alcohol shakes

In the new year, you decided to stop drinking alcohol after spending years drinking regularly. In the past, your doctor urged you to stop or limit your alcohol use for your health, but you weren’t sure it was something you were willing to give up until now. However, several hours after your last drink of alcohol, you started to feel shaky in your arms and hands. You weren’t sure if you could handle experiencing this on a long-term basis, which led you to wonder if you might need some help.

In 2019, 279,000 people were diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder in Arizona. At Pinnacle Peak Recovery, our master’s-level therapists can help you manage your alcohol shakes with compassionate care. We can help you understand what your alcohol shakes mean and why they are happening.

What Are Alcohol Shakes, and What Causes Them?

The leading cause of alcohol shakes is alcohol withdrawal, which is caused by stopping or lowering one’s intake of alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant. So, when you regularly drink alcohol, the body becomes used to the alcohol intake it is experiencing. When you decide to stop drinking or decrease how much alcohol you are drinking, the brain and nervous system have a difficult time coping with the change in activity. This change in the brain will lead you to experience symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, with one of the potential symptoms being tremors or shakes.

Risk factors for developing alcohol shakes might include:

  • How much you drink regularly
  • Genetics
  • Stress
  • The use of other substances
  • How long you have been drinking alcohol
  • Other mental or physical health concerns

Every person is different. When it comes to alcohol shakes in general, some people only experience mild, unnoticeable tremors. For others, alcohol shakes may interfere with their daily activities or cause pain. Meanwhile, some people don’t experience any alcohol shakes at all when they decrease their alcohol use. 

The Length of Alcohol Shakes

Typically, alcohol shakes will start around 6 hours after your last glass of alcohol. Mild shakes may only last a few hours. However, moderate to severe alcohol shakes may reach peak intensity around 48-72 hours. They can also last a week or two after this point, but they will typically not be as intense as they were at the 48-72 hour mark. 

Alcohol shakes do not occur for everyone with any alcohol use disorder, but they are a common symptom of alcohol withdrawal. When someone with an alcohol use disorder discontinues their alcohol use, they might get tremors in their hands, legs, or arms. In severe cases, alcohol shakes might indicate complications with alcohol withdrawal, including the development of delirium tremens.

understanding alcohol withdrawal shakes

Can You Manage Alcohol Shakes Alone?

Managing alcohol shakes by yourself is not recommended; however, there are some ways that you can manage mild cases of alcohol shakes. If you have moderate to severe cases of alcohol shakes, you should seek the guidance of a medical professional. One way you can manage mild alcohol shakes is by drinking water or electrolyte drinks, which may help lessen shakes and other withdrawal symptoms while restoring the chemical imbalance your body is experiencing for alcohol withdrawal. 

Alongside consuming more water and electrolyte drinks, avoiding sugar can be beneficial as sugar may result in worsening alcohol shakes. If you decide to eat fruit, eat it in moderation because it is high in sugar. You can eat more proteins like chicken, beans, fish, and nuts instead of sugary foods. You can also eat more whole grains and vegetables. Discussing with your doctor the potential for vitamin and mineral supplements may also help manage alcohol shakes.

It is also essential to keep busy when managing alcohol shakes. Participating in activities that relieve cravings or stress can provide you with the necessary skills for your recovery. Some people participate in exercise, listening to music, reading, or starting a new hobby. You can also spend time with friends and family who encourage you in your recovery journey. 

On top of participating in activities that will relieve cravings, participating in stress management techniques can also help reduce alcohol shakes. These techniques may include yoga, mindfulness, or deep breathing, and they can help reduce emotions such as anxiety or fear, which may reduce withdrawal symptoms such as alcohol shakes. 

It is also important to get enough sleep every night. While it may be difficult, especially if you also have another common withdrawal symptom, insomnia, getting enough sleep can lead to decreased alcohol shakes. Your doctor can help you figure out the best way for you to increase the amount of hours you are asleep as you undergo alcohol withdrawal and alcohol shakes.  

Treatment for Alcohol Shakes in Scottsdale, AZ

The best way to get rid of and manage alcohol shakes is to seek alcohol detox. While it might seem possible to try and recover from an alcohol use disorder on your own, it can become a dangerous experience. While most people do not experience life-threatening symptoms when they undergo alcohol withdrawal, complications can occur. It’s much safer to seek treatment in a medical space.

In alcohol use disorder treatment, you will have medical professionals who can help you medically manage alcohol shakes. They can help you with any other symptoms of alcohol withdrawal as you recover from an alcohol use disorder. Treatment for an alcohol use disorder might include multiple forms of therapy to learn skills and techniques that will help you be able to manage your symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Dialectic behavioral therapy (DBT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are two of those therapies that can help teach you skills and techniques that can change unhealthy thought patterns.

Alcohol Detox Is Available at Pinnacle Peak Recovery

Getting treatment for an alcohol use disorder may be intimidating, and you might think it would just be better for you if you withdrew from alcohol on your own. However, nobody should have to undergo alcohol withdrawal alone. Alcohol withdrawal can be a complex and sometimes draining process, but connecting with a community that can make you feel like family can allow you to be successful in your recovery. You will learn skills and develop new healthy routines to provide the foundation for the rest of your life. 

Located in Scottsdale, AZ, Pinnacle Peak Recovery believes healing is possible, and we are committed to lifelong success for people affected by addiction. If someone returns to use within their first year of recovery after completing our proven process, we will welcome them back for 30 days of residential care at no cost. For more information or to get started on alcohol use disorder treatment, call us at 866-377-4761.

Call To Talk To One Of Our Professionals Today!


Does alcohol cause essential tremors? 

While alcohol use disorder and withdrawal can cause other types of tremors, there is no evidence that alcohol can cause essential tremors. 

Why does my body twitch after drinking alcohol? 

A common symptom of alcohol withdrawal is experiencing tremors, shakes, and twitches. These symptoms occur because alcohol is a depressant, so when alcohol leaves, the brain experiences more activity than it has grown accustomed to, which can result in a body twitch. These twitches may occur around 6 hours after you last drank alcohol. 

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