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How to Stop Alcohol Shakes & Tremors

Last Updated: December 7, 2023

Editorial Policy | Research Policy

Going through alcohol withdrawal is never pleasant. As anyone who has done it before knows, uncontrollable shakes are part of the experience. They are an unsettling reminder of the influence alcohol has on your body. While the alcohol shakes are no fun to deal with, you’re not alone. With early intervention and the right support, there’s hope to manage and overcome these tremors.

What Are Alcohol Shakes?

The term “alcohol shakes” paints a vivid picture of what many people undergo during alcohol withdrawal. Imagine your hands or, in severe cases, your whole body trembling uncontrollably. These are not just any tremors; they are fits of involuntary shaking linked directly to alcohol. Most commonly occurring during the withdrawal phase, they can also manifest after particularly heavy drinking sessions.

Why Do Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Occur?

So, why does your body react this way? When you consume alcohol, it acts as a depressant on your central nervous system. Over time and with consistent intake, your brain adapts to the depressant effects by becoming hyperactive, trying to maintain a state of equilibrium. 

When the suppressing effect of alcohol is suddenly reduced or removed, your brain’s hyperactive state is unrestrained, leading to symptoms like shakes. Factors such as the amount and frequency of alcohol consumption, general health, and genetics can influence the severity and duration of these symptoms.

How Long Do Alcohol Shakes Last?

When it comes to the duration of alcohol shakes, it can be different for everyone. Generally, shakes begin 6 to 8 hours after the last drink, peaking around 24 to 48 hours afterward. However, depending on the severity of the dependency and individual factors, they can persist for several days. It’s important to note that the intensity and duration of symptoms can vary significantly from person to person.

Medical Treatment for Alcohol Shakes

Attempting to navigate withdrawal symptoms without medical oversight can be risky. Detoxification in a medically supervised setting ensures that any complications are promptly addressed. Medication-assisted treatments, such as benzodiazepines, can help ease withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the severity, someone undergoing professional detox may opt for residential treatments or outpatient options. In both scenarios, however, medical monitoring and treatment are paramount.

How to Stop Alcohol Shakes

Ultimately, the best way to stop alcohol shakes is to get the medications that are known to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms effectively. This is the best and most effective way to stop the alcohol shakes and have relief during withdrawal.

Beyond medical treatments, there are steps you can take to reduce the severity of your symptoms. These steps, however, are less likely actually to stop the alcohol shakes and may only reduce them. Potential strategies include:

  • Staying hydrated
  • Following a nutritious diet
  • Using stress management techniques
  • Engaging in distracting activities
  • Prioritizing sleep

Following these strategies may help, but are unlikely to stop the alcohol shakes fully.

Seeking Professional Help for Alcohol Withdrawal in Georgia

If you’re in Georgia and seeking help for alcohol withdrawal, it’s essential to choose a program that adopts a whole-person approach. Treatment shouldn’t only address physical symptoms but also cater to emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs.

At The Recovery Village Atlanta Drug and Alcohol Rehab, we offer a whole-person approach using comprehensive care to meet any individual’s situation. We invite you to contact us today to learn how we can help as you embark on your recovery journey.

Sources

Berman, Jacob. “Alcohol withdrawal.” February 28, 2023. Accessed October 3, 2023.

Bayard, Max; Mcintyre, Jonah; & et al. “Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome.” American Family Physician. 2004. Accessed October 3, 2023.

MedlinePlus. “Alcohol.” March 22, 2022. Accessed October 3, 2023.

Newman, Richard K.; Gallagher, Megan A. Stobart; & Gomez, Anna E. “Alcohol Withdrawal.” StatPearls [Internet]. July 21, 2023. Accessed October 3, 2023.

Huebner, Robert B. & Kantor, Lori Wolfgang. “Advances in Alcoholism Treatment.” Alcohol Research & Health. 2011. Accessed October 3, 2023.