How to Stop Shaking After Drinking Alcohol

How to Stop Shaking After Drinking Alcohol

Am I just hungover or is this alcohol withdrawal? Why won’t my hands stop shaking? Am I sick, or will this go away with time?

Experiencing shaking or tremors after drinking alcohol can be distressing! Whether you're dealing with a hangover or experiencing alcohol withdrawal, understanding the causes and finding effective ways to stop the shaking is essential. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various factors that contribute to shaking after drinking alcohol and provide practical tips on how to stop shaking after drinking alcohol.

If you feel that you are experiencing a medical emergency, contact your physician or emergency medical services immediately.

Understanding Shaking After Drinking Alcohol

Shaking, also known as tremors, can occur as a result of alcohol consumption. Many individuals experience this symptom during a hangover or when going through alcohol withdrawal. The severity and duration of shaking can vary from person to person.

Some may primarily experience tremors in their hands or fingers, while others may feel shaking sensations throughout their entire body, including the arms, legs, torso, vocal cords, and head.

Hangover shakes can significantly impact fine motor skills, making everyday tasks like eating, typing, or holding objects challenging. Additionally, individuals may notice a shaky voice or difficulty maintaining a steady grip.

It's important to note that hangover shakes are distinct from more severe symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal, such as delirium tremens (DTs), which require immediate medical attention.

Causes of Shaking After Drinking Alcohol

Understanding the underlying causes of shaking after drinking alcohol is crucial for effective management. Several factors contribute to this symptom, including changes in the nervous system, fluctuations in blood sugar levels, and alcohol-related brain damage.

Nervous System Changes

Alcohol acts as a depressant on the nervous system. When alcohol is consumed, it inhibits glutamate receptors, which are responsible for transmitting messages between neurons. At the same time, it enhances gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors, which dampen neuron signals. These actions lead to a sedative effect.

However, when a person stops drinking alcohol, the depressant actions wear off, resulting in an overexcited nervous system. This imbalance can manifest as hangover shakes. The withdrawal from alcohol can disrupt the delicate equilibrium of neurotransmitters, leading to shaking and tremors.

Blood Sugar Fluctuations

Low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, can contribute to shaking after drinking alcohol. When alcohol is consumed, the liver prioritizes metabolizing alcohol over other functions, such as producing glucose for the bloodstream. As a result, blood sugar levels may drop, leading to symptoms like tremors.

Alcohol-induced hypoglycemia can exacerbate shaking and other hangover symptoms, including sweating and headaches. It is essential to stabilize blood sugar levels to alleviate shaking after alcohol consumption.

Alcohol-Related Brain Damage

Chronic alcohol use can result in alcohol-related brain damage, including damage to the cerebellum. The cerebellum is responsible for coordinating movement and maintaining balance. When this area of the brain is affected, individuals may experience cerebellar tremors, which are characterized by shaking at the end of purposeful movements.

Cerebellar tremors typically affect the arms, hands, legs, or feet. These tremors can persist even after alcohol consumption has ceased and may contribute to shaking after drinking alcohol.

Duration of Shaking After Drinking Alcohol

The duration of shaking after drinking alcohol varies depending on several factors, including the amount of alcohol consumed. The body metabolizes alcohol at a rate of approximately one drink per hour. Therefore, it can take several hours for the body to clear alcohol from the system entirely.

To recover from a hangover, the body needs time to eliminate alcohol metabolites, heal any tissue irritation, rehydrate, and restore normal brain and immune activity. Hangover shakes typically subside within a day or two and should not last longer than that. However, individuals who frequently consume alcohol may experience more frequent and prolonged episodes of shaking.

How to Stop Shaking After Drinking Alcohol

If you're experiencing shaking after drinking alcohol, there are several strategies you can employ to alleviate the symptoms and promote recovery. These tips focus on rest, hydration, stabilizing blood sugar levels, and incorporating specific nutrients to support the nervous system.

Resting and Hydration

One of the most effective ways to manage hangover shakes is to prioritize rest and adequate hydration. Alcohol consumption can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to fatigue and exacerbating hangover symptoms. Getting sufficient rest allows the body to recover and restore balance.

Hydration is essential to combat the dehydrating effects of alcohol. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it promotes fluid loss. Replenishing lost fluids with water or electrolyte-rich beverages can help reduce hangover symptoms, and help to stop shaking after drinking alcohol.

