcohol shakes is to detoxify the body. This process involves medically supervised withdrawal from alcohol, which can help to minimize the risk of complications and manage withdrawal symptoms, including tremors. Specific pharmaceuticals, such as central nervous system depressants, can be prescribed to reduce the severity of tremors, as well as other symptoms such as anxiety and insomnia.
After detox, the next step is to seek treatment for alcohol use disorder. This can include therapy, counseling, and support groups. Behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing, can help individuals understand and change the thoughts and behaviors contributing to their addiction. It is essential to address any underlying medical or mental health conditions that may have contributed to the development of alcohol addiction. This can include managing conditions such as depression or anxiety, or addressing nutritional deficiencies that may have resulted from heavy drinking.
People dependent on alcohol may need a medication-assisted treatment plan, involving the above therapies, as well as medications like naltrexone and acamprosate — as prescribed by a doctor to help reduce cravings and prevent relapse.
We Can Help You
Overall, the key to stopping alcohol tremors is to get professional help and follow through with a comprehensive treatment plan. This may involve a combination of detox, therapy, medication, and support, and can take some time to see significant improvements. But with the right approach and support, it is possible to overcome an alcohol addiction, and the tremors included in symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. If you or a loved one are experiencing alcohol shakes or dealing with alcohol dependence, please contact us today. We can help you.