Alcohol Shakes And Tremors

Over time, alcohol use disorder can lead to many severe symptoms, including the shakes. The alcohol shakes, also known as alcohol tremors, are often a sign of both alcohol withdrawal and a chemical dependency on alcohol.

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Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


Drinking alcohol excessively can cause you to develop an alcohol addiction.

Even if it has only been 8 hours since your last drink, symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can manifest themselves in the form of shakes and tremors.

This is especially true if you have heavily abused alcohol for a period of months or years.

These tremors and involuntary movements are common physical effects of alcohol but can also point to more severe health complications that are associated with alcohol addiction.

Why Does Alcohol Make You Shake?

Consuming an excessive amount of alcohol can lead the central nervous system to become bogged down and frayed from the constant presence of the depressant nature of alcohol.

This means that if you are experiencing tremors and shakes after a night of binge drinking or even a few hours after your last alcoholic beverage, you may have a substance use disorder.

This is because your body and your brain are so used to the effects of alcohol that regulating stress hormones and chemicals without it becomes extremely difficult.

Alcohol Tremors May Point To Delirium Tremens

Tremors caused by alcohol detoxification or withdrawal can point towards another potential complication known as Delirium Tremens (DTs).

It is estimated that approximately half of persons with a history of alcohol abuse or prolonged heavy drinking will experience withdrawal symptoms.

However, only 5% of persons who fit into that demographic will develop Delirium Tremens.

Clinical surveyors and doctors are still trying to nail down what commonalities alcohol users share with others who have developed DTs.

Persons with DTs may experience tremors and uncontrollable shaking, as symptoms of withdrawal can periodically fluctuate throughout the day.

Dangers Of Alcohol Caused By Long-Term Abuse

There are a number of risks and dangers associated with long-term alcohol abuse, which includes both physical and mental health complications.

Brain Damage

While it is a myth that excess alcohol consumption destroys brain cells, it can certainly have a dangerous effect on the brain as a whole.

Short-term effects of alcohol lead to an overproduction of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, which suppresses neuronal activity and hampers neurotransmitter health.

This can lead to slurred speech, impaired cognitive function, lapses in short-term memory span, and more.

Long-term alcohol abuse can lead to far more severe consequences, though, causing chronic neurotransmitter damage and cognitive structural abnormalities.

Some of these affected areas control parts of the brain that regulate hormones, emotions, and the production of stress chemicals.

Other mental effects of alcohol consumption include:

  • brain shrinkage
  • wet brain syndrome
  • increased chance of dementia
  • mental health disorders that affect changes in personality
  • coma and psychosis
  • irregular heart rate and cardiovascular disease

Liver Disease

Alcohol damages the liver each time it is ingested, but the body’s natural healing power is able to discriminately recover the damaged cells from moderate alcohol consumption.

However, excessive alcohol use can lead to permanent liver damage, blood poisoning, liver disease, as well as intermediate swelling and inflammation.

Severe liver damage can include scarring and cirrhosis of the liver, which is unfortunately irreversible.

Detox And Treatment Programs For Alcohol Abuse

There are a number of evidence-based and clinically proven addiction treatment options to combat alcohol use disorders.

Before enrolling in a treatment center, it is best to consult a medical professional to ensure that you can receive the treatment you need.

Some of these treatment programs include:

  • inpatient and outpatient alcohol treatment
  • alcohol detox under medical supervision
  • withdrawal management
  • therapy and counseling
  • support groups such as the 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program

Find Treatment For Substance Abuse At Bedrock Recovery Center

At Bedrock Recovery Center, we understand how alcohol may have impacted your life, and we are here to offer the intensive care you need to enter recovery.

If you or a loved one are seeking alcohol abuse treatment services, give our free helpline a call today to discuss enrollment at Bedrock with an addiction specialist.

  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  2. U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM)

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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