Stabilizing Blood Sugar Levels

Maintaining stable blood sugar levels is crucial for managing hangover shakes. Consuming carbohydrates can help stabilize blood sugar and alleviate the symptoms associated with low blood sugar.

Opt for nutrient-dense meals that contain carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. These foods provide a steady release of glucose into the bloodstream and support overall blood sugar balance.

Magnesium and Thiamine

Supplementing with certain nutrients can support the nervous system and alleviate hangover shakes. Magnesium, for example, plays a crucial role in reducing neurotransmitter release and preventing overexcitability in the nervous system.

Thiamine, also known as vitamin B1, is essential for individuals who frequently consume alcohol. Chronic alcohol use can deplete thiamine levels, which can lead to neurological conditions like Wernicke encephalopathy. Ensuring adequate thiamine intake can help support overall neurological health.

Seeking Medical Help

In severe cases of alcohol withdrawal or if there is a risk of complications, it is crucial to seek medical assistance. Medical professionals can prescribe medications, such as benzodiazepines, to ease withdrawal symptoms and prevent severe complications.

If you are concerned about your alcohol consumption or experiencing severe symptoms, contact a healthcare professional for guidance and support. They can provide appropriate medical advice tailored to your individual needs.

Prevention Strategies for Shaking After Drinking Alcohol

The best way to prevent hangover shakes is to avoid excessive alcohol consumption. If you choose to drink, moderation is key. Here are some prevention strategies to minimize the likelihood of experiencing shaking after drinking alcohol:

  • Drink in moderation: Set limits for yourself and be mindful of your alcohol consumption.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink water or non-alcoholic beverages alongside alcoholic beverages to maintain hydration.
  • Eat before and during drinking: Consuming a meal or snacks that contain carbohydrates can help stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • Pace yourself: Avoid consuming alcohol too quickly by spacing out your drinks over time.
  • Know your limits: Understand your tolerance for alcohol and respect your body's boundaries.

By implementing these strategies, you can reduce the chances of experiencing hangover shakes and their associated discomfort.

Recognizing When to Seek Medical Help to Stop Shaking After Drinking Alcohol

While most cases of shaking after drinking alcohol are mild and resolve on their own, it's crucial to recognize when medical attention is necessary. If you regularly consume alcohol and then abruptly stop, you may be at risk of severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms, such as delirium tremens (DTs).

Delirium tremens is a severe form of alcohol withdrawal that can be life-threatening. Symptoms include severe confusion, visual hallucinations, rapid heart rate, perspiration, hypertension, agitation, and hyperthermia. If you experience these symptoms, it is essential to seek immediate medical attention.

Additionally, chronic and heavy alcohol use can lead to various adverse outcomes, including liver disease, cancer, stroke, dementia, and heart disease. If you frequently experience hangover shakes or are concerned about your alcohol consumption, discussing your symptoms and habits with a healthcare professional is recommended.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are hangover shakes dangerous?

Hangover shakes themselves are typically considered a minor symptom of alcohol withdrawal or excessive alcohol consumption. However, they can be a warning sign that more severe effects, such as delirium tremens (DTs), may follow. If you experience hangover shakes and are at risk of DTs, it is crucial to seek medical attention.

Is it normal to shake when hungover?

Shaking after drinking alcohol is relatively common, especially during a hangover or alcohol withdrawal. However, it is essential to differentiate between mild symptoms and more severe manifestations of alcohol use disorder or other underlying conditions. If you have concerns about how to stop shaking after drinking alcohol, or experience frequent tremors, consulting a healthcare professional is advised.


Shaking after drinking alcohol can be an uncomfortable and distressing symptom. Understanding the causes and implementing effective strategies to alleviate shaking is crucial for managing this symptom. By prioritizing rest, hydration, stabilizing blood sugar levels, and seeking medical help when necessary, individuals can find relief and support their overall well-being.

Remember, prevention is key, and moderation is essential when consuming alcohol. By implementing responsible drinking habits and seeking help when needed, you can understand how to stop shaking after drinking alcohol and promote a healthier relationship with alcohol.


Healthline - Hangover Shakes: Why They Happen and When to Worry

National Institutes of Health - Withdrawal Management

Healthline - Alcohol, Blood Sugars and Hypoglycemia

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