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Alcohol Withdrawal

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 4, 2024.

What is alcohol withdrawal?

Alcohol withdrawal is a group of symptoms that occurs when you drink alcohol daily and suddenly stop. Withdrawal may also happen if you suddenly reduce the amount of alcohol that you normally drink.

What are the signs and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal?

The signs and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal normally start 4 to 24 hours after you stop drinking. Signs and symptoms may be mild at first and get worse over 2 to 3 days during the detoxification process. Detoxification means your body is working to remove the alcohol. You may have any of the following:

What are delirium tremens (DTs)?

DTs are severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal that can start 3 to 4 days after you stop drinking. DTs may include any of the following:

How is alcohol withdrawal treated?

Your healthcare provider will ask how much and how often you drink. He or she will also ask how long it has been since you had your last drink. Blood or urine tests may be used to check the amount of alcohol in your blood. The tests may also show organ damage or low vitamin or electrolyte levels. The goal of treatment is to manage your symptoms and help prevent severe symptoms from developing. You may need to be treated in the hospital if you have severe withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

Where can I find support and more information?

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) for any of the following:

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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Learn more about Alcohol Withdrawal

Treatment options

Symptoms and treatments

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.