What is Alcohol withdrawal? Effects, symptoms, and treatment

Like any other substance abuse, alcoholism is a severe issue. If left untreated, it can prove lethal. According to a study in 2013, nearly 16 million Americans abused alcohol. Around the world, the commonality of alcohol amongst the youth is becoming a leading cause of preventable death.

More and more consumers across the globe are becoming aware of the life-threatening effects of alcohol and are seeking treatment. And while detox from alcohol may seem easy, the effects of alcohol on the body and the brain, over the years of heavy drinking make detoxification everything but easy. Alcohol detox timeline poses serious health complications that are often intolerable by the consumers seeking withdrawal.

But while alcohol withdrawal may seem impossible for many, ridding your body of such deadly chemicals is the best decision you can take to lead a blissful life.

What is alcohol withdrawal?

As the user consumes more and more alcohol, the body develops more tolerance towards alcohol. Alcohol is broken down by our body and excreted with urine. Any alcohol that cannot be broken down by our body is absorbed by the brain which results in increased happiness and comfort. As a result, our body becomes hooked on this feeling of happiness. So much so, our brain becomes unable to produce a feeling of such ecstasy without the ingestion of alcohol. The neurotransmitters in our brain are highly affected by the alcohol, without it they’re unable to function properly. Similarly, when the body is suddenly barred from alcohol intoxication, a person whose body had now become accustomed to alcohol may be faced with severe withdrawal symptoms posing; ranging from mild to life-threatening, health complications.

Most alcohol consumers are scared to quit alcohol despite knowing the life-threatening effects solely because of facing these withdrawal effects.

The three stages of alcohol withdrawal

Alcohol detox timeline consists of three stages;

Stage 1:

8 hours post your last drink, you may feel nauseous and anxious. Thoughts of pouring one more drink will flood your brain. You may also face trouble sleeping. Moreover, stage 1 is characterized by severe abdominal pain, vomiting, emotional instability, sadness, refusal to eat and tiredness.

Stage 2:

Within 1 to 3 days of curbing the old habit, you’ll notice an increase in body temperature and in blood pressure. At this point, your body will be desperately craving alcohol to function normally. Stage 2 is characterized by confusion, anger, fluctuating heart rate and excessive sweating.

Stage 3:

Within 7 days of the last drink, the withdrawal symptoms would have peaked. Stage 3 is characterized by hallucinations, intolerance, uncontrollable anger, high fever and in some cases even seizures.

How to safely treat alcohol withdrawal

Depending upon the duration and the extent of alcohol consumption, the withdrawal effects may range from mild to violent over the course of alcohol detox timeline. For this purpose, many rehabilitation centers provide specialized programs to consumers seeking withdrawal and provide them with alcohol detox timeline and guidance and support to reduce the pain of withdrawal effects.

Inpatient rehabilitation centers

The inpatient facilities are better suited by consumers struggling with severe alcohol abuse. These institutes offer 30 to 90-day treatments under strict supervision, in a safe environment.

Outpatient rehabilitation centers

The outpatient rehab treatments are better suited by individuals with a less severe history of alcohol abuse. These treatments allowing the users to take treatment and carry on with their responsibilities.


Counselors work in close accordance with the consumers, providing them with support and comfort during the withdrawal phase. This way, all the attention is focused towards a particular individual and any problem or issue underlying the alcohol abuse is thoroughly discussed and solved.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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