People with an alcohol use disorder who suddenly stop misusing it will likely experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that are difficult to manage on their own. Withdrawal symptoms can be so uncomfortable that the person may start drinking again to stop the symptoms in their tracks. That’s why experiencing a setback is common among individuals who go “cold turkey” and don’t withdraw with the help of an alcohol addiction treatment center.

When these withdrawal symptoms worsen over time, the “kindling effect” is said to be taking place. What is the kindling effect, and how can it be managed?

What Is the Kindling Effect?

The kindling effect of alcohol addiction occurs when people who are addicted to alcohol experience worsening of withdrawal symptoms after several setbacks. Inevitably, the result of so many setbacks is a higher risk of continued future misuse of alcohol and an even more dangerous relationship with the substance.

When a person becomes addicted to alcohol and then suddenly stops using it, acute withdrawal symptoms can set in within 12 to 24 hours after the last use. Withdrawal symptoms of alcohol addiction can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Tremors
  • Intense cravings
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle aches
  • Poor sleep
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Seizures

These withdrawal symptoms come about as a result of hyperactivity in the brain and central nervous system as the person is weaned off of alcohol and attempts to bring the body back to a homeostatic state without the need for alcohol.

Why Does Kindling Occur?

Experiencing withdrawal from alcohol misuse is typically a difficult process to go through. After every setback and subsequent attempt at quitting, the next withdrawal can become even harder. Because of the neurological hyperactivity in the brain, reactions to withdrawal become increasingly more severe after going through it multiple times.

Why Outside Intervention Is Needed

It can be difficult to recognize and even treat the kindling effect alone without expert help. That’s why it’s so important for people living with an alcohol use disorder to reach out for help and detox from alcohol in a medically supervised environment. Seeking professional treatment can drastically reduce the uncomfortable side effects of alcohol withdrawal and therefore reduce the odds of setbacks occurring.

Even the first attempt at detox should be made in a treatment center. It’s always best to treat withdrawal symptoms associated with alcohol addictions with appropriate treatment methods and medication to avoid the kindling effect.

Reach Out for Help Today

The kindling effect can make alcohol withdrawal symptoms worse with each setback. After every attempt to quit, maintaining sobriety can be even harder. That’s why it’s important to reach out for help and be treated in an appropriate addiction recovery center with staff that is experienced in treating alcohol use disorders.

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