Alcohol withdrawal can be serious. When a heavy drinker stops drinking abruptly, he or she will undergo uncomfortable (and sometimes life-threatening) symptoms. These symptoms typically include headaches, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, body tremors, and anxiety, but can also include a wide range of other serious physical, mental, and emotional symptoms. Alcohol itself is a depressant, and it has a sedative effect on the brain. Prolonged and heavy use can affect brain chemistry, sometimes causing irreparable damage. Alcohol alters the levels of neurotransmitters present within the brain – the chemical hubs that send messages throughout the rest of your body, dictating your behaviors, your emotions, and the way you think. If you continue to use daily (or almost daily), your brain chemistry will begin to adapt to the excess alcohol. It will begin to produce chemicals like serotonin in greater quantities, attempting to replenish the supply that alcohol has been compromising. When alcohol use stops suddenly, the brain doesn’t know how to regulate itself — chemical production goes haywire, and symptoms of withdrawal inevitably ensue.