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Alcohol Withdrawal


Alcohol withdrawal is a physical or mental sickness that happens when you drink alcohol daily and suddenly stop drinking. It can begin within 10 hours of your last drink and gets worse over 2 to 3 days. Withdrawal may also happen if you suddenly reduce the amount of alcohol that you normally drink.



  • Sedative: This medicine is given to help you stay calm and relaxed.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Learn to stop drinking alcohol safely:

Work with your healthcare provider to develop a plan for you to stop drinking safely. A sudden stop or change can be life-threatening.

Do not drive or operate machines when you drink alcohol:

Make sure someone who has not been drinking can help you get home.

For support and more information:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous
    Web Address:

Follow up with your healthcare provider within 1 day:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You keep drinking to avoid alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

  • You need help to stop drinking alcohol.

  • You have trouble with work or school because you drink too much alcohol.

  • You get into fights because of alcohol.

  • You have questions about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have sudden chest pains or trouble breathing.

  • Your heart is beating faster than normal.

  • You pass out or think you had a seizure.

  • You feel sad enough to harm yourself or others.

  • You hallucinate. This is when you see, hear, feel, or taste things that are not real.

  • You cannot stop vomiting, or you vomit blood.

  • You are shaking and it does not get better after you take your medicine.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.