Alcohol Withdrawal


When an alcoholic who has engaged in excessive and abusive drinking for a relatively long period of time abruptly stops drinking, he or she almost always experiences alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

These withdrawal symptoms are essentially responses by the person's body and especially by his or her brain to the lack of alcohol to which they have become acclimated.

Alcohol Withdrawal, Tolerance, and Effects on The Brain

With regular and frequent consumption of alcohol, the brain over time adjusts to the alcohol so that "normal" functioning is possible.

This gradual adjustment by the brain to alcohol explains how physical addiction develops and also why more and more alcohol is required in order for the individual to experience the sense of pleasure he or she has experienced in the past.

When an individual who has manifested a pattern of repeated and excessive drinking suddenly quits drinking alcohol, however, he or she commonly suffers from alcohol withdrawal symptoms.


In some instances, it may take the person's body many days or even weeks before it returns to "normal' (that is, functioning without any alcohol).

Basically, alcohol withdrawal symptoms are responses by the brain and by the body to the lack of alcohol to which they have become accustomed.

Depending on the extent to which the individual has become alcohol dependent, moreover, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to moderate to severe and can include both physical and emotional components.

Mild to Moderate Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

The following is a list of mild to moderate alcohol withdrawal symptoms that typically occur within 6 to 48 hours after the last alcoholic drink has been consumed:

  • Depression

  • Nausea

  • Loss of appetite

  • Rapid emotional changes

  • Tremor of the hands

  • Nightmares

  • Easily excited, irritability

  • Looking pale, without color

  • Vomiting

  • Feeling nervous or jumpy

  • Difficulty thinking clearly

  • Involuntary, abnormal movements of the eyelids

  • Fatigue

  • Anxiety

  • Clammy skin

  • Headaches (especially those that pulsate)

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Eyes or pupils different size (enlarged, dilated pupils)

  • Insomnia, sleeping difficulties

  • Abnormal movements

  • Sweating (especially on the face or the palms of the hands)


Severe Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

The following is a list of the more common alcohol withdrawal symptoms of a sever nature. These symptoms typically take place within 6 to 96 hours after the last alcoholic drink has been ingested:

  • Increased difficulty thinking clearly

  • Delirium tremens (DTs)

  • More extreme emotional changes

  • Seizures

  • Severe autonomic nervous system overactivity

  • Convulsions

  • Increased depression

  • Black outs

  • Muscle tremors

  • Excessive irritability

  • Extreme anxiety

  • Visual hallucinations

  • Fever


Conclusion: Alcohol Withdrawal

According to the most recent medical research, all people who are experiencing or who will be experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms, no matter how mild they may be, need professional assistance.

In conclusion, when suffering from alcohol withdrawal symptoms, always see your doctor or healthcare professional promptly so that he or she can accurately assess the seriousness of your situation and recommend the best available treatment approach particular to your circumstances.