Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

In this article we discuss common withdrawal symptoms. I help people reduce dependency on alcohol using hypnotherapy. This article explains how alcohol withdrawal may affect someone reducing their alcohol intake. For information about my alcohol reduction sessions in London and online click here.


Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms


Why do you have alcohol withdrawal symptoms?

Someone who drinks alcohol heavily for weeks, months, or even years, may experience both emotional and physical problems when stopping or deciding to seriously cut back on how much they drink.

This distressing experience is often referred to as alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal will have certain common symptoms or characteristics. These symptoms can range from mild and almost unnoticeable to quite serious. In some cases, medical supervision is required to monitor rate of withdrawal from alcohol, to ensure a safe reduction in consumption. Someone who drinks only once in a while, will most likely experience very few or only mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms, when they stop.


Alcohol Withdrawal symptoms Infographic
Alcohol Withdrawal symptoms Infographic


What causes alcohol withdrawal symptoms?

Though we might think of alcohol as a way to have a fun evening and feel free of inhibitions, in reality alcohol has a depressive effect on your system. Indeed that’s why we can have some ‘Dutch courage’ and say things we might not say when sober. Alcohol depresses our normal function. Alcohol slows down the functioning of the brain and changes the way our nervous system sends messages back and forth. As a result, over time, the central nervous system needs to adjust and become more alert, needing to cope with having alcohol flowing in the system. As such the body works harder to keep the mind in a more awake, alert and functioning state and ensure our nervous system is functioning well too.

Since the system needed to adapt to the initial presence of alcohol, in turn it must adapt to its reduction or absence. So, as the alcohol level suddenly drops, the mind, still in that more alert state, reacts and so we feel withdrawal symptoms.

What are some common alcohol withdrawal symptoms?

Symptoms can range from gentle to more pronounced in nature. This will depend on how much you drank, for how long and any other physical or emotional health conditions. With clients in London I use hypnotherapy to help reduce the impact of withdrawal and also look at the underlying causes of the increased alcohol usage in the first place. For more information about hypnotherapy for alcohol, click here.

The more mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms often show up as early as six hours following stopping drinking. These can include:




Insomnia or poor sleep

Shaky hands



Some people will experience more serious symptoms. These can include hallucinations for about 12 to even 24 hours following stopping drinking. Some will experience seizures within the initial two days after stopping. Seizures can involve seeing, hearing or feeling things that aren’t there. Importantly, this isn’t the same as delirium tremens, or DTs as often called. Experiencing DTs can usually start between 48 to 72 hours following put down your last glass. These more severe symptoms can include vivid hallucinations and even delusions. It is estimated that about 5% of people who undergo alcohol withdrawal have them. Those that do, can also experience:

Racing heart


Heavy sweating

High blood pressure



Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms


Alcohol withdrawal symptoms and your GP

Alcohol is so much a part of life that we often do not realise what a serious substance it is. If you are a heavy drinker, it is advisable to seek medical support to ensure you decrease consumption in a safe manner. This is particularly important if you are on medication or have existing health conditions. Indeed for anyone who is a heavy drinker, suddenly stopping will be a shock to the system and so caution should be exercised and a slower decrease may be advised.

When clients see me for hypnotherapy for alcohol addiction, I may ask them to seek medical attention for these reasons. Having a structured plan for cutting down is often a key to success. Your GP will ask you questions about your drinking and if you have other addictive patterns. There can be some embarrassment about talking about these issues. However, your GP will be understanding and take a non judgmental approach.

Your GP will also outline common alcohol withdrawal symptoms and have some practical advice too. Your GP may have suggestions of types of treatment they can offer or other professionals to whom they can refer you. For most people, who do not have any serious health conditions or experienced unpleasant or serious withdrawal symptoms in the past, your GP will be happy that you have asked their help and feel confident that support as Alcoholics Anonymous or hypnotherapy is sufficient for you.

Ensure you home is suited for coping with alcohol withdrawal symptoms

Often overlooked, but ensuring where you live is calm and conducive to your recovery from alcohol is worth attention. Most benefit from being in a supportive environment that is characterised as:

A quiet and peaceful place

Has soft lighting

Somewhere you can limit contact with people

Has a positive and supportive atmosphere

Stocked up on healthy nutritious food

Somewhere you can rest and sleep undisturbed

Hypnotherapy and alcohol withdrawal symptoms

I help people recover from alcohol using hypnotherapy and other interventions. I take a very practical and down to earth approach. We look at why you drink and often look at the challenges you have in life that have led to you using alcohol to cope. We also look at symptoms. Hypnotherapy can help raise confidence and lower the impact of symptoms on your wellbeing.

This article should not be viewed as medical advice and is for information purposes only. This article includes information from

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author avatar
Jason Demant Clinical Hypnotherapist
London hypnotherapist. Seeing clients in King's Cross and online. Diploma in clinical hypnotherapy, counselling and Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) from Life Matters Training College, based on Harley Street, London. Fully insured and a validated practitioner of the General Hypnotherapy Standards Council and member of the General Hypnotherapy Register.