Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are physical and psychological changes that occur when an individual who is physically dependent on alcohol (a.k.a. someone with alcohol addiction) stops drinking. For those who don’t know, alcohol withdrawal can be more than unpleasant, but extremely dangerous. As every individual and their drinking habits are different, not everyone develops withdrawal symptoms. This may leave many wondering, how much they would have to drink to experience withdrawal symptoms. To answer this complex question, we have compiled information on the factors to consider.
Can You Determine If You Will Experience Alcohol Withdrawal?
The first place to start is probably asking whether it is even possible to determine if an individual is going to develop withdrawal symptoms.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple test or even a complex method that can determine for certain if someone is going to develop withdrawal symptoms. What we do know, is that there are a variety of factors that are correlated with an increased or decreased likelihood of withdrawal. In fact, our admissions coordinators will ask a variety of questions to get an idea of how mild or severe withdrawal will be for an individual admitted to their program. Consider the following factors:
Heavy Alcohol Use & Withdrawal
How much alcohol an individual consumes on a regular basis is one of the greatest factors that contribute to whether someone will develop alcohol withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking. This doesn’t mean that someone who partakes in binge drinking once will experience withdrawal. In fact, someone who only drinks heavily on rare occasions is likely to experience a hangover, but not withdrawal symptoms. Length of use and frequency of use are the other major factors that not only affect if you will get withdrawal symptoms but how much you have to drink to get withdrawal symptoms. Someone who has been consuming alcohol on a daily basis for months or years is at significant risk for developing alcohol withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking. Additionally, the longer they have been drinking and the more they drink, the more intense the detox process may be.
If two individuals were to start drinking alcohol on the same day, and they drank similar amounts at a similar frequency, they won’t both necessarily have the same detox experience. One may develop withdrawal symptoms and the other may not. They may both develop symptoms, but one individual may have more severe or longer-lasting withdrawal symptoms than the other. This is because there are other factors affecting how much an individual would have to drink to get withdrawal symptoms.
Genetic & Other Biological Factors
Something as simple as our biological sex, weight, height, or muscle mass can have an effect on the way our body tolerates alcohol. Liver health is something else to consider. These are all factors that directly affect how an individual processes alcohol, and ultimately how quickly a physical dependence is developed. Due to genetics, biologically male individuals typically have a greater amount of alcohol dehydrogenase, the liver enzyme that breaks down alcohol. This means that they can process alcohol quicker than most women and would have to drink greater amounts in order to develop withdrawal symptoms.
Lifestyle Choices & Alcohol Withdrawl
It is far from a new concept that eating well, exercising, and maintaining one’s mental health all contribute to one’s overall wellbeing. The body of a healthy individual can better prevent and fight illnesses. Heavy alcohol use can compromise health, but someone who is otherwise extremely healthy will likely be less likely to experience a long detox with severe symptoms.
Getting Help To Manage Possible Withdrawal Symptoms
Ultimately, there is no certain way to know if an individual will develop withdrawal symptoms or how severe they will be. There is also no magic maximum amount of alcohol that someone can drink without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Due to the risk of serious compilations like tremors and hallucinations, it is always recommended to seek the help of professional alcohol detox or inpatient treatment facility. Don’t play around with you or your loved one’s well-being. Get help today!