Alcohol shakes

Alcohol Shakes: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Ever woken up with uncontrollable shakes after a night of heavy drinking? Alcohol shakes, or tremors, are a common and often distressing symptom of alcohol withdrawal.

Shaking after alcohol consumption is a widely observed symptom of alcohol withdrawal. The body responds to alcohol in several ways, one of which includes the nervous system exhibiting uncontrollable shaking or tremors.

This reaction, known as “alcohol shakes,” arises from the brain’s neurotransmitter activity as it attempts to adapt to the presence of alcohol.

What is Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome?

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (AWS) occurs when individuals who have been drinking heavily for an extended period abruptly quit or significantly reduce their alcohol consumption. Symptoms vary in intensity and duration, often impacting both physical and mental health.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the initial phase of AWS begins within six to 24 hours after the last drink. Mild symptoms include anxiety, irritability, and tremors.

As withdrawal progresses, more severe signs like seizures and hallucinations can emerge. In extreme cases, patients may experience delirium tremens (DTs), characterized by confusion, rapid heart rate, and severe shaking.

DTs usually occur within 48 to 72 hours after the last drink and can be life-threatening. Patients with heavy and prolonged alcohol use are more prone to severe symptoms. Age and overall health also play crucial roles in the severity of AWS.

What are Alcohol Shakes?

Alcohol shakes, commonly referred to as tremors, are involuntary muscle movements that often occur in the hands. They are frequently associated with withdrawal symptoms from alcohol dependence.

Alcohol shakes primarily arise due to the body’s reaction to the cessation of alcohol consumption. When an individual stops drinking, the central nervous system, which has adapted to the depressant effects of alcohol, becomes overactive.

This overactivity leads to tremors as the body attempts to rebalance its neurological state. Additional triggers include dehydration, anxiety, and lack of proper nutrition, all of which are common among people with long-term alcohol use.

Studies have shown that even mild alcohol dependence can cause these shakes, highlighting the extent of the nervous system’s involvement. Understanding these mechanisms is crucial for recognizing how deeply alcohol affects the body and mind, indicating a need for awareness and possibly intervention.

How Long Do Alcohol Shakes Last?

Alcohol Shakes

Alcohol shakes, also known as tremors, typically begin within 6 to 12 hours after the last drink.

Individuals with long-term alcohol dependence might experience prolonged symptoms. The intensity and duration can be influenced by factors such as overall health, the amount of alcohol consumed, and the duration of alcohol use.

In cases of severe alcohol dependence, medical intervention might be necessary to manage symptoms. Seeking help from healthcare professionals is crucial to handle severe withdrawal symptoms effectively. Their guidance can also help mitigate long-term health consequences related to alcohol dependence.

How Alcohol Shakes Impact Physical Health?

The physical health impact of alcohol shakes can be severe and far-reaching. Besides tremors, individuals may experience increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and sweating. These symptoms exacerbate underlying health conditions, making management more complicated.

Chronic shaking may also lead to difficulties in performing daily tasks, reducing overall quality of life. Additionally, individuals undergoing withdrawal may face heightened risks of severe complications such as seizures and delirium tremens.

Immediate medical attention is critical for managing extreme withdrawal symptoms effectively.

How to Stop Alcohol Shakes?

Alcohol shakes, also known as tremors, are common in individuals undergoing alcohol withdrawal. But how can you stop them?

In this section, we’ll delve into effective strategies to help you manage and overcome alcohol shakes, providing you with the tools to regain control and support your recovery journey.

1. Hydration

Staying well-hydrated is crucial for reducing alcohol shakes. Water helps flush toxins out of the body, which can alleviate withdrawal symptoms, including tremors.

Electrolyte-rich drinks such as oral rehydration solutions can also be beneficial. They replenish essential minerals like sodium, potassium, and magnesium, which are often depleted due to excessive alcohol consumption.

Regular intake of fluids can stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce dehydration-induced tremors.

