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Common Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal is also known as detoxing, especially when alcohol is concerned. When you quit or cut back on the amount of alcohol that you consume, you may develop withdrawal symptoms because of the physical or psychological dependence on the substance that you've been consuming.

The symptoms of withdrawal can be mild or very severe, and understanding the signs and common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can help you understand what a medical emergency might constitute and when to get immediate help.

Who Experiences Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms?

Typically, those who regularly drink in excess are dependent on it to function and experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms, which is why they get caught in the cycle of needing a drink every single day. It's these people who experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms because they've become so reliant on it to function daily.

When the body has come to rely on alcohol to feel normal, it’s only used to function with it in the system. In turn, if alcohol use is suddenly ceased, withdrawal symptoms may begin to appear.

If you have been psychologically dependent on alcohol, this is when you believe you need the alcohol to function normally. You may think that you need it for specific situations, such as to unwind after work or be adequately social at a party, but this can lead to a dangerous relationship with the substance. You then may end up taking in as much alcohol as your body thinks it needs and developing a physical dependence as a result.

When your body goes through alcohol withdrawal, it has to get adjusted to life without it. This means you could feel many different unpleasant symptoms, some of which are minor and some of which are serious.

Withdrawal generally feels like the opposite of the consumption of alcohol. When you withdraw from alcohol, you may feel on edge, irritated, or jittery, for example. Some of the other symptoms include:

Body shakes or seizures

Sweating, anxiety, and shakes can all be indicative of alcohol withdrawal and potentially lead to seizures. Having vibrating limbs and hands could make you feel out of control of your body.


Withdrawing from something your brain has become reliant on can lead to intense headaches. You'll feel dizzy and fatigued, and a migraine could be present.


During withdrawal, you could lose your appetite, and you may even vomit. A constant feeling of nausea is often present because your body is trying to adjust to a sudden lack of alcohol.

Racing heartbeat

If you're feeling out of breath or you feel your heart pounding in your chest, it could be due to a racing heartbeat, which is another common side effect of alcohol withdrawal. Your heart might pound in your chest, and that can feel very uncomfortable or make you feel like you're having a heart attack.

Delirium tremens

One of the most severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms is known as delirium tremens (DT). DT can involve hallucinations and seizures and can be fatal if not properly monitored by a medical professional. It is vital that you seek medical supervision for any alcohol withdrawal symptoms or find a rehab center where you can be effectively taken care of.

Alcohol withdrawal is not an easy process to go through. Having the support of a treatment program can help you safely navigate this time, remain closely monitored by medical professionals, and begin the steps to recovery in the smartest way possible.


Other than the physical symptoms of withdrawal, it’s also common to experience mental cravings for alcohol while detoxifying. You might feel consumed by the idea of alcohol, and your body may crave it. Sometimes, those cravings can be manageable, and other times, they can be so strong that they can feel overwhelming.

Of course, learning how to resist the urge to drink involves relaxation or coping techniques, and you can do this by practicing mindfulness, going to the gym, studying, going out to eat, or doing an activity like watching television. You could also remember that your brain has been taught a pattern of always expecting alcohol, so you will likely need to give yourself some time to unlearn that pattern. Speaking to a rehab specialist can and will make a significant difference on your overall health while you are going through withdrawal. The most important thing to remember is to never go through alcohol withdrawal alone. 


The period of withdrawal typically lasts a matter of days, and it’s entirely dependent on the severity of an individual’s alcohol use disorder and what their rehab treatment program entails. It takes a lot of work for an alcoholic to become sober, and understanding the common alcohol withdrawal symptoms will help you determine whether you are going through withdrawal and craving alcohol or whether or not you are simply just struggling.

It's vital that you reach out to people and ask for help so that you are not going through this alone. Withdrawal does eventually end, but cravings for alcohol can continue for a long time; it's important to be aware of this throughout your sobriety journey.

Reaching out to a rehabilitation facility can make a big difference to your health while you're giving up something you've come to rely on.

How to Seek Professional Help

To live a life that is free of alcohol and all of the symptoms that come with it, the best thing that you can do is seek help from others. You want to be sure that you are in the right place with the right level of support from therapists, doctors, nurses, and support workers. Without their support, you're going to find getting through withdrawal very difficult, so it's important that you are looking ahead to see who can help you and get signed up with the right programs as early as you can.

At Jackson House Recovery Centers, we offer comprehensive programs to help individuals who are struggling with alcohol withdrawal and addiction. Contact us today to learn more about our mission and how we can help you find a path to recovery.

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