What Are Hangover Shakes And Tremors? - Rehab Guide
hangover shakes

What Are Hangover Shakes And Tremors?

It’s pretty common to have had one bad night of drinking in your life. Hangover shakes, tremors, headaches, nausea, vomiting, night sweats, thirst, dizziness, dry mouth and stomach pains are common hangover symptoms.

What’s not as common is someone having hangover symptoms beyond the usual flu-like ones. Some symptoms can be neurological and involve involuntary movements or spasms in the body. In other words, you likely have hangover shakes.

Why Do I Get The Shakes After Drinking Alcohol?

Uncontrollable tremors and shaking after drinking in the extremities, particularly the arms and hands, can be seen in some people experiencing a hangover. After drinking too much for the body to handle, these tremors may seem frightening and cause concern.

It’s important to note before looking at what the tremors are that if you notice the tremors are not lessening over time or feel like something is not right, seek immediate medical help. These could be signs of serious medical problems and drug addiction and need to be addressed right away.

Causes Of Hangover Shakes

One of the symptoms of alcohol tremors is that they happen after binge drinking or drinking for an extended time. There are a few different possible causes for them, although they all often will look the same to the observer. They should all be taken as a warning sign that there is too much alcohol in the body. It’s struggling to adapt to the changing alcohol levels in the system.

The causes of body jitters are as diverse as the symptoms. Alcohol is metabolized into acetaldehyde, a substance that’s toxic at high levels. But, concentrations seldom get that great, so that’s not the whole explanation.

The severity of the hangover symptoms is almost always based on a few different factors. The main ones are how much has the person been drinking and how long they have been drinking. The more you drink, or the longer you have been drinking, the worse the effects will be. Other factors like overall health, sleep deprivation, smoking, genetics, weight, gender, and age will play a role in severity.

Withdrawal symptoms could be caused by muscle twitching after drinking if you are over-dependant on alcohol. This is due to the sympathetic nervous system becoming overactive without alcohol to depress it. Body twitching during the day or in your sleep can also be due to stress, anxiety, dehydration, a reaction to stimulants or nutritional deficiencies.

Common Symptoms

  • Shakes
  • Tremors
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Night sweats
  • Thirst
  • Twitching
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth 
  • Stomach pains
  • Jittery after drinking

How Long Do Hangover Symptoms Last?

Symptom length will also vary based on those same factors. Hangovers symptoms will typically resolve after about 24 hours. However, more intense withdrawal symptoms can last longer. Over the next 2 days, on average, a person can expect to be through the most severe withdrawal symptoms, but this will vary from person to person and depend on how much alcohol they have consumed.

Why Am I Shaking With a Hangover?

As the alcohol leaves the system, tremors and shaking can happen due to the effect that alcohol has on the brain. It is a depressant and will slow or delay responses in the nervous system. It also affects the area of the brain that controls movement and coordination.

While sobering up may help some get their balance back, for others, as they go through withdrawal or have a hangover, the brain is still trying to get back to normal. It’s firing signals incorrectly to the body, and tremors may be one of the consequences of this.

Alcohol consumption can make blood vessels dilate, which can produce headaches. Alcohol can cause you to have an unsettled or broken sleep, which can exacerbate hangover symptoms and add to tiredness, brain fog, and feeling low. Feeling weak after drinking alcohol is also a common side-effect. When alcohol is metabolised, your pancreas has to work extra hand to make more insulin. This can make your blood pressure drop, causing exhaustion and weakness after drinking alcohol.

Alcohol is also a diuretic. The diuretic effect of alcoholic beverages works on the kidneys to make you urinate out more than you take in. One of the principal reasons for hangover symptoms is dehydration.

effects of alcohol

High Blood Pressure From Alcohol Consumption

Drinking too much raises a person’s blood pressure. One of the significant risk factors of binge drinking and heart disease is high blood pressure. When you drink too much, it can also lead to weight increase, which is an added risk factor for heart problems.

When you drink heavily, it may weaken your heart muscle, damaging the heart’s effectiveness to pump blood everywhere in the body.

How Does Alcohol Affect the Brain and the Nervous System?

Another possible cause of alcohol shakes is also due to neurology and the effect of alcohol on it. As the effects of alcohol wear off, the nervous system becomes more active, and a lot of information and stimulation is suddenly going through it. The shakes may be a result of the body trying to cope with being flooded with neurological activity. It may not have gotten back to a stable state yet, and shaking after alcohol consumption will result from that effect. Drowsiness and impaired cognitive functioning are the two dominant features of alcohol hangovers.

Hangover Anxiety and Hangover Shakes

Anxiety after drinking is also another possible cause of tremors. Hangovers or withdrawal are a shock to the system, especially for people who have been drinking for a long time. This can cause the body to release stress hormones and have an elastic effect on people with anxiety disorders. They may drink to calm themselves down, but when they sober up, at first anyway, they will experience very intense anxiety. This, like other symptoms of a hangover, are temporary and will pass, but it will be unpleasant for a time.

