Alcohol Withdrawal Night Sweats

Author: NP Addiction Clinic
Published: December 27, 2022

Alcohol withdrawal can be a difficult and challenging experience due to the different side effects that come with it. A common symptom is experiencing night sweats. If you find yourself waking up in pools of sweat, you will realize that night sweats from alcohol withdrawal can be excessive and discomforting.

The good news is that with the right help and support, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be effectively managed. You can learn to keep your alcohol withdrawal night sweats under control. So, what exactly is alcohol withdrawal and why does it make you sweat?

Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is recognized as a series of symptoms that are experienced when someone who is physically dependent on alcohol reduces their intake or suddenly stops drinking.

If you have an alcohol use disorder, characterized by excessive alcohol consumption despite any negative consequences caused by alcohol use, it is likely that you have developed an alcohol dependency. This means that you are unable to function or feel 'normal' without drinking alcohol.

Due to changes in the body and brain caused by excessive alcohol consumption, when alcohol is no longer present, the body has to readjust. This causes alcohol withdrawal syndrome to take effect. Although withdrawal symptoms can be difficult to manage, with the help of a medical professional you can learn to control and manage any adverse symptoms, including night sweats.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

The first step in alcohol use disorder treatment is a detox, where you stop drinking so the body can rid itself of any remaining alcohol and toxins. If you have an alcohol dependence, common symptoms experienced in alcohol withdrawal include the following.

  • Mood disturbances
  • Irritability
  • Increased body temperature and blood pressure
  • Excessive sweating
  • Sleep disturbances

Severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are identified as delirium tremens and can be potentially life-threatening. These are experienced by people who have a history of chronic alcohol use and who have most likely already experienced additional symptoms of withdrawal. Symptoms of delirium tremens include tremors, nausea, seizures, and severe sweating.

Why Alcohol Withdrawal Causes Night Sweats

Why Alcohol Withdrawal Causes Night Sweats

There are a number of reasons why you could experience night sweats from alcohol consumption. They may happen after drinking alcohol, as a symptom of alcohol intolerance, or during the withdrawal process. This is largely due to the effect that alcohol has on the central nervous system (CNS).

Changes to the Central Nervous System

Alcohol depresses the central nervous system (CNS), which slows down the rate of physical functions, such as speech, walking, or coordination. With heavy drinking, the brain and body have to compensate for these different changes by over-generating signals and triggering psychological reactions, including high body temperature, increased blood pressure, and excessive sweating.

During alcohol withdrawal, these systems that have been affected by alcohol use slowly change back into their normal states, however, the body will continue to send out different signals in an attempt to counteract the alcohol's effects. This can cause night sweats.

Alcohol Intolerance

Research has also suggested that night sweats can be induced by an alcohol intolerance. This is caused by a genetic mutation that prevents the body from effectively metabolizing alcohol. Other symptoms of alcohol intolerance include:

  • Increased heartbeat
  • Low blood pressure
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Night sweats

Cardiovascular System

Alcohol affects all organs and systems within the body, including the cardiovascular system. Alcohol has been found to increase heart rate, both while consuming alcohol and during the withdrawal process, and as the heart rate increases, the body temperature rises. This causes blood vessels within the skin to widen, making the skin flush and causing excessive sweating, therefore leading to night sweats.

How to Manage Alcohol-Induced Night Sweats

How to Manage Alcohol-Induced Night Sweats

If you experience frequent night sweats that are causing extreme discomfort, it may be time to seek medical advice from a professional. If you are going through alcohol withdrawal, they can help you to overcome your symptoms while ensuring support is provided for the rest of your recovery journey.

However, night sweats are very common and can be easily avoided. It is not always necessary to receive medical attention, and there are some steps that you can take to ease the physical discomfort caused by night sweats. This includes:

  • Keeping hydrated throughout the day
  • Washing and changing sheets regularly
  • Showering before and after sleeping
  • Wearing light fabrics to bed
  • Using a lighter blanket

Alcohol-Induced Night Sweats FAQs

Alcohol-Induced Night Sweats

Are Night Sweats Normal When You Stop Drinking Alcohol?

Night sweats and alcohol are closely interlinked and sweating is a common alcohol withdrawal symptom. If you are undergoing an alcohol detox and experiencing symptoms of night sweats, there is no need to worry.

How Long Do Night Sweats Last?

There is no set timeframe for how long night sweats will persist. The withdrawal process differs for everyone and is highly contingent on how the body reacts to alcohol. Night sweats can begin a few hours to a couple of days after your last drink, and can last for a number of days.

Are Night Sweats Dangerous?

Night sweats are common for those who are familiar with alcohol abuse and most of the time pose no threat of danger. Severe night sweats can cause discomfort or sleep disturbances and in rare cases, can cause the body to lose excess salt and liquid, increasing the risk of dehydration.

Alcohol Abuse and Addiction Treatment at NP Addiction

If you believe you or someone you know is experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms, it may be because of an alcohol use disorder. We know that substance withdrawal can be uncomfortable, but our specialist team has expertise in stabilizing and reducing dependency to make the first stage of recovery as smooth sailing as possible.

At NP Addiction, we know that substance use is often the result of a much bigger problem. We aim at healing the whole body and mind by helping to address the root causes of addiction. We provide around-the-clock support, guidance, and help and allow you a safe space to recover.

We understand that each recovery journey is unique, so we nurture all aspects of your physical and mental health to give you the best chance of finding happy and long-term sobriety. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you.

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