Can Alcohol Withdrawal Cause Death?

After becoming dependent on alcohol or drugs due to addiction or alcoholism, your body can experience symptoms of withdrawal when you decide to stop or reduce your intake. 

While alcohol withdrawal can be mild, in some cases, it can be serious as the body deals with the effects of withdrawal. But can alcohol withdrawal cause death? Learn more about alcohol withdrawal and some of the treatments available to individuals suffering from addiction.

What is Alcohol Withdrawal

Those who suffer from alcohol addiction or who drink heavily can start to experience withdrawal symptoms as they stop their alcohol consumption. 

As you consume alcohol regularly or at high volumes, your body, particularly your central nervous system, become reliant on it, working hard to maintain an ‘awake’ state to try and combat the depressive effects of alcohol. The body remains in this state, even as alcohol levels decrease, which is where withdrawal symptoms can begin to appear.

Learn more here about Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline

What Happens During Alcohol Withdrawal?

As you reduce your alcohol intake, you may start to experience both mental and physical symptoms. These can start in as little as six hours after your last drink. This can cause many people to start drinking again, leading to a continued pattern of drinking until the individual decides to give up for good.


Initial symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Shaking hands/tremors
  • Sweating
  • Fast pulse
  • Feeling restless
  • Headache
  • Insomnia/difficulty sleeping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

These milder symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may get worse before they get better, but should settle down in a couple of days. Individuals who suffer from less severe forms of alcohol addiction may find that these are the only symptoms they experience.

More severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Irritability
  • Temperature fluctuations

What are Delirium Tremens (DTs) and Signs?

Delirium tremens (DTs), is one of the most serious signs of alcohol withdrawal, causing some severe symptoms for sufferers. DTs symptoms can include:

  • Disorientation
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Low-grade fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Heavy sweating
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

Symptoms of DTs can start two to three days after alcohol was last consumed, and require immediate medical intervention to prevent them from progressing.

Can Alcohol Withdrawal Cause Death?

If symptoms of DTs are left untreated, they can lead to death. Where medical intervention takes place quickly, the chances of death as a result of alcohol withdrawal are greatly reduced. 

Some factors can put individuals at greater risk of DTs, including age, underlying illnesses, and a high level of alcohol consumption before the withdrawal. This is why seeking appropriate treatment for alcohol dependency is essential to ensure a detox can be handled safely and under supervision.

What is a Medical Detox?

Medical detox can be an effective way of helping an individual eliminate the toxins from alcohol from their body. Carried out under supervision by healthcare professionals, a medical detox takes into account the needs of each individual, and provides them with the support and care they need. Medical detox can help ensure symptoms are managed and observed, with intervention and treatment administered to those suffering from severe withdrawal symptoms or DTs.

During medical detox, clients are monitored closely and given a comfortable environment to help make the process safer and calmer. Medications may be administered to help deal with some of the effects of withdrawal, such as anxiety, and further interventions are possible for those experiencing severe symptoms.

Completing a medical detox can be a vital step in beating alcohol addiction, before transitioning to a rehabilitation program to continue treatment.

Treatment For Alcohol Withdrawals

There are several different treatments for alcohol withdrawal. Some individuals may find one option preferred to others, depending on their circumstances and the severity of their addiction. 


A detox involves the elimination of removing alcohol toxins from the body, While many people may attempt a detox by themselves, a medical detox can be more effective, ensuring that the client has round-the-clock care and a safe and supportive environment to handle some of the symptoms that can happen during alcohol withdrawal.

Inpatient treatment

Inpatient treatments provide residential care and support for clients, helping to address the causes of addiction and providing an environment where clients can feel safe to start helping themselves and enjoy a sustainable road to recovery.

Group therapy

Group therapy can be effective in helping people find the support they need to overcome their addiction. Group therapy gives the chance to share experiences and receive advice and support, while also helping individuals to keep themselves accountable. It can put behaviors and choices into perspective to help establish a path for growth.

Relapse prevention

The road to recovery can be difficult, but the right support and resources can help prevent relapse and help individuals achieve their goals for a brighter future. 

Holistic methods

Some individuals prefer more holistic methods of treatment, including various types of therapy, meditation, acupuncture, yoga, prayer and other practices. 

Some people may find that a singular approach is the best way forward for them, while others may need a combination of approaches to help them overcome their alcohol addiction. Everyone is unique, but there are a number of different optio

Reach Out To Peaks Recovery Today For Help

If you, or someone you know, is suffering from alcohol addiction, seeking treatment is an important step in overcoming your issues to help you move forward towards a healthy future. 

At Peaks Recovery Centers, we provide an innovative program to help ensure effective and long-lasting recovery for our clients. Our facility is fully licensed, with incredible surroundings and scenery to provide the best locations for our clients to participate in their treatment. 

To find out more about Peaks Recovery Centers, learn more about our addiction treatment services, or contact a member of our team for further information. 

Medical Disclaimer: Peaks Recovery Centers uses fact-based content about recovery treatment, addiction medicine, and behavioral health conditions to improve the quality of life for those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction or mental health disorders. This information is not intended to replace professional medical guidance, diagnosis, care, or treatment. This information should not be used as a substitute for advice from a qualified healthcare provider and/or your physician.