7 Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Familiarizing Yourself with Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol is a legal substance in the United States. If you are aged twenty-one or older, you are legally allowed to purchase it. In this society, imbibing is socially acceptable and commonly occurs in restaurants, bars, and homes across the country. With the prevalence of alcohol in this country, it is not surprising that alcoholism afflicts so many. In a study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in 2015, 1.5 million adults (aged eighteen and older) suffered from alcohol use disorder, or alcoholism. If you are wondering what the alcohol withdrawal symptoms are, contact Better Addiction Care at (800) 429-7690 for further information and help finding treatment centers. 

7 Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

The severity of alcohol withdrawal symptoms, depends upon how long the individual has been drinking and how much the individual drinks. Within six to twelve hours after the person takes their last sip, minor withdrawal symptoms will begin to appear. Oftentimes, the individual will still have alcohol in their bloodstream when the withdrawal begins. Symptoms vary but these are most common:

  1. Insomnia
  2. Anxiety
  3. Nausea
  4. Vomiting
  5. Shaking hands
  6. Sweating
  7. Headache

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can, indeed, be dangerous. After twenty-four hours without alcohol, the individual may begin to experience hallucinations of the tactile, auditory, and/or visual variety. This condition is known as alcoholic hallucinosis – which is not the same as the hallucinations associated with delirium tremens (DT’s). The more attempts one has made to detoxify, the greater the chance they will experience a withdrawal seizure. It is interesting to note that during these hallucinations, the individual is aware that what they are experiencing is not real.

Delirium Tremens

Delirium tremens usually begin within forty-eight and seventy-two hours after the individual takes the last sip. Risk factors include abnormal liver function, old age, and acute mental illness. The DT’s typically last for two to three days. Sometimes, unusually high body temperatures or seizures, may result in death. One of the most dangerous drugs to withdrawal from – alcohol is legal. It is important to note this fact because making something legal does not bar it from being dangerous. Other symptoms of delirium tremens include:

  • Fever
  • Severe anxiety
  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Visual hallucinations (during the DT’s, unlike withdrawal, individuals cannot distinguish the hallucinations from reality)
  • Intense tremors
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Profuse sweating

Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline

For the most part, the alcohol withdrawal timeline is somewhat similar for many people. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, so the timeline below may not be the same for you. Within five days to a week, the symptoms should subside. To make things easier, you can imagine the timeline in three phases:

  • Phase 1: Begins eight hours after the individual has their last drink. During phase one, individuals may experience insomnia, anxiety, and abdominal pain.
  • Phase 2: Begins one day to seventy-two hours after the last drink. During phase two, the individual may experience confusion, unusual heart rate, high blood pressure, and increased body temperature.
  • Phase 3: Seventy-two hours after the last drink, the individual enters phase three. This is the most intense phase and it includes fever, seizures, hallucinations, and agitation.

Alcoholism Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of alcoholism are many. If you suspect you are an alcoholic, read below. If you are experiencing the alcoholism symptoms, you should seek help immediately.

  • Making unsuccessful attempts to cut down or quit drinking.
  • Experiencing strong craving to drink alcohol.
  • Spending much time with alcohol: buying, drinking, and recovering.
  • Inability to limit the amount of alcohol ingested.
  • Drinking in conjunction with activities where drinking is not warranted. For example, your child’s dance recital or baseball game.
  • When you do not drink, you experience withdrawal symptoms.
  • Falling behind at work or school due to your alcohol consumption.
  • Not participating in your usual activities in order to drink instead.
  • Driving home after a night out and not remembering how you arrived there.

Alcoholism is a chronic and relapsing disease that is not to be taken lightly. Please get the help you deserve today and contact Better Addiction Care to find treatment centers.