Can Quitting Alcohol Kill You? The Dangers of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol use disorder is one of the biggest addiction problems in the United States. We hear a lot about the opioid crisis, but alcohol causes more deaths than even opioids. Heavy drinkers may even wonder, “Can alcohol withdrawal kill you?” The answer is yes, it can. Although rare, severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms can actually result in death during the recovery process from addiction.

Dying from alcohol withdrawal is rare, but it can occur in people who drink a lot for a long time and who quit smoking without medical supervision. The combination of Wernicke encephalopathy and Korsakoff syndromes is not a complication of alcohol withdrawal, but rather a nutritional deficiency. Experts recommend that you seek medical assistance when you stop drinking for safety reasons, but also to alleviate the effects of alcohol withdrawal. The possibility of dying from alcohol withdrawal is one of the most common concerns for many people who suffer from alcohol dependence and addiction.

People who have been drinking alcohol in excess for many years are more susceptible to seizures during detoxification and alcohol withdrawal. This can result in aspiration, asphyxiation, and physical injury as a result of uncontrollable seizures. After detoxification, patients can initiate counseling and therapy to address the root causes of alcohol use disorder. This can happen in different ways, most often among alcoholics who are trying to recover without medical supervision.

Data from the National Library of Medicine show that alcohol withdrawal symptoms usually occur within 8 hours after the last drink. The mission of SAMHSA is to lead public health and service delivery initiatives that promote mental health, prevent substance abuse, and provide treatment and support to promote recovery, while ensuring equitable access and better outcomes. The idea of stopping drinking suddenly may seem like common sense to combat alcohol addiction, but quitting in this way is dangerous and even deadly. This occurs when alcohol interferes with the movement, transmission, and absorption of neurotransmitters in the brain.

About half of people who are dependent on alcohol will experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking, according to the NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine). Quitting drinking without medical supervision can be deadly. It's important to seek help if you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to alcohol. With proper medical care and support, it's possible to overcome an addiction to alcohol and live a healthy life.

Sophia Streeby
Sophia Streeby

Addiction recovery expert from experience and training - I want to help others Quit drinking alcohol and find freedom from addiction daily.