Can Your Body Go Into Shock When You Stop Drinking?

Drug Addict laying on the floor in agony

When you suddenly cease drinking alcohol, your body responds by going into withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on the type of substance you used, how long you used it, as well as your genetics and family history. In some cases, the symptoms of withdrawal can even be life-threatening.

While there are numerous symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal, one of the most common concerns people have is whether your body can go into shock when you stop drinking. If you’re worried about the possibility of shock during alcohol withdrawal, here’s everything you need to know about the likelihood of suffering from this dangerous condition.

What Is Shock?

Shock is a critical medical condition that is triggered by a sharp decrease in blood flow. Going into shock deprives your organs of the vital blood and oxygen they need to function properly. If the condition persists for long enough without proper treatment, you may be at risk of permanent organ damage or even death.

Your body can go into shock for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common causes include blood loss, a severe infection, an allergic reaction, trauma, heatstroke, and poisoning. Shock can also be triggered by severe dehydration and burns.

Symptoms of Shock

When a person goes into shock, they typically experience one or more of a wide range of symptoms. Here are some of the most common signs of shock to be aware of:

  • Rapid pulse
  • Cool, clammy skin
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dilated pupils
  • Pale or ashen skin
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Confusion, agitation, or anxiety

All of these symptoms must be taken seriously and require immediate medical attention. Be sure to call 911 as soon as possible if someone around you is experiencing any of the above symptoms of shock.

Can Alcohol Withdrawal Cause Shock?

Withdrawing from alcohol can affect your body and mind in a multitude of ways. The effects are particularly acute if you stop drinking abruptly or if you decrease your alcohol use too quickly. In certain situations, you might even suffer from shock-like symptoms at any point during the withdrawal process.

Shock that results from alcohol withdrawal is known as alcohol withdrawal delirium (AWD). This severe condition normally impacts drinkers who have a history of heavy alcohol abuse. The symptoms of AWD are very similar to the symptoms of shock, and they can cause serious medical complications if they are left untreated.

Some of the most common symptoms of AWD include chest pain, a rapid heart rate, shallow breathing, tremors, dilated pupils, high blood pressure, hallucinations, nausea, fatigue or weakness, seizures, and confusion, agitation, or anxiety. Because many of these symptoms also occur during shock, it’s crucial to seek out emergency medical care if you notice any of these signs in yourself or someone else.

When it comes to treating AWD, it’s best to treat it as early as possible. The faster you receive proper treatment for alcohol withdrawal delirium, the lower your risk is for severe complications and death.

After all of this information, withdrawal can seem like a scary option to pursue. Remember, the short-term symptoms of withdrawal are nothing compared to the lifetime of struggling many problem drug and alcohol users experience. Don’t hesitate to seek help, take a moment to learn just how simple the entire process can truly be. Reach out to a member of the staff at Hickory Treatment Centers today and see how we can help you or your loved one on their road to recovery.


Close up on a bike with helmet smiling

If you have tried to stop using alcohol or drugs on your own, you may feel that sobriety and clean living seem far away. However, with the help of caring staff members and a safe, structured environment, you can receive the guidance you need to fight cravings and regain control of your life.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our admission staff or learn more about our healing programs.