The Painful Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal December 6th, 2019 The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake
Blog & News The Painful Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

The Painful Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

Nobody plans to become an addict, nor experience an uncontrollable addiction with any substance. Starting a bad habit most of the time feels effortless; it’s usually stopping these negative tendencies where most of the difficulties lie. This couldn’t be truer when it comes to those who have grown dependent on alcohol – drinking daily in excess for consecutive weeks, months, or years at a time – and looking to promptly quit. While an alcohol detox is the best remedy for these individuals, they, unfortunately, will more than likely begin to experience Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome.

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

Alcoholic Withdrawal Syndrome is the medical title indicating the varying set of symptoms an alcoholic may experience during the initial period of their alcohol abstinence. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can vary from mild cases to more severe cases, referred as Delirium Tremens.

While minor withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Shaky Hands
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability

Delirium Tremens contain the following side effects:

  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations (tactile, auditory, visual)
  • Severe Confusion
  • Reduced Attention Span
  • Restlessness
  • Quick Mood Changes

Treatment for Withdrawal Symptoms

There are three goals at hand when treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms: relieving withdrawal side effects, preventing complications, and initiating a long-term therapy encouraging a life of sobriety.

Initial treatment for withdrawal side effects depend on the severity of one’s symptoms. Milder symptoms may result in an outpatient setting if patients possess a strong support group at home to monitor their well-being, while more severe cases may require hospitalization, or inpatient treatment, to keep a closer eye on the individual’s condition.

Prescription drugs may also be recommended at a certain point, particularly benzodiazepines, such as, oxazepams, lorazepams, and chlordiazepoxides, as these are known to help a number of lasting withdrawal symptoms.

Timeline of Symptoms

While the timeline for these manifestations can’t ever be definite due to a number of impacting variables – tolerance levels, the duration of alcohol dependency, the solidity of the addiction – there is a general guideline detailing certain timeframes of alcohol withdrawal symptoms:

  • Initial withdrawal symptoms begin 8 – 24 hours after last drink
  • 24 – 72 hours: symptoms begin to peak, but may continue for longer
  • 5 – 7 days later: Symptoms start to dissipate
  • After 7 days: Minor side effects may linger for several weeks without treatment

Preventing Future Occurrences

Treatment for alcohol abuse and/or alcohol dependency is strongly suggested in preventing future withdrawal episodes, as just merely treating alcohol detox withdrawal symptoms neglects to address the catalyst that is addiction. Comprehensive treatment facilities offer a plethora of services ranging from individual/group therapies, support groups, 12-step model programs, cognitive-behavioral therapies, as well as inpatient/outpatient programs.

Finding the proper support and care from others, whether that be through friends and family, or medical professionals, is imperative to living a consistent lifestyle of recovery.

For those struggling with alcohol abuse or alcohol dependency, you are not alone. Learn more about alcohol treatment and find the care you deserve, today, that will help guide you into the wonderful life of sobriety.



Martin, Laura J. “Alcohol withdrawal.” Medline Plus. 08 Feb. 2015. Web. Retrieved 06 Jan. 2016.

Robinson, Jennifer. “Alcohol Withdrawal: Symptoms, Treatments, Duration And More.” WebMD. 16 Feb. 2015. Web. 06 Jan. 2016.

Dugdale, David. “Alcohol withdrawal.” University of Maryland Medical Center. 01 Jan. 2013. Web. 06 Jan. 2016.


Photo compliments of Piotr loop, used under Creative Commons License.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.