June 30, 2022

How Long Does it Take to Detox from Alcohol

Table Of Contents

How Long Does it Take to Detox from Alcohol

After the ending of a drinking session, alcohol withdrawal can begin within hours. Though, not everyone exactly will experience withdrawal symptoms in the same exact way. There are some individuals that will experience less severe symptoms. However, you are more than likely to go through a more severe withdrawal if you:

  • Have been drinking for an extended period of time
  • Have previously had experienced withdrawals
  • Usually, Drink heavily
  • Have other health conditions

It depends on multiple factors for the amount of time for alcohol to leave your bloodstream completely. It can depend on age, gender, health, history of alcohol use, and even genetic makeup.

Withdrawal of alcohol usually begins about eight hours preceding the last drink, according to the National Library of Medicine. Although, it can take a few days to begin in certain cases.

Symptoms of withdrawal can begin usually peak within a 24-48 hour window, though some can proceed for several weeks.

Detection tests for alcohol can still detect it in your saliva, urine, and even your hair after it’s even been entirely eliminated from your bloodstream.

The Beginning of Alcohol Withdrawal

When the levels of alcohol in the bloodstream drop below what is normal for the person is when the withdrawal will begin.

Mild symptoms could begin as soon as six hours after the last drink for some. It is also dependent on other factors such as age, genetics, gender, health, and history of use.

Even when alcohol isn’t completely stopped and just reduced withdrawal symptoms can occur. The withdrawal symptoms can be longer and less contrasty in these circumstances.

The Longevity of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal can last for various amounts of time for each individual. It mainly depends on how frequently and how heavily alcohol was used mostly. Though, it’s to be expected for physical withdrawal symptoms to peak around 48-72 hours after the last drink. It can also last 7-10 days, however, it can last as long as two weeks. Symptoms lasting more than two weeks are more psychological in nature, and can, unfortunately, last for several months in some circumstances.

Although it can vary from individual to individual, the general timeline can be divided into four stages when it comes to alcohol withdrawal symptoms:

  • Stage 1: In the first six to 12 hours, people will experience anxiety, headache, insomnia, stomach pains, poor appetite, and nausea.
  • Stage 2: In the following 12 to 48 hours, withdrawal symptoms escalate to other symptoms such as seizures and hallucinations.
  • Stage 3: In the following 48 to 72 hours, withdrawal symptoms can include fever, confusion, sweating, fast heart rate, high-elevated blood pressure, and delirium tremens — a possibly fatal condition.
  • Stage 4: Withdrawal symptoms will start to improve after 72 hours and gradually dissolve over the next four to seven days.

Stage three involves the worst of the withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol withdrawal can be a potentially life-threatening situation if not handled or treated properly. Therefore, it’s very important to know what is the most helpful when it comes to alcohol withdrawal. This is why it is highly recommended by medical professionals to highly recommend to those who are ready to quit and go through a medically supervised detox. Desert Rose Recovery, located in Florida, offers a safe and successful medically supervised drug and alcohol detox program.

What Are Delirium Tremens?

“Alcohol withdrawal delirium” or Delirium tremens (DTs), is one of the most extreme symptoms that can possibly occur after quitting alcohol. Its markers are a change in the level of consciousness and delirium. It has the potential to be fata in about 5 to 15 percent of all cases. Patients who are older with a history of heavy alcohol use, a prior history of DTs, poor liver function, and more intense or severe withdrawal symptoms early on have more probability to experience DTs.

Causes of Alcohol Withdrawal

Chemical dependence can develop for those who drink a significant amount or who drink on a regular basis. If they suddenly stop allowing the body to have the substance it has become dependent on, it can potentially send the brain and the body, including the neurotransmitters into shock.

Alcohol consumption heavily suppresses the brain’s neurotransmitters. When alcohol consumption is stopped, the brain’s neurotransmitters are forced to make readjustments to gain the sensitivity needed in order to correctly function again.

What Happens During Withdrawal and Detox from Alcohol?

For varying amounts of time alcohol stays in your system, which can be based on your weight, metabolism, and how many drinks you’ve consumed. When you stop drinking, you may experience specific levels of symptoms, especially if you are a heavy and frequent drinker.