2. Nutrition

A balanced diet plays a significant role in managing alcohol shakes. Focus on consuming foods rich in vitamins and minerals that support nervous system health.

B vitamins are particularly important. Foods like whole grains, eggs, and green leafy vegetables are beneficial sources. Magnesium found in nuts and seeds can help with muscle function and tremors.

Avoiding processed foods and sugary snacks, which can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes, is also advisable.

3. Rest


Adequate rest and sleep are essential in mitigating alcohol shakes. The body repairs itself during sleep, and proper rest can strengthen the immune system and support detoxification processes.

Create a relaxing bedtime routine to improve sleep quality. Techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or warm baths can be helpful. Encouraging short naps during the day can also be beneficial if nighttime sleep is disrupted.

4. Avoid Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant that can exacerbate tremors. Therefore, reducing or eliminating caffeine intake can be an effective strategy. Opt for herbal teas or decaffeinated versions of your favorite beverages. Caffeine alternatives like water or natural fruit juices can also keep you hydrated without triggering shakes.

Avoiding caffeine not only helps with tremors but also promotes better sleep and reduces anxiety levels commonly associated with withdrawal.

5. Seek Support

Professional help is vital for managing alcohol shakes effectively. Medical detox programs can provide medications that ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risk of complications.

Therapists and support groups offer emotional support and coping strategies. Engaging in group therapy or individual counseling can provide valuable insights and encouragement.

Involving family and friends in the recovery process helps create a supportive environment, improving the chances of a successful recovery.

At Rosglas Recovery, you will find an experienced team specializing in one-on-one luxury therapy retreats for addictions.

Treatment and Management of Alcohol Shakes

Effective management of alcohol shakes involves both medical interventions and non-medical support.

Medical interventions often include medication and detoxification procedures, while non-medical support emphasizes therapy and support groups.

Medical Interventions

Medical professionals frequently prescribe benzodiazepines, such as chlordiazepoxide or diazepam, to alleviate the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, including shakes.

These medications work by calming the nervous system and reducing the severity of tremors. Other medications might be employed to manage specific symptoms like tachycardia or sweating.

Detoxification is another critical step. It involves a supervised process where the individual abstains from alcohol, allowing the body to eliminate toxins. This is usually conducted in a medical setting to monitor and manage withdrawal symptoms safely.

According to research on the management of alcohol withdrawal, a proper evaluation is crucial during detox to avoid complications.

Non-Medical Support


Therapy is a fundamental component of managing alcohol shakes. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is commonly used to help individuals understand the psychological aspects of their addiction and develop strategies to cope without alcohol. Regular therapy sessions can provide ongoing support during recovery.

Joining a support group is highly beneficial. Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) offer a community of individuals who share similar experiences and challenges. Participating in these groups provides emotional support and encouragement.

Other non-medical interventions can include lifestyle changes such as improved nutrition, regular exercise, and stress management techniques like mindfulness and meditation. Together, these strategies contribute to a comprehensive approach to managing and treating alcohol shakes.

If you’re struggling with alcohol shakes, Rosglas Recovery offers specialized treatment with an experienced team dedicated to addressing alcohol addiction. Their holistic approach in a luxurious setting ensures comprehensive care, focusing on both the physical and emotional aspects of recovery, providing a supportive environment for lasting healing.


  • Muncie Jr, H. L., & Yasinian, Y. (2013). Outpatient management of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. American family physician88(9), 589-595. Link.
  • Sand, K. K., Rodriguez-Blanco, J. D., Makovicky, E., Benning, L. G., & Stipp, S. L. S. (2012). Crystallization of CaCO3 in water–alcohol mixtures: spherulitic growth, polymorph stabilization, and morphology change. Crystal Growth & Design12(2), 842-853. Link.
  • Thompson WL. Management of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndromes. Arch Intern Med. 1978;138(2):278–283. Link.
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