Withdrawal symptoms are observed when an alcoholic quits on the consumption of the liquor. As the body gets adjusted to regular intake of liquor, counter reactions can happen when somebody tries to quit drinking. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are physical discomforts and also physiological complications. These symptoms could be mild or even life-threatening in some cases. Many alcoholics again resort to alcohol to escape from these withdrawal symptoms. The more dependent an alcoholic is, the more sever withdrawal symptoms are. Severity of withdrawal symptoms may differ for individuals. An alcoholic needs support and professional assistance to manage withdrawal symptoms.

Some of the withdrawal symptoms of alcohol are listed below-

Mild Symptoms – some alcoholics may develop mild psychological or physical symptoms, when trying to quit alcohol. These symptoms could be handled with a little support and professional assistance.

Psychological Symptoms

  • Nervousness
  • Shakiness or Tremor
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Tiredness
  • Uneasiness
  • Restlessness
  • Sudden emotional changes
  • Distorted thinking
  • Bad dreams or hallucinations

Physical Symptoms

  • Headache
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Loss of hunger
  • Sweating
  • Disturbed sleep or Insomnia
  • Palpitation
  • Paling of skin
  • Unusual eye movements
  • Enlargement of dilation of pupil of eyes
  • Tremor in hands

Severe Withdrawal Symptoms

– Some alcoholics may develop severe withdrawal symptoms. In such cases professional assistance with medical care is a must. Some of the severe withdrawal symptoms are –

  • Fever
  • Agitation
  • Extreme restlessness
  • Convulsions
  • Black outs or short term memory problem
  • Hallucinations in extreme or delirium tremens

Embarrassing incidents associated with drinking could lead an alcoholic to quit the habit but with the onset of withdrawal symptoms, it becomes difficult to handle cravings. Those alcoholics who have become highly dependent on alcohol, may have severe withdrawal symptoms, which can be life threatening. Alcoholics may develop hallucination within two days of quitting alcohol. It could worsen and turn into delirium tremens or DT. It is identified with disorientation, hallucinations, hyperactivity, extreme cardiovascular problems and confusion. During DT patient could suffer seizure, heart attack or stroke. In case of severe withdrawal symptoms the addict needs immediate medical care.

Treatment for Withdrawal Symptoms

For mild withdrawal symptoms vitamin dosages and proper diet immensely help. Alcohol support groups are also of great help. But in case of severe withdrawal symptoms a proper medical treatment is needed. They may need detoxification for their treatment and should be treated by a specialist.

Firstly, the addict suffering from withdrawal symptoms are observed for heart rate, temperature and blood pressure, to judge the severity of the condition. They are also monitored for fluids and electrolytes. Doctors may use sedative to supress the severe withdrawal symptoms. Tranquilizers are also use to calm down the alcoholic. Then patient is kept without alcohol or he has to follow full abstinence. Then other medical conditions such as hallucination, liver disease, and blood clotting disorder, heart problems and other related medical conditions are treated.

Specific Treatment for Severe Symptoms

Delirium Tremens 

It requires immediate treatment. Its patients are administered with intravenous anti-anxiety medicines. First target of treatment is to calm down the patient and bring his physical state to normal. Restraint is required so that patients do not harm self or others.


To treat seizure in alcoholics, doctors may prescribe intravenous Benzodiazepine. The heart activity is regularly monitored as this drug could lower the blood pressure. In some places doctors use a Vitamin B1 derivative to control agitation and seizures.


It is identified with hallucinations or highly aggressive behaviour. Antipsychotic drugs are used for treatment of Psychosis. Patients may have severe vitamin B1 deficiency in this condition. They are given vitamin B1 supplements orally.