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How Long Does it Take to Detox from Alcohol?

factors impacting alcohol withdrawal symptoms

When a person chooses to stop drinking, they will likely go through mild symptoms of alcohol withdrawal or may even face the severe symptoms linked to abrupt alcohol withdrawal resulting from alcohol dependence.

The length of alcohol detox symptoms can span days or even several weeks – the longer detox symptoms persistence depends on multiple and varying factors. The important thing to note is that alcohol detox is different for everyone. 

Alcohol Detox

The alcohol detox process is an all-encompassing and vital step for treating the severity of alcohol use disorder and the resulting condition of a person.

This detox process involves flushing alcohol-related toxins out of the human system, which has resulted in these alcohol withdrawal symptoms

When a person becomes dependent on alcohol consumption over time, they develop alcohol use disorder or simply alcoholism. Long-term drinkers receive chemicals from alcohol, and their brain stops the production of those specific chemicals – which ultimately causes deficiency without alcohol, ultimately creating a dependency.

Deciding to quit binge drinking is far from easy – however, it is crucial for a person’s health and overall well-being. Alcohol abuse for an extended period of time with excessive consumption leads to a buildup of toxins in the human system while also wasting the products of the body. The alcohol detox process begins when a person stops drinking and starts with the effective addiction treatment process while the body naturally gets rid of the harmful toxins.

Once this happens, you will likely reap detox’s lifelong health benefits.

Alcohol Detox Process Differs from Person to Person

Alcohol detox and alcohol withdrawal symptoms are different for different people – so far, no two people will experience the detox process the same way.

There are many different factors impacting alcohol withdrawal and its symptoms. The factors include several dependencies:

  • How long has a person been drinking?
  • How much is their daily intake of alcoholic drinks?
  • What is the current health situation of the patients? –and so on.

Potentially alcohol use disorder creates biological changes in people and increases tolerance – impacting the human body differently. Similar to developing alcohol use disorder and the different stages of alcoholism – the stages of alcohol withdrawal and detox are also volatile and different from person to person.

For some people, the alcohol withdrawal symptoms might only last for a few days – while others might experience the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal for weeks and beyond. The unpredictable nature of medical detox and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal make it necessary to seek the care of medical professionals with professional medical attention during the withdrawal period.

The withdrawal symptoms can take you by surprise, and people do not know how their bodies will react to withdrawal or how the alcohol withdrawal syndrome affects them eventually.

Mild Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction

In the initial stages of alcoholism, the body works to build drinking tolerance as it adapts. Mild to moderate drinking results in withdrawal symptoms within the first 8 hours of the last drink. This, however, rings true differently for different people, but the most severe withdrawal symptoms peak after 72 hours of the previous glass and can gradually reduce within a week.

Severe Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

People with a drinking problem and those who go through alcohol use disorder – three to five percent of them- experience severe withdrawal symptoms. Also, the detox process can last longer for people who suffer from extreme cases of alcoholism, and their withdrawal symptoms can also be intense.

On the other hand, last-stage alcoholism might result in severe withdrawal symptoms like alcohol withdrawal, delirium tremens (DTs), tremors, and even hallucinations. Delirium tremens, while it is primarily uncommon – require immediate medical attention and professional medical monitoring. The severe symptoms of DTs (delirium tremens) can last for many days and possibly lead to death if left without medical supervision.

How Long is Detox?

The time it takes to fully detox and recover from the symptoms induced by the detoxification process differs from person to person.

The medical detox process can take a few days to a few weeks – however, the longer detox duration solely depends on the patient. People experience moderate alcohol withdrawal symptoms that can last even for a month in rare cases – while some of the lasting symptoms can linger up to years.

The medical treatment options and treatment programs are designed to make the detox process and the alcohol detox symptoms manageable and comfortable for patients going through alcohol addiction or a substance use disorder. 

The withdrawal symptoms seem intimidating and daunting at first; however, proper support from medical professionals in a medical facility can help mitigate the risks of withdrawal symptoms – extending help to people going through the detox process. Treatment programs under an addiction treatment facility are designed to let people take their first step toward recovery and getting back to their lives – free from alcohol addiction.

Alcohol Detox Timeline

In the entire detoxification process, the human body likely experiences withdrawal symptoms while metabolizing the remaining alcohol out of the system, followed by the person’s last drink. This is the first step towards a long recovery from substance abuse disorder. This process lets a person start with their treatment comfortably and safely with a transparent system and under the medical care and supervision of a medical professional.

Professional help from treatment professionals under the medical addiction programs helps minimize the risks of alcohol withdrawal symptoms and problematic alcohol withdrawal syndrome. It is important to note that the timeline of the alcohol detox process is different for different people – below is an overview of what a person is likely to experience while going through withdrawal:

Six to Twelve Hours

While in the detox process, the mild withdrawal symptoms are likely to start after the six-hour window of the last drink – for a person who suffers from any substance abuse disorder. The initial and the first stage symptom a person goes through is the start of alcohol cravings – while in this window, a patient will also experience;

  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Tremors
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Nightmares
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • High blood pressure in addition to an elevated heart rate
  • Nausea

People can also have seizures after the six hours window if they are heavier drinkers and present with a long history of too much alcohol consumption. Doctors name seizures as the most dangerous part of acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms. The best option and the safest way to avoid the severity of the seizures is to seek medical help from a professional doctor and facility.

