How to Stop Alcohol Shakes & Tremors

Last Updated: December 26, 2023

Editorial Policy | Research Policy

Alcohol shakes and tremors are common symptoms for people going through alcohol withdrawal. While not harmful on their own, alcohol shakes can be distressing and may indicate more serious symptoms to follow. They signal a significant change in the body’s response to the absence of alcohol.

For those experiencing these symptoms, it can be a daunting and uncomfortable phase. However, understanding that this is a common part of recovery can bring some relief. Early intervention and the right support can also make a huge difference in managing withdrawal symptoms and staying safe.

What Are Alcohol Shakes?

Alcohol shakes, or tremors, are involuntary shaking movements that can occur during alcohol withdrawal. This symptom reflects the body’s physical dependence on alcohol and its struggle to adapt to its absence. 

The body becomes used to the calming effects of alcohol when someone drinks heavily. When that person suddenly cuts back on alcohol or stops drinking, their body can react with physical symptoms. Alcohol shakes are one of these symptoms. Typically, they will happen alongside other withdrawal signs. This symptom is most likely happen in people who drink a lot and often.

Why Do Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Occur?

The cause of alcohol withdrawal symptoms like tremors lies in the effects alcohol has on the brain. Over time, brain chemistry adapts to the constant presence of alcohol by becoming more hyperactive. This offsets and balances the suppressive effects of alcohol. 

When alcohol is suddenly removed, the brain takes time to recalibrate. This leads to a period where the brain’s hyperactivity is unrestrained and creates withdrawal symptoms. The severity and duration of these symptoms can vary widely depending on several factors. These include duration and intensity of alcohol use, overall health and genetic factors. 

How Long Do Alcohol Shakes Last?

Typically, these shakes begin within 6 to 24 hours after the last drink and can peak in intensity during the first 48 to 72 hours. The duration of alcohol shakes can vary from person to person. Factors like the severity of alcohol dependence and the person’s health conditions can affect this timeline.

Some may experience them for a few days, while others might endure them longer. It is very uncommon for the shakes to last beyond a week. However, these variations are normal and are influenced by individual recovery journeys.

Medical Treatment for Alcohol Shakes

Getting medical supervision during alcohol withdrawal is essential for your safety and well-being. It’s especially important if you’re likely to experience moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms. This is because serious, life-threatening conditions can come with alcohol shakes.

There are many different types of medical treatment options that people have when withdrawing from alcohol. These include:

  • Detoxification: This first step in treatment involves safely managing withdrawal symptoms until your body readjusts to the absence of alcohol.
  • Medication-assisted treatment: This treatment option involves using medications to ease symptoms and reduce cravings.
  • Inpatient and outpatient rehab options: Following detox, rehab programs are designed to suit individual needs and lifestyles. These typically involve learning ways of coping without alcohol and maintaining sobriety. Inpatient, or residential, options involve staying in a treatment facility for more intensive therapy. Outpatient options integrate treatment as part of your daily routine.

How to Stop Alcohol Shakes

Medical intervention is the key to stopping alcohol shakes. The medications that you will receive support your brain as it readjusts to the absence of alcohol. Ultimately, this reduces the alcohol shakes. However, some additional strategies that may help you better manage alcohol shakes include:

  • Hydration: Drink plenty of fluids to help flush toxins and optimize your body’s function.
  • Nutrition: Maintain a balanced, healthy diet to support overall health and reduce the intensity of symptoms.
  • Stress management techniques: Activities like yoga or meditation can reduce stress.
  • Keeping busy: Engage in hobbies or light exercise to distract yourself from cravings and symptoms.
  • Sleep: Ensure adequate rest to optimize your physical and mental recovery.
  • Continuation of a recovery program: Follow through with prescribed treatments and counseling.

Seeking Professional Help for Alcohol Withdrawal in Indiana

Are you dealing with alcohol shakes and other withdrawal symptoms? If so, seeking professional help is crucial in your recovery journey. It’s important to explore treatment options. Effective treatment will tackle both physical symptoms (like alcohol shakes) and your emotional needs. This approach ensures a well-rounded recovery process.

To take the first step, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. We at The Recovery Village Indianapolis Drug and Alcohol Rehab are here for you. You don’t have to go through withdrawal alone. Contact us today for guidance and support in your unique journey towards sobriety and wellness. Remember, reaching out for help is a sign of strength and the first step towards reclaiming control over your life.


Berman, Jacob. “Alcohol withdrawal.” February 28, 2023. Accessed December 22, 2023.

Bayard, Max; Mcintyre, Jonah; & et al. “Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome.” American Family Physician. 2004. Accessed December 22, 2023.

MedlinePlus. “Alcohol.” March 22, 2022. Accessed December 22, 2023.

Newman, Richard K.; Gallagher, Megan A. Stobart; & Gomez, Anna E. “Alcohol Withdrawal.” StatPearls [Internet]. July 21, 2023. Accessed December 22, 2023.

Huebner, Robert B. & Kantor, Lori Wolfgang. “Advances in Alcoholism Treatment.” Alcohol Research & Health. 2011. Accessed December 22, 2023.

Parrish, Carol Rees. “Beyond the Banana Bag: Treating Nutritional Deficiencies of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome.” Practical Gastroenterology. Accessed December 22, 2023.

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