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The first signs of alcohol withdrawal

The First Signs of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal can encompass many signs and symptoms. A full list of Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be found on the EHD site. But what are the first signs of alcohol withdrawal a person may experience? This blog will focus on two symptoms; Craving for a drink and hand tremors.

Signs of Alcohol Withdrawal: Craving

Craving for a drink: This symptom can sneak up on a person. A period of daily drinking over multiple days can eventually produce alcohol dependence. When the body becomes dependent on alcohol, the brain sends messages that encourages the person to continue to drink, to satisfy the dependence.  One of these messages may be: “I need a drink” or “I want a drink” or “I could use a drink” or “It’s time for a drink”.  The thought just enters into the mind, if the person takes a drink then the thought leaves them, if the person postpones the drink, then the thought will get stronger.

An associated symptom is when a person begins to drink earlier than usual. A five o’clock cocktail hour becomes a four o’clock cocktail hour and often a three o’clock and then a two o’clock. The cravings govern the earlier drink.

Signs of Alcohol Withdrawal: Tremors

Tremors: Fine hand tremors. This is a classic and often troubling symptom of alcohol withdrawal and one of the first signs of alcohol withdrawal. The person dependent on alcohol notices a fine tremor in their hands. The tremor is most noticeable when holding objects such as drinking glasses or toothbrushes. Hand tremors often occur upon wakening due to the time between the last drink and time spent in bed. The dependent person may require a drink of alcohol to stop the hand tremor.

A needed drink in the morning to satisfy craving or stop a tremor is often the troubling symptom that leads to a request for help.

Craving for a drink and / or tremors can be the first signs of alcohol withdrawal. These symptoms, while troubling, can lead a person dependent on alcohol to see a health care professional and begin the process of healing the body and initiate a plan for improved health and sobriety.

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