Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. If a person abuses alcohol on a prolonged basis, they may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, including diarrhea, when they stop drinking. For those experiencing withdrawal due to alcohol dependence, getting professional help from a specialized addiction treatment center is vital to addressing uncomfortable and even dangerous symptoms that can lead to severe health complications or relapse.
To make the detox process more manageable, it’s essential to also consider the following tips for relieving diarrhea during withdrawal.
Advice for Diarrhea Relief
Those struggling with diarrhea related to alcohol withdrawal should consider the following tips:
- Drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated
- Consume bland foods such as bread or white rice
- Take vitamins, minerals, or probiotics
- Avoid foods that can irritate the stomach and gastrointestinal tract, such as spicy foods
Also, it can be helpful to take over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medications, including Imodium, a remedy that may be beneficial in less serious conditions. This drug helps prevent and address diarrhea by reducing digestion and intestinal movement. Kaopectate and Pepto-Bismol may also prove helpful for nausea and loose stools. These options will temporarily relieve stomach and gastrointestinal tract issues, such as diarrhea.
NOTE: Those suffering from alcohol withdrawal are urged to seek medical care as soon as possible. Although symptoms may be mild at first, they can rapidly become life-threatening if left unaddressed.
Tips for Eating a Healthy Diet
Consuming yogurt with active cultures contains bacteria that can help decrease the severity and duration in which diarrhea persists. Soups high in sodium (salt) can be beneficial because salt helps retain water, thereby reducing dehydration.
BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) is an acronym that stands for simple foods that are easily digested and can reduce diarrhea. These are all low-fiber foods and can help to make stools firmer.
Bananas are high in potassium and help replace nutrients in the body that have been lost due to diarrhea. They are also pectin-rich, a soluble fiber that helps absorb liquid in the intestines and thus move stools along smoothly.
Plain white rice is easily digested and carbohydrate-rich. It is also binding, meaning it can help to firm loose stool.
Applesauce (unflavored) is naturally sweetened and a good option when experiencing diarrhea.
Toast (without butter or jam) is a good source of easily digestible carbohydrates. White bread is preferred because the flavor is milder.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Diarrhea is just one sign of alcohol withdrawal. Many other symptoms can manifest, including the following:
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Heart palpitations
- Anxiety and depression
- Appetite loss
- Sleep disturbances
Those experiencing severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms may also suffer from seizures, fever, hallucinations, and disorientation.
Why Alcohol Withdrawal Can Become a Medical Emergency
A severe form of alcohol withdrawal known as delirium tremens (DTs) may occur. With it, a person can become subject to life-threatening complications. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) may also occur, which is a condition you might develop if a person stops drinking abruptly “cold turkey” after an extended binge-like pattern of consumption.
Persons undergoing delirium tremens typically require medical care immediately and are advised to call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room as soon as possible.
Alcohol Withdrawal Detox and Medical Monitoring
When providing medical intervention for alcohol withdrawal and diarrhea symptoms, health and addiction professionals will monitor individuals to determine if they are experiencing severe issues such as the following:
- Increased body temperature
- Withdrawal seizures
- Irregular heart rate
- Rapid breathing
As persons undergo detox, support staff can help ease diarrhea by doing the following:
- Providing much-needed carbohydrates
- Providing plenty of fluids to drink
- Increasing electrolyte intake
- Managing gastrointestinal issues
- Providing mild sedatives
Professional Treatment for Alcoholism
Alcohol withdrawal can be a dangerous process and for this reason and others, finding a treatment program that includes medical detox services is vital. In addition to increasing safety, medications can be administered around the clock to ensure the individual being treating is as comfortable as possible.
Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery offer a comprehensive approach to substance abuse treatment, including medical detox and various therapeutic services, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Behavioral therapy
- Individual and family counseling
- Relapse prevention education
- Substance abuse education
- Peer group support
- Health and wellness education
- Art and music therapy
- Mindfulness meditation
- Aftercare planning
- Alumni events