How To Cope With Alcohol Withdrawal: 24 Tips You Can Do Today

Last Updated: April 23, 2024

The fear of alcohol detox can send people right back into their habits of alcohol abuse. Most people who drink, especially heavily, have difficulty quitting because navigating alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be challenging. Learning what to expect when alcohol withdrawal happens, how to cope with the symptoms and natural ways to help alleviate the discomfort of the experience are important first steps toward overcoming alcohol withdrawal and lasting recovery.

Strategies for Coping With Alcohol Withdrawal

Understanding what can happen during alcohol withdrawal can significantly affect how a person pushes through. Preparing for what to expect is a good way to cope with withdrawal symptoms.

Dealing with alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be rough. The most common mild symptoms are nausea, headache, anxiety, vomiting and insomnia. However, some symptoms can be much more acute, and those facing that level of detox should seek medical treatment.

Some healthy coping strategies for alcohol withdrawal that anyone can practice include:

Must-Have Strategies for Coping With Alcohol Withdrawal

These tips are important . If you don’t put these in place, you likely won’t last more than a couple of days. 

  1. Understand Cravings 

Intense cravings are a major part of alcohol withdrawal. “Urge surfing” is a concept to get familiar with, where instead of trying to fight against cravings, you ride the wave. The idea is to allow yourself to feel your way through the urge but refrain from giving in to it. This is also a tool for active recovery.

  1. Seek Support

Ensure your loved ones are mindful of what you’re going through so they can support you. Getting through withdrawal by yourself is extraordinarily difficult. Doing it with the help and support of those around you is much easier.

Coping Strategies for Your Physical Health During Alcohol Withdrawal

  1. Stay Relaxed

Relaxing activities such as meditation, deep breathing, hot showers or baths and stretching can help keep your body calm. Alcohol withdrawal can make you more jumpy or tense; deliberately relaxing can help counteract this symptom.

  1. Get Plenty of Rest 

Sleep and rest are always the best medicine as the body repairs itself during shut-eye hours. Staying well-rested will equip your body to recover as efficiently as possible. Seeking professional help during withdrawal can help improve rest, as alcohol withdrawal often causes insomnia.

  1. Stay Hydrated

Drink lots of water to avoid dehydration, which can be a side effect of withdrawals. Staying hydrated also helps your body function at its best, helping you recover more quickly and better cope with symptoms that develop.

  1. Reduce Other Stimulants

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms occur because your mind becomes hyperactive. Stay away from stimulates like coffee, tea and sugar, as these can heighten the stimulation your brain is dealing with and worsen withdrawal symptoms.

  1. Keep Your Blood Sugar Balanced

Alcohol can cause spikes and drops in blood sugar. Eating regular, balanced meals can help stabilize these levels and reduce withdrawal symptoms. Eating healthy foods such as fruits and veggies can also help optimize your body’s health through withdrawal..

  1. Avoid Using Other Substances 

It’s essential to give your body a clean slate during withdrawal. Using other drugs can complicate the process and increase the risk of complications. Also, part of withdrawal is planning to stay clean afterward. Using another substance promotes addictive behaviors that you should be attempting to avoid.

  1. Exercise Regularly

Exercise naturally boosts your mood, and regular physical activity can help with withdrawal symptoms like anxiety and depression. Additionally, establishing a routine can provide structure, distract from cravings and improve overall physical and mental well-being.

  1. Seek Medical Attention if Necessary 

Alcohol withdrawal can be, in some cases, life-threatening. If you experience severe symptoms like seizures, hallucinations, high fevers or delirium tremens (DTs), immediately getting medical help is crucial. These symptoms can escalate rapidly, and having professional medical help can be the difference between a safe recovery and severe complications.

Coping Strategies for Your Mental Wellness During Alcohol Withdrawal

  1. Be Patient With Yourself

Recovery is a journey with its own set of challenges and victories. It’s okay to have ups and downs; what’s important is that you keep moving forward. Remember that healing is a process, and taking things at your own pace is okay. 

  1. Avoid Triggers

Certain places, people or situations might remind you of drinking or tempt you to drink again. Recognizing and avoiding these triggers is important, especially in the early recovery stages. By being proactive, you can reduce the risk of relapse.

  1. Find a Support Group

Recovery can be a lonely journey, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Connecting with others who understand what you’re going through can provide invaluable support, encouragement and perspective. 

  1. Consider Counseling

Addiction often has underlying emotional or psychological triggers. Therapy can help address these root causes, providing insight into why you turned to alcohol in the first place and how it meets subconscious needs. With the guidance of a trained professional, you can work towards a deeper understanding of yourself and your addiction.

  1. Rekindle an Old Hobby or Start a New One

Engaging in activities you enjoy can be a positive distraction from cravings and provide a sense of purpose. Whether it’s painting, reading, gardening or any other hobby, immersing yourself in these activities can boost your mood, give you a sense of accomplishment and help you rediscover passions that might have been overshadowed by alcohol.

