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Hangover vs Withdrawals

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome vs. A Hangover

While some of the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome are similar to a hangover, they are not the same condition. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome and a hangover have different causes.

A hangover occurs when a person drinks too much alcohol at one time.

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome occurs when a person with alcohol use disorder stops or suddenly decreases their alcohol intake.

Alcohol use disorder was formerly known as alcohol addiction or alcoholism. If a person regularly drinks too much alcohol, their body may become dependent on the substance.


Too much alcohol can irritate the stomach lining, cause dehydration, and lead to an inflammatory response in the body. As the alcohol wears off, these effects lead to common hangover symptoms, such as headache, nausea, and fatigue.



Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is different. If a person has alcohol use disorder, their body gets used to a certain amount of alcohol in their system. They have built up a tolerance to alcohol and now have a physical dependance on it.

The continued use of alcohol causes changes in the central nervous system and neurotransmitter production in the brain. When the supply of alcohol is suddenly stopped or decreased, withdrawal symptoms can develop.

Withdrawal Symptoms Include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fast heart rate
  • Agitation
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Nightmares
  • Anxiety
  • DT's (Less frequently, people can develop severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Severe symptoms are called delirium tremens or DTs.) Symptoms of DTs include:
    • severe tremors
    • elevated blood pressure
    • hallucinations, usually visual
    • extreme disorientation
    • seizures
    • raised body temperature

    The DTs can be life-threatening. In extreme cases, the brain can have problems regulating breathing and circulation.

    Drastic changes in blood pressure and heart rate can also develop, which may lead to a stroke or heart attack.

These symptoms can be deadly. If you are suffering from Alcohol Use Disorder or feel like you are dependent on alcohol, please call us to find out why an inpatient medically supervised detox is the safest way to handle your withdrawal symptoms.

Why Self-Detox Doesn't Work...

Physically, alcohol and most substances actually change the chemistry of the brain, causing intensely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. While many people have the best intentions, self-detox comes with many risks and can be life-threatening if conducted improperly or without medical supervision. By definition, self-detox also cannot provide the support needed for sustainable sobriety and lasting recovery. Discover why you need to detox medically:



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All of these substances require a medical detox to safely reduce you body's physical dependency on the drug. At Scottsdale Detox, we offer treatments for all of these substances. If you think you might need a medical detox, please call us for a free consultation.



Struggling with addiction is hard enough, and trying to do it alone is practically impossible. Misuse of drugs or alcohol hides the underlying causes of your addiction and these will continue to disrupt your life until they are uncovered and addressed.

If you are reading this right now and need to change things in your life, please call us now. We understand how you feel and the struggle to pick up the phone. Our staff recognizes that people who try to quit by themselves oftentimes get frustrated and feel helpless when they can’t. You can, and we can help.


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