The thought of quitting alcohol after abusing the substance can seem like an unthinkable task to take on. Withdrawal symptoms can begin within hours of starting detox. Long-term alcohol withdrawal symptoms can last a lifetime depending on how heavily the individual abused alcohol.

The severity and amount of symptoms experienced will vary between individuals with a common timeline used as the base level one can expect.

Initial Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol is able to fully leave the body much faster than other substances meaning that symptoms also start sooner.

The first 12 hours will bring mild symptoms such as head and stomach pains, trouble sleeping, nausea and increased anxiety. Up to the 48 hour mark will see more severe symptoms such as seizures and hallucinations in severe cases.

From 48 to 72 hours come the more intense symptoms to finish out the initial detox. Individuals can experience fever, increased heart rate, profuse sweating, high blood pressure, delirium tremens and even death if not treated by a professional.

A Quick Note on Delirium Tremens

Delirium tremens, or DTs, isn’t as common as other withdrawal symptoms but is much more prevalent in cases of long-term alcohol abuse which can also lead to more long-term alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

DTs causes hallucinations and periods of delirium where an individual is unable to distinguish what is real and what isn’t.

Which Withdrawal Symptoms Are Most Common?

Withdrawal symptoms happen due to the body and mind becoming dependent on the presence of alcohol in your system. When this presence is removed, the normal functions of the body struggle to keep up causing symptoms to occur.

Some of the more common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Unstable moods
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Delirium tremens
  • Fever and sweating

The amount of symptoms will change based on certain factors. While there is no set of guidelines to be used to forecast either short or long-term alcohol withdrawal symptoms, here are some of the factors that have the most impact:

  • How long alcohol has been consumed
  • The amount regularly consumed
  • The frequency of consumption
  • Age and overall health
  • Additional health issues

How Are Withdrawal Symptoms Treated?

Treatment of the initial acute withdrawal symptoms should be handled by trained professionals to avoid life-threatening complications that can arise. Medical staff will be able to provide real-time treatment of symptoms through the use of certain medications.

When provided based on need, drugs can help alleviate symptoms such as anxiety, seizures, high blood pressure and tremors. By reducing the impact of these symptoms, individuals will also have a lesser craving for alcohol as they won’t feel they need it in order to continue.

The reason that withdrawal symptoms can be so overwhelming is that they impact both the mind and body. The level of exhaustion that comes from fighting these symptoms can be enough for some to give up, making proper detoxing even more important.

So What About Long-Term Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms?

Long-term alcohol withdrawal symptoms depend greatly on how much damage was done to the body due to alcohol abuse. Choosing to resume drinking after treatment can also increase the severity of long-term alcohol withdrawal symptoms, something that can be avoided by leveraging after-care support groups and medical professionals.

The most common long-term symptoms include organ damage leading to failure if drinking resumes, difficulty falling or staying asleep, lower overall energy and an inability to regulate mood swings. Regarding organ damage and failure, the liver, heart and nervous system are all at risk for lifelong damage.

Always Seek Help for Alcohol Withdrawal

When the time comes for you or a loved one to stop drinking, we strongly encourage you to do so under the supervision of medical professionals. The reason being that certain withdrawal symptoms, primarily delirium tremens, can be life-threatening when detox is done alone.

Withdrawal symptoms can also escalate the severity of each other leading to a snowball effect that ultimately becomes too painful and uncomfortable to bear. This leads to individuals making the choice to drink again to alleviate the pain while ultimately creating even worse long-term alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

At America’s Rehab Campuses, our team of compassionate professionals is committed to making the detox process as comfortable as possible. If you or someone you know is ready to take the first steps towards an alcohol-free life, please don’t hesitate to give our team a call with any questions you may have. Our consultations are free and completely confidential to make sure you have all of the information needed before starting.