Alcohol Withdrawal

alcohol withdrawalThe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are exceptionally unpleasant, as I’m sure you know. There are physical symptoms and emotional ones. Let’s start with the most extreme to get it out of the way – death.

Yes, if you’re physically dependent on alcohol, then a sudden withdrawal as opposed to a gradual detox can actually kill you or leave you with brain damage, usually via a seizure (a bit like an epileptic fit). Heart palpitations are the milder form of this. But lets hope you’re not quite that bad just yet (if you are drinking over 70 units per week for a woman or 100 for a man, then at least try to cut down gradually, or better than that – see a doctor).

On to the less fatal withdrawal symptoms then, we have hallucinations (usually unpleasant – spiders or snakes are common), the shakes, nausea and vomiting, oh and diarrhoea of course. Particularly unpleasant is waking in the middle of the night soaked in cold sweat, or alternatively, your own piss. It’s not sounding like a party exactly, is it?

Then you might have a splitting headache, often from severe dehydration and dilation of blood vessels. Basically the brain shrinks away from the lining of the skull. Ouch!

Hypoglycaemia, caused by the inability of the liver to metabolize sugar, can then leave you feeling irritable, nervous or aggressive, and weak.

You might end up with a few more emotional effects too, like mood swings, depression or confusion. Basically feeling like the lowest form of life on the planet.

So how can you make alcohol withdrawal easier?

  • Electrolyte replacement might help (the sachets you can get for diarrhoea are the best), along with plenty of liquids.
  • Complex carbohydrates (like brown rice, wholemeal bread, wholegrain cereals etc.) will help to slowly stabilize your blood sugar levels.
  • Eggs contain Cysteine, which can help the liver to metabolize Acetaldehyde (the toxic by-product of alcohol).
  • B-vitamin supplements are essential, as they help your nerve cells to recover from the damage you’ve inflicted.
  • We all know about the healing powers of caffeine – this constricts the blood vessels and can therefore alleviate the headache.

But to be on the safe side, if you’re drinking most mornings in order to get through your hangover, or you often get the shakes and sweats if you haven’t had a drink for a while, then you really should get some medical support before you consider withdrawing.

2,032 Responses to “Alcohol Withdrawal”

  1. tracey yull says:


    My marriage ended 7 years ago due to my wonderful husband becoming an alcoholic, my son has been denied a father, I’ve lost someone that I adored, I will never ever recover. Two years after I left he had a stroke, I have heard he is still drinking, my son and I are devastated.

    • Gloria says:

      So sorry for you Tracy. I lost my father in 1984 due to alcohol and lost my husband age 40 in 2007 to alcohol. My youngest son was 9 at the time and it was a dreadful time.

      • Susy says:

        I also forgot to mention I just lost my father in November 12 he had a heart attack he used to drink a lot wich scared me he had stopped 2 yrs ago also my twin sister died 8 yrs ago due to alcoholism.. Day 4 still sweating at night slept a little better still palpitations I pray they go away those are the ones that scare me more than anything.. Blessings and keep strong!

  2. Cheryl says:

    Hi there i saw this site and i thought maybe this would be the best way to get some in site on my alcoholism.
    Im a fresh 29 year old that has been drinking everyday from the second i wake in the morning to the second i go to bed. by the day i stopped again this time i wave been a 26er of vodka practically strait and at least an eight pack of beer if not more, often waking in the middle of the night and chugging whatever i have there next to me. i started escorting years ago and working through the night as well as days so many times a month it would be an on going binge for days and days at a time. im also anorexic and balemic so i have been starving my body of the nutrition it needs for years as well. lately over the last couple years i have noticed allot of changes in my body so i tried to quit over and over but i cant handle the demons or whatever the black entity that i can feel coming for me in my sleep, i feel like i am forcing myself to wake up by either holding my breath or hyperventilating, as well as being able to feel my body shake violently and seize up. i cant control my temper i feel like i need to scream about everything or cry, and it gets to a point where i just need to have a drink. im waking up not knowing what is going on who i am or where my life has been in the last few years of my life. i was prescribed valuim and saricule but i dont feel like its taking any of the feelings away. Part of me wants to just go back and feel normal again. Im going to try a night on the tredmill and liters of water tonight hopefully ill sweat something, im starting to get worried about my sanity. Any thoughts???

    • Cheryl says:

      i started my love affair with alcohol at the age of fifteen aswell…

    • Rebecca says:

      I don’t think quitting cold turkey at this point is the right thing from what I’ve read. You won’t be able to do it sweating it out at this point. If you drink all day, you’re dependent and probably need some help and/or meds.

      The nightmares that seem like demons and the seizing up is most likely due to alcohol too, it can cause horrible nightmares and muscle spasms. I’ve had it too. I hope you’ll be ok, I’ll keep checking back for posts.

      • John says:

        Hi. I am also struggling with alcohol. I finally admitted how much I drank to my Dr. She put me on Librium to help with the withdrawals. It was a tremendous help and I haven’t had a drink in 6 months. Not a day goes by though that I don’t think about drinking or wonder why I can’t be one of those people that can drink socially without abusing it. If you want to stop, talk to your Dr and make a plan.

    • Susy says:

      Dear friend Cheryl : I was like you 4 yrs ago Im 42 I couldn’t wait for my son to head to school so I could go buy My alcohol I thought Id clean, cook and be just fine ( lies ) I’d start at 9am lose my appetite not eating all day my son would ask me if Ijhad eaten I’d lie and say yes I went on like that for 9 or 10 months but then I couldn’t stand it at night laying there listening to a little noise and ringing in my ear all need I felt like my brain was slowly fading away and I was dying the sweats were horrible as the terrors! Here’s the best part in the morning I’d shake so violent I couldn’t sign any school papers for my son I couldn’t shower I couldn’t hold a cup of coffee since it went flying out of my hand I was hallucinating things and a stick due to not eating I ask myself if drinking is worth the hell that causes I stopped and recovered for 3 yrs 3 days ago I drank again I faced the same hell over again it terrified me so much in on day 3 I sobered up now no sleep sweating and depressed again IS IT WORTH THE HELL? If you want to quit alone it may be very dangerous please see a doctor or go to the hospital since the withdrawal symptoms can be brutal is like being trapped in hell and being tortured but there is a light and help out there I pray you recover and cast that horrible monster out of your life my heart goes out to you and that you can live a happy life because YOU DESERVE IT!

  3. john csoma says:

    i forget 2 say i dont smoke only wen i drink i gave up drinking 8 yrs ago and started again this christmas i hate smoking it makes me sick cant stand ppl smokeing near me wen i sober and i know i can beat it agaian but need some help 2 get through the next couple of weeks and i strong enough 2 beat it

  4. john csoma says:

    i have been drinking 4 10 days strait got swollen feet and heart palpations cold sweats and the shakes i gunna stop but afraid of being sober does valium or any diazapam help me get through the next 4 or 5 days need something 2 get me through this next 5 days any suggestions ppl

  5. Theo says:

    Uh oh.. I’ve been drinking on average 1/2 liter to 1 liter of 80 proof alcohol(sometimes a 1.75 liter) 4-5 times a week for about 5 or 6 years. I’m 27 now and just felt like stopping during the Superbowl. So I’m on day 5 and have only had 1 symptom. Insomnia. No cravings, no sweats, no nausea, nothing. Took some vitamin C everyday, milk thistle and I’ve ran a few miles a day and love to eat. Do you think I’m going to get symptoms later or do you think I’m randomly lucky? I don’t eat out which means I make my own food. I’ve always eaten healthy and exercised through the years.

    It’s crazy to think that the reason I stopped was because 2 days before I had drank a liter of johnny walker and a half of vodka and then went to brush my teeth and said “bed time, booze is gone”

    I was just trying to figure out if I should be expecting a tittle wave of things? Or if I somehow already got through it with the rest of my lifestyle being so healthy? Any thoughts?

    • Rebecca says:

      I think you’re probably lucky, but the insomnia points to a major symptom I’ve had in the past.

      I think your physical health could probably mask things but not for long, I ran 9 marathons and probably 6 of them were during heavy drinking. The human body can condition itself to almost anything. I used it as my cover as in “nobody would dare think anything is wrong withe me!” Your mind will also trick you into thinking these ridiculous things! Everyone thought I was the picture of health and I was drinking 2 bottles of wine a night and still running marathons. I didn’t want me house of cards to come crumbling down!


      • Rebecca says:

        I really wish I hadn’t posted that, but I did, I’ve changed a lot since me old days. I thought I was fooling everyone for a long time, but no!!

      • Susy says:

        No Rebecca don’t feel bad for posting you want to know why I have not felt like drinking at all even though I’m dying for a beer I keep reading your posts and reaching out to others God bless you again day 3 is at 3 pm now I have been sober

  6. Sandy says:

    Hi, I have been drinking for many years, starting at about 13 until currently….45 years.
    I drink loads of beer and often have one right after coffee on weekends….then it goes all day.
    My drinking cycle starts with a promise to quit after a heavy day of drinking. Then after a day (of light to no drinking), I go back to the all day binge sometimes worse than before. I am so tired of feeling bad.
    I have horrible nightmares when I slack up, I get the shakes, I have recently had an evening out and don’t even remember it…..every drunk symptom I have had.
    My big question is should I talk to my doctor? I don’t want it to get back to my boss.

  7. Alan McCormick says:

    Hi folks.
    On day 2 of what could be described as moderate withdrawal, a little shaky this morning but hungry for Brown bread & eggs ? Dairy products seem to be hitting the spot. Is this normal ?
    Many thanks

  8. Julian Lopez says:

    Hi all,

    I’m a 16 year old kid experiencing alchohol withdrawl symptoms including depression, ahedonia, poor cognitive skills, loss of concentration, insomnia, panic attacks, and severe anxiety.
    I had been drinking 3-4 shots two nights a week from July to November. I stopped cold turkey after my last drink I’m November and these symptoms have been getting worse. I haven’t told my parents I haven’t drank this much. However, I was prescribed Lorazepam yesterday. I hope it relieves these symptoms.

    Am I gonna die? What do I do?? Please help

    • Rebecca says:


      I don’t think you’re in any danger of dying, just listen to what your doc says and stop! You’re way too young to be drinking at these levels, I think you’ll recover quickly. Be honest with your parents, believe me, they’ll be glad to address the issue early on!

    • Sean Ice Cool says:

      I am not shore how big your shots are but if there any thing like uk shots its not drink that is doing this to you. It wont help but i dont think its drink. Could you be very honest and put down on here your day to day life from waking up to going to bed

  9. Rebecca says:

    Milk thistle has always helped me feel better, I’ve been off of it for awhile and just went out to buy some. It’s great for the liver!

  10. darla says:

    After 2 yrs. Off here I am again…Damn it!

  11. Lori miller says:

    Hi y’all, I have a question about alcohol withdraw. I have been sober for two months and I still feel like I’m going through withdraw symptons. bad headaches, dizzyness, and a feeling I might go into a seizure. Can anyone give me some feedback in these symptons I am having. Thank you .

  12. Lonely says:

    I hadnt drank for 9 mths and recently went on a massive bender. Been about 49 hours since I drank
    Doc give me diazapam to help and stomach pills. Today its major delression im feeling so so low when will it pasz

  13. matt says:

    I too agree. I have been having 6-8 beers a night, not every night for the past few months (less than 6) my problem is when I’m on a hangover is my anxiety is awful. I had a spout of bad anxiety the other year. I have basically had a fairly big binge since new years due to losing my job and the panic and dear I felt the last couple of days was utterly intense. Yesterday I chose I want to taper for a few days, just for safe measure. Yesterday I felt awful, and slept like crap waking up every ten mins but felt like every hr. I finally got 3 hrs 7-10am. The sleep was full of wired and weird dreams that I felt I could interact with. I have however woke this morn to find aside from my anxiety spiking a little, my muscle weakness, stomach, and general outlook is much better
    Part from one or 2 dry heaves I haven’t been sick today either. I also had breakfast and lunch today for the first time in a few days. My aim is to just have a couple tonight and tomorrow night and then hopefully, I will be out of the woods for withdrawal etc. My sole aim is to only drink Fri sat sun, and not the rest of the week which I feel is doable.

