Alcohol Shakes and Tremors

As one abstains from drinking after a history of chronic or excessive alcohol abuse, they may find that they experience shaking or tremors. This is one of the many withdrawal symptoms associated with stopping drinking.

Alcohol-related tremors can be both debilitating and embarrassing for those experiencing the detox symptoms. They can impair one’s ability to carry out daily tasks, relate with family and friends, and can lead to feelings of frustration and fear.

Due to the dangers associated with shakes or tremors, individuals going through this part of alcohol withdrawal need close medical supervision and support.

What Causes Alcohol Tremors?

When detoxing from alcohol, alcohol shakes can happen sporadically or they may be constant. Typically, for moderate to severe drinkers, they may begin several hours after one’s last drink. The peak of the experience can occur 1 to 3 days after drinking. Tremors can last for at least a few weeks.

The effect alcohol has on the brain and central nervous system (CNS) is that of a depressant. Activity in these areas is slowed, and energy levels are reduced. To offset the sedative influence of alcohol, the brain emits excess neurotransmitters that enable an individual to become more alert and awake.

When one decides to stop drinking, the brain wrestles against the lack of alcohol, and withdrawal symptoms emerge such as the tremors. This is because the brain and CNS are striving to restore equilibrium.

It also explains why some people with alcohol dependency issues wake up with a need to have a drink. They want to stop the shaking.

The cerebellum is located in the hindbrain, towards the brain stem. Its main functions are the coordination of movement, balance, and the regulation of motor skills.

Regular and heavy drinking can cause damage to the cerebellum. Such damage occurs progressively over the years. MRI scans show that this part of the brain shrinks with long-term use of alcohol. The contributing factor to this is the toxicity of the alcohol and the ensuing lack of nutrients caused by heavy drinking.

Cerebellar dysfunction is reflected in poor coordination, unsteadiness when walking or standing, and clumsiness. Good news is that damage to the brain can be minimized if the individual stops drinking.

Alcoholism And Peripheral Neuropathy

Excessive drinking can also harm the peripheral nervous system. This manifests as numbness, pain, or burning sensations in their extremities (peripheral neuropathy). Weakening of the muscles can also occur, as well as there is a decrease in the reflex action of tendons.

The main areas of the body that exhibit the most symptoms are the legs and feet. So, the diminished strength of the muscles and the lack of tendon response may cause one to have bouts of falling.

Phases Of Alcohol Withdrawal

As we mentioned, tremors are just one of the many signs that manifest when withdrawal from alcohol occurs. Signs of withdrawal start to show 5-6 hours after the last drink. There are several phases that one will pass through after ceasing to consume alcohol.

Phase 1 (5–12 hours after the last drink)

Symptoms of this stage are mild and include:

  • Agitation
  • Being anxious
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Headaches
  • Being nauseous
  • Vomiting
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shakes/tremors

Phase 2 (12–24 hours after the last drink)

At this point of alcohol withdrawal, the signs are more moderate. This second stage is characterized by:

  • Raised blood pressure
  • The heart starts to beat faster
  • Being confused or disoriented
  • Hyperthermia
  • The hands shake
  • Breathing speeds up and becomes abnormal.
  • Seizures

Phase 3 (48 hours or more after the last drink)

Two days after stopping drinking, the symptoms of withdrawal become severe. At this stage, the individual can encounter:

  • High blood pressure
  • Hallucinations (both auditory and visual)
  • Fever and sweating
  • Seizures
  • Inability to pay attention.
  • Trouble with sleeping
  • Delirium Tremens

The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal at each stage are dependent on several factors. These are:

  • The period over which someone has been drinking
  • How much alcohol has been consumed over that period
  • One’s physiological makeup
  • If there have been other substances taken at the same time
  • Pre-existing medical conditions of the individual

However, the common signs exhibited by alcohol withdrawal are headaches, being anxious, and nausea.


Alcohol withdrawal can manifest as shakes or tremors.

These start to occur several hours after the last drink and progress, along with various other symptoms, in degree from mild to severe over 48 hours.

Prolonged and excessive alcohol abuse can damage the cerebellum, which regulates motor skills. If one doesn’t stop the alcohol abuse, this damage becomes permanent.

Withdrawal from alcohol isn’t something that should be done alone. Seek out support from family and medical professionals.

  1. It’s good sensitizing people on the need to far away from all these drugs and alcohol because it has an adverse effect on the body of the consumer

  2. The best thing is not to get involved in all these things. It affects a lot. May God see us through

  3. It’s good to be aware of these vices. Many peoyneed to be informed . Getting into these things pose the future in to risk

  4. Alcohol withdrawal can be so challenging that if the person is not closely monitored can lead to it’s consumption again. Thanks for sharing

  5. This is why it Is better to avoid drinking. it’s future withdrawal comes with issues such as shaking and tremor which is detrimental to the body.

