Severe Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Severe Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Many of us enjoy having an alcoholic drink at the weekend. It helps us to relax and to unwind after a particularly busy week. We also use alcohol as a social tool at parties and get-togethers. Be that as it may, for some people, their relationship alcohol becomes much more serious than a few drinks once or twice a week. It is important to know what severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms look like to know when you may have a problem with alcohol.

When you’re addicted to alcohol, your cravings become impossible to control, and even though you know you’re harming your body, you find it impossible to stop. You discover that it’s no longer something you use socially, as you find yourself drinking alone or using it as a crutch when you’re feeling down. You might also be unable to begin your day without turning to the bottle.

If you’re worried about your alcohol intake and you want to give up drinking, we’ve compiled information here that you need to take those next steps forwards towards a healthier, alcohol-free life. Help is available 24/7 call this number for a free personal consultation 800-338-5770

Alcohol Symptoms


Alcohol Abuse vs. Alcoholism

You may be wondering if your use of alcohol constitutes as abuse or alcoholism. To differentiate, alcohol abuse is when you drink too much, and too often. It involves having unhealthy or even dangerous drinking habits.

On the other hand, alcoholism is defined as the inability to stop drinking alcohol altogether. With alcoholism, you’re physically and mentally addicted to alcohol. You have not only a strong craving to drink, but also a strong need to drink.

This abuse follows a pattern that ultimately likely leads you to you failing to satisfy your responsibilities in life. You may also find that you can’t stop drinking in situations that are a danger to you.

Information from the journal Alcohol Research & Health, reprinted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism clearly illustrates that blackouts are common in binge drinkers who are abusing alcohol. 51 percent of college undergraduates surveyed reported blacking out at some point during a binge-drinking session, with 40 percent admitting to blacking out during the year before the survey.

Worryingly, the students reported that they found out later that they had been involved in some dangerous behaviors that they had no recollection of, for example, driving, participating in unprotected sex and engaging in vandalism.

This research goes to show, even if you feel your alcohol abuse is something you can control, it’s a force that’s taking control of your life in a very negative way. If you continue to abuse alcohol, you become increasingly tolerant to your usual amount, and it can result in alcohol dependence or alcoholism. You may also suffer from severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms, and be unsuccessful in cutting down or quitting alcohol altogether.

You also might consistently drink more and for longer than you initially set out to. Eventually, you can lose control and will keep drinking no matter the consequences. At this point, you’re physically or mentally addicted, and feel that you need to have a drink just to live “normally.”

Alcohol Symptoms

If you suffer from three or more of the following within a year, you could be dependent on alcohol:

  • You can’t stop drinking, even though it’s causing you physical and relationship issues.
  • You’ve tried to cut back or quit drinking without success.
  • You’ve given up other activities so you can drink, or you spend a great deal of time both drinking and recovering from drinking.
  • You can’t control the amount you’re drinking.
  • You experience withdrawal symptoms when you don’t drink. For example, anxiety, sweating, and nausea.
  • You find yourself drinking more and more to achieve the same effect.

If you can identify with the above, don’t panic. Here at 12 Keys in Florida, we have many years of experience of helping people free themselves from alcohol issues and the severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms that come along with dependence. We recognize that alcoholism is a chronic disease, and we can offer you hope and support throughout your journey back to living a healthy, alcohol-free life.

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Hangovers After Binge Drinking

If you’ve ever had a hangover, it’s likely that you can describe the symptoms of mild alcohol withdrawal with ease. As your body adjusts to its usual, sober state, after a short period of particularly heavy drinking, you’ll find yourself suffering from some of the following:

  • Alcohol withdrawal diarrhea
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sensitivity to sound
  • Headaches
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Aches
  • Feeling dehydrated
  • Feelings of tiredness
  • Physical shakes
  • Feelings of anxiety
  • Feelings of dizziness

Hangover and alcohol withdrawal symptoms like fatigue often have a detrimental effect on your day, making you less able to fulfill your responsibilities due to feeling tired and unwell. If you’re a chronic drinker, however, you’ll continue to keep drinking and experiencing hangovers in spite of the negative consequences.

