Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

If you are struggling with alcohol addiction and need professional help, we are here for you. Our team of highly qualified and experienced medical and therapy professionals can help you with your recovery and can assist you with getting back to the life you deserve. We focus on long-term recovery and will help you achieve sobriety and prevent relapse. Call us on 01908 489 421 for more information. Our lines are open 24/7 and calls are fully secure and confidential.

What Is Alcohol Withdrawal

When you drink heavily for several weeks, months, or years, you may have physical and mental health problems when you don’t drink alcohol. These problems are known as withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms from alcohol withdrawal can range from mild to very serious.

There are several different types of withdrawal symptoms that you may experience as your body starts to get used to living without being dependent on alcohol. Below, we will take a look at the several withdrawal symptoms that you may experience when you stop drinking after alcohol dependency.

Can You Prevent Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms?

Unfortunately, you can’t prevent symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. However, you can make them easier. One of the best ways to ease withdrawal symptoms is to slowly wean your way off drinking instead of suddenly stopping drinking.

If you are worried about withdrawal symptoms, the best thing you can do is speak to a doctor before you start reducing your alcohol intake. A doctor will provide you with advice on how to detox safely. They may also be able to provide some prescription medications that can help with easing the more severe side effects of alcohol withdrawal.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

There are many different types of withdrawal symptoms and they can start as early as six hours after stopping drinking.

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Shaky hands
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures


2-5 days after drinking, you may experience the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Delirium tremens and shaking
  • Dehydration
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Angry or nervous behaviour
  • Sweating
  • Lack of sleep

Around 5 days after your last drink, your withdrawal symptoms are likely to start easing off. However, a small number of people will continue to experience withdrawal symptoms for several weeks and some severe withdrawal symptoms may be life-threatening.

How Long Do Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

Most people will experience withdrawal symptoms for around 3-7 days after their last drink. The timescales in which you experience withdrawal symptoms will depend on the severity of your addiction and how you respond to detoxing.

If your addiction is quite severe or if you don’t respond very well to the effects of detoxing, then your withdrawal symptoms may last for several weeks. The safest way to detox from alcohol dependency is within an alcohol rehab as you will be constantly monitored and you will have access to medication to assist with the more severe withdrawal symptoms.

How To Treat Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Treatment can be given at rehab to ease withdrawal symptoms. We have a range of medications we can administer, and you will be supported in a safe environment.

If you detox at home without medical supervision some basic steps can help:

  • Soft lighting
  • Healthy foods
  • Plenty of fluids
  • Quiet surroundings
  • A positive, supportive atmosphere

If you start to experience severe withdrawal symptoms such as a rise in your body temperature, pulse or blood pressure, or if you start experiencing hallucinations and seizures, you should seek medical care immediately.

Your doctor may suggest inpatient care or medications if you have been a heavy drinker for many years or if you are finding withdrawal symptoms overbearing. If you are in a rehab environment and you are detoxing there, you will be monitored around the clock. This is the safest environment for treating alcohol withdrawal.

Complications Of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse can have many effects on your physical and mental health, including the following:

Effects On The Brain

Alcohol interferes with the communication pathways in the brain and can affect how the brain works. These effects can change a person’s mood, behaviours, and make it harder for them to think clearly and move properly.

Effects On The Heart

Heavy drinking over a long time can damage your heart and cause issues such as an irregular heartbeat, cardiomyopathy, a stroke, or high blood pressure.

Effects On The Liver

Drinking heavily can have a very negative effect on the liver and can cause things like steatosis, fibrosis, cirrhosis, and alcoholic hepatitis.

Effects On The Pancreas

Alcohol can cause the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can then lead to dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels within the pancreas and prevent proper digestion.

Increased Risks Of Cancer

Alcohol abuse can increase the chances of some cancers such as head and neck cancer, liver cancer, oesophageal cancer, colorectal cancer, and breast cancer.

Mental Health Problems

Alcoholism can cause various mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and panic disorders.

Alcohol addiction can also cause various other problems in a person’s life such as problems with the law, relationship problems, or problems at work. Paying for a continuing drinking problem can also have a very negative effect on finances.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I withdraw from alcohol at home?

You can withdraw from alcohol at home in most cases. However, if you start to experience severe side effects, you should seek medical treatment immediately. If you are worried about withdrawing from home, your best option is to speak to a doctor or medical professional for some medical advice on the best approach.

What are the treatment options for alcohol addiction?

There are many treatment options for alcohol use disorders, including the following: Support groups such as alcoholics anonymous Cognitive behavioural therapy Group therapies One-t-one therapies Family therapy

What happens after alcohol rehab?

After alcohol rehab, you will be taken care of by the aftercare team. They can help you with finding accommodation, rebuilding relationships, and finding local support groups. The support that you receive in the aftercare program will help to prevent relapse when you return home.


John Gillen - Author - Last Updated: 16 February 2022

John has travelled extensively around the world, culminating in 19 years’ experience looking at different models. He is the European pioneer of Nad+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) treatment to Europe in 2010; and recently back from the USA bringing state of the art Virtual Reality Relapse Prevention and stress reduction therapy. his passion extends to other metabolic disturbances and neurodegenerative diseases.

The journey continues, in recent times john has travelled to Russia to study and research into a new therapy photobiomudulation or systemic laser therapy working with Nad+ scientists and the very best of the medical profession in the UK and the USA, together with Nadcell, Bionad Clinics own select Doctors, nurses, dieticians and therapists, Johns’ passion continues to endeavour to bring to the UK and Europe new developments with Nad+ therapy in preventive and restorative medicine and Wellness. In 2017 John Gillen was made a visiting Professor at the John Naisbitt university in Belgrade Serbia.

Dr. Olalekan Otulana (Advanced Practitioner)

Dr. Olalekan Otulana (Advanced Practitioner) - Clinical Reviewer - Last Reviewed: 28/11/2023 11:00 am

Dr. Otulana is a highly skilled General Practitioner and Addiction Specialist. He possesses extensive expertise in the field of Substance Misuse Management and boasts a diverse background in evaluating, overseeing (including detox procedures), and overseeing the residential recovery of individuals grappling with various drug and substance addiction issues. His primary goal is to conduct thorough assessments of patients dealing with addiction issues and determine their medical detoxification and psychological treatment requirements. Dr. Otulana is well-versed in caring for patients who need dual drug and alcohol detoxification therapies.

In addition to his medical qualifications, Dr. Otulana is a proficient healthcare professional who holds a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree from the prestigious Cambridge University Judge Business School.