Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Did you know that 140 million Americans who are 12 years and above use alcohol? According to a survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 23 percent of these people are binge drinkers.Furthermore,roughly six percent are considered to be heavy drinkers with a further six percent qualifying for an alcohol abuse disorder.

Alcoholic drinks are by far one of the most widely consumed products by the American populace. This prevalence has contributed to a rise in alcohol dependency over the recent years. Although safe and responsible consumption is possible, abuse and excessive intake have led to many users experiencing alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

Causes of Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms result from dependence on alcoholic substances. The nervous system is irritated and excited when you consume excessive amounts of alcohol. Daily consumption of large volumes of alcohol leads to dependence, and as a result, your nervous system loses its ability to adapt to lack of alcohol quickly. A sudden stop or significant reduction in alcoholic consumption leads to withdrawal.

Generally speaking, the severity of the symptoms associated with withdrawal from alcohol is predicated on the level of dependency on it. The amount of alcohol one has taken and the length of time one has been consuming alcohol come into play.

The symptoms appear anywhere from six hours to a few days after ceasing drinking. Symptoms will reach their peak between 1 to 3 full days after they begin but can go on for weeks in some cases.

Common Symptoms

  • Insomnia.
  • Shaky hands.
  • Vomiting.
  • Nausea.
  • Headache.
  • Mild anxiety.
  • Nightmares.
  • Fatigue.
  • Irritability.
  • Mood swings.
  • Sweating.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Hand tremors (or other body parts).
  • Jumpiness.
  • Rapid heart rate.
  • Fogginess of the mind (unclear thinking).
  • High blood pressure.

Some patients might experience alcoholic hallucinosis, i.e., tactile, visual, or auditory hallucinations anytime between 12 and 24 hours after they stop taking alcohol. A majority of the patients are usually aware that what they are experiencing isn't real. They end approximately 48 hours after they begin and differ from the hallucinations experienced during delirium tremens.

Severe Symptoms

Some symptoms affect a patient more severely. These are caused by a more serious type of alcohol withdrawal syndrome called delirium tremens (DT). They include:

  • Fever.
  • Extreme agitation.
  • Severe confusion.
  • Seizures.
  • Hallucinations (tactile, auditory or visual).

Severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are a medical emergency, and you should, therefore, seek immediate medical assistance if suffering from them.


Alcohol withdrawal symptom is diagnosed through a series of tests that a doctor carries out to assess the condition. These examinations will reveal some indicators that point to alcohol withdrawal, and they can include:

  • Faster breathing.
  • Dehydration.
  • Fever.
  • Abnormal eye movements.
  • Shaky hands.
  • Abnormal heart rhythms.

The doctor may order urine or blood tests and possibly even a toxicology screen to examine you.

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