    • Rebecca says:

      I’ve had the weird dreams too that seem interactive like you’re making things happen as it goes…almost like trippin. It’s alcohol related, I’m convinced or sleep depravation. I lean more towards alcohol related.

  14. Bell says:

    I have been drinking off and on now for about a year. The last 5 months have been the worst! I drink vodka and at least a fifth a night wake up go to work and start over when I get off. I’ve gotten so bad that I won’t eat and I’ve lost my appetite completely now. I’m trying to slow down a lot and it’s been helping too. I’m down to two beers maybe 3 a night. No buzz just ok. I’m afraid now though because I haven’t eaten anything in almost 3 days and can’t every time I try I gag and just can’t make myself do it. My bf is scared that my body will eventually shut down. Anyone know how to get your appetite back, it’s 100% gone I don’t even feel hungry what so ever. Thanks for any feed back.

    • Rebecca says:

      If you’re down to 2 or 3 beers a night, I would say it’s safe to stop, but how long has it been since the 5th a night? You might still be in withdrawals. If you slow and stop, your appetite will come back. Actually, you’ll probably be really hungry when it comes back!
      Have you only been drinking for a year? It gets worse as you get older, the tolerance gets so high with all of the damage, if it’s only been one year, you have such a great opportunity to turn it around!

      • me says:

        Am thinking the same have been drinking too much too often&it’s now affecting me
        I’m angry and frustrated when I’ve been drinking which is unlike me. ..not a happy person to get on with!
        I could give loads of excuses to my drinking but it’s down to me!
        I intend this year to make a difference and to stop!
        Let’s hope it will work!

    • Sean Ice Cool says:

      Bell i have been exactly were you are at now 100 times or more. 3 days is not to much of a worry but by now if you have not eat its 5 days and thats still not a massive worry but you will soon fail and fail fast. Just start slow by having a cup of soup even half a cup every 3 hours and if you can try to have even half a slice of bread with it. Ok so look aim for half a cup of soup and half a slice of bread every 3 hours and that will kind of trick your belly into wanting food then when you feel able up that to a cup of soup and one slice of bread every 3 hours. I all ways started back on chicken soup because its not heavy in your belly like beef soup. Please trust me i no what its like and half a cup of soup will feel like a full meal. I dont think you nead me to tell you to get of the Vodka because you are all ready aware of that and what it does and is doing to you….When you feel a little better come back on here and jot down your hole life from when you first had your first drink to the part were you found you had to have that drink and if you are very honest you will find your own answer to a better life with or with out the drink because you will have a greater understanding of what made you tip the scales. You can do this bell. Its hard at first but becomes a little better with time, 3 beers a night is no real harm until it becomes 4 then 5 then a gut full. I am a Alcoholic that drinks 3 cans of beer every night but its took me 25 years to be able to do that.

      • Lenka says:

        Hi Sean,
        when it was only today when i found this website. I did realize, that i have the prob again. YES I AM an ALCOHOLIC. First time i was addicted to whisky and i finished in hospital, i nearly died! Now i am back but it is a beer, i have between 9 to 12 a day!!! Smt even more.. I always start my day with 2 or 3 cans a day, and i do know it is bad, esp. After Tuesday when i decided to stop but i finished being sick and i had diarrhea and finished at hospital. I am scared that if i stopped at all i will have the epilepsy, or seize again. Pls answer i need help. I am eating in really small portions now but still drinking to avoid shaking and sweating, or even worse anothe seize. I know it will kill me. Pls answer

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