Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

If you drink alcohol moderately to heavily on a day-to-day basis, you may experience none, some, or all of the above alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These present themselves in the body as a result of regular alcohol consumption, what happens is over time the brain adjusts to functioning with a certain amount of alcohol.

If a person who has a pattern of continuous and excessive alcohol ingestion suddenly stops drinking, they may experience symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome for a few days or perhaps a few weeks before the body returns to normal. They can range from mild to moderate to severe depending on the person’s level of addiction and include both behavioral and psychological aspects.  Some are even life threatening, and it is important to contact your health care practitioner before you quit drinking cold turkey if you are a heavy user.

If you are suffering these symptoms, they are likely a byproduct of the disease alcoholism and it is recommended you seek professional help. It is possible that “weekend drinkers” can get these symptoms too, so bear that in mind.


Mild to moderate symptoms of alcohol withdrawal

could include:

  • swift changes in emotions from high to low
  • nausea
  • difficulty sleeping including insomnia
  • rapid or increased heart rate
  • cold or clammy skin
  • change in eyes or pupils (enlarged or dilated)
  • excitability
  • irritability
  • vomiting
  • movements out of the ordinary
  • nervousness
  • depression
  • hand tremors
  • pulsating headaches
  • lack of focus and the inability to think straight
  • fatigue
  • anxiety
  • pale skin
  • twitchy eyes
  • nightmares

Severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal manifest as:

  • excessive irritability
  • extreme anxiety
  • increased depression
  • visual hallucinations
  • fever
  • severe autonomic nervous system over-activity
  • difficulty in thinking clearly is increased
  • blackouts
  • convulsions
  • muscle tremors
  • more extreme changes in emotions and mood swings
  • seizures
  • delirium tremens (DTs)


If you are trying to spot withdrawal symptoms of alcohol then you will want to know exactly what to look for, and the extent each of the symptoms can go too. This is beneficial if you’re trying to help someone overcome this battle or for yourself. It is a long journey, and you will need to know exactly who to call if things get out of hand. There is no exact alcohol withdrawal symptoms duration, its different for every person. There are physical as well as psychological alcohol symptoms that may be noted during the alcohol withdrawal timeline. They will start off as mild to moderate, and will not go into the severe stage for a while. Depending on how long they can go through the beginning stages, they might show symptoms of the more severe withdrawals during alcohol detoxification. There are treatments to ease the pain while you detox from alcohol or still show alcohol detox symptoms. At any point during the recovery that you feel you’re not equipped enough to handle it on your own, you will want to seek the help of a medical professional. Sometimes everyone needs a little help; you should ensure you are safe; not sorry.

Minor alcohol withdrawal symptoms usually occur six to forty eight hours from the time the last alcohol drink was consumed. None of these symptoms are generally life threatening if dealt with properly at the time of the incidence.

Major symptoms of alcohol withdrawal normally do not appear in those who abuse alcohol but are not dependent on it. If you experience any of these major withdrawal symptoms within the time frames mentioned above, it is imperative that you seek professional help.  Your health care practitioner will be able to assess the degree of your dependency, and a good counselor will help you define a program to start detoxing from alcohol. Some of these are life threatening conditions. If you are experiencing them after you cut yourself off of drinking, you should seek medical advice immediately.   These alcohol withdrawal symptoms usually occur forty eight to ninety six hours after consumption of the last alcoholic drink.

After the initial alcohol withdrawal symptoms symptoms have passed, they may become worse. If this is the case then severe symptoms will start to become noticeable. These symptoms can include a state of confusion, paranoia,  or hallucinations.  Agitation will become much worse, fever can show which may become high and needs to be monitored. Convulsions in this stage of withdrawal are quite common. Blackouts can also be noted.  This person could possibly forget everything that happened during a certain stage of their episode. There are alcohol detoxification treatments available to everyone, even long term users who would like to stop their drinking habit.

Detoxification from alcohol can be quite difficult depending on your level of addiction.  The mild withdrawal symptoms are annoying but tolerable.  The severe symptoms may very well be life threatening.  There are also support group meetings that allow you to talk to others who have the same problem. This might be beneficial to people who are trying to quit on their own. Using an online forum might also help if you would like to quit on your own. All you have to do is take the first step, and stick with it. You may ask yourself “how long do alcohol withdrawal symptoms last?”, but unfortunately they are different for everyone. However do not fear! You will be on your way to becoming alcohol free, and a recovering alcoholic in no time. There are various groups out there to help all types of recovering victims, seek one out if you start experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit.