Why is alcohol withdrawal more deadly in comparison to “harder” drugs like heroin?

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Why is alcohol withdrawal more deadly in comparison to “harder” drugs like heroin?

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31 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Alcohol withdrawal can result in seizures so severe that they make it impossible to breathe resulting in death by suffocation.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Because like zanax it acts on the gabba system causing calming/sedating effects and so they both have similar withdrawls and risk for seizure

Anonymous 0 Comments

So generally speaking, when people use drugs for a longer period of time, the body adjusts accordingly. For example, if you use heroin for a long time, you become less sensitive to normal doses of opioids and as such you wont get as high from the same dose as you previously did.

In the case of alcohol, it tends to bind kind of everywhere, and your body gets used to the numbing effects of alcohol over time, so it reacts accordingly, by increasing the amount of some neurotransmitters, decreasing the amount of others, and increasing or decreasing the sensitivity of various receptors that these neurotransmitters can bind to.

Alcohol withdrawal is particularly dangerous because some of these neurotransmitter and receptor systems that have been either upregulated or downregulated during alcohol addiction are responsible for controlling how actively your neurons work in general. When you suddenly stop taking alcohol, your body is still used to the state of having alcohol, and can not adjust quickly enough, so now it is off balance regarding its neurotransmitters and receptors. Following that and being without the numbing effects of alcohol, during alcohol withdrawal, your central nervous system can become hyperexcited, which leads to tremors, difficulty controlling your body, arrythmias, changes in the level of consciousness, sometimes hallucinations, and potentially death, typically due to serious arrythmias or breathing depression due to e.g. seizures. Your whole central nervous system is, quite literally, firing much too fast, and when you were regularly drinking alcohol, it had to, to be able to overcome some of the effects of alcohol.

This serious form of central neural network hyperexcitement when it has resulted from alcohol withdrawal is called delirium tremens, and alcohol withdrawal doesn’t automatically lead to it.

When people do die of opioid withdrawal, rarer as it might be compared to alcohol withdrawal, it’s typically for a similar reason; the overexcitement of the autonomous system. Alcohol however just gets distributed very easily kind of everywhere in your body due to its chemical properties, and it binds to more receptors than opioids do, so the withdrawal, in the extreme case, tends to often also have more symptoms and potentially more serious symptoms.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Your nervous system cranks up to combat the presence of alcohol and it’s depressive effects. Imagine it like turning up the brightness on your phone because you can’t see due to how bright it is outside. Then later that night as you lay in bed. You pull your phone out and turn it on just to be flash banged by the brightness. Basically your nervous system when the alcohol leaves.

Anonymous 0 Comments

All drugs work on different parts of the brain. Alcohol in particular has a strong effect on your GABA system, which calms the brain and nervous system down.

Your brain likes to maintain stability (homeostasis). When you are constantly drunk, you’re brain fires even harder/faster to get through the dulling and depressing (slowing) effects of alcohol. When you remove the alcohol from the alcoholic, the brain is still firing harder which leads to seizures. Seizures can be fatal, especially withdrawal related seizures.

Opiates work on opioid receptors. Amphetamines and cocaine are dopamine and serotonin. Only alcohol, benzos, barbiturates and a few others act on gaba..

Anonymous 0 Comments

When the body develops a tolerance and adjusts receptor regulation to compensate for constant stimulation with drugs like opioids, these changes don’t cause any lethal changes when that stimulation is removed.

Alcohol acts on the GABA system in the brain, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that slows or stops unnecessary transmission of signals between neurons. Constant stimulation by alcohol causes the brain to produce more excitatory neurotransmitters and signals to allow the person to breathe, walk, talk, and function to a reasonable extent and compensate for the “slowing” effects of alcohol.

Once alcohol is removed from the equation, these compensatory mechanisms are still functioning at the level they were when alcohol was still dulling down neurotransmission in the brain, and the GABA system is functioning at a very low level, because alcohol was previously inhibiting brain function so much that the GABA system had very little reason to function on its own. So you run the risk of high blood pressure, delusions and hallucinations, and of greatest concern, seizures- due to unregulated hyperactive stimulation throughout the brain, and the inability of the brain to slow these signals to an appropriate level on its own.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Alcohol and Benzo withdrawal can kill you if severe enough. Essentially your body becomes so used to being “down” with alcohol in your blood, that it stops making natural chemicals in your brain that help regulate you “down.”

Thus if you take the alcohol “down” away your body has no way to stay “down” because it stopped making the natural “down” chemical.

So now your body is UP, your blood pressure is UP, your heart rate is UP, your can’t think straight, you begin losing your mind, you begin having delusions.

essentially your brain cooks itself to death because it physically cant get “down” unless you introduce alcohol or benzos back into the blood.

you become a slave to alcohol.

I was a hardcore addict for 8 years but I have been sober now for 3. I will never drink again. I would tell my children to never drink.

It is a complete waste

Anonymous 0 Comments

Because alcohol is about as “hard” of a drug as heroin, at least in terms of harm potential. The primary reason we consider heroin to be a “harder” drug than alcohol (aside from war on drugs propaganda) is the fact that it is considerably more addictive for first-time users.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Alcohol IS “hard”. If it were discovered today, guaranteed it would be illegal or at minimum banned from sale in 99% of jurisdictions.

As for the death problem, it’s makes the brain slow down (below the speed it wants to be). The brain compensates by speeding itself up to balance the effects of the booze. Adjustments up and down take a while, so when you withdrawal everything goes crazy and the result can be seizures.

Anonymous 0 Comments

As someone who had been an avid drinker for quite some time, I would try to stop and “ween” myself off. It was nearly impossible. I had seizures and was always afraid of another one. They were painful and this last time I bit through my tongue and tore my rotator cuff. I went to the hospital for 5 days and they gave me Ativan to calm me down. I was severely dehydrated and had 1 white blood cell per thousand left. I left this past Sunday and feel a thousand times better. Go to the hospital. They will not judge you. Don’t let yourself be me.