Treating Alcoholism – Alcohol Withdrawal Signs & Symptoms

Alcohol withdrawal sign and symptoms may vary depending on the level of alcohol dependence. Withdrawal symptoms may not be present in every case of alcohol addiction and is usually not present in alcohol abusers and binge drinkers.

Alcohol withdrawal sign and symptoms may last between 7 to 10 days during the alcohol detox phase but has been known to continue up until 3 weeks to a month although it is usually less severe after 10 days. However the intensity and duration of alcohol withdrawal symptoms vary among individual recovering alcoholics.

In severe presentation of alcohol withdrawal signs and symptoms, the alcoholism treatment protocol may require certain drugs to ease these signs and symptoms but this decision should be undertaken by a medical doctor after consultation with the patient.

What are the signs and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal?

  • Anxiety, irritability or nervousness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Fevers with chills
  • Shakiness of the body or convulsions
  • Lack of coordination or hand tremors
  • Pale appearance with cold, clammy skin and sweating
  • Difficulty sleeping, insomnia, nightmares or night terrors
  • Incoherent speech and irrational behavior
  • Aggressive or violent behavior
  • Blood pressure fluctuations or palpitations

Delirium tremens (also referred to as DT’s or the “shakes”) is a withdrawal syndrome that occurs in long standing alcoholics and involves a combination of symptoms like shakiness, tremors, convulsions, lack of coordination, fever, disorientation and confusion, fear or excitement, hypertension and an intolerance to sensory stimuli like light, sound and touch. DT’s should be monitored and treated by a medical practitioner to prevent any complications or harm either to the patient or those around them.

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