Watch out for these symptoms

Most people in South Africa are back to work after the holidays, having swapped their daily beers and cocktails for coffee and water to kick start the new year.

Just because you enjoyed the holidays and had a few drinks each day doesn’t necessarily mean you’re an alcoholic, but now that you’re drinking less again it can come as a shock to your body.

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Alcohol withdrawal syndrome explained

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome and alcoholism or alcohol dependence are not the same.

health line describes alcohol withdrawal syndrome as a cluster of symptoms when a physically dependent person abruptly stops drinking or drastically reduces their alcohol consumption.

Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health, explains that over time, your central nervous system gets used to constantly drinking alcohol.

“Your body works hard to keep your brain alert and your nerves communicating. When alcohol levels suddenly drop, your brain stays tense. That’s what’s causing withdrawal,” he said.

Alcohol abuse, on the other hand, refers to excessive alcohol consumption or any other way that may put you at risk of physical, psychological, and social problems.

Consuming more than one drink a day for women (seven per week) or two drinks a day for men (14 per week) is generally considered alcohol abuse.

ALSO SEE: How to Defeat FOMA (Fear of Missing Alcohol) and Welcome Dry January

Pay attention to the symptoms

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms usually appear after a person significantly reduces drinking or stops drinking.

Mild symptoms can appear as early as six hours after you’ve finished your last drink. They can include:

  • fear
  • headache
  • nausea
  • Vomit
  • insomnia
  • Sweat
  • mood swings

More serious symptoms, such as hallucinations, palpitations, fever, hyperthermia, fatigue, and profuse sweating, may appear between 12 and 24 hours after your last drink.

Within 24-72 hours, various symptoms may have peaked and begin to level off or subside (although some more protracted symptoms may last for weeks or more).

*Compiled by Xanet Scheepers

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