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Why Does Alcohol Withdrawal Kill You?

by | Questions | 9 comments

Why Does Alcohol Withdrawal Kill You? (Transcript)

I’m Kevin O’Hara for Alcohol Mastery and today I want to ask the question:

“Why does alcohol withdrawal kill you?”

Really, the answer is: it doesn’t kill you!

Google “Death From Alcohol Withdrawal” Results

I challenge anybody who thinks that alcohol withdrawal kills them to go on the internet and type in “death from alcohol withdrawal”. Just type that into Google or Bing or Yahoo! – whichever one you’re using. You will find it very, very difficult to come up with any webpage…You will come up with stuff like Amy Winehouse – lots of stories about her. I don’t think she died of alcohol withdrawal. She was taking a concoction of different drugs, I think. But you won’t find anything for the amount of deaths that are caused from alcohol withdrawal.

Google “Death By Alcohol” Results

Now take out the “withdrawal” and just type in “why does alcohol kill you” or “deaths from alcohol”, and you will come up with tens of thousands of attributed deaths every single year. In America, in Europe, all around the world. Now I’m not a doctor, so I can’t give medical statistics to back up what I’m saying. But anybody who can type can go into Google and see what I’m saying is true. There are enough statistics to fill up the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Death By Alcohol is Difficult

Am I saying that nobody has ever died from alcohol withdrawal? No, I can’t say that. But I also know that people have gone to sleep and died in their sleep for no apparent reason. Young people who’ve just gone to sleep and drop dead. I also know that when somebody is a pure alcoholic, when their whole life revolves around alcohol and they get up in the morning and the first thing they do is reach for a drink. And their whole existence is about drinking…When they die, the doctor or whoever is going to sign the death certificate is going to assume that it’s caused by alcohol.

Where Lies The Truth?

Now nobody can tell me that a person who spends their whole life drinking and the only reason they get up in the morning and they’re still breathing is to drink has been a paragon of virtue in every other aspect of their lives. They’ve watched the nutrition and they’ve made sure that they get a good night’s sleep and exercise – they haven’t done any of that. So they’ve driven their body into the ground in more ways than one. The alcohol is going to be a massive factor that’s probably caused everything else. It’s probably caused them not to look after themselves. But, was it the withdrawal that killed them? Or was it the fact that they had complete vitamin and mineral deficiencies? I know it’s going to be put on the death certificate, that’s for sure.

Drinking Alcohol vs Withdrawing from Alcohol

So if you really, seriously think that there’s a danger of you dropping dead from alcohol withdrawal, then go visit your doctor. But in my honest, non-medical opinion, you have much, much, much, much, much more chance dying from alcohol than alcohol withdrawal. I hope that answers your question. If you have any other questions, just leave a comment down below or go to the website.

Onwards and upwards!
Thanks for visiting the site.
Until next time…
Onwards and Upwards!

Why does alcohol withdrawal kill you

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  1. GatsbyGlen

    I really like this site. I do believe that alcohol withdrawal can kill you, especially if try to detox non-medically. I’ve seen it happen at a non medical detox facility. For some people, the withdrawal can induce fatal seizures. However, from what I’ve read, this is rather rare.

    • Kevin O'Hara

      I completely agree with you Dan. There have been people who die from alcohol withdrawal, but those people are drinking massive amounts of alcohol without all the time. My argument is that 99.99% of people have nothing to fear from quitting. If you can stop drinking for a day or two, if you’ve done it in your recent past, you know you can do it, you know you don’t need a doctor, and you know that you’re not going to die.
      We all had to learn to use this drug in the beginning, it doesn’t come to us naturally. To stop using it, we need to unlearn the habits and the rituals that we’ve accumulated over the years, while learning other healthy replacements.
      If I was teaching someone how to swim, I wouldn’t teach them that a small minority of learners are going to drown and die, then produce mountains of information about what it feels like to die from drowning. All that would do is scare the shit out of everyone, stopping a lot of people from even trying to learn how to swim. I would take precautions to ensure the safety of my pupils and teach them the correct techniques to use and how to deal with things if an emergency arises.
      Most of the information about stopping drinking puts massive emphasis on the bad possibilities if you attempt to quit without getting help.
      Millions of people around the world have quit and are quitting every day without any outside help whatsoever. I would recommend that people visit their doctor if they have any doubts at all.

      • GatsbyGlen

        Well said.

        I did have fear that quitting suddenly would kill me. I drank a large amount (close to a handle every 36 hours) of vodka. When I tried to stop, it was painful. I did at one time go to a non medical detox, where they basically feed you and tell you to drink the “bug” juice, basically stuff like koolaid, etc. Alcohol has a lot of sugar in it, and when you stop, your body craves it, so that is what they always had something sweet to drink there.

        I made it the 10 days. I didn’t die 🙂 But it was pretty painful, which is to be expected. I couldn’t sleep the first 2 nights in that place. You can’t expect to stop and just automatically feel good. There are still times when I feel tremulous and have difficulties sleeping, but I know it will get better over time.

        Thanks for your site!

  2. bianca

    Okay I’ve been drinking for 10 days straight now and I’ve heard if your drinking levels arrested too high, that you can die if you stop.
    I’ve consumed alot with in the last 10 day$

    • Kevin O'Hara

      Best advice I can give is to taper off. Just do a few beers for the next couple of days until you back to ‘normal’. Then try for a dry day. If you have any worries or doubts, see your doctor.
      Wish you the best

    • GatsbyGlen

      If it has been only 10 days, then I think you will be OK. I’ve went on much longer binges and stopped. You could try tapering as Kevin said (although that never worked for me – I just ended up drinking more), or you could try to medically detox with the help of doctor, usually with the help of Librium. You won’t feel great and will experience withdrawal symptoms, but you will need to give your body time to recover.

  3. Jacey

    Amy Winehouse didn’t die from a cocktail of drugs in her system. She died from alcohol poisoning after a month of sobriety. She also had been off all drugs for at least a year before her death.

    As a massive fan of hers, I felt the need to set you straight.

  4. gwe

    Alcohol withdrawal can most certainly kill you in the same way benzodiazepines can kill you. Yes you need to be very addicted for this to happen. But to say no death happen is incorrect and is dangerous to say. You can kill someone with this misinformation. Let me break it down, both of these chemicals affect the GABA receptors in our body. When activated it relaxes our body. When one who is major withdrawals these receptors get no activation. The body goes in to overdrive, you can seize, and the die. Both of these chemicals one should get medically detoxed. Especially if one is getting the shakes in the morning.

    • Kevin O'Hara

      I think if you watch the video, I do say “Am I saying that nobody has ever died from alcohol withdrawal? No, I can’t say that…” I don’t want to prove that you cannot die from alcohol withdrawal. The point is that most people don’t die from the withdrawal, but from the consumption, to the tune of millions per year.


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