Beer Withdrawal Symptoms From Mild to Severe

Can beer drinkers have withdrawal symptoms? There is a misconception among some drinkers that if they stick to beer it is somehow better for them than drinking the "harder" stuff. Of course, it is true that you can get more intoxicated faster by drinking whiskey, simply because you have less fluid to swallow. You can down a 1.5 ounce of liquor a lot faster than you can a 12-ounce beer.

But when it comes down to it, there is just as much alcohol in a can of beer as there is in a standard mixed drink or a 5-ounce glass of wine. Each represents a standard drink when determining whether you are drinking at a safe level or at a high-risk level.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can occur when someone stops drinking alcohol. Those symptoms can range from mild, moderate or severe, but the severity of the symptoms has nothing to do with the type of alcohol the person stopped drinking.

Beer drinkers who stop drinking cold turkey can experience the same level of alcohol withdrawal symptoms as those drinkers who consume liquor or wine.

How Much Beer Is Too Much?

The recommended guidelines for beer consumption are the same as they are for any other alcoholic beverages: two or fewer beers a day for men and less than 14 beers a week. For women, it's one or fewer beers a day and no more than seven beers a week.

Any beer consumption above those levels is considered high-risk drinking: it puts you at increased risk for developing alcohol use disorders and for developing negative health consequences.

How much, how often, and how long you consumed alcohol play a role in how severe the withdrawal symptoms might be.

  • If you drank only one beer a day, your withdrawal symptoms (if you have symptoms at all) are going to be a lot less severe than if you drank a six-pack.
  • If you drank only three times a week, chances are your withdrawal symptoms will be less severe than if you were a daily drinker.
  • And, if you drank a case a week for 30 years, your withdrawal symptoms will probably be more severe than if you decided to quit after two years of that level of alcohol consumption.

Other risk factors are more personal: your size, gender, genetics, and even race can have an impact on your reaction to alcohol consumption and withdrawal.

Are Your Withdrawal Symptoms Mild, Moderate, or Severe?

Do you have withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop drinking beer? Answering these 10 questions will give you an idea of your alcohol withdrawal symptoms are mild, moderate or severe.

Severe symptoms, which usually occur about two days after withdrawal, can be life-threatening, so it is important to consult a doctor if you have concerns.

The test is completely confidential and anonymous; your results are not recorded and are available only to you. You are not asked for any personally identifying information.

This quiz is not intended as a substitute for a professional medical evaluation. It should only be used as a guide to determining if your alcohol withdrawal symptoms are such that you should seek medical attention before you attempt to quit drinking.​

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

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Article Sources
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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alcohol and public health: Frequently asked questions. Updated March 29, 2018.

  2. Mirijello A, D'Angelo C, Ferrulli A, et al. Identification and management of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Drugs. 2015;75(4):353-365. doi:10.1007/s40265-015-0358-1

  3. National Institutes of Health. What are the different drinking levels

  4. Arranz S, Chiva-Blanch G, Valderas-Martínez P, Medina-Remón A, Lamuela-Raventós RM, Estruch R. Wine, beer, alcohol and polyphenols on cardiovascular disease and cancer. Nutrients. 2012;4(7):759-781. doi:10.3390/nu4070759

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