4 Stages of Alcohol Withdrawal

Also known as DTs, an estimated 2% of people with alcohol use disorder and less than 1% of the general population experience them. You don’t need to be diagnosed with alcohol use disorder in order to quit drinking. If alcohol is interfering with your health or your personal, financial, or professional life, consider quitting. Finding an appropriate detox facility increases a person’s chances of minimizing the withdrawal symptoms that typically occur in the days following the end. Supervised dual diagnosis treatment makes the process safer, and it increases the likelihood it will work in the long run. Weaning a person slowly from alcohol provides fewer shocks to the alcoholic’s body.

How long alcohol withdrawal lasts can depend on a variety of factors. Your symptoms may simply be uncomfortable or can be medically significant and require care. Physical dependence is more likely to occur as your tolerance for alcohol, and therefore the amount you use, increases. This concept of tolerance—generally thought of as how much alcohol a specific person can use before feeling the effects or before becoming highly intoxicated—really refers the differences in how bodies process alcohol.


When the alcohol level suddenly drops, your brain stays in this keyed up state. Over time, your central nervous system adjusts to having alcohol around all the time. Your body works hard to keep your brain in a more awake state and to keep your nerves talking to one another. By Buddy T

Buddy T is a writer and founding member of the Online Al-Anon Outreach Committee with decades of experience writing about alcoholism.

  • Concentration improves drastically, and blood pressure begins to normalize.
  • This is because as time progresses and you continue to abstain from alcohol, your symptoms will become more intense and severe.
  • “I could easily sleep 12 hours a night and still feel tired the next morning.”
  • By Buddy T

    Buddy T is a writer and founding member of the Online Al-Anon Outreach Committee with decades of experience writing about alcoholism.

  • Our team of top clinical & medical experts specializes in treating addiction coupled with mental illness, ensuring that each person receives individualized care.

Since your body has adapted to the constant presence of alcohol, its abrupt removal will disrupt the equilibrium your body has created. You’ll be in a hyper-aroused state, which is a common alcohol withdrawal symptom. Seizures are the most serious symptom of this final stage, and they can be fatal if not treated immediately.

Day Eight

Minor withdrawal symptoms usually begin about six hours after your last drink. A person who has a long history of heavy drinking could have a seizure six hours after stopping drinking. Quitting drinking can have many important benefits for your physical and mental health, but 4 Ways to Make Amends in Recovery there are many other types of benefits you may experience as well. This is usually when people start to feel their best after giving up alcohol. By this point, most physical withdrawal symptoms should have subsided and you should start to feel less anxious and more positive.

It is potentially life-threatening, so it is essential to seek medical attention immediately if you experience such symptoms. At this point, your risk of developing all types of disease will be reduced and your bone density will start to increase. Keep in mind that everyone is different and will experience different things when they stop drinking. The brain also begins to repair some of the damage and shrinkage you may have experienced while drinking. One study showed that after 6 weeks of abstinence from alcohol, brain volume increases by an average of 2%. Other medications may also be used to manage specific withdrawal symptoms.

The Final Stage – How Long Do Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

However, if symptoms worsen, it is advisable to seek immediate medical attention so that individuals receive appropriate treatment. If you drink only once in a while, it’s unlikely that you’ll have withdrawal symptoms https://trading-market.org/art-therapy-for-drug-alcohol-addiction-recovery/ when you stop. But if you’ve gone through alcohol withdrawal once, you’re more likely to go through it again the next time you call it quits. Quitting alcohol consumption affects drinkers’ sleep patterns differently.

And while symptoms generally improve within 5 days, some may experience prolonged symptoms. If you’re continuing to suffer physical symptoms after two weeks of abstinence from alcohol, consult your healthcare provider. Unstable vital signs increase the risk of complications and can be managed with medications.

Studies show support groups play an instrumental role in helping people develop healthy social networks that result in continued sobriety. Tap into your social network to help support you through alcohol withdrawal. Find a supportive friend or family member to be with you while you withdraw and support your new non-drinking lifestyle. However, medical complications can occur during the acute phase of withdrawal. For those with alcohol use disorder, withdrawal is just the first (but very important) step on a long journey to recovery. These first few weeks are critical because they are when the risk of relapse is highest.

what are the stages of alcohol withdrawal



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