Alcohol withdrawal can affect anyone who drinks frequently. Also known as alcohol withdrawal syndrome, it can last for up to one week and will vary from person to person depending on a variety of factors, such as current health and the severity of the addiction. In this article, you’ll learn the specific symptoms and timeline of alcohol withdrawal.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can range from mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms to severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These can include emotional symptoms, psychological symptoms, and physical symptoms.

Emotional and psychological signs of alcohol withdrawal can include mood swings, anxiety, depression, and exacerbation of mental health conditions. Other common symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Feeling shaky
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Fast heartbeat

A condition known as delirium tremens can also develop during the withdrawal period. While rare, it causes a combination of confusion, shaking, and hallucinations. It can even be fatal. When it does occur, it tends to happen in those with more severe alcohol dependence.

If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, it requires immediate medical attention from medical professionals. These professionals can offer treatment for alcohol withdrawal, whether they are early symptoms or potentially life-threatening symptoms.

Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline

Most people will experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms within the first 6 hours of their last drink. Mild symptoms might include a feeling of anxiety, difficulty sleeping, headache, or nausea.

As time progresses, individuals may develop more severe withdrawal symptoms. Within the first 72 hours, those with severe alcohol struggles might begin to vomit, sweat, hallucinate, experience a much faster heart rate than what is normal, and potentially even have seizures, sometimes called delirium tremens.

Physical withdrawal symptoms typically last approximately one week but will vary from person to person. Severe symptoms typically peak within 48 hours after the last drink.

What Causes Alcohol Withdrawal?

When someone drinks regularly for an extended period (this can be weeks, months, or years), the body’s central nervous system becomes accustomed to having alcohol in its system.

When they suddenly stop drinking, the brain interprets this as being abnormal and works hard to keep their body in a heightened state that it typically experiences when they are drinking.

When this occurs, the symptoms of withdrawal begin. This may lead to alcohol withdrawal syndrome, which can cause moderate and severe symptoms, or in some cases, can even cause life-threatening symptoms, including alcohol withdrawal seizures (delirium tremens).

How To Prevent Alcohol Withdrawal

The best way to avoid alcohol withdrawal from occurring is by not engaging in excessive alcohol consumption. If you frequently drink, especially over a long period, you will have the symptoms associated with physically withdrawing from alcohol.

If you experience withdrawal symptoms from drinking, help is available. Addiction treatment centers can provide detox programs to help with alcohol withdrawal symptoms and follow-up care that can help keep individuals safe and as comfortable as possible.

Treatment for Alcohol Addiction

Professional rehab treatment is extremely effective at helping individuals with alcohol addiction achieve lasting sobriety. The first step in addiction treatment is alcohol detox, followed by a rehab program.

Individuals may benefit from either inpatient treatment or outpatient treatment for alcohol use disorder and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Outpatient settings can include partial hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient treatment options, and standard outpatient options. These are typically based on an individual’s necessary treatment level.

Alcohol Detox Program for Severe Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol detox is an alcohol withdrawal treatment that allows the body to withdraw from alcohol in a safe, medically supervised environment. Once the detox is complete, the inpatient rehab program begins.

Treatment Programs for Alcohol Use Disorder:

  • Medical monitoring during the detox process for alcohol abuse
  • Medication-assisted treatment when needed to help reduce the detox withdrawal symptoms
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Dual-diagnosis treatment to address and treat any co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental health conditions
  • 12-step support groups
  • Nutritional meals

Follow Up Care

After an individual has received alcohol withdrawal treatment, it is important that they continue with follow-up care. This can mean transitioning from inpatient care to an outpatient setting, following up with individual and group therapy sessions, and participating in support groups.

Groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) are peer-led and provide individuals with a supportive community where they can share their challenges with alcohol use disorder without fear of judgment. They can also find others who will encourage accountability and provide local resources to help with ongoing care.

This can help with alcohol cravings and provide a place for individuals to go when they are struggling with the desire to restart alcohol use. Individuals can find meetings in their local community by checking on the AA website.

Get Help For Alcohol Addiction Today

Our professional, dedicated team at Gloria Detox and Rehab Center is here to help you get your life back from alcohol use disorder and substance abuse. Our detox and inpatient rehab program offers effective evidence-based therapies for patients with a unique and individualized approach to care.

We believe in affordable, accessible care and work with most public and private health insurance companies. Let us know who your health insurance provider is and we can help verify your coverage to make the most of your benefits.

If you are underinsured or do not have health insurance currently, reach out and let us know so we can help you explore payment options for alcohol addiction treatment.

We provide individualized treatment plans tailored to each person’s unique needs, circumstances, and recovery goals. Contact us today to begin your treatment process by calling us at (818) 659-9444 or by sending us a message through our confidential online form.