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What are the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal?

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Mild symptoms usually show up as early as six hours after you put down your glass. They can include:

More serious problems range from hallucinations about 12 to 24 hours after that last drink to seizures within the first two days after you stop.

Delirium tremens usually start 48 to 72 hours after you put down the glass. These are severe symptoms that include vivid hallucinations and delusions. Only about 5% of people with alcohol withdrawal have them. Those that do may also have:

  • Anxiety
  • Shaky hands
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Confusion
  • Racing heart
  • High blood pressure
  • Fever
  • Heavy sweating

SOURCES:

Royal College of Physicians: “Alcohol Use Disorders: Diagnosis and Clinical Management of Alcohol-Related Physical Complications. NICE Clinical Guidelines, No. 100."

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome."

Alcohol Health & Research World: "Complications of Alcohol Withdrawal," "Introduction to Alcohol Withdrawal," "Treatment of Alcohol Withdrawal."

State Government of Victoria: "Withdrawal."

Cleveland Clinic: "Care of the Patient Undergoing Alcohol Withdrawal."

UpToDate: "Patient education: Alcohol use -- when is drinking a problem? (Beyond the Basics)."

Industrial Psychiatry Journal : “Clinical management of alcohol withdrawal: A systematic review.”

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on August 27, 2017

SOURCES:

Royal College of Physicians: “Alcohol Use Disorders: Diagnosis and Clinical Management of Alcohol-Related Physical Complications. NICE Clinical Guidelines, No. 100."

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome."

Alcohol Health & Research World: "Complications of Alcohol Withdrawal," "Introduction to Alcohol Withdrawal," "Treatment of Alcohol Withdrawal."

State Government of Victoria: "Withdrawal."

Cleveland Clinic: "Care of the Patient Undergoing Alcohol Withdrawal."

UpToDate: "Patient education: Alcohol use -- when is drinking a problem? (Beyond the Basics)."

Industrial Psychiatry Journal : “Clinical management of alcohol withdrawal: A systematic review.”

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on August 27, 2017

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