When someone is suffering from an addiction to alcohol they live with physical and psychological health problems each day. Excessive alcohol consumption can significantly deteriorate your general well-being, impacting both the functionality of your brain and your physical appearance. When someone is struggling with an alcohol addiction, they’ll experience many damaging symptoms. One of the most common symptoms is psychological and physical cravings for alcohol when they’re not consuming the substance; these are also known as withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms are one of the most common symptoms experienced when someone with an alcohol addiction attempts to rehabilitate and stop drinking. These symptoms do have the potential to be dangerous therefore should be treated carefully with the support of professionals. The more you drink in excess, the more likely you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms. Whilst these symptoms are uncomfortable, they’re a part of cleansing your body of alcohol and recovering from addiction.


alcohol withdrawals


What Are The Main Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal?

Feeling those cravings for alcohol is a big part of alcohol withdrawal.

Other symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include;

  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hand tremors
  • Increased depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • A fast pulse rate
  • Insomnia

More serious symptoms can include;

  • Severe disorientation
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Uncontrollable restless behaviour
  • Breathing problems
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate

These symptoms occur when someone is very dependent on alcohol and will only get worse if left untreated. If you’re experiencing these withdrawal symptoms, it’s essential that you seek out medical support who can help you to reduce your alcohol intake and manage your withdrawal symptoms in a safe and controlled manner. This medical support may include prescribed medication to take during your rehabilitation which can significantly help to reduce the risks involved with withdrawal symptoms.

If you’ve decided to try to reduce your alcohol intake and are experiencing some withdrawal symptoms, you can help to relieve some discomfort by eating regularly, finding ways to relax such as going for a walk, listening to music, or reading, ensure you stay hydrated whilst avoiding caffeine and alcohol, take your prescribed medication as directed, and seek out support from loved ones to help you along your recovery journey.


How Long do Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

The first signs of withdrawal symptoms will likely begin within 8 – 24 hours after you last consumed alcohol and usually peak between 24 and 72 hours. You may still experience some withdrawal symptoms up to five days after your last drink depending on the severity of your addiction, how you’re coping with the withdrawal symptoms, and whether you’ve gone through a detox before.


Can You Take Medication For Alcohol Withdrawal?

Taking prescribed medication can be the most effective way to get through your alcohol withdrawal symptoms, although it’s not always the case for everyone. Usually, medication is prescribed along with some form of therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy or counselling.

If prescribed medication is the best for you to overcome your alcohol addiction, then you may be prescribed Benzodiazepines such as Valium, Xanax, or Ativan, which reduce the likelihood of seizures during alcohol withdrawals. Other prescribed medications include neuroleptic medications which can help depress nervous system activity which can be helping in preventing seizures and agitation associated with alcohol withdrawal.

You may also be administered nutrients such as folic acid, thiamine, and magnesium to help reduce withdrawal symptoms and to help with nutritional support. Beta-blockers may also be prescribed to reduce high blood pressure.


What’s Involved in an Alcohol Detox?

A clinical detoxification is the most effective way to recover from an alcohol addiction. For an alcohol detox to be successful and to be safe, it must be undertaken with the supervision of a professional medical team within an alcohol rehab setting. If you were to attempt a detox at home or without the correct support, you’d be putting yourself at great risk of danger and would be unlikely to achieve a successful detox.

By undergoing a detox in professional rehab with the right support, you’ll be giving yourself the best opportunity to fully recover. Our team at Nova Recovery will welcome you into our alcohol rehab and provide you with a personalised treatment programme that suits your specific needs.

Visiting our detox clinic is usually the first step on your road to recovery. We’ll gradually reduce your alcohol intake in a controlled and safe way until you’re fully off all alcohol, allowing your body and mind the chance to cleanse. During this detoxification, you’ll likely experience withdrawal symptoms which our dedicated medical team will be able to manage with you.

By joining a private rehab clinic as an inpatient, you’ll have the best opportunity to succeed in your journey to recovery. We provide a fully personalised treatment programme featuring therapies which have been carefully selected to benefit your rehabilitation. These therapies will include a mix of psychological and well-being therapies alongside your detoxification.

Some of our most regularly delivered psychological therapies include individual, group, or family counselling, stress management, relapse prevention, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), and psychotherapy.

We combine the above with some of our well-being therapies which include relaxation and stress management, yoga, mindfulness, music therapy, art therapy, nutritional support, and fitness therapy. Whilst some of these well-being therapies may sound unusual, they’ve proved to be very effective during alcohol rehabilitation and in helping to alleviate some of the discomforts that people face throughout their recovery.

If you’re ready to begin your journey to recovery and give up alcohol for good, then contact our friendly team at Nova Recovery to discuss your treatment options. We’re here to answer any questions you may have about our treatment process. Call us today on 01475 303998 or email info@novarecovery.com.


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What happens during alcohol detoxification?

When detoxing, you will experience a range of negative withdrawal symptoms. In rehab, you will be constantly monitored and may be given medication to help ease the withdrawal symptoms.

How do I convince a friend to get help?

You should never blame your friend or force them to get help. Instead, explain to them about the negative effect that their addiction is having on them and those around them and provide them with some information on the benefits of a rehab treatment plan. You may even want to show them some rehab treatment centres so they can physically see what rehab is like.

How do I achieve long term sobriety?

The most effective way to stay sober is through rehab treatment for alcohol, followed by an aftercare plan that focuses on preventing relapse.

John Gillen - Author - Last updated: December 20, 2023

John has travelled extensively around the world, culminating in 19 years’ experience looking at different models. He is the European pioneer of NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) treatment to Europe in 2010; and recently back from the USA bringing state of the art Virtual Reality Relapse Prevention and stress reduction therapy. His passion extends to other metabolic disturbances and neurodegenerative diseases. The journey continues. In recent times, John has travelled to Russia to study and research into a new therapy photobiomudulation or systemic laser therapy working with NAD+ scientists and the very best of the medical professionals in the UK and the USA, together with Nadcell, Bionad Hospitals own select Doctors, nurses, dieticians and therapists. Johns’ passion continues to endeavour to bring to the UK and Europe new developments with NAD+ Therapy in preventive and restorative medicine and Wellness. In 2017 John Gillen was made a visiting Professor at the John Naisbitt university in Belgrade Serbia.

Dr Stacey Vettraino

Dr Stacey Vettraino (General Practitioner) - Clinical Reviewer - Last reviewed: October 30, 2023

Dr Stacey Vettraino has been a GP for over 15 years and has been involved in GP management for 7 of these. Over the last few years, Dr Vettraino has worked towards a portfolio career, working as a GP in various parts of Scotland and within the private sector – including Bupa as a private GP, Health Assessments, and Menopause Clinics. She has had a longstanding interest in psychiatry and has previously held a post in Old Age Psychiatry post-GP training focusing on dementia. Her interest in addictions has steadily grown from work as a GP and Dr Vettraino is now excited and privileged to be part of addiction treatment.