Can You Lose Water Weight During Alcohol Withdrawal?

True alcohol withdrawal is experienced by regular, heavy drinkers and is quite serious, resulting when they abruptly change their habitual behavior. A hangover is a more routine occurrence, with symptoms several hours after drinking stops for those who have consumed large amounts of alcohol. Weight loss, whether though water loss or otherwise, is probably the last thing on the mind of someone in this state but may occur.

Alcohol Withdrawal and Hangovers

Serious health issues are a concern during alcohol withdrawal. This condition may last for days, and the consequences may last longer; some damage could be permanent. A hangover will last for less than a day, so the effects are less severe than withdrawal. Both cases have many similar symptoms that typically come on once all alcohol has left the system.


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Frequency, quantity and quality of your beverage of choice may have an effect on the type and severity of symptoms. The most critical symptoms of withdrawal include seizures and hallucinations, neither of which are characteristic of a hangover. More common are headache, nausea, vomiting, vertigo, unstable moods, trouble sleeping, sweating, diarrhea and dehydration. Many people complain of waking with “cotton mouth,” which correlates to dehydration.


The loss of water weight parallels dehydration. The body requires water for proper functioning. Alcohol is a diuretic, causing you to urinate more in both amount and persistence. The more you go to the bathroom, the more water your body loses. Adding to the water loss are the excessive sweating and diarrhea that often accompany a hangover or withdrawal.

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Most likely, you will lose water during alcohol withdrawal, and the scale will reflect fewer pounds -- but it is extremely unhealthy weight loss. Lessening or avoiding dehydration is possible when drinking alcohol by consuming a glass of water with every drink. Dropping a few numbers off the scale is not worth risking your health. Keeping the body's water level where it needs to be is crucial, and water weight always comes back anyway.