Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms: Things Patients Need to Know

When people suddenly cut back or stop drinking alcoholic drinks after prolonged or chronic use, they might experience the psychological and physical symptoms of withdrawal. Depending on how long people have used this substance and how much they usually drink, the severity of withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe.

What Causes Withdrawal Symptoms?

Alcohol is a depressant. It means that it will slow down the brain. When an individual is drinking regularly and heavily or for prolonged periods, their brain compensates for the depressant effects provided by the alcohol by releasing more stimulating chemicals compared to sober individuals. To know more about this topic, click here for more details.

Overproduction becomes the patient’s new normal. When an individual stops the vice, their brain will produce additional chemicals, which can usually cause unpleasant withdrawal signs that are connected with overstimulation. The patient’s brain will adjust to the change, but until it does, the individual experiencing the symptom might feel some uneasiness and agitations, as well as some discomfort.


Not everyone who stops drinking alcohol will experience these symptoms. Still, a lot of people who have been consuming alcoholic drinks for an extended period, drink heavily or frequently, will experience some withdrawal manifestations if they stop consuming suddenly. There are some mild to severe physical and psychological signs people might experience when they stop drinking.

Psychological Manifestations

Irritability or becoming excited pretty easily

Difficulty in thinking clearly

Feeling nervous and jumpy

Rapid emotional changes

Bad dreams





Physical Manifestations

Heavy sweating, especially the face and the palms of the hand

Palpitations or rapid heart rate

Elevated blood pressure

Vomiting and nausea

Loss of appetite

Hand tremors

Clammy skin





Delirium Tremens

A more serious type of withdrawal is called DTs or delirium tremens. It can happen anywhere from two to five days to weeks after the person has their last shot or glass of beer. Delirium tremens might be more likely to occur if the person is malnourished. It can be a life-threatening ailment. At least 20 individuals who develop this condition die from DTs. If the patient or a loved one has manifestations of delirium tremens, immediately look for medical care.

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DT manifestations include:

Sensitivity to light, sound, and/or touch

Irregular heartbeat or heart arrhythmia

Dangerous changes in blood pressure

Mild to severe confusion

Excessive sweating






Symptoms mentioned above may get worse quickly and can cause fatality. An individual with DTs needs to be hospitalized until the manifestation can be managed or controlled.


Individuals who suddenly stop drinking alcohol and develop withdrawal symptoms usually have two questions: Is this normal? How long does the manifestation last? It is different for everyone. There is no normal, and it can be pretty hard to predict a person’s experience.

It is typical for these symptoms to start within hours to weeks after the person’s last drink. Manifestations are usually at their worst, around one to three days after they stop consuming alcoholic beverages. Some signs like fatigue, changes in sleep patterns, and mood swings can last for at least a week to months.

People will likely start to feel a lot better around five to seven days after they stop consuming alcohol. That is why it is best to find a suitable facility like alcohol detox in Richmond, Texas, to monitor the progress and help with the discomfort.


These illnesses can be reduced drastically or even eliminated with the proper medical care. There are specific treatments available in the market today for people who want and need to stop drinking, even after chronic and long-term abuse.

This illness can be a huge stumbling block when it comes to maintaining sobriety. For instance, an individual might be worried about stopping because they are too afraid of withdrawal manifestations. Signs are also vital causes of relapses in the early stages of recovery.

A person who is trying to stop might give up if the symptoms become aggravating enough to make them have a small drink to ease the tension and discomfort. If the signs are mild, it is usually considered safe for the person to stop drinking at the comfort of their home.

But if they drank heavily or for a long time, they need to involve health care providers in the process. It is impossible to predict how severe the signs will be. People need to be regularly monitored by health care professionals to make sure they get care in the event they develop severe and potentially life-threatening signs like Delirium Tremens. If signs are too severe threatening a person’s recovery, there are pharmaceutical treatments like benzodiazepines (lorazepam or chlordiazepoxide) that can help them control this illness.