Alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) happens when someone who is alcohol dependent suddenly stops drinking or even reduces their intake. A lot of physical and emotional symptoms can occur with AWS and they can be incredibly severe. Indeed, AWS can lead to delirium tremens, which can, in extreme cases, be life-threatening.

Causes of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

When we consume alcohol, our nervous system becomes excited. With daily drink, our body becomes dependent on that excitement, as the central nervous system is no longer able to function without alcohol. If you were to then stop drinking, or even simply lower how much you drink, various symptoms can start to appear. This includes a full delirium, which can be fatal.

Who Can Get Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome?

Anyone who is alcohol dependent or who drinks too much is at risk of AWS. Although more common in adults, this is only because they actually drink more. The symptoms are related to amounts and not to age, in other words. People who are at particular risk of AWS are those who have been through alcohol rehab in the past.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

The symptoms of AWS can start as little as six hours or as much as several days after a final drink. Usually, you will experience at least two symptoms from the following list:

  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Headache
  • Vomiting and/or nausea
  • Sweating
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Nightmares
  • Insomnia

The symptoms will usually gradually get worse before peaking and dying off. However, they can persist for several weeks and are most noticeable when you first wake up. If you do go into a full delirium tremens, the symptoms you can expect include:

  • Fever
  • Extreme agitation and confusion
  • Auditory, visual and tactile hallucinations
  • Seizures

Because of the risk of developing a delirium, it is incredibly important that you stop drinking under supervision. At Creative Care, we can help you come up with a plan of action that is most suited to your particular drinking patterns and addiction. Furthermore, we will be there to support you during this long and difficult process.


Treatment will depend mainly on the severity of your symptoms and your particular case. At Creative Care, we have a particular focus on detoxification, alcohol and drug rehabilitation, and dual diagnosis. Most people who develop an addiction do so because they are dealing with other emotional and mental health issues. Furthermore, all kinds of substance abuse can lead to psychological disorders. When these are not identified and addressed, the chance of relapse is particularly high. With alcohol, relapsing can prove to be fatal, particularly in those people who also have cirrhosis (permanently damaged liver).

When you attend our facility, we address the really important issues, such as the drivers and triggers that caused you to drink in the first place. Through group and individual therapy, we will provide you with mechanisms to better cope with those triggers should they appear again in the future. It is known that those who continue to work with a support network such as Alcoholics Anonymous have a far smaller chance of relapsing in the future.

If you have an alcohol dependency or know someone who does, then please speak to someone at Creative Care today. We can help you prepare for the road to recovery. It is a long road full of obstacles, but we will be there at every step of the way. You will be empowered to once again regain control over your own life.