Alcohol Withdrawal: Symptoms and Treatments

Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol if taken heavily for a week, months, or years, you are going to be mentally and physically dependent on it,and then if you try to stop consuming it, you are going to run in problems. Those problems are withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms can be mild or serious.

withdrawal symptoms
withdrawal symptoms

Once in a while if you drink alcohol, you are not going to have withdrawal symptoms when you want to stop consuming alcohol anymore. But if previously you have gone through alcohol withdrawal once, you have chances that you are going to go through the same, or milder, or severe withdrawal effects as soon as you stop consuming alcohol.

What causes alcohol withdrawal?

According to doctors, alcohol has a depressive effect on your system. The brain function slows down and changes the way how nerves send signals to the brain and back. Slowly, the central nervous system adjusts itself with alcohol in your system all the time. Your brain becomes more awake to deal with the alcohol in your system for the smooth running of your whole system including the nerves.

Now, when the amount of alcohol gets lowered in your body, your brain remains in the more awake state,and that is what causes the withdrawal.

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What are the withdrawal symptoms?

Symptoms can be from mild to severe to very serious. It all depends on how much you drank and for how long.

The mild symptoms will show up in around 6 hours of your withdrawal. They are:

  • Shaky hands
  • Anxiety
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • A headache
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
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Severe issues such as hallucinations may start after 12 to 24 hours after withdrawal and seizures in the two days after you took your last drink. You will start hearing things that aren’t present or feel them.

Delirium tremens, popularly known as DTs are very serious conditions. DTs starts around 48 hours to 72 hours after taking the last drink. DTs may lead to vivid hallucinations and delusions. It is estimated around 5% of people who withdrew from alcohol have DTs. DTs patients may have:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Racing heart
  • Confusion
  • Fever
  • High blood pressure


Patients without serious health conditions or not having serious withdrawal symptoms in the past need only a supportive environment.

During withdrawal if your temperature rises, you have high blood pressure or have symptoms like hallucinations or seizures, you could be admitted as an inpatient.

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