What Is Alcohol Withdrawal Fatigue?

alcohol withdrawal fatigue

If you have begun the process of alcohol detox and withdrawal, your body will go through a series of phases. These phases will feature clusters of symptoms, one of them being alcohol withdrawal fatigue.

The alcohol detox timeline begins within about twelve hours of your last drink and lasts about one week on average. To better understand the detox process, and withdrawal symptoms like fatigue, read on!

About Alcohol Detox and Withdrawal

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) affects about 15 million Americans ages twelve and up each and every year. When someone with AUD wishes to enter treatment, they may first need to undergo detox.

The alcohol detox and withdrawal process begins when someone stops drinking. During detox, the body exhibits several adverse effects in response to the absence of alcohol. This occurs because it has become used to the effects of alcohol on a daily basis, and now struggles to normalize.

Each person has a unique detox experience that depends on various factors. These include how long they had the drinking problem, how much they drank, and things like general health and mental health.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms by severity include:

Mild Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Hand tremors
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Sweating

Moderate Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Disorientation
  • Profound fatigue.
  • Mood swings.
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • Shaking
  • Mild seizures.
  • Severe confusion.

Severe Withdrawal Symptoms

What is Alcohol Withdrawal Fatigue?

Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. It can emerge as a symptom during early symptoms, peak symptoms, or even post-acute withdrawal lasting weeks.

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Alcohol withdrawal may mimic a hangover, even though in this case you are not drinking alcohol at all. This explains why fatigue is both a symptom of drinking and of alcohol cessation.

Alcohol withdrawal fatigue is exactly that, a deep sense of feeling tired or drowsy after going through detox. You may feel exhausted much of the time and also have other symptoms like headache, insomnia, or feelings of depression.

The presence of fatigue, or the degree that you feel it, is often a reflection of the severity of the AUD. Someone with a long history of heavy drinking has likely caused various organs to be impacted by the alcohol. Thus, the symptom of fatigue can be a sign of that damage.

What Causes Alcohol Withdrawal Fatigue?

Withdrawal fatigue is quite common. Here are some of the causes of the fatigue:

  • Disrupted sleep rhythm. Alcohol disrupts the sleep cycle, both while active in the AUD and in withdrawal. Even after quitting alcohol, it takes a while for the body to reclaim normal sleep patterns. Meanwhile, you feel fatigued because you are not getting quality sleep.
  • Dehydration. Alcohol naturally causes dehydration in the body. It takes a bit of time for the body to return to its normal state, including fluid levels. This explains why you feel tired in early recovery, as your body isn’t yet fully recovered from dehydration.
  • Stress. Going through detox and withdrawal, and addiction treatment, is very stressful. The demands of stress can take a toll on you, as it demands more of your energy, resulting in fatigue.
  • Liver damage. If you have a long history of alcohol abuse, there is a higher risk of liver damage. One of the symptoms of liver damage or liver disease is sleep disruption, which causes fatigue.

How to Manage Alcohol Withdrawal Fatigue

Once withdrawal symptoms have peaked, usually on days 2-3 of detox, your symptoms will begin to lessen. If you still find yourself feeling fatigued and weary, try these actions:

  1. Hydrate. As you slowly restore fluids, you will begin to feel better and more energetic. Stay hydrated with at least 64-ounces of water per day. Herbal teas and sugar-free sports drinks with electrolytes can also help you rehydrate.
  2. Improve sleep. To vastly improve your stamina and restore your energy, it is vital to improve sleep quality. In early recovery, start anew by setting a regular sleep schedule and stick to it. This helps your body restore the circadian rhythm.
  3. Get exercise. Even if you feel tired, force yourself to get up and move anyway. Exercise can spur the production of endorphins, which help boost both energy and improve your mood.
  4. Eat a healthy diet. To improve your energy level, eat a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, lean meats, and fresh produce. Avoid caffeine, which causes a rebound fatigue effect, and limit sugar and processed foods.

Of course, if after a month or two of these efforts you still feel extreme fatigue, you should see a doctor for a checkup.

Strengthen Your Recovery With Aftercare Actions

Taking the above steps to reduce fatigue also helps to restore overall wellness. The stronger you become physically and mentally in recovery, the better your chances are for success.

Wellness is great, but that is only half the battle. You can further reinforce your sobriety by taking the following steps in early recovery:

  • Consider sober living. Anyone can struggle once they get home from rehab if their family doesn’t support their efforts. If this describes your home, consider a stay in sober living during the early months. This provides a substance-free living space while you get stronger in recovery.
  • Find a recovery community. Social support is vital. Look for a program that aligns with your personal philosophies or beliefs, and plan on attending regular meetings.
  • Outpatient treatment. It is always advised to continue on with therapy after rehab. Therapy offers a source of support and feedback during those early months when at the most vulnerable to relapse.

If you are ready to take back control over your life, reach out today for help.

Capo by the Sea Provides Safe Medical Alcohol Detox

Capo by the Sea is a leading provider of addiction recovery care and support. If you are entering treatment and want to learn more about alcohol withdrawal fatigue and other symptoms, please reach out. Call us today at (888) 529-2114.