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alcohol withdrawal hallucinations
December 13, 2021

Alcohol Withdrawal Hallucinations

Alcohol’s socially acceptable prevalence in American culture can make it easy to forget how dangerous it is. Not only is it an addictive substance, but it can also cause severe withdrawal symptoms when people quit drinking. These issues affect the brain and nervous system, leading to problems like confusion and seizures. For some heavy drinkers, hallucinations are part of a significant health issue known as alcohol withdrawal delirium.

What Causes Alcohol Withdrawal Delirium?

Like all addictive drugs, alcohol affects the brain’s neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers. Multiple neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin combine to create the pleasurable, relaxed feeling associated with drinking. Over time, your neurotransmitters adapt to the presence of alcohol, which eventually leads to a dependency. 

If you are a heavy drinker and significantly cut back on the amount you drink or suddenly stop drinking altogether, withdrawal symptoms can result. In the absence of alcohol, you begin to feel ill because your body and brain can no longer regulate the neurotransmitters on their own. 

Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal Delirium

Depending on how long you have been a heavy drinker, symptoms such as alcohol withdrawal hallucinations can begin as early as a few hours after your last drink. However, in some cases, they may take a week or more to emerge. 

These unpleasant effects may vary in severity as the alcohol leaves your system, and may include:

  • Nightmares or insomnia
  • Seeing, hearing or feeling things that aren’t there
  • A disturbed state of mind
  • Delirium tremens, including vivid hallucinations or delusions
  • Irrational beliefs
  • Seizures
  • Stomach pain
  • A heightened startle reflex
  • Sensitivity to light, sound or touch
  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Unpredictable mood swings

How to Safely Quit Drinking

Even if you are firmly resolved to stop drinking, the onset of seizures, hallucinations and other uncomfortable alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be frightening and cause a return to alcohol abuse. Alcohol is one of the most dangerous substances to quit cold turkey, especially for long-term, heavy drinkers. 

At Beach House, we offer the safest, healthiest way to quit drinking with our medically supervised detox program, where health professionals will monitor your condition 24/7 and administer medication, as necessary, to help manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms. 

As soon as you are medically stable and no traces of alcohol remain in your system, you can transition seamlessly into our accredited alcohol addiction treatment program. A therapist will work one-on-one with you to begin addressing the underlying emotional and mental health issues contributing to your substance use disorder, and you will also participate in 12-step recovery groups and evidence-based therapies.

Experience the Beach House Difference

Beach House is a state-of-the-art addiction recovery facility with a beautiful, secluded campus on Florida’s coastline. We offer a full continuum of substance abuse care in one location, with an OTP-certified on-site pharmacy and an industry-leading therapist-to-client ratio. Our team has intentionally created a culture of love and compassion to combat the loneliness and isolation that characterize the disease of addiction.   

To learn more about the therapies we offer, our treatment philosophy and the qualities that distinguish us as one of the nation’s leading addiction rehabs, please reach out to our admissions counselors. When you are ready to find freedom from alcohol addiction, we’re here to take your confidential call 24/7.  

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