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When Do the Physical Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal Stop?

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If you’re struggling with alcohol addiction, you’re not alone; according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), more than 16 million people in America were reportedly battling an alcohol abuse disorder in 2013. Further, alcohol abuse is responsible for over 88,000 deaths every year, according to the NIAAA. Statistical data aside, overcoming an addiction to alcohol is not easy, and many people will find themselves giving into withdrawal symptoms before they have ever had a chance to complete rehab. In this article, we will take a closer look at the withdrawal symptoms associated with alcohol cessation and how long you can expect those symptoms to last.


Generally speaking, overcoming an addiction to alcohol is not too dissimilar from that of any other substance in that the body still needs to rid itself of the drug and other contaminants, which is where detox comes into the picture. In extreme cases, many rehab facilities will offer medically-assisted detox to help patients cope with the severe withdrawal symptoms that come with abrupt alcohol cessation. For those who may not be familiar with medically-assisted detox, it is a form of treatment whereby patients are given medication to help lessen the severity of painful withdrawal symptoms. Some of these medications include disulfiram, naltrexone, and acamprosate, which are all used to help ease both withdrawal symptoms and alcohol cravings.


When it comes alcohol withdrawal symptoms, they can appear anywhere from 6 to 24 hours after an individual has consumed their last alcoholic beverage, according to the American Family Physician, a biweekly peer-reviewed medical journal published by the American Academy of Family Physicians. Fortunately, medications prescribed during detox can help make severe withdrawal symptoms more manageable. The withdrawal process associated with alcohol cessation occurs in 3 stages, all of which will present patients with unique withdrawal symptoms that can vary in intensity based on how long they have been drinking:

Stage 1 – During this stage, most individuals can expect to experience depression, anxiety, tremors, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. In extreme cases, some individuals may also experience mood swings, foggy thinking, irritability, and heart palpitations. All of these changes will take place 8 hours after an individual has consumed their last alcoholic beverage.

Stage 2 -This stage is often characterized by changes in body temperature, hypertension, changes in heart rate, and confusion, all of which takes place within 24 to 72 hours after an individual has consumed their last alcoholic beverage.

Stage 3 – During this stage, most individuals will experience fevers, seizures, and hallucinations. Also, it is not uncommon for individuals to become more agitated during this stage as well. All of these symptoms will occur within 2 to 4 days after an individual has consumed their last alcoholic beverage.

As far as duration is concerned, all of these symptoms will start to dissipate within 5 to 7 days after an individual stops drinking. However, it may take 30 days or more before they will stop experiencing symptoms altogether.


When it comes to the withdrawal symptoms associated with alcohol cessation, there are a variety of factors that determine the type of symptoms an individual can expect to encounter and also the severity of those symptoms. For example, those who are heavy drinkers tend to have a higher alcohol tolerance and are more likely to experience severe withdrawal symptoms compared to those who drink less frequently. Additional factors that can dictate the withdrawal symptoms an individual may encounter include

  • Family history of addiction
  • Medical history
  • Amount of alcohol consumed each day
  • Mental health disorders
  • Stress
  • Childhood trauma
  • How long an individual has been drinking

Much like these factors can vary from person to person, the withdrawal symptoms and the severity of those symptoms can also vary from person to person as well. If you have any questions related to alcohol withdrawal that have not been covered in this article, you’re encouraged to schedule a consultation with one of our friendly and compassionate counselors today at 888-380-0342.

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Just Believe Recovery is a fully licensed, Joint Commission accredited, comprehensive drug and alcohol treatment center located in Carbondale, Pennsylvania

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