How Long Before Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Start?
Alcohol withdrawal comes on quickly (within hours of your last drink), has an intense peak of symptoms (peaking at about 72 hours from the last drink in many cases), and the symptoms can continue on for weeks, months or years – due to a high rate of Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS).
Because PAWS symptoms from alcohol can start off so intense, and take so long to lessen or go away, many recovering alcoholics find themselves asking,
In This Post You Will Find:
- Alcohol Withdrawal Headache Symptoms
- Alcohol Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)
- How Long Do Withdrawal Headaches Last?
- Signs of Another Underlying Medical Condition?
- When will Alcohol-Related Headaches Go Away?
This was originally posted July 27, 2018 and was updated September 16, 2019.
Alcohol Withdrawal Headaches
After quitting alcohol, the symptoms of withdrawal will show up quickly, and the first symptoms to show are usually anxiety and headaches. There will also be cravings, nausea and vomiting, depending on the severity of the alcohol abuse.
How Long do Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Last?
These headaches and other symptoms will usually increase by day 3 of alcohol withdrawal when the individual is hitting the peak of acute withdrawal and starting day 4 will usually begin to subside in intensity and continue to slowly subside over the course of the first few weeks of sobriety. Alcohol withdrawal usually lasts about 7-14 days, however, for those that experience protracted withdrawal, prolonged withdrawal, and PAWS, the anxiety and headaches could take months or even a year to fully subside.
Prolonged Alcohol Withdrawal
Prolonged Alcohol Withdrawal has an alcohol withdrawal timeline that is longer than the average withdrawal of about 72 hours to a week.
Prolonged alcohol withdrawal is fairly rare but more common in those that have been drinking steadily for long periods of time. For example, if a patient has been consuming an average of 12 drinks per day for 10+ years, the baseline for blood alcohol levels has remained fairly steady for a very long time. In cases like this, it is less surprising to see prolonged withdrawal; and in cases of prolonged alcohol withdrawal, it is also common to see the symptoms take longer to go away – including anxiety and headache.
Prolonged alcohol withdrawal is prolonged acute withdrawal, so it is important to note that the “danger zone” of the first 48-72 hours will be extended, and in cases of prolonged alcohol withdrawal, it is imperative to stay under medical detox care.