  1. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness and meditation practices can help you stay present, reduce anxiety, cope with cravings and develop a deeper connection with your inner thoughts. By focusing on the present moment, you can gain clarity, better manage stress and navigate recovery challenges with a calm mind.

Strategies for Seeking Help During Alcohol Withdrawal

  1. Understand the Difference Between Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment involves staying at a facility for a set period, while outpatient treatment allows you to live at home and attend sessions at a clinic. Knowing the pros and cons of each can help you make an informed decision about what’s best for your recovery journey.

  1. Locate an Accredited Treatment Center

Not all treatment centers are created equal. Ensure you’re getting the best care possible by choosing an accredited facility. Researching potential centers can give you peace of mind and prepare you for a successful recovery.

  1. Learn What To Expect During Treatment

Entering treatment can be daunting, especially if you don’t know what to expect. Familiarizing yourself with the process, from detox to aftercare, can help reduce anxiety and make the most of your time in treatment.

Strategies for Maintaining Sobriety After Alcohol Withdrawal

  1. Try an Aftercare Program

Recovery doesn’t end when treatment does. Aftercare programs provide ongoing support, resources and tools to help prevent relapse. These programs can be essential supports in maintaining sobriety and building a fulfilling life after recovery.

  1. Enlist a Support Network

Having friends, family or mentors who support your recovery can make a world of difference. Surrounding yourself with positive influences and individuals who understand your journey can provide encouragement, accountability and a sense of belonging.

  1. Continue Healthy Habits 

Establishing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help reduce the risk of relapse and improve overall well-being. These habits can become cornerstones of your new, sober life, providing structure and promoting overall health.

  1. Take One Day at a Time

Recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. Each day presents its challenges and victories. By focusing on the present and taking things one step at a time, you can navigate the ups and downs with resilience.

  1. Never Give Up 

Setbacks can happen, but they don’t define your journey or worth. Keep pushing forward, believe in your ability to overcome and remember that every day is a new opportunity for growth and healing.

What Is a Typical Timeline for Alcohol Withdrawal?

Understanding the timeline for alcohol withdrawal can help a person be more prepared for what to expect, which can help reduce some of the anxiety they might experience.

According to the National Library of Medicine, “Alcohol withdrawal usually occurs within eight hours after the last drink but can occur days later. Symptoms usually peak by 24–72 hours, but may go on for weeks.”

The body goes through chemical changes as the stages of withdrawal begin to unfold. During this timeframe, you may experience signs that you are starting to experience alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

Alcohol withdrawal is sometimes broken down into three stages of severity:

  • Stage one: Anxiety, insomnia, nausea and abdominal pain characterize this stage, which begins eight hours after the last drink.
  • Stage two: Tremors, headaches, sweaty skin and high blood pressure come with this stage, which begins 24–72 hours after the last drink.
  • Stage three: Hallucinations, fever, seizures and agitation can come with this stage, which tends to begin 72+ hours after the last drink.

After physical symptoms peak in severity, they typically gradually subside over the next three to seven days. 

It is very important to be aware of a potentially fatal complication  in withdrawal known as Delirium Tremens (DTs), which requires medical treatment. The New England Journal of Medicine estimates that 3–5% of individuals facing alcohol withdrawal experience DTs.

Is It Really Possible To Overcome Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms?

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are temporary, and anyone can get through them with support. Staying on track with your detox and implementing the tips we’ve provided can help give you your best chance of success. Ultimately, a medically supervised detox will best help you implement a successful detox strategy and help your withdrawal be as safe, comfortable and effective as possible.

Getting Help for Alcohol Misuse and Withdrawal

Remember that while using our tips for alcohol withdrawal is helpful in the moment, they are simply a coping strategy and do not address the underlying factors contributing to alcohol abuse.

Long-term recovery and treatment for alcoholism should be implemented after withdrawal symptoms have subsided. Treatment programs for alcohol abuse can help people identify what caused their alcohol dependence and provide sustainable recovery.

If you are struggling with alcohol addiction or have experienced the upsetting effects of alcohol withdrawal symptoms, Orlando Recovery Center can help. We can help you determine if our alcohol treatment program is a fit for you. Our process is completely confidential and the initial assessment is free. Contact us today to schedule an intake interview and begin getting the treatment you need.

Take The Next Step Toward Recovery

If you are struggling with alcohol addiction or have experienced the upsetting effects of alcohol withdrawal symptoms, Orlando Recovery Center can help. We can help you determine if our alcohol treatment program is a fit for you. Our process is completely confidential and the initial assessment is free. Contact us today to schedule an intake interview and begin getting the treatment you need.


Alcohol Withdrawal, Martin, Laura J., National Library of Medicine,

Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment, Signs & Symptoms, American Addiction Centers,[…]-treatments/alcohol/

Recognition and Management of Withdrawal Delirium, Schuckit M.D., Marc, The New England Journal of Medicine, , Nov. 2014

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