Does Alcohol Withdrawal Cause a Racing Heart?

Alcohol withdrawal comes with its own set of unique symptoms, from mild to severe. Keep reading to learn how the heart may be affected by alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

What Is Withdrawal?

Withdrawal is known as a collection of emotional and physical symptoms that occur when someone who heavily uses a substance suddenly stops or cuts down on their intake. This condition is most commonly associated with alcohol and can occur after someone heavily drinks for years, months, or even weeks.

Since alcohol is a depressant, the body has to work harder to keep the brain awake when there is alcohol in someone’s system. This means that, when alcohol is in your body, your brain is in a keyed-up state. The more consistently someone drinks, the more dependent their body will become on alcohol. If someone suddenly cuts down on this substance that the body has gotten used to, the central nervous system doesn’t know how to adapt. The body needs time to re-adjust and get back to normal; but this doesn’t happen without some uncomfortable symptoms. These symptoms, essentially, make up alcohol withdrawal.

Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be extremely mild, very dangerous, or somewhere in between. The intensity of symptoms will determine which treatment route is the most necessary.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms may appear six hours to 24 hours after someone’s last drink. Symptoms are typically at their peak two to three days after the last drink. These symptoms can last anywhere from seven days to several weeks.

Someone who is going through alcohol withdrawal may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate

An increased heart rate may additionally be a sign of a severe complication of withdrawal: delirium tremens. Delirium tremens are intense withdrawal symptoms that include delusions, fevers, seizures, hallucinations, and a racing heart rate. If someone makes it through the two to three days peak of withdrawal without having any symptoms of delirium tremens, they are not likely to experience them.

Does Alcohol Withdrawal Cause A Racing Heart?

While it is not very common, alcohol withdrawal can cause a racing heart. If someone gets delirium tremens during alcohol withdrawal, their chances of having a racing heart are higher.

If someone’s heart is racing after they quit drinking, that could be a clear physical sign of withdrawal. An irregular heart rate may cause further health complications and may, in some cases, require medical treatment. This all depends on how severe the case of withdrawal is.

How to Treat Alcohol Withdrawal

Again, how to treat a case of alcohol withdrawal all depends on a person’s symptoms. However, rehab or a medical facility is usually a good choice. Withdrawal and detoxing should be completed in a comfortable, quiet, and drug-free environment. Individuals who are going through withdrawal should limit their contact with the outside world and consume healthy foods and liquids until their symptoms subside. When detoxing is complete, they can develop a plan to stay alcohol-free.

If you are interested in learning more about alcohol withdrawal and how it may affect heart rate, contact our team of substance abuse professionals by calling 866-345-2147.

Sources

https://www.healthline.com/health/alcoholism/withdrawal#symptoms

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/alcohol-withdrawal-symptoms-treatments#1