Alcohol Withdrawal: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Alcohol withdrawal occurs when a person who is accustomed to drinking large amounts of alcohol suddenly stops drinking alcohol. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms usually are most severe after 48 to 72 hours, but they can persist for weeks. A severe form of alcohol withdrawal is called delirium tremens (DT).

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can include

Other symptoms can include

Symptoms of DT are more severe and may consist of

DT may also cause

  • fear,
  • delirium,
  • decreased attention span, and
  • other changes in mental function.

Causes of alcohol withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal is caused by suddenly stopping alcohol consumption in an individual who normally consumes large amounts of alcohol.

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/11/2017

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