Alcohol detox: How long does it take

When someone has abused alcohol or developed an addiction to alcohol, quitting drinking can be tough. The detox from alcohol happens once someone quits drinking and alcohol begins leaving their system. You might be wondering how long the alcohol detox process takes and what happens during this detox process. Hopefully, this guide will give you all the information you need about alcohol detox.

How Long Does Alcohol Detox Take?

The initial part of alcohol detox takes approximately one week. However, the person who is going through this process might find that the withdrawal symptoms can take a bit longer. In many instances, someone can expect the following when detoxing from alcohol:

  • Approximately 8 hours after someone drinks their final drink, their first withdrawal symptoms begin
  • Approximately 24 to 72 hours after the final drink, there is the peak of symptoms
  • Approximately 5 to 7 days after the final drink, the symptoms might start decreasing in their intensity
  • After 1 week from the final drink, there are certain side effects, usually psychological symptoms, that might continue

This is the information regarding the timeline for alcohol detox. If you are looking for help through the detox process, be sure to reach out today.

What Are the Symptoms of Withdrawal?

Usually, the symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal will happen in 3 stages. These stages include the following:

  • Stage 1 – The first of the symptoms could include anxiety, nausea, abdominal pain, and insomnia. These usually begin about 8 hours after the final drink.
  • Stage 2 – Stage 2 symptoms could include an increase in body temperature, high blood pressure, confusion, and irregular heart rate. Stage 2 symptoms usually start 24 to 72 hours from the final drink.
  • Stage 3 – Stage 3 symptoms generally start 2 to 4 days from the final drink. These could include hallucinations, fever, agitation, and seizures.

As the body gets rid of most of the alcohol, the person going through detox should notice fewer symptoms. The majority of people who go through alcohol detox will notice symptoms start decreasing 5 to 7 days after the final drink. In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, the person who is detoxing might experience anxiety and alcohol cravings, as well.

Lastly, it is necessary to mention that, in some instances, the person who is detoxing could have life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Usually, this is only a possibility if the person was a heavy drinker and drank for many years.

Withdrawal syndrome could potentially be dangerous. This is especially true if someone is experiencing hallucinations and/or seizures. This is why it is highly recommended that anyone who needs to detox from alcohol reaches out to an alcohol rehab center first. Having the staff members at the center monitor your symptoms could help to save your life. In addition, attending an alcohol detox center can help to make you more comfortable while you are detoxing.

What Are the Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment Options?

When someone gets detox help from a reputable medical center, the healthcare team will usually use specific medications to help manage the withdrawal symptoms. The doctors might prescribe a benzodiazepine to help with managing any seizures and/or various other withdrawal symptoms.

If the alcoholic decides to attend a rehab center, the team at this facility will monitor them throughout the entire detox process. They will keep track of the patient’s blood pressure, breathing, and body temperature. The team will also track any withdrawal symptoms the patient has and help to make them as comfortable as possible.

In some instances, the person who has been abusing alcohol might decide to stop drinking alcohol over the course of weeks. If this is the case, the person should keep in touch with their doctor regularly. The doctor can help the patient to determine a schedule for quitting alcohol. This will allow them to more safely decrease their dependency on alcohol. If someone is going to detox slowly, they might not have as severe withdrawal symptoms. The doctor might even recommend supplements or dietary changes to help ease the withdrawal symptoms that the patient does have.

When Should You Get Help for an Alcohol Abuse Disorder?

Whether you have been abusing alcohol or you have an alcohol addiction, you can seek help. Someone should get help if they struggle with their alcohol use. Some of the things that signify you might need help to overcome an alcohol abuse disorder include the following:

  • Can’t quit drinking on your own
  • Others in your life are concerned about your drinking
  • Have tried to quit drinking on your own in the past without long-term success
  • Feeling like you need to quit drinking but can’t bring yourself to do so
  • Feeling bad that you drink
  • Missing events or not taking care of responsibilities due to your drinking
  • Drinking until you blackout
  • Drinking until you get drunk most of the time
  • Drinking to cover up a hangover

These are just some of the times when you might need to get help to overcome an alcohol abuse disorder. Even if you feel that you don’t need help, you can reach out to an alcohol detox center to talk about what to do. They can talk to you about how they can help and you can decide from there what to do in your situation.


In the majority of cases, the person who is detoxing will need about 1 week before their withdrawal symptoms subside. With that being said, there might still be some lingering symptoms, especially psychological ones.

Whether you have been drinking for a few weeks or you have been drinking for many years, you can become addicted to alcohol.

If you are ready to give up drinking, whether it is causing any problems in your life or not, you should think about getting help from an alcohol detox center. The professionals at these centers will be there for you. They have experience in helping people to overcome their alcohol addictions. If you need further help after detoxing, there are alcohol rehab programs that can help you, as well.

Reach out for the help you need to overcome your alcohol abuse or alcohol addiction today.