Alcohol withdrawal symptoms

One of the many potential negative outcomes of alcohol misuse is that the behaviour can lead you to become addicted, a condition that is commonly referred to as alcoholism.

When you develop alcoholism, your body undergoes a variety of changes that can make it difficult to control the amount and frequency of your drinking, and can also complicate your efforts to reduce or stop your misuse of alcohol.

One of the effects that alcoholism can inflict upon your body is called withdrawal, and will become evident when you try to stop drinking or when you are not capable of acquiring alcohol. As a result of continued alcohol misuse, your body will adapt to the presence of this substance in your system, and when alcohol is not present, you will begin to experience a variety of distressing and, in some cases, dangerous alcohol withdrawal symptoms.  

Common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal

The nature and severity of the withdrawal symptoms that you experience will be influenced by a number of personal factors, including how much you have been drinking and how long you have been struggling with an alcohol addiction.

Depending upon these personal factors, symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may include:

  • Intense cravings for alcohol
  • Sleep problems
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Shaking and shivering
  • Tics and tremors
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Anxiety

More severe symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol can include:

  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizure

It is important to understand that every person will have a unique experience when going through alcohol withdrawal. The symptoms that you experience, their severity and the risk that they pose to you will depend upon your personal history and your physical and mental health.

The duration of your alcohol withdrawal symptoms will also vary depending upon the nature of your alcoholism and the extent of your previous alcohol misuse. The first symptoms can begin to occur within eight hours of your last drink but the entire withdrawal process could last for more than a week.

How we treat alcohol withdrawal

This can be an extremely daunting time for you and it can be difficult to seek help, even when you have the strongest desire to quit drinking. We also understand the shame and stigma attached to this condition and this can cause more negative emotions and resistance to seeking treatment.

Alcohol detoxification, which is commonly referred to as 'detox', can protect your safety, ease your discomfort and give yourself a much better chance of successfully withdrawing from alcohol. At Priory, detoxification occurs in a supportive clinical environment under the close supervision of experienced and compassionate professionals.

Depending upon your needs, your detox experience may include therapeutic support, certain prescription medications and a host of additional services to help you to end your alcohol misuse with maximum safety and minimal discomfort.

Following your successful completion of detox, you can transition directly into the next phase of your treatment. During the post-detox phases of treatment, you will develop the skills and strategies that will help you to live a healthier and more productive life, free from the constraints and limitations of alcoholism.

For further details on how Priory can provide you with further assistance regarding Alcohol Withdrawal and Treatment, please call 0800 840 3219. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here