Skip to main content

Alcohol Withdrawal: Timeline and Symptoms

Alcohol withdrawal is one of the hardest things that someone can go through. The physical symptoms can lead to severe impacts to a person’s health and overall well-being. The timeline associated with withdrawal can produce some severe withdrawal symptoms that can be dangerous and should be professionally monitored to reduce impacts.

Undergoing this process alone can sometimes lead to returning to the substance as a means of alleviating the symptoms. Understanding the timeline and symptoms associated with withdrawal can help someone to get the proper help to overcome addiction to alcohol.

Alcohol Withdrawal Overview

Alcohol withdrawal is dangerous. It can lead to dangerous symptoms that could potentially be life-threatening and should be medically and professionally monitored in order to avoid the dangerous impacts. Alcohol abuse leads to dependence and addiction. Once a person has reached this point, it can be difficult to stop drinking, and even more difficult to cope with the withdrawal symptoms that can arise.

People who try to stop drinking “cold turkey” often begin to experience withdrawal symptoms and it can be so extremely overwhelming and uncomfortable that they return to drinking as a means of stopping the symptoms. It just starts the cycle all over again.

This is why it is highly recommended and suggested that a person who is struggling with alcohol seek professional help when trying to stop drinking.

Understanding PAWS

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome, or PAWS, are lingering and persistent symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal. The symptoms associated with PAWS can be difficult to cope with and can sometimes lead someone to return to drinking to alleviate the symptoms they are experiencing.

PAWS recovery can take a long time, between 6 and 24 months, and symptoms of PAWS can include the inability to think clearly, memory issues, sensitivity to stress, emotional overreaction or numbness, problems sleeping, or problems with coordination.

These symptoms linger and can make early sobriety difficult to maintain. There are ways of coping with the symptoms of post-acute withdrawal syndrome and learning how to handle the symptoms in a productive way can help a person to maintain their recovery despite being uncomfortable.

Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline

Alcohol withdrawal isn’t one size fits all. Meaning not everyone feels the same symptoms at the same time and same severity. Everybody heals differently, at different paces. A person’s age, health, mental health, and overall well-being can play a role in how a person will be impacted by withdrawal from alcohol.

With that being said, there is a general timeline of how alcohol withdrawal may affect and impact a person. Alcohol withdrawal can begin within 8 hours of the last drink. At this stage, the individual may begin experiencing some mild and uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal. Sweating, clamminess, and irritability can commonly be experienced at this point.

Within the first 24 hours of the last drink, someone undergoing alcohol withdrawal may begin to experience more noticeable symptoms of withdrawal, and they can be extremely uncomfortable. Impacts to sleep, headache, and nausea usually occur within this time, making it difficult to think clearly.

In the first 72 hours from the last drink, the symptoms of withdrawal can peak and this is when the most severe withdrawal symptoms can occur. Vomiting, tremors, and potential seizures can occur during this time and can lead to severe impacts on a person’s life. 

For most people, the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal begin to subside after the first 72 hours. However, sometimes the symptoms can linger, making it difficult to continue on the road to recovery from alcohol addiction. This is why it is highly suggested to seek professional help when trying to overcome alcohol addiction.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous. Understanding the potential dangers associated with withdrawal from alcohol can help a person understand why it is so crucial to receive proper care as they go through this process.

Prolonged alcohol abuse changes brain chemistry, and having proper care can make rewiring the brain to normal functionality a lot easier.

Symptoms associated with withdrawal from alcohol include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Nightmares
  • Fever
  • Increased heart rate
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

Withdrawal symptoms like fever, hallucinations, and seizures can lead to detrimental impacts in a person’s life. Having proper care while going through this process can help manage these symptoms, alleviating them and making the process more comfortable.

It can also ensure that the person trying to recover from alcohol addiction does so safely, with minimal impacts to health and wellness. Addressing these symptoms as they occur is vital to preventing severe complications. 

Fight Alcohol Addiction and Withdrawal

Struggling with alcohol can be a traumatic experience. The impacts of alcohol addiction on a person’s mental health, lifestyle, and overall well-being can be severe, leading to changes that can be hard to overcome.

Alcohol withdrawal can be a dangerous undertaking for anyone. However, there is help available. If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol, Enlightened Recovery can help. Our team of professionals can help as you begin a journey to recovery and healing.

Call us today and begin your journey to a new way of life. 

Begin Your Recovery at Enlightened Recovery

Enlightened Recovery is here to help you or your loved one overcome drug and alcohol addiction as well as co-occurring mental health disorders. Our holistic treatment programs treat the whole person in recovery. We have locations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

Get the help that you deserve now with Enlightened Recovery.