15th March 2021
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Detoxification is the first stage in treating alcoholism which involves flushing the alcohol out of the body system. Many people fear seeking alcohol addiction treatment because of the withdrawal symptoms associated with alcohol detoxification. Alcohol withdrawal is not the same as another bad hangover. It is the most challenging part of alcohol treatment with severe symptoms, some of which are so life-threatening that they can lead to a severe health problem resulting in brain damage, a coma, and even death.

Fortunately, it is possible to manage the stages of alcohol withdrawal through alcohol rehabilitation with medical help, care, and a lot of attention. Safe alcohol withdrawal helps a recovering alcoholic overcome withdrawal symptoms achieving short-term and even long-term health. Learn more about the stages of alcohol withdrawal and how to manage them.

Stage one- After the last drink

The willingness to overcome alcoholism begins after the last drink. An alcoholic may report feelings such as:

  • Apprehension or fear of what is to come.
  • Depression that borders to being suicidal.
  • Being at odds with family or friends.

When you decide to quit alcohol, do it in a calm and quiet environment. The best thing is to have a supportive group of people around you, drink a lot of water and eat healthy foods.

Stage two- six hours after the last drink

Although it depends on an individual's dependency on alcohol, true sobriety begins six hours after the last drink. Alcohol slowly starts to leave the body system, and it begins to notice. Alcoholics who are entirely dependent on alcohol report these symptoms during this stage:

  • Excessive sweating, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Restlessness and insomnia.
  • Anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.

These symptoms set in from the 1st and 2nd day and can last up to a week after the individual puts down their last alcohol drink.

Stage three- the initial few days

The first 24-48hours after an alcoholic quits alcohol is when they start to experience severe effects of alcohol withdrawal. That is when the risks of alcohol withdrawal kick in. This is because the body and the brain are working to produce a previously present chemical whose absence was long replaced by alcohol. Symptoms include:

  • Tremors and uncontrollable seizures.
  • Extreme hallucinations, both auditory and visual.

These symptoms can sometimes increase and decrease as the individual enters the next dangerous stage of alcohol withdrawal.

Stage four-three to seven days after the last drink

The fourth stage of alcohol withdrawal is the most dangerous and difficult for most recovering alcoholics. A condition known as delirium tremens sets in and cause a range of life-threatening withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Dehydration.
  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Extreme anger.
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Insomnia.
  • Low blood pressure and decreased flow of blood to the brain.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • A coma.

5% of heavily addicted alcoholics experience the symptoms of delirium tremens and die within this stage of alcohol withdrawal. Therefore, it is a must for a medical doctor to monitor a patient dealing with alcohol withdrawal.

Stage 5- after the first week.

At this stage, alcohol withdrawal symptoms start to decrease, but individuals will often report physical problems afterward. They may have recovered but may have sustained physical health problems that follow them into the future, even with sobriety. They include:

  • Anxiety and depression.
  • Damage to the brain and other internal organs.
  • Physical cravings for alcohol.
  • Loss of coordination.


Alcohol withdrawal is a long-term battle against intoxication that requires after-care therapy and support to prevent a relapse.

About the Author

Tom Clark

Member since: 26th November 2018

Having enriching experience in the world of digital marketing, I have created a niche for myself in the industry. The primary focus lies in writing, blogs, articles and different stuff that help businesses...

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