Can You Die From Alcohol Withdrawal?

Last Updated on February 13, 2024
adam zagha of numa detox and rehab in los angeles
Writer: Adam Zagha
Clinical Reviewer: Ariana Gravanis

Curious about the potential risks of quitting alcohol? Alcohol addiction (alcohol abuse), remains a prevalent issue in the US and is affecting millions of individuals. In fact, according to NIAAA, approximately 14.1 million adults struggled with alcohol use disorder in 2019. However, many wonder can you die from alcohol detox or alcohol withdrawal?

In this article, we will dive into the risk of dying from alcohol detoxification. Should you require guidance or support, please remember that NUMA Recovery Centers is readily available to assist you. Do not hesitate to seek expert help and support if you or someone you know is grappling with alcohol addiction. Contact NUMA today!

Start Recovery Here.
Call (888)-344-6862

Quick Points

  • Alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening.

  • Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).

  • Attempting self-detox from alcohol is risky and can lead to severe symptoms, including seizures and delirium tremens.

  • Death during alcohol withdrawal syndrome can occur due to severe withdrawal symptoms, especially in individuals with chronic alcohol use.

  • Medical supervision is essential for a safe alcohol detox, with professionals providing proper management and monitoring of symptoms.

  • NUMA offers personalized treatment plans and support for individuals struggling with alcohol addiction.

Can You Die from Alcohol Detox?

Alcohol detoxification, often referred to as detox, is a critical step for individuals seeking to overcome alcohol addiction (also known as alcohol use disorder). But can alcohol detox be life-threatening?

Excessive alcohol intake can lead to various addiction disorders, including:

  • alcohol use disorder (AUD)

  • alcohol dependence

  • psychological addiction

Many factors contribute to why people become alcoholics. Genetics, environmental influences, and social factors can play a significant role. A statistic worth noting is that as young as 12-year-old boys drink alcohol.

Attempting self-detox without medical supervision can be extremely risky!

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms, including high blood pressure, can be severe and even life-threatening, especially in individuals who have been drinking heavily. These symptoms may include withdrawal seizures and delirium tremens, and that's why seeking professional help is needed when you decide to stop drinking.

It reduces the risk of severe medical complications and ensures a safer transition from your last drink."

How Can Death Occur During Alcohol Withdrawal?

To understand how death during alcohol withdrawal occurs, first, let's understand the physiological effects of chronic alcohol use on the body.

Regular and excessive consumption of alcohol causes changes in brain chemistry. Over time, the brain adapts to these changes, leading to a state of physical dependence where it cannot function without alcohol.

When an individual suddenly stops drinking, the brain struggles to readjust and return to its normal functioning state. This can result in the most severe form of withdrawal, including delirium tremens, and seizures, which can lead to death.

Furthermore, individuals with chronic alcohol use may also have underlying health issues that can be exacerbated during detox.

For instance, liver damage caused by heavy drinking can put a person at a higher risk of complications during withdrawal, including liver failure. Close medical supervision and medical support are much needed to manage symptoms of alcohol withdrawal effectively.

Common Dangerous Withdrawal Symptoms from Alcohol

While not necessarily fatal, you still experience withdrawal symptoms that can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening if not managed carefully:

  • severe vomiting

  • high fever

  • dehydration

  • rapid changes in blood pressure

  • delirium tremens (DTs)

DTs are a serious condition. It can cause confusion, rapid heartbeat, fever, and even seizures. In extreme cases, DTs can lead to coma or death if not treated promptly.

However, these fatal consequences are typically associated with individuals who have a severe alcohol addiction — people who have been consuming large amounts of alcohol for an extended period. Severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms also depend on various factors such as:

  • Age

  • Overall health

  • History of alcohol detox

How To Safely Detox from Alcohol Addiction?

The safest and most effective way to detox from alcohol or drugs is under the supervision of medical professionals. This allows for proper management and monitoring of the withdrawal process, reducing the risk of complications.

A medical detox program often includes medications to ease symptoms, regular medical check-ups, and round-the-clock support from trained professionals. This not only ensures a safer detox process but also increases the chances of successful long-term recovery.

Can NUMA Help?

Alcohol addiction has taken a foot-hold in many individuals' lives, and the thought of detox can be scary for both the individual struggling with addiction and their loved ones.

However, seeking help is the first step towards recovery.

NUMA offers personalized treatment plans to support individuals through every stage of recovery. Our team of experts understands the complexity of alcohol addiction and provides a safe, compassionate environment for medical detox and treatment.

Contact NUMA today to learn more about our alcohol addiction treatment programs and find the support you need for a successful recovery journey. Remember, you are not alone in this fight; we are here to help.

Start Recovery Here.
Call (888)-344-6862
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adam zagha of numa detox and rehab in los angeles
Adam Zagha
Adam Zagha is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Los Angeles with over a decade of experience in addiction treatment and recovery. He holds a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology and is certified in EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, and ACT. Prior to Numa Recovery Centers, Adam was CFO and the Director of Clinical Outreach at Transcend Recovery Community. Adam is committed to providing top-quality care to individuals seeking treatment for addiction and mental health issues. He also provides trainings and workshops on addiction, mental health, and mindfulness.
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About Numa
Numa Recovery Centers is a leading drug and alcohol detox and rehab company based in Los Angeles, providing evidence-based treatment for substance abuse and addiction. With a team of experienced professionals, Numa offers a comprehensive range of personalized services to help clients overcome addiction and achieve long-term recovery.
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