What Is Alcohol Withdrawal Fever?

Alcohol withdrawal fever is a common symptom that occurs during alcohol withdrawal. Fever may also indicate other potentially serious health conditions such as delirium tremens and kidney infection.

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Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


Alcohol withdrawal fever occurs when people with an alcohol use disorder suddenly stop ingesting alcohol. Withdrawal fevers may be mild to severe and can be attributed to other underlying health conditions.

While alcohol withdrawal fever is a relatively common side effect of prolonged alcohol consumption and withdrawal, it may indicate a more serious symptom of alcohol detox known as delirium tremens (DTS).

What Causes Alcohol Withdrawal Fever?

Alcohol withdrawal fever is usually brought on by quitting alcohol cold turkey when the body has already established a physical dependence on the substance.

Brain Chemistry Changes

Chronic alcohol abuse changes the brain and central nervous system to rely on alcohol for serotonin and other neurotransmitter production.

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal such as fever are the body’s way of recalibrating itself to function normally again.

Quitting Alcohol Cold Turkey

The best way to detox from alcohol consumption is by slowly tapering yourself off the substance over a period of time.

People who attempt to quit cold turkey will usually experience more acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms such as fever, elevated heart rate, and more.

What Alcohol Withdrawal Fever May Indicate

Sometimes an alcohol withdrawal fever is attributable solely to detoxification, while other times it could indicate more serious conditions that require attention from a health care provider.

Delirium Tremens

Withdrawal delirium, also known as delirium tremens (DTS), is the most severe set of symptoms that may occur during alcohol detox.

DTS symptoms begin around 48 to 72 hours into the withdrawal process and may include high body temperature, disorientation, tactile and auditory hallucinations, hand tremors, and withdrawal seizures.

The onset of DTS is considered a medical emergency and should be promptly monitored by medical professionals to avoid life-threatening complications.

Kidney Infection

Alcohol withdrawal fever may also be a way for the body to combat a medical condition such as a kidney infection. The infection may or may not be related to symptoms of withdrawal.

A kidney infection is treatable through antibiotics and hydration. If the pain is excruciating or accompanied by other symptoms, such as high blood pressure or difficulty breathing, you should seek help immediately.

Treatment Programs For Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) is treatable at a substance use disorder rehab center that offers evidence-based services.

Addiction treatment options may include:

Find Drug And Alcohol Treatment Services At Bedrock Recovery Center

If you or a loved one are in need of medical care due to the effects of alcohol use, or if you need help with the management of alcohol withdrawal, contact Bedrock Recovery Center today.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/factsheets/alcohol.htm
  2. National Institute of Health (NIH) https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000281.htm
  3. National Institute of Health (NIH) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7527439/

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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