Withdrawal symptoms


Stages of Alcohol Withdrawal

As a rule, the severity of your alcohol withdrawal symptoms depends on how long you’ve been drinking, as well as how much. That said, it’s common for most people to feel very tired, and to experience night sweats throughout alcohol withdrawal. If you’re concerned about the stages of withdrawal you should expect, take a look at the list below, as these can range from mild to more severe:

Minor Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Stage

Although you may still have alcohol in your system, mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms generally begin within six to 12 hours after you’ve quit drinking. During this stage, you can expect:

  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Mild Anxiety
  • Shaky hands
  • Sweating
  • Cravings

Other alcohol withdrawal symptoms like itching, and alcohol withdrawal night sweats, can make you feel particularly unwell during this stage.

Moderate and Severe Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Stage

The next stage of withdrawal comes between 12 and 24 hours after you’ve stopped drinking. This can be quite a frightening and unsettling stage as you may experience alcoholic hallucinosis, where you experience tactile, auditory or visual hallucinations.

The third stage of withdrawal occurs between 24 and 48 hours after your last drink and may present you with withdrawal seizures. We must note, however, that sometimes these can happen as early as a few hours after stopping drinking. You’re more likely to experience seizures if you’ve detoxed multiple times in the past.

Delirium tremens, or DTs, typically begin between 48 and 72 hours after your last drink, and you’re more likely to experience these if you have a history of acute illness, you’re older, you have abnormal liver function or have a history of DTs or withdrawal seizures.

Delirium tremens symptoms usually peak at five days and include:

  • Severe tremors
  • Irregular and racing heartbeat
  • Low-grade fever
  • Seizures
  • Sweating
  • High blood pressure
  • Hallucinations that can’t be distinguished from real life
  • Severe anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation

Withdrawing from alcohol is difficult, and can be dangerous if you try to do so alone. Help is available 24/7 call this number for a free personal consultation 800-338-5770.

Symptoms of Severe Alcohol Withdrawal in Detail

Now you’ve learned about the stages of alcohol withdrawal and have read an overview of symptoms of severer alcohol withdrawal symptoms, let’s look in more detail at the what you can expect:

Alcohol & Sleep


Sleeping can be difficult during the initial stage of detox, due to the fact that alcohol has chemically influenced your sleep cycle. Consequently, it takes time for your body to adjust to not having the substance in your system.

You also need to take into account that withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable, which can keep you awake at night.

Headaches, Nausea, Diarrhea and Vomiting

The headaches, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting of first stage withdrawal, can be particularly unpleasant, and again are a byproduct of your body learning to adjust to being free from alcohol. Unfortunately, alcohol abuse and diarrhea go hand-in-hand, even before you begin to withdraw.

Moderate and Severe Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Stage

The next stage of withdrawal comes between 12 and 24 hours after you’ve stopped drinking. This can be quite a frightening and unsettling stage as you may experience alcoholic hallucinosis, where you experience tactile, auditory or visual hallucinations.

Delirium Tremens

Mild Anxiety, Shaky Hands, and Sweating

As your body is dependent on alcohol, your brain’s been using the substance as its primary tool to cope with stress. When you stop taking the substance from your system, you begin to feel incredibly stressed as a result. Alcohol dulls your coping mechanisms, thankfully, through seeking help, you can get on the road to recovery.


These often occur within 60 minutes of taking your last drink and are a result of your dependency on alcohol. You’re so used to having alcohol in your system, that you will experience intense and powerful thoughts that make you want to take another drink. These cravings can continue far into your detox process.

Alcoholic Hallucinosis

Symptoms of alcoholic hallucinosis tend to appear within 12-24 hours after stopping drinking. If you suffer from this symptom — and not all people do — it generally presents as auditory hallucinations, although you can have other types.

