Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal: Timeline and Signs of Danger


Because alcohol is a depressant, drinking suppresses the ‘fight or flight’ response in your brain and nervous system. American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand. Certain drugs and medications can change the structure and chemistry of your brain. Similarly, SSRIs can be used to help people who are experiencing depression and anxiety, but not everybody responds well to SSRIs. Stress can be a trigger for people with PAWS, and some research suggests that PAWS can lead to increased sensitivity to stress.

alcohol withdrawal syndrome symptoms

In fact, stopping drinking is a great way to improve the quality of your sleep. If you experience insomnia, it’s worth remembering that your sleep patterns will almost certainly start to return to normal as your brain recovers from withdrawal. If you are concerned you might be dependent on alcohol, you should seek medical advice to help you cut down and stop your drinking safely.

Introduction ‐ Medical Burden of Alcohol Abuse

Too much alcohol can irritate the stomach lining, cause dehydration, and lead to an inflammatory response in the body. As the alcohol wears off, these effects lead to common hangover symptoms, such as headache, nausea, and fatigue. Drastic changes in blood pressure and heart rate can also develop, which may lead to a stroke or heart attack.

The symptoms of protracted withdrawal can come and go over time depending on triggers. In general, though, PAWS is recorded as lasting a few weeks to a few months after stopping use. These symptoms are common across substances — in other words, no matter which substance you used, you might experience one or more of the above.

Prescription medication and other clinical treatment options

There are several mild to moderate psychological and physical symptoms you might experience when you stop drinking. Some symptoms, such as irritability, fatigue, and sleep disturbances, may persist over time while the body adjusts to the lack of alcohol. Individuals may also want to consider maintenance medications, a support group, or enlisting the support of friends. In some cases, symptoms may progress to severe withdrawal with seizures and delirium tremens. Behavioral treatment programs are helpful for people who want to quit drinking.

If you don’t already have a supportive network, you can make new connections by joining social media communities dedicated to alcohol-free living. This process temporarily restores homeostasis, or chemical balance, in an effort to counteract the impact of long-term alcohol use on the brain. The 60-year-old man told researchers that after recovering from acute COVID-19, he now gets headaches when he consumes the same amount of alcohol he drank before the infection. Arming yourself with strategies and tips can help you or a loved one take small steps towards big results. Drinkchat is a free online chat service with trained advisors offering confidential advice. If you’re not sure what to say, ask them how you can best support them.

Stage 1: Mild Withdrawal

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are caused by stopping or strongly reducing alcohol consumption in a person living with a chronic alcohol use disorder. The latter is known to be caused by a combination of genetic, psychological, and social factors. Also, consider these risk factors for any patient presenting with seizures of unknown etiology. If you have severe symptoms, you may require inpatient or even intensive care level monitoring. In these cases, you’re likely to receive one of the various medications, such as benzodiazepines, the most successful in these cases. Ethanol is the primary alcohol that’s ingested by people with alcohol use disorder.

alcohol withdrawal syndrome symptoms

Try to remember that you don’t have to feel shame about your experience. AUD is very common, affecting an estimated 76.3 million people worldwide. By reading up on alcohol withdrawal and learning more about treatment and self-help options, you’ve taken an important step toward recovery.

Complicated Withdrawal

Indirect long-term effects include undernutrition Overview of Undernutrition Undernutrition is a form of malnutrition. (Malnutrition also includes overnutrition.) Undernutrition can result from inadequate ingestion of nutrients, malabsorption, impaired metabolism, loss… alcohol withdrawal syndrome symptoms Chronic alcohol use can cause complex changes in their brain, including to the neurotransmitters dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which affect excitement and a person’s sense of reward. Alcohol withdrawal can be managed both as an inpatient or outpatient.

alcohol withdrawal syndrome symptoms