Insomnia, the struggle to fall or stay asleep, is a common symptom of alcohol withdrawal and can make recovery from an alcohol use disorder even more difficult.
When a person stops drinking, their body must readjust to functioning without it. This can result in a range of symptoms, including insomnia. Here’s how to deal with insomnia from alcohol withdrawal.
Why Does Alcohol Withdrawal Cause Insomnia?
When someone has been regularly consuming alcohol, their body becomes dependent on it to function normally. Alcohol affects the brain’s natural sleep-wake cycle by slowing down the central nervous system and inducing drowsiness.
When alcohol consumption is stopped, the brain’s normal sleep-wake cycle is disrupted, which can lead to insomnia while the body and brain work to return to their normal state.
Getting adequate sleep is crucial during addiction recovery, and a lack of sleep can contribute to irritability, anxiety, stress, and depression, which can make recovery more difficult to maintain.
Types of Insomnia
There are several types of insomnia, and someone going through alcohol withdrawal may experience any of these types.
Acute insomnia: A short-term form of insomnia that lasts a few days to a few weeks. It is often caused by a stressful event or change in environment, or it could be caused by alcohol withdrawal.
Chronic insomnia: A long-term form of insomnia that lasts for more than a month. It can be caused by medical conditions, lifestyle factors, or mental health disorders. Those who suffer from insomnia as a result of alcohol withdrawal may also experience this type of insomnia.
Comorbid insomnia: Insomnia that occurs as a symptom of another medical or psychiatric condition, such as depression, anxiety, or chronic pain.
Onset insomnia: Difficulty falling asleep at the beginning of the night.
Maintenance insomnia: Difficulty staying asleep during the night.
Secondary insomnia: Insomnia that occurs as a result of another condition or substance, such as medications, alcohol, or caffeine, which can make it difficult to sleep.
How Long Does Insomnia From Alcohol Withdrawal Last?
The duration of insomnia caused by alcohol withdrawal will vary depending on a variety of factors including the dosage and frequency of use of a substance, as well as individual health factors.
“Sleep has a reputation among the recovering community of being one of the last things that fall back into place for an individual,” says David Hodgins, professor of psychology at the University of Calgary. “It’s also recognized as a potential precipitant of relapse.”
The more tired a person is, the more at risk they are of relapse. This is why it’s so important to be getting adequate sleep during recovery from an alcohol use disorder.
Tips for Reducing Insomnia From Alcohol Withdrawal
Insomnia can be an uncomfortable symptom of alcohol withdrawal, which can cause you to feel fatigued and stressed.
If you are experiencing insomnia, be sure to consult with a medical professional who can help guide you on the measures you should be taking.
In the meantime, here are a few things you can implement right away that can help reduce insomnia.
Establish a bedtime routine: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day to help regulate your body’s internal clock.
Avoid caffeine: Don’t have any caffeine at least 4-6 hours before you go to bed.
Practice relaxation techniques: Consider techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to help calm your mind and body before bed.
Exercise regularly: Studies show that exercising regularly can lead to improved sleep, and decrease stress and anxiety.
Avoid napping during the day: If you nap during the day, it can disrupt your sleep patterns, making it harder to fall asleep at night.
Vitamins & supplements: While medications may be prescribed by a healthcare provider to help manage insomnia during alcohol detox, there are also some natural supplements such as magnesium and GABA, which may be helpful.
However, always consult with your doctor before starting any new supplements, as they can affect people in different ways, and may interact with other medications.
Can You Detox From Alcohol at Home?
If you frequently consume alcohol, then you should not attempt to detox from alcohol at home. Detoxing from alcohol can be dangerous, and even life-threatening in some instances.
Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe, and a medical professional should be present to supervise the detox process. This way, they can make sure that you are safe and stabilized.
Another reason to not detox at home is that the detoxification process can be challenging and emotionally draining, and having support from trained professionals can help you navigate the recovery process.
Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Treatment for alcohol withdrawal typically consists of a combination of medical management and emotional support.
Detox: Detoxification is the process of allowing the body to rid itself of alcohol and its by-products.
In order to ensure the safety of the individual, detox should be done in a medically supervised facility, where medical professionals can closely monitor the process to prevent any issues from occurring.
Sober living: After detox, individuals may choose to enter a rehabilitation or sober living program, where they receive more intensive treatment for their alcohol addiction.
Sober living programs can include therapy, support groups, and developing valuable skills and tools that are needed in order to maintain sobriety.
Paramount Recovery Center offers a stabilization program that allows patients to detox from drugs in a safe environment.
If you are looking for a safe place to detox from Xanax in a medically supervised facility, contact our addiction treatment specialists.