Although a hangover may be horrible, the memory of the embarrassment related to the night of excessive drinking can be even worse. A recent study may even imply that the ability to clearly remember a hangover, even months after you’ve made a complete recovery, is not always linked to how much you have drunk,  but sometimes who you are related to. According to the research, people with a family history of alcoholism can be more able to remember a hangover vividly than people with sober relatives.

What Are Delirium Tremors?

One of the more severe tremors is seen in people who have severe or long-standing alcohol addictions. It’s often called the DT’s or delirium tremens. These are tremors in people who are withdrawing from alcohol after drinking for an extended period. This is not seen in people with hangovers and is a warning sign of both the severity of the addiction and the body’s state.

Alcohol-related brain damage is a brain disorder caused by regularly drinking too much alcohol over several years. The most common form of ARBD is Korsakoff’s syndrome.

When people experience these tremors when they stop drinking, it usually means they need help to quit. They may even need medical detox to wean themselves off alcohol, so they can do it safely and have their condition monitored closely.

Alcohol Shakes and Blood Sugar Levels

Alcohol stops the body’s ability to maintain tight control of blood sugar levels. The result of this is a low blood sugar concentration, which is the leading cause of tiredness and weariness, and even tremors experienced during a hangover. These hangover symptoms are persistent after a night of drinking.

There are several reasons why shaking after drinking occurs and thankfully there are some remedies for shaking. Hypoglycemia indicates a deficient level of sugar or glucose in the blood. As sugar is the primary source of energy in the body, an alarmingly low level would make the following conditions emerge:

Hypoglycemia develops when the liver can not release glucose into the bloodstream because it must instead process alcohol. If this is untreated, the imbalance in the blood sugar levels can become a severe health issue, possibly leading to uncontrollable tremors.

Alcohol Poisoning

Excessive alcohol misuse can produce more than the usual feeling of discomfort the next day. Excessive alcohol consumption can cause alcohol poisoning, which can be life-threatening.

You probably already know how horrible it can feel the morning after a night out. You wake up with a horrible headache, feel nauseous and shaky.

You might even run to the toilet to throw up a few times if it’s bad enough, and you most likely spend the rest of the day trying to recover and feel decent again.

Alcohol poisoning occurs when you drink so much alcohol that your liver has major issues keeping up. Basically, it’s an overdose of alcohol, just like an overdose of any other illicit drug. This mostly happens when you consume a large quantity of alcohol in a relatively short period of time.

Scientifically speaking, this is when you’ve drunk an amount of alcohol that puts your blood alcohol level at a poisonous level. This can happen to anyone of any gender, age, or size.

How To Get Over Hangover Shakes

If you or someone you love are experiencing tremors or shakes, it may be a sign that you need help to stop drinking which in turn, will stop you shaking. If these do not go away over time, or if you get them after you try to stop drinking or when you have been drinking for a while, seek immediate medical advice.

Otherwise, there is no quick fix to make hangovers go away. While there may be many cures offered, they don’t do much to make the hangover symptoms go away. Amongst these is the “hair of the dog” strategy, which suggests drinking more alcohol to cure a hangover. This, however, is not advised, as it merely prolongs the symptoms.

Take painkillers and keep taking in fluids, especially sports drinks or those with electrolytes; this may relieve dehydration-associated symptoms such as thirst, dizziness, dry mouth, and headache.

Also, it’s essential to remember that if you are hungover, there is a likelihood that your blood alcohol levels are still too high to drive safely. Even if your blood alcohol level has returned to normal when your concentration is affected, you should avoid driving, work and other tasks that could be dangerous if you are still suffering from a hangover.

Chills from drinking may occur for a few reasons. Alcohol intoxication can cause hypothermia, which in turn can make you feel warm on the inside, but can cause you to feel fever-like chills resulting in shivering because the actual temperature of your body becomes cooler.

Shivering chills can also be experienced when someone is withdrawing from alcohol. An alcohol withdrawal fever is mostly associated with the most severe type of withdrawal known as ‘Delirium Tremens‘.

The single way to prevent hangovers is to avoid alcohol completely or drink in moderation, providing the body lots of time to process the alcohol before drinking more.

Treatment For Alcohol Abuse

If you are looking for answers on how to stop alcohol shakes, we must look at what is causing it. Alcohol shakes are alcohol withdrawal symptoms on a smaller scale. Some people who go through hangover symptoms will experience shakes or tremors, and while scary, they are not always medically dangerous. Excessive drinking for long periods and stopping can cause severe tremors and is a cause for serious concern.

Either way, your body is telling you that it was pushed past what it can do and needed to stop. Consider shakes and tremors your body’s way of warning you that you may be suffering from alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence, and it’s time to cut back or quit. If you are struggling to give up alcohol on your own, seek medical care at an addiction treatment centre. There are many treatment options available today for alcoholism.

Some advice for frequent drinkers is- do not drink more than 14 units a week consistently. If you wish to cut down, try to have some alcohol-free days each week. You can overcome this before it gets to dangerous levels.

Our free Self Assessment can help you track the amount you’re drinking in units.

You can read more tips for cutting down on our site.


Contact Rehab Guide today on 02072052845 for free help. 


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