The condition has the potential to last for days, and you may “hear” threatening voices. It’s more likely you’ll suffer from this if you’ve been using alcohol heavily, on a long-term basis, as well as if you’ve used other drugs alongside alcohol. The cause of the condition is not entirely clear.



Sometimes presenting at around the 24 to 48-hour stage of detox are alcoholic seizures. It’s possible to have a genetic disposition to these, although, it’s likely that you’ll suffer from seizures as your body tries to cope with the other acute symptoms that are currently ravaging it. For this reason, it’s important to detox from these severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms under the guidance of professionals.


Delirium Tremens

Delirium tremens involves severe, and sudden nervous system or mental changes, and usually begin between 48 and 72 hours after your last drink, although in some cases it can begin within two days of your last consumption of alcohol. A severe alcohol withdrawal symptom, the condition usually affects heavy drinkers who have been using alcohol for ten years or more.

This stage of withdrawal can last for as long as a week to ten days, and this is just one reason why you should never attempt to detox from alcohol on your own.

Our caring and knowledgeable staff will guide you through every step of your detox, including help with delirium tremens, by offering you 24/7 support when you most need it.

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

Kicking an addiction is one of the most difficult things you’ll ever have to face, and detox is just the beginning of a long, but extremely worthwhile journey.

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) is the term for a group of symptoms that present after you’ve completely withdrawn from alcohol. The syndrome affects most acutely if you’ve been a long-term alcohol user.

Acute alcohol withdrawal can last for as little as a few days to as long as a week or more. It’s after this that PAWS begins, with the syndrome lasting for weeks or even months, depending on the amount of alcohol you used in the past. If you were a heavy user, PAWS will be more severe, and you’ll have longer-lasting symptoms. Help is available 24/7 call this number for a free personal consultation 800-338-5770.

Symptoms of PAWS

There are various different, and frustrating symptoms of PAWS, these include:

  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty coping with stress
  • Lack of emotion
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Lowered energy
  • Problems with memory, making it difficult to learn new things
  • Insomnia, changes in sleeping patterns and strange dreams
  • Dizziness
  • Inability to make a decision, solve problems or to think clearly
  • Issues with balance
  • Delayed reflexes
  • Increased accident proneness

Although these symptoms are unsettling, it’s important to remember that they won’t last forever, and that through seeking out the right treatment, as well as having a solid family and friend support system, you’ll get through this tough and demanding time.

Daily Routine

How to Cope When You Have PAWS

Now you know what to expect, it’s imperative that you plan for the future in terms of dealing with the syndrome when the time comes. Things you can do in advance include:

  • Identify people who support your desire to live a new and healthy alcohol-free life. This can include friends, family, health care professionals, counselors, religious or spiritual groups and others.
  • Stay in touch with people you know will support you.
  • Make a daily routine that includes ample time for rest and relaxation.
  • Identifying circumstances, such as emotional states and locations, that trigger your desire to consume alcohol, and asking for support when they arise.
  • Create a routine sleeping pattern.
  • Eat well and regularly. Avoid processed foods and to eat fresh, healthy produce whenever you can.
  • Exercising regularly to increase your energy and bust stress.
  • Nourish your spiritual side.
  • Allow yourself time to heal.
  • Be good to yourself.

With all this in mind, you’ll understandably be concerned about what your future holds, and this is entirely natural. It’s crucial to be patient throughout the time that it takes you to feel good and to heal. Your alcohol issues didn’t come about overnight, and they can’t disappear in one night. However, you’re headed in just the right direction.

The Dangers of Withdrawing from Alcohol Alone

Now you have all the information you need to make an informed decision in terms of moving on from alcohol, you’ll be wondering whether you need to enter a detox center, or if you can just detox from home by yourself.

With all the complications you now know are associated with severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms, it’s safest to detox with proper supervision from an experienced and qualified team of people who’re with you both day and night.