Those respondents who detoxed shared that they were experiencing the following withdrawal symptoms below:

  • 8% reported seizures
  • 11% reported delirium tremens
  • 13% reported hallucinations
  • 23% reported rapid heart rate
  • 24% reported nausea or vomiting
  • 24% reported mood swings
  • 34% reported hand tremors
  • 42% reported fatigue
  • 45% reported sweating
  • 47% reported irritability
  • 49% reported stress or anxiety

Those who were more heavy alcohol users were more probable to experience withdrawal symptoms.

Those who were heavy drinkers more than doubled their potential for experiencing hallucinations during detox. They were 2.39 times more probable to experience hallucinations than other users experiencing them. In comparison to others during detox, heavy drinkers were:

  • 147% more likely to experience hand tremors
  • 95% more likely to experience rapid heart rate
  • 90% more likely to experience delirium tremens
  • 69% more likely to experience sweating
  • 65% more likely to experience nausea or vomiting
  • 45% more likely to experience seizures
  • 35% more likely to experience irritability
  • 28% more likely to experience fatigue
  • 28% more likely to experience stress or anxiety
  • 27% more likely to experience mood swings

Common Detox and Withdrawal Symptoms

The most common alcohol detox and withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Extreme Fatigue
  • Sweating and/or hot-flashes
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Dangerous dehydration
  • Alcoholic tremors
  • Delirium tremens
  • Seizures

Possible Influences on the Detox Timeline

There are a number of different factors and influences on the detox timeline that are unique to each individual, they can be:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • How frequently alcohol was being used
  • Amount of alcohol being consumed
  • If alcohol was being combined with other substances
  • If there are co-occurring mental health conditions. Such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, etc.
  • Additional health problems, like physical health problems.

Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal

Medical professionals are the ones best equipped to handle any and all treatment when it comes to alcohol withdrawal symptoms. When it comes to detoxing off any substances including alcohol it can be a dangerous and even life-threatening process. You need medical staff that is trained on stand-by, and even then there are so many benefits in having them help and support you through this strenuous time as your body and mind go through this transition. Desert Rose Recovery Center, not only offers a safe and secure medical detox program, but in addition, they offer many substance abuse treatment plans and programs. They also have knowledge and experience in treating co-occurring disorders when it comes to dealing with substance abuse disorders and other mental disorders simultaneously.


Standard Treatments

Easing the symptoms of withdrawal is the predominant goal of treatment. Along with supporting the patient as they detox to begin their journey towards a life-long journey of sobriety.

Standard treatment for alcohol withdrawal can involve:

  • Observations to determine the severity of symptoms of withdrawal
  • Anti-anxiety drugs such as benzodiazepines, help reduce the anxiety through the withdrawal process
  • Anti-seizure drugs such as Depakote, of which help prevent possible seizures
  • Beta-blockers, can slow down heart rate, decrease tremors, lessen anxiety, and sometimes help reduce alcohol cravings

Alcohol withdrawal and detoxification are not only physically, mentally, and emotionally difficult and challenging. For this reasoning aside from it being dangerous and life-threatening in itself, it is very important to detox in a medical rehabilitation center. This is also where you will find medically trained, competent, and compassionate professionals who can supervise your detoxification process and help manage your withdrawal symptoms. This is truly important for your well-being and safety.

Detoxing is the first and most difficult step towards sobriety, but it’s worth it! Some feel like they can taper off alcohol themselves without a rehabilitation center’s assistance. However, it is important to know that doing so is risky. Also, tapering off yourself is not typically a practical approach to being successful with alcohol addiction treatment overall.

Receiving Professional Help

If you are attempting to detox or know someone who is considering self-detox, it’s important to reach out. Following the professional recommendations by going through a medically supervised detox will help ensure your success in the long term and also help guarantee your safety.

Sobriety can be a difficult path to begin, however, Desert Rose Recovery Center is here to help assist you on your journey. We look forward to helping you find your way to a healthier, alcohol and substance-free future. Contact us today at (855) 866-6992 to learn more about our medically supervised detox program, as well as all the addiction treatment and programs we have to offer.

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