Asana Recovery

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcoholism is a disease that impacts more than 15 million Americans. Not only are the individuals who are actively drinking being affected, but so are those around them, such as friends, family, and loved ones. Alcoholism is a family disease, so living with someone who is struggling to get sober can be extremely difficult. No matter which way you look at it, alcoholism can completely alter the course of the lives of everyone it touches. 

Thankfully, alcoholism is a disease that can be treated. While not curable, individuals who are ready to stop drinking once and for all can develop proper coping skills to keep them from slipping back into their old ways. Going from abusing alcohol to being sober, though, is not as simple as it might seem.

What Causes Alcohol Withdrawal?

Consistent abuse of alcohol triggers the beginning of addiction development. The first thing that begins to occur is tolerance. Someone who is abusing alcohol will eventually become tolerant to it, meaning that they will need to keep increasing the amount of alcohol they are consuming. As the amount of alcohol that a person drinks continues to rise, the body starts to rely on alcohol in order to function. When this occurs, it is known as dependence. The longer that the drinking lasts, the more the body depends on it. Additionally, a psychological reliance on alcohol emerges, which is the hallmark trait of the disease of addiction. 

Someone who has gone through this cycle of addiction (or even some of it) can have significant difficulty in ending their drinking behaviors for several reasons. For starters, people don’t become addicted to alcohol for no reason, rather there is usually one or more underlying causes of the person’s drinking. The idea of no longer drinking can be overwhelming to someone with alcohol use disorder, as they know they can no longer mask whatever feelings they are trying to hide. Aside from the emotional attachment to alcohol, those addicted to alcohol know that suddenly ending their drinking can be physically distressing. That is because when someone who is dependent on alcohol stops drinking, a number of withdrawal symptoms set in and can last for days, weeks, or even months for some.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal is, unfortunately, notorious for being difficult to get through. The symptoms that a person can go through can be so overwhelming that they rationalize drinking again just in a last-ditch effort to get some relief. Some of the most common symptoms that individuals withdrawing from alcohol can experience can include, but are not limited to, the following:


  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Gastrointestinal cramping and pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Sweating
  • High blood pressure
  • Fever
  • hallucinations
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Exhaustion
  • High respiratory rate
  • Tremors


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Agitation 
  • Confusion
  • Impaired attention

When someone addicted to alcohol stops drinking, the first few hours can be accompanied by mild levels of symptoms such as nausea, headache, and shaking. Between the first and third days after one’s last drink, they will begin experiencing a peak of withdrawal symptoms, which is when the intensity of these symptoms reach the highest levels. The symptoms experienced at this time can include those that began in the first hours of withdrawal as well as hallucinations, high blood pressure, and fever. Around the one week mark, most symptoms taper off slowly, but cravings can still persist. In some individuals, certain symptoms like anxiety and depression can continue on for weeks or even months. This is known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome, or PAWS. These symptoms can be managed with therapeutic resources. 

Withdrawing from alcohol is not easy. But unlike other mind-altering substances, withdrawing from alcohol can be fatal.

Dangers of Alcohol Withdrawal 

There are a handful of alcohol withdrawal symptoms that can develop that can be life-threatening. They include the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • Fever
  • Tachycardia
  • Rapid respiratory rate 
  • Seizures

High blood pressure is extremely common in those who are withdrawing from alcohol, however just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous. High blood pressure can cause deadly events such as stroke and heart attack, both of which can occur within an instant. Tachycardia, or rapid heartbeat, can also occur and be fatal. When a person’s heart rate is too fast for too long, they can experience blood clots and heart failure. If either one of these issues goes unchecked, they can fatally harm an individual. Fever and rapid respiratory also have potential to lead to fatality.

Arguably one of the most risky periods of time during alcohol withdrawal occurs when and if a person develops delirium tremens, or the “DT’s”. Symptoms of the DT’s include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Shaking 
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Panic

It is during one’s out with the DT’s that they can also experience high blood pressure and fever. 

Attempting to independently withdraw from alcohol can be deadly. The best way to ensure a person’s health as they make this step towards recovery is to enroll them in a professional detox program where they will have access to the medical and mental health professionals who can keep them safe.

Benefits of Detox for Alcohol Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms

As previously mentioned, detox alone can be fatal, which is why attending a detox program is the best decision to make when trying to get sober. Some of the greatest benefits of doing so can include:

  • Receiving 24-hour supervision 
  • Getting immediate psychological attention 
  • Being provided with over-the-counter and prescription medications to help manage withdrawal symptoms (if necessary)
  • Increasing the potential for continued care, as most patients go from detox into a program that fits their needs best
  • Getting vitals checked several times a day

Do You Need Professional Addiction Treatment? Reach Out to Asana Right Now. We Can Help.

If you want to stop drinking and regain control of your life, call Asana right now. We can help you make the decisions that will get you into a state of long-lasting recovery. 

Do not wait any longer. You are worth the phone call. Pick up the phone and call us today.