Alcohol withdrawal often occurs eight hours after the last drink and can last for several weeks depending on the severity of the addiction, states MedlinePlus. However, symptoms are usually most intense in the first 24 to 72 hours of withdrawal.
Common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include anxiety, depression, mood swings and irritability, reports MedlinePlus. Other symptoms such as clammy skin, dilated pupils, insomnia and tremors may appear as well. Vomiting, nausea and shaky hands are other possible symptoms, explains WebMD. Severe alcohol withdraw, or delirium tremens, can cause seizures, fever and agitation, according to MedlinePlus.
Moderate-to-severe alcohol withdrawal may require hospitalization, states MedlinePlus. Common inpatient treatments include the monitoring of blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate and the levels of different chemicals in the body. Alcohol withdrawal patients may also be treated with IVs or sedation. Mild alcohol withdrawal does not often require hospitalization. Patient are instead given sedatives and blood tests.
For those who have experienced alcohol withdrawal, doctors often recommend prevention methods such as decreasing alcohol intake or quitting alcohol completely, states MedlinePlus. Doctors may also suggest treatment for underlying alcoholism. Various support groups and treatment centers include Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon and Alateen.
Although most people recover from alcohol withdrawal, persistent episodes as well as heavy drinking may lead to liver, heart and neurological diseases, according to WebMD.