DTs, Hallucinations, and Seizures

According to data from Alcohol Use Disorders: Diagnosis and Clinical Management of Alcohol-Related Physical Complications, around five percent of patients will experience the delirium tremens during their withdrawal from alcohol. There’s no knowing exactly who will suffer from this complication, and as it can be serious, there should be no chances taken by detoxing by yourself.

The risk of severe hallucinations, grand mal seizures and tremors is high with delirium tremens. There is also the possibility of palpitations, and even strokes or heart attacks because your body is under incredible stress. By choosing to enter a treatment center, you’re assured that should complications occur, you’re in the safest place.



Mood Swings and Suicide Risks

As quitting alcohol has some very profound and serious side effects, you’ll likely experience some cognitive impairment during the process. In addition to this, your brain and body have been relying on alcohol for so long, that when you take it away, you can experience severe mental health issues, including anxiety and depression.

It’s common for withdrawal to cause extreme stress due to the cravings you’ll experience. For some people who aren’t monitored correctly, suicidal thoughts can be an issue. This is another reason why it’s crucial to have access to a team of professionals throughout every stage of your detox.

Monitoring Your Heart

When you’re withdrawing from alcohol, it’s likely your heart rate may soar. This is perfectly normal and is to be expected, however, it’s vital that your symptoms are correctly monitored in the rare case you experience any complications.

Now you’ve taken the first step in kicking your alcohol addiction, and have found out all about severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms and the detox process, it’s time to take that next step and to contact us at 12 Keys today. We will help you to begin your journey towards a happier, more productive and healthy life. Call us 24/7 at 844-334-7190.

Severe Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms and Rehab

Although many people use alcohol from time to time with no ill effects, it’s a central nervous system depressant, which is why many use it for relaxation purposes. As a depressant, alcohol also suppresses the normal functioning of your body.

When you’re addicted to alcohol, removing the substance from your body is in no way relaxing. Because you’ve deprived yourself of the “relaxant,” you’ll feel hyperactive and agitated.

Detoxing from alcohol takes anywhere between a few days to a few weeks. When you think of it, this is a relatively short period, and with the help of a structured detox program, you can reap all the benefits of preparing for an addiction-free life.


Why is Structure Crucial in Rehab?

When you’re caught in the grip of an addiction, your life has spiraled out of control. You experience feelings of hopelessness and feel that no matter what you do, there is no escape from the cravings that cloud your every waking moment.

It’s also likely that by living with your addiction, your life has lost any former sense of structure. Your sleeping, eating and general living patterns are erratic as your schedule revolves primarily around your need for alcohol and not your own personal needs.

This is why structured rehab is so successful, as it helps you to feel a sense of normality, by bringing that much-needed structure and routine back into your life. Rather than living from moment to moment, you know what your days are to consist of, and this security is a wonderful environment to learn how to get your life back on the right track. Help is available 24/7 call this number for a free personal consultation 800-338-5770.

Here, at 12 Keys in Florida, we only accept a limited number of clients at any one time, as we feel that via our low staff-to-client ratio, we can give you the best structured and individualized care. With our focus on our small recovery family, we ensure that you’re treated as an individual and that you feel respected at all times, throughout every stage of your journey.

Our structured holistic rehabilitation programs address your social, spiritual, physical and psychological needs, and treat you as a whole person. This is why our treatments are so successful, as you find out how to understand your addiction, as well as ways of coping with an alcohol-free future. Our fully personalized aftercare services ensure you never feel alone, long after you’ve left us.

We place a huge emphasis on the importance of structure for your future well-being at 12 Keys with a focus on:

  • Exercising regularly to help heal your damaged body
  • Engaging in healthy and enjoyable mental and physical activities to create order in your mind
  • Getting in touch with, and accepting who you are, and learning how to love and respect yourself

If you or someone close to you needs help with severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms or alcohol rehab, call us at any time of the day or night on 844-334-7190. We’re available right now to discuss any questions or concerns you might have about alcohol withdrawal and the structured rehabilitation process.

The Addiction Blog