Alcohol Detox Symptoms


When an alcoholic or an excessive drinker abruptly stops drinking alcohol, he or she typically experiences alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Some people call these alcohol symptoms "alcohol detox symptoms" because the treatment that is needed to rid the body of alcohol and manage and control these symptoms is called "alcohol detoxification."

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms, along with alcohol detoxification, are necessary aspects of the overall alcohol treatment process.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms: The Brain and Tolerance

When a person regularly consumes alcohol, his or her brain gradually adjusts to the alcohol so that "normal" functioning is possible.

This explains how physical tolerance develops and also why increasingly more quantities of alcohol are needed to experience the same "high" or "buzz" with regular use.

When a person who has manifested a pattern of continuous and heavy alcohol consumption abruptly stops drinking alcohol, however, he or she usually suffers from alcohol withdrawal symptoms which can take days or weeks before the body returns to "normal."

Although these symptoms are, by definition, called "alcohol withdrawal symptoms," some people also call them "alcohol detox symptoms."


Basically, then, alcohol detox symptoms are responses by the brain and by the body to the lack of alcohol to which they had become accustomed. Depending on the level of dependency that a person has attained, these symptoms can range from mild to moderate to severe and include both behavioral and psychological components.

Mild to Moderate Alcohol Detox Symptoms

The following is a list of mild to moderate physical and psychological alcohol withdrawal and alcohol detox symptoms that usually take place within 6 to 48 hours after the last alcoholic drink has been ingested:

  • Loss of appetite

  • Nightmares

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Headaches (especially those that pulsate)

  • Fatigue

  • Sweating (especially on the face or the palms of the hands)

  • Difficulty thinking clearly

  • Nausea

  • Insomnia, sleeping difficulties

  • Involuntary, abnormal movements of the eyelids

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Vomiting

  • Easily excited, irritability

  • Looking pale, without color

  • Feeling nervous or jumpy

  • Eyes or pupils different size (enlarged, dilated pupils)

  • Rapid emotional changes

  • Tremor of the hands

  • Clammy skin

  • Abnormal movements

Severe Alcohol Detox Symptoms

 The following is a list of severe psychological and behavioral alcoholism withdrawal symptoms and alcohol detox symptoms that typically occur within 48 to 96 hours after the last alcoholic drink has been consumed:

  • Seizures

  • Increased depression

  • Increased difficulty thinking clearly

  • Black outs

  • Convulsions

  • Severe autonomic nervous system overactivity

  • Delirium tremens (DTs)

  • More extreme emotional changes

  • Muscle tremors

  • Fever

  • Excessive irritability

  • Extreme anxiety

  • Visual hallucinations

Alcohol Detoxification

Alcohol detoxification is the process of letting the body rid itself of alcohol while controlling and managing the withdrawal symptoms in a harm-free environment.

Alcohol detox treatment is typically done under the supervision of a medical practitioner and is frequently the first step employed in an alcoholic treatment program.

Due mainly to the relatively long time-frame for the detox process, these programs are typically part of an inpatient alcohol rehabilitation program.

What To Do When Experiencing Alcohol Detox Symptoms

When suffering from alcohol detox symptoms, always see your healthcare provider or doctor immediately so that he or she can evaluate the severity of your circumstances and recommend the most effective treatment option for your particular situation.


Conclusion: Alcohol Detox Symptoms

When you are trying to recover from your "drinking problem," keep the following in mind. An essential step in the recovery process is acknowledging that drinking has become a problem and having the desire and the will to quit drinking.

Once the alcoholic reaches this point, the next issue to resolve is how to best handle the alcoholism withdrawal symptoms that most typically will follow.

The most rational and effective way to cope with and overcome alcoholism withdrawal symptoms is to immediately see a healthcare provider or a doctor so that he or she can assess the seriousness of the problem and articulate the most effective form of treatment.