If you drink alcohol heavily for weeks, months, or years, you may have both mental and physical problems when you stop or seriously cut back on how much you drink. This is called alcohol withdrawal. Symptoms can range from mild to serious.
If you drink only once in a while, it’s unlikely that you’ll have withdrawal symptoms when you stop. But if you’ve gone through alcohol withdrawal once, you’re more likely to go through it again the next time you call it quits.
Causes of Alcohol Withdrawal
Alcohol has what doctors call a depressive effect on your system. It slows down brain function and changes the way your nerves send messages back and forth.
Over time, your central nervous system adjusts to having alcohol around all the time. Your body works hard to keep your brain in a more awake state and to keep your nerves talking to one another.
When the alcohol level suddenly drops, your brain stays in this keyed up state. That’s what causes withdrawal.
Timeline of Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can range from mild to serious. What yours are depends on how much you drank and for how long.
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