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Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal Shaky Hands

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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

May 30, 2024

Table of Contents

Alcohol shakes often occur during alcohol withdrawal. They can happen when someone who drinks a lot or has been drinking for a long time stops consuming alcohol. Alcohol shakes can be hard to control or even painful, although this can be different for each person.

This guide explains what causes shaky hands from alcohol withdrawal and shows you how to get effective alcohol addiction treatment.

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Need help getting addiction treatment?

If you need help right away detoxing from alcohol, call 866.330.9449.

What Causes Shaky Hands During Alcohol Withdrawal?

Alcohol shakes, also known as tremors, can happen when people stop drinking or drink less alcohol. Shakes usually manifest in the hands or fingers.

Alcohol shakes are different for everyone. Sometimes, the shaking is light and hard to see. In more serious cases, it can be painful and make daily activities hard.

Alcohol shakes are a common and mild sign of alcohol withdrawal. Some people with severe alcohol withdrawal may also get a condition called delirium tremens. Delirium tremens happen in about 2% of people with alcohol dependence. Unlike alcohol shakes, this condition can cause severe agitation and hallucinations. While alcohol shakes are not dangerous, delirium tremens can cause seizures and may be deadly without proper treatment.

There are a few reasons why alcohol tremors happen. Alcohol affects the body and the CNS (central nervous system). Alcohol withdrawal and ARBD (alcohol-related brain damage) are the two leading causes of alcohol shakes.

When someone stops drinking, the brain gets overwhelmed because it is used to the effects of alcohol. This can cause the brain to send wrong signals to the nerves, making the hands and fingers shake.

Drinking a lot of alcohol for a long time can also harm the brain and CNS. This damage can cause the brain to send mixed-up messages to the nerves and muscles, leading to shaking hands or fingers.

women talking representing shake hands alcohol withdrawal

How Are Shaky Hands from Alcohol Withdrawal Treated?

There are several treatment options available for alcohol shakes and alcohol use disorder. Alcoholism treatment usually includes medications and therapy. Common meds for drinking problems are:

  • Naltrexone
  • Disulfiram
  • Acamprosate

Therapy and peer support groups are also helpful in treating drinking disorders. Therapy for alcoholism includes talk therapies like CBT, group and family therapy, individual counseling, and holistic treatments.

Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and stress management with meditation, yoga, or other relaxation techniques can also help improve alcohol shakes. It’s also beneficial to cut down on stimulants like caffeine.

Treatment strategies should be personalized and based on the severity of withdrawal symptoms and a person’s overall health.

How Long Do Shaky Hands Last During Alcohol Withdrawal?

The duration of alcohol shakes varies from person to person. Several factors affect how long the shakes last, including how severe the person’s alcohol dependence is.

Tremors may start 5 to 10 hours after the last drink. This is why some people who drink a lot wake up with the shakes and feel they need a drink to feel steady. Tremors usually peak 24 to 78 hours after the last drink but can last for several weeks or even longer.

Where Can I Find Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal Shaky Hands?

If you are experiencing alcohol withdrawal shakes, seek help. Here are some places where you can find treatment:

  • Doctors and healthcare providers: Your primary care doctor can provide guidance and refer you to specialists who can help with alcohol withdrawal and shakes.
  • Rehab centers: These centers offer programs specifically designed to help people with alcohol use disorder. They provide medical supervision and support throughout the withdrawal process.
  • Support groups: Groups like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) offer support and resources for people trying to quit drinking. Meeting others who are going through the same thing can be helpful.
  • Therapists and counselors: Mental health professionals can provide therapy to help you understand and overcome your drinking habits. They can also help with managing withdrawal symptoms.
  • Online resources: There are many websites and online forums that offer information and support for people dealing with alcohol withdrawal. They can help you find local resources and connect with others for support.

Talk to a healthcare professional to find the best treatment option for alcohol withdrawal shaky hands.

image depicting shaky hands from alcohol withdrawal

Get Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal Shaky Hands at Renaissance Recovery

Do you need help with alcohol withdrawal? If so, reach out to Renaissance Recovery for immediate assistance. We have luxury beachside rehabs in California and Florida where you can start sober living.

We can recommend medical detox centers if you need assistance with withdrawal. After tackling alcohol dependence, you can move into outpatient treatment at Renaissance. You will learn coping skills to help you stop using alcohol to self-medicate.

All alcohol addictions are different, so all treatment programs at Renaissance offer personal therapies like:

  • Talk therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Medications
  • Holistic therapy
  • One-on-one counseling
  • Aftercare

To begin your journey to recovery with alcohol addiction treatment, call 866.330.9449.



At Renaissance Recovery our goal is to provide evidence-based treatment to as many individuals as possible. Give us a call today to verify your insurance coverage or to learn more about paying for addiction treatment.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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