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Can You Die from Alcohol Seizures?


If you are thinking about quitting drinking, you may wonder, “Can you die from alcohol seizures?” For answers to this question, and to learn more about alcohol detox, read on.

One of the biggest barriers to giving up drinking is the fear of going through alcohol withdrawals. This concern is not unfounded, as a small number of people do experience seizures during detox. For this reason, someone who wants to get sober should not attempt to detox on his or her own.

Alcohol seizures are just one of the problems that may occur during a detox. The risk of these serious symptoms is higher among people with a long history of heavy drinking. Others who have undergone alcohol detox multiple times are at risk of the DTs, which can be fatal.

To ensure a safe detox from alcohol, the process should be closely observed. Alcohol withdrawal affects every person in a unique way. Detox experts will be on the watch for signs of any issues of concern, and will swiftly intervene.


The Intake Process Helps Prepare the Detox Team

Prior to starting the detox process you will undergo the intake step so the team can assess your needs. A member of the clinical team will meet with you and ask for your input about the history of your alcohol use disorder (AUD). Also, a review of your health history, and mental health history, if any, will be done. All this data helps the detox team assess how severe the AUD is, and what to expect during your detox.

The goal of the detox team is to assist you through the entire process. After interviewing you they can assess your needs and any risks, such as seizures. They will plan on guiding you safely through detox by providing medications as needed.

Factors that Impact Severity of Withdrawal Symptoms

Those who go through alcohol detox have withdrawal symptoms that range from mild to severe. The data that is collected during intake can point to how severe your symptoms might be. Certain factors can affect the severity of detox, such as:

  • AUD history. The length of time, or history of heavy drinking, is a key factor in planning for symptom severity.
  • Alcohol consumption level. Along with the length of time, the level of alcohol consumed on a daily basis can help predict withdrawal risks.
  • Health status. Chronic medical conditions can cause health risks to develop during detox.
  • Prior detox history. Someone who has gone through an alcohol detox many times is at a higher risk of the delirium tremens (DTs).
  • Mental health issues. A co-occurring mental health disorder, such as anxiety, bipolar, or depression, can be an added risk.
  • Other substances of abuse. There may be a poly-drug addiction, meaning an AUD along with another drug of abuse. This can greatly increase the severity of symptoms.

What to Expect During Alcohol Detox and Withdrawal

The alcohol detox process is unique to each person, based on the above-mentioned factors. Even so, there is a fairly predictable pattern for the way the detox unfolds.

Alcohol detox will progress through three distinct phases. As you wind through each phase, there are certain symptoms that are likely to emerge:

Phase 1. Emerging Symptoms. When alcohol has been withheld, the body will begin to show signs of distress. This is the brain attempting to adjust to the absence of alcohol. During the first 24-hours of detox these symptoms are common:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Headache
  • Feeling irritable.
  • Feeling anxious.
  • Sleep problems.

Phase 2. Peak Symptoms. On days 2-4 the symptoms will be at their peak. This is the most trying, and dangerous, phase of detox. Seizures can occur during this phase, as well as the DTs. Symptoms often include:

  • Mental confusion.
  • Palpitations
  • Increased heart rate.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Fever
  • Mood swings.
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • DTs*
  • Coma

*The DTs affect about 5% of people who go through alcohol detox. This is a medical emergency and often requires hospitalization. Of those who acquire the DTs, 15% will not survive.

Phase 3. Subsiding Symptoms. Once over the peak the symptoms will begin to subside. Symptoms in the final phase of detox include:

  • Mood swings.
  • Brain fog
  • Symptoms of depression.
  • Nervousness

Why a Medical Detox is Important

The medical help you receive to help reduce pain and discomfort during detox is crucial, but there’s more to it. To endure the whole process and make it to the end will also rely on getting mental health support.

During the second phase of detox, when symptoms are at their peak, some may want to throw in the towel and give up on recovery. After all, it is very hard to struggle with severe symptoms for a couple of days straight.

This is where the psych support comes into play. The detox experts are trained to usher you through these low points. They will help you keep your eye on the big picture. Yes, a medically monitored detox helps you to safely make it through detox and avoid seizures. But it can also offer the emotional support needed to get to the other side.

Next Steps in the Recovery Journey

Getting sober and completing a detox is only the first leg of the recovery journey. To remain on that path will take a sustained effort for years to come. It starts with obtaining the recovery tools needed to support long-term sobriety.

Learning new ways to cope with cravings and other triggers is central to recovery success. The coping skills are taught in a rehab setting through a variety of activities. These include:

  • One-on-one talk therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Medication
  • 12-step program
  • Classes
  • Holistic methods

You may want to break free from the grip of alcoholism, but wonder “Can you died from alcohol seizures?” Push past this fear and enroll in a treatment program, starting with a medical detox, today.

California Rehab Campus Provides Medical Detox for Alcohol Withdrawal

California Rehab Campus uses a blend of science-based care techniques and mental health care to treat the whole person. Our belief is that addiction cannot be cured without addressing the deeper issues that may have factored into the AUD. For more details about our program, please contact us today at (888) 487-1874

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