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  • How Long Does It Take To Detox From Alcohol? | Alcohol Detox Timeline

    Denying Alcohol-How Long Does It Take To Detox From Alcohol?

    It can take about one week to detox from alcohol. Detoxification, also known as detox, is the process of cleansing alcohol from a person’s system. Detox processes and timelines may vary due to each patient’s level of alcohol consumption before starting a detox.

    If a detox patient is physically dependent on alcohol, they may experience withdrawal symptoms during alcohol detox. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can include cravings, high blood pressure, upset stomach, seizures, and a life-threatening condition known as delirium tremens.

    Patients may undergo alcohol detox at a rehab center or at home. A medical detox may be recommended for a stable, supervised withdrawal experience.

    Alcohol Detox Timeline

    The detox process can be separated into several stages, where withdrawal symptoms may progress from mild to severe as the time since the last drink increases:

    • 6 to 12 hours: mild symptoms, such as high blood pressure, upset stomach, insomnia, mood swings, and alcohol cravings
    • 12 to 24 hours: onset of hallucinations
    • 24 to 48 hours: onset of seizures
    • 48 hours to 1 week: onset of delirium tremens (DTS), increased heart rate, and high body temperature

    The effects of alcohol detox and withdrawal symptoms can last for about one week on average. Some patients may experience prolonged symptoms for an extended period of time.

    People experience different detox timelines depending on their pattern of alcohol consumption. People who engage in heavy drinking are more likely to experience severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

    At-Home Vs. Medical Detox

    Both at-home and medical detox programs exist for patients struggling with alcohol dependence

    An at-home detox may be risky for patients with a high risk of relapse, or who show signs of severe alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Patients detoxing at home may not have immediate access to healthcare.

    A medical detox program allows patients to withdraw from alcohol in a safe treatment center, with access to consistent medical supervision and healthcare. Medical professionals may recommend patients stay at the treatment facility until their detox is complete.

    A medical detox program may be recommended for patients with a history of alcohol use disorder, drug addiction, or severe alcohol withdrawal.

    Treatment Options For Alcohol Detox

    Alcohol rehab programs can help patients looking to end patterns of alcohol abuse. Patients may take an assessment of the amount of alcohol they drink and receive appropriate treatment from medical professionals. Quitting alcohol cold turkey, or in a single instance, can increase the risk of severe withdrawal.

    Detox patients may be given medication, such as acamprosate, disulfiram, and benzodiazepines, to treat severe withdrawal symptoms. These medications can discourage patients from drinking alcohol and reduce the severity of their side effects.

    Other alcohol addiction treatment options include counseling, behavioral therapy, and aftercare planning. To find out if our inpatient and outpatient alcohol addiction treatment programs work for you, your family member, or your loved one, please contact us today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    National Library of Medicine: StatPearls - Alcohol Withdrawal
    Science Advances - Advances in the science and treatment of alcohol use disorder
    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - alcohol use facts & resources

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on November 14, 2022
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