Is Diarrhea a Symptom of Alcohol Withdrawal?

Alcohol use disorder is a common medical condition, affecting over 14 million people over the age of 12 in the United States alone. It’s a disease of the brain that requires medical and psychological treatment to manage.

Alcohol withdrawal occurs when someone attempts to quit drinking after developing a strong reliance on alcohol. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal typically begin to occur within 8 hours after the user’s last drink. However, in some cases, symptoms can occur days later. These symptoms tend to peak within 24 to 72 hours, but may go on for weeks in certain instances.

Common examples of alcohol withdrawal symptoms include changes in mood, fatigue, depression, muscle pain, increased blood pressure, and more. Not everyone experiences diarrhea when experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms. However, there is still a strong possibility you or your loved one may experience this when recovering from alcohol.

Signs of an Alcohol Use Disorder

There are many signs of alcohol use disorder including, but not limited to:

  • Struggling to limit how much alcohol you drink
  • Continually missing obligations at work or school
  • Drinking to avoid withdrawal symptoms
  • Continuing to drink even if it gets in the way of relationships with your family and friends
  • Having trouble resisting your alcohol cravings and/or an inability to think about anything else when craving a drink
  • Using alcohol to feel better in various situations
  • Abusing alcohol with driving, swimming, or during other high-risk activities
  • Developing a strong tolerance for alcohol 

What is Alcohol Withdrawal?

Alcohol withdrawal happens when people who engage in heavy drinking try to stop drinking alcohol. Unfortunately, when people attempt to stop drinking, they often experience many negative symptoms, including but not limited to, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, confusion, and insomnia. Levels of alcohol withdrawal symptoms can vary in different people and often depend on how bad their alcohol dependency is.

Causes of Alcohol Withdrawal

When people drink alcohol excessively, alcohol has a depressive effect on that person’s brain. This means it takes longer for the person’s brain to send messages to the body. According to experts, it takes approximately two weeks for your brain to return to normal after alcohol abuse. Unfortunately, this means that official recovery does not start until this time.

Is Diarrhea a Symptom of Alcohol Withdrawal?

Not everyone experiences diarrhea when suffering from the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. It is important to recognize that certain factors can increase the likelihood of someone suffering from diarrhea during alcohol withdrawal syndrome. For instance, if the person has over seven drinks a week, they will likely experience diarrhea during withdrawal.

 Another factor that increases the likelihood of someone experiencing diarrhea during withdrawal is how they drink alcohol. For example, people who engage in binge drinking are more likely to experience diarrhea during withdrawal.

Lastly, if someone attempts to withdraw from alcohol immediately without proper help, they are more likely to experience diarrhea and other symptoms. This is why seeking proper medical care is important when attempting detox.

General Alcohol Detox Timeline

The alcohol detox timeline helps people suffering from alcohol withdrawal symptoms understand what their symptoms will look like along their detox process.

  • Stage One: During this stage, people will experience headaches, stomach aches, nausea, elevated heart rate, hypertension, and rapid breathing. This occurs during the first six to twelve hours.
  • Stage Two: During the second stage, people may experience hallucinations and seizures. This happens during the next twelve to forty-eight hours.
  • Stage Three: In the third stage, people often experience sweating, confusion, delirium, and more. At this stage, it is important to seek medical help if necessary.
  • Stage Four: During the fourth and final stage, symptoms should improve after seventy-two hours. Typically, the symptoms will decrease at this stage. Unfortunately, sometimes they can persist for two weeks. 

Risks of Detoxing from Alcohol

There are several risk factors involved in detoxing from alcohol. The levels at which people experience negative symptoms when detoxing from alcohol vary. For example, when dealing with the effects of alcohol withdrawal, some people face less intense symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, and sweating. On the contrary, some people experience more serious symptoms such as heart palpitations, seizures, and even loss of consciousness.

This is why it is important to consider the right ways to detox from alcohol when deciding to make changes in your life.

How to Detox from Alcohol in the Safest Way

The safest way to detox from alcohol is to seek the proper medical care that you need from a professional. Unfortunately, when detoxing from alcohol, it is easy for things to take a negative turn fairly quickly. That is why professionals recommend seeking medical support during the third stage of detoxing, if you or your loved one is not already in an outpatient care center.

We offer treatment in Morris Plains, New Jersey, providing Partial Care, Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), Outpatient, Co-Occurring Disorders, Trauma Informed Care Program, and Recovery Capital levels of care. Whether you’re concerned for yourself, or a loved one, consider calling NJ Rehabs for support today. Get sober, stay sober, and always remember that recovery is possible.