Those who have struggled with alcoholism are more likely to experience severe and potentially life-threatening symptoms of withdrawal. Seeing as alcohol is a depressant, it alters your brain function, and changes the way in which your central nervous system communicates. If you consistently abuse alcohol for an extended period of time, the way your brain functions will change in a major way. When use is abruptly stopped, the brain will remain in an altered state, leading to serious symptoms of physical and psychological withdrawal. Mild symptoms including headache, stomach cramping, nausea, vomiting, sweating, and shaky hands, will begin within several hours of the last drink. More serious symptoms of withdrawal will likely begin to take hold within the next 24 to 48 hours. These symptoms may include rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, tremors, severe confusion, depression, anxiety, and even hallucinations (known as delirium tremens). These symptoms can be harshly uncomfortable – even life-threatening if not adequately monitored.