About 22.3 million Americans (over 9% of adults) live in recovery after some form of substance abuse disorder. About three out of four people who experience addiction eventually recover. Before you begin on your road to recovery, however, you’ll need to work through alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
For example, you might experience alcohol shakes as you begin detoxing. Here are six steps you can take as you’re withdrawing from alcohol. These tips can help manage your symptoms.
Learning how to work through your symptoms will bring you one step closer to long-term recovery. Read on to learn more.
1. Improve Your Diet
Alcohol can have both short-term and long-term effects on the mind and body, including:
- Head pain
- Changes in vision, hearing, and perception
- Loss of coordination
- Loss of consciousness
- Gaps in memory
- Trouble focusing or making decisions
- Nausea and vomiting
- Anxiety and irritability
- Increased tension and conflict
- Weakened immunity
- Changes in appetite and weight
Dehydration-related effects can also include headaches, dizziness, and nausea.
Drinking too much can damage your liver, pancreas, digestive system, circulatory system, and central nervous system. Improving your diet could help you work through your alcohol withdrawal symptoms. It can also provide your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to repair the damage drinking caused.
As you begin working through your alcohol withdrawals, make sure to develop a well-balanced diet.
First, add vitamins and minerals to your diet by eating more fruits and vegetables. Eating fruit can also help you work through sugar cravings.
People who struggle with drinking often develop protein deficiencies. Protein can add B vitamins, vitamin E, zinc, iron, and magnesium to your diet. Try eating more fatty fish, which can also ease inflammation throughout the body.
Carbohydrates can benefit your recovery by providing energy and fiber. Try to avoid refined grains, though. Instead, consider whole, unprocessed grains, which also contain beneficial B vitamins.
You might struggle to keep heavy meals down during the first few days you’re withdrawing from alcohol. For the time being, try consuming soups or liquid meals. For example, you can replenish nutrients using fruit or vegetable juices.
After a few days, move on to nutritious whole foods.
Fluids and Electrolytes
While detoxing, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids. After all, alcohol is a diuretic, which can increase your risk of dehydration.
Make sure to drink plenty of liquids that contain electrolytes. Electrolytes can ease your dehydration and nausea symptoms.
Common electrolytes found in sports drinks include magnesium, potassium, calcium, and sodium.
Make sure you’re drinking water throughout the day to rehydrate your body.
2. Use Stress Management Techniques
Learn how to manage your stress as you begin working through your alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Otherwise, fear, anxiety, or stress could intensify your withdrawal symptoms.
Here are a few tips you can use to manage your stress and foster positive thinking.
Ride Out Cravings
As you begin experiencing alcohol shakes and other withdrawal symptoms, it’s important to remind yourself to ride out your cravings. There will be multiple points during this process when you’ll feel tempted to have a drink. The craving will build, reach a peak, crash, and dissipate.
Remind yourself that working through your alcohol withdrawal symptoms is a process you can accomplish.
Write Yourself a Letter
Before you begin withdrawing from alcohol, write yourself a letter explaining why you want to detox in the first place. Remind yourself of the potential challenges and consequences you might face if you don’t detox.
Try the “fast forward” coping mechanism, too. When you daydream about having a drink, think about the pain you might experience afterward.
You can also use meditation, yoga, visualization, and other practices to manage your stress.
Try intentional breathing during your meditation sessions. Slow, controlled breaths can improve your respiratory and cardiovascular health.
3. Keep Busy
Try to reduce your alcohol shakes by keeping busy. For example, you can:
- Keep a journal
- Watch a movie
- Play a game
- Create art
- Listen to music
Consider picking up new hobbies or resuming old ones, too. Keeping busy can help you remain distracted.
Exercise could benefit your alcohol dependence management as you begin on your road to recovery. In fact, exercise combined with other treatments has proven effective in managing alcohol withdrawal symptoms like alcohol shakes.
Work up a sweat with people within your support group!
4. Get Enough Sleep
Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Otherwise, insomnia might impact your road to recovery. Inadequate sleep can make your alcohol withdrawal symptoms and tremors worse.
If you’re struggling to fall asleep at night, try improving your sleep hygiene. Stick to a schedule, too.
5. Build Your Support System
Don’t work through this process alone. Instead, start building a support system. Your support system can help you navigate your triggers.
Consider attending a 12-step program, one-on-one therapy sessions, or group therapy sessions. Talk to people who have battled with alcohol withdrawals in the past. They might have helpful tips you can use when working through the process yourself.
6. Seek Help
Before you begin withdrawing from alcohol, consider seeking help. Otherwise, detoxing could prove dangerous if you’re alone.
Consider visiting a rehabilitation center to discuss the detoxing process with a medical professional. Detoxing with a professional nearby can help reduce the risk of complications.
You’re not going through this alone. Recognizing that help is a phone call away could help you better address your substance abuse disorder. You could have an easier time developing and maintaining a healthy, sober life, too.
Work Through Withdrawals: Seek Help If You’re Getting Alcohol Shakes
Don’t let alcohol shakes and other alcohol withdrawal symptoms impede you from the process. Instead, use these tips as you begin on your road to recovery. With these tips, you can take the first step toward long-term sobriety.
Remember, you don’t have to start withdrawing from alcohol alone. Working with professionals could make all the difference to your road to recovery.
Reach out for help today to begin your path to sobriety.