Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms and Treatment

Alcohol withdrawal is a life threatening condition. It may occur in people who have been drinking heavily for weeks, months or years and then either stop or reduce their alcohol intake. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms may persist for weeks.

Causes of Alcohol withdrawal symptoms

Heavy and prolonged drinking disrupts the functioning of brain. Chronic alcohol consumption inhibits the activity of neurotransmitters. When heavy drinkers suddenly stop or reduce alcohol intake, the activity of neurotransmitters rebound resulting in a condition known as brain hyperexcitability. A person with AWS can experience both physical and emotional symptoms.

Symptoms of Alcohol withdrawal

The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may appear after a few hours to few days after the last drink. The main symptoms are:

  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Sweating and irritability

In extreme cases, there is extreme hallucinations and delirium.


The main aim of the treatment is to keep the person comfortable by managing the symptoms. Mild cases can be treated at home. A relative or friend can take care and keep a watch over the person so that the symptoms may not worsen.

Conventional system offers sedatives called benzodiazepines. Essential vitamins may be given to replace vitamins that get depleted due to excessive alcohol intake.

Natural therapies or alternative therapies such as ayurveda, homeopathy and Chinese medicines can also help by reducing symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal. Alternative therapies are safe modes of treatment as compared to sedatives. Natural herbs detoxify the liver and support normal structure and function of liver. Nutritional supplements also replenish lost nutrients and calm the mind. Homeopathic products help in stabilizing emotions and calming the mind.

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