  6. This is an educative post. Self determination will really go a long way to help people despite any tremor or shaking.

  7. I am no drinker at least not that heavy but thanks for this.Withdrawal is always hard but drinking never gets the spotlight as much as drugs does. In any case this is very useful. Drinking hard is never good. I rather not drink at all.

  8. I like the last statement, withdrawing from alcohol shouldn’t be done alone to avoid future issues. Looking out for support groups to assist will be great

  9. Oh! This article is impressive and informative. I really do hope it will be helpful to everyone out there.

  10. Really appreciate detox to rehab for sharing this. In fact, it’s very full of useful information.

  11. This is caused by the extreme or excessive drinking of alcohol. Thanks to Detox To Rehab for this piece of information.

  12. There is no how there won’t be after effect of an abuse. The best thing is not to start taking alcohol.

  13. Many do not know the implications or let me say consequences of their actions especially alcohol intake. A depressant to the core. Once you start the intake, your CNS begin to adjust and when you stop the intake, the CNS begin to struggle to readjust again. It’s better to stay away

  14. Alcohol destroys life. It is not good for the heart. It affects liver. It should be discouraged.

  15. I’ve heard from people I know that withdrawal syndrome from alcohol or cigarettes is very hard and it is real! I hope people will become more sensitive with this issue, especially when they know people around who are suffering with the same.

  16. I never knew that alcohol can cause shakes and tremors to users. This post has been educative on this.

  17. This happens due to the insensitivity of the addicts. Thank you for your efforts to educate others.

  18. Taking of alcohol damages brian. It affects cerebellum. Those taking should be advised to stop it. Thank you.

  19. Alcohol causes alot of damage to the body in which it is very detrimental to human health. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Whoever is experiencing this should not keep it to himself or herself but see the medical practitioner for help. Thanks for this piece of information.

  21. Taking alcohol is bad for health and many users do not know this. This article is an eye opener on this as well as providing solutions to alcohol addiction. Thanks for sharing Detox.

  22. Alcohol tremor is of different way it can cause damage to the body. But when a way is found out of it , it should be tried.

  23. This is an educative article on the numerous effect of alcohol addiction. The best way to survive these effects abstinence.

  24. These have being the problems for ages now. Whenever you advise the this present generation, they always come up wit different excuses.

  25. The depressant effect of alcohol on the naver system needs to be told to people. To me, it is killing.

  26. I never knew alcohol can have such an effect on a person, and the damage it causes to the brain and body is really worrisome. Thanks for the Information.

  27. Thanks for this beautiful piece on alcohol shakes and tremors. I’d rather not go down the lane than get addicted and hooked with it’s issues

  28. The fight to stop the consumption of alcohol and is like a fight between life and death. Thanks for this piece of information.

  29. Withdrawal from alcohol isn’t something that should be done alone. Seek out support from family and medical professionals.

  30. This is one of the consequences of addiction to alcohol. Thanks to Detox To Rehab for this revelation.

  31. I pray that God will heal and deliver those who are in thi type of ailment. My advice for those who are still addicted to alcohol is to stop.

  32. I never realized the withdrawal symptoms from alcohol could be so severe. Clearly getting clean is both physically and emotionally challenging. I definitely agree that not having to undergo sobriety alone is the best and most sensible solution.

  33. Alcoholism has very adverse effects as mentioned in the blog. We need to be more aware of these side effects and be far from addiction stuffs.

  34. Shaking and tremors are normal things that happen to those with excessive alcohol abuse. Thanks for explaining the reason for these withdrawal symptoms and there various stages. Excessive alcohol use is dangerous and I hope this article will discourage those who may be thinking of developing this habit . People with this habit should also seek help before alcohol destroys them.

  35. The effects of alcohol are detrimental to people’s health. However, it is advisable for people to desist from it. Kudos go to Detox for this educative piece of information.

  36. Excessive intake of alcohol is harmful and debilitating. Nonetheless, people should avoid excessive intake of alcohol.

  37. Positive habits must be built… Let’s stay away from habits that do not build us for excellence.
    Thanks for the amazing content.

  38. Wow I really enjoyed reading the article and loved how it gives detailed info on the whole withdrawal neural effect. I think I can now understand the internal workings of an addict when withdrawing from Alcohol, Thanks.

  39. A very detailed and educative piece of article, I used to think only drugs causes this kind of shake . This has enlighten me better

  40. This is An Informative Article on Alcohol.
    We all need to know that Help is The Best we can get to deal with Alcohol Trauma or recovery from It.

  41. Many people alcohol addict but they don’t think about how bad impact to their body, they just find the feeling after consumed

  42. It is really better to do away with them, than trying it out…
    Thanks for enlightening us more on this.

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