Twelve to Twenty-Four Hours

After twelve hours, most people will start experiencing some moderate withdrawal symptoms. The information suggests that 2 to 8 percent of people experience vivid hallucinations through alcohol withdrawal. People might end up hearing or seeing things that are not physically there and get scared. However, doctors and medical professionals do not consider this a severe complication.

Such withdrawal symptoms are likely to peak at eighteen to twenty-four hours and then gradually subside after 4 to 5 days have passed of the minor withdrawal.

Twenty-Four to Forty-Eight Hours

During this entire period, people will likely continue to feel mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms from alcohol detox. The risk of getting seizures is at its peak at this time frame while remaining high for several days. Seizures are often mild but can also lead to life-threatening medical conditions and even death. If stats are to be considered – the high death rate attributed to detox and withdrawal is linked to alcohol detox-induced seizures. So, help a friend or a loved one today.

Forty-Eight to Seventy-Two Hours

When people pass the 48 hours window from their last drink, they might end up experiencing heightened and severe withdrawal symptoms. While some people also experience the alarming symptoms of delirium tremens – DTs, symptoms. DTs are a severe form of alcohol withdrawal side-effect that can cause;

  • Agitation or irritability
  • Increased heart rate
  • Fever and higher body temperature
  • Body tremors
  • Profuse Sweating
  • Extreme confusion or disorientation
  • Seizures
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Hallucinations

A sudden increase in blood pressure can also occur, leading to chest pains. In most cases, the risks of getting a seizure decrease after the first 48 hours; however, the chance of getting a heart attack and stroke increases. DTs come as the reason for the higher death rates too. Thus, a treatment center monitors delirium tremens closely with different types of medications and tools (treatments and medical care).

Seventy-Two Hours and More

People who go through alcohol withdrawal are most likely to get their worst symptoms during this timeframe. The DTs are expected to last two to three days. Still, the signs can continue to register even past the eight days mark – leading to death if the resulting health conditions are not monitored by a medical professional. It is essential to seek medical attention and consultation if the symptoms get too severe.

Time Period of Addiction

A person consuming alcohol for years will experience the detox symptoms longer than someone who has been drinking alcohol for a few months. Moreover, medical professionals recommend the medically assisted detox program if the patient presents with a long history of drinking alcohol. People who start drinking under the age of 17 are more prone to experiencing hallucinations in the detox process.

Individuals who have been drinking alcohol for longer are at an elevated risk of experiencing symptoms of DTs while detoxing. Data and personal information of the detox clients suggest that 3 to 5 percent of people hospitalized for alcohol detox treatments experience delirium tremens (DTs). 

The symptoms of DTs present after three days of starting the detox process and can may for two to three days – even going as far as eight or more days, depending on the severity of the alcohol consumption.

How a person fares with detox can also affect the timeline of withdrawal. When a person quits alcohol cold turkey – or all at once – they will go to withdrawal faster. But this is dangerous if you quit cold turkey in some cases. The danger also depends on the length of original consumption and if the person has a substance use disorder. 

Level of Addiction

The severity of a person’s substance or alcohol use disorder also affects the timeline of the detox process and the severity of their withdrawal symptoms. Typically, people start experiencing alcohol detox symptoms under six to eight hours of their last drink, but when the consumption is mild to moderate. Such symptoms are expected to last five to seven days. But for people who consume higher amounts of alcohol, constituting to binge drinking sessions – the withdrawal symptoms shall last for two weeks or more.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for the body to return to normal after alcohol?

In most cases – people can expect the under-mentioned timeline;
– Eight hours after the last drink – the initial stage of withdrawal starts
– Twenty-Four to Seventy-Two hours – the symptoms are expected to hit the peak
– Symptoms begin to subside, and their intensity decreases after five to seven days

How long does it take to quit drinking?

Quitting drinking is one factor and dealing with the onset and lasting withdrawal symptoms is another. Few symptoms, including changes in sleep patterns, mood swings, and fatigue, can last for weeks or even months.
However, expect to feel better and healthier around the five-day mark or after the first week of your last drink.

Does alcohol cause inflammation?

Prolonged alcohol use and abuse impair the insides of the human body, including gut and liver functions, in addition to the multi-organ interactions. This leads to persistent systemic inflammation and eventually to organ damage.

Take Your First Step Toward Recovery with the Haven Detox in South Florida

The Haven Detox South Florida will work with you to procreate a custom treatment plan to support you every step of the way. Whether you want to meet your outside obligations, including family and work, or whether you require inpatient treatment – we are here for you to help you find freedom from alcohol addiction.

We will help you get your life back together with outpatient smart recovery therapy, withdrawal, addiction treatment, detox services, or residential programs for recovery – get help today by calling  

(561) 328 – 8627. Our admissions team is available 24/7 to answer any questions. 

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