how long does it take to detox from alcohol

How Long Does it Take to Detox from Alcohol?

Alcohol addiction and the length of detox is dependent upon a variety of factors due to the severity of the addiction. Alcohol is a powerful substance that can cause extreme physical and mental effects. Long-term abuse can result in damage to many vital organs, including the kidneys, liver, and heart.

In addition to possible health risks, alcohol abuse can also lead to bad choices. Some of these choices could result in severe harm or death to one’s self or others. Driving while intoxicated or having unprotected sex are two potentially dangerous risks of binge drinking or abusing alcohol.

Many people who struggle with an addiction to alcohol eventually reach a point where they realize they have a problem. At this point, they may wish to get help. For various reasons, some of these people try to get clean on their own by attempting self-detox. 

Though these attempts are grounded in good intentions, they’re commonly unsuccessful and can lead to the user giving in to the temptation for another drink; thus, the cycle of addiction picks up right where it left off.

Signs of Alcohol Addiction 

Alcoholism is a serious illness that not only hurts the user but those around them as well. Alcohol addiction can take over your life if not treated sooner rather than later. But no matter what stage you’re in, recovery is possible.

Recognizing the signs of alcohol addiction allows you to put a stop to overdrinking. The sooner you’re aware, the sooner you can take action. While there is no exact formula for determining whether or not someone is an alcoholic, symptoms often co-occur. 

Many alcoholics experience similar symptoms. Although every patient’s challenge is unique, there are similarities within all kinds of addictions.

Some of the more common symptoms of alcohol abuse are:

  • Experiencing temporary blackouts or short-term memory loss
  • Exhibiting signs of irritability and extreme mood swings
  • Making excuses for drinking such as to unwind, deal with stress or feel normal
  • Choosing to drink over more important obligations
  • Becoming isolated and distant from those close to you
  • Drinking alone or in isolation
  • Feeling hungover when not drinking
  • Changing appearance and group of friends you hang out with

No matter how minor a drinking problem may appear, alcohol abuse symptoms should not be ignored. Choosing to detox from alcohol is a choice that can turn your entire life around. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be time for you to enroll in treatment and begin the detox process.

Recognizing Alcohol Addiction

Determining alcoholism starts with understanding what kinds of questions to ask. There are multiple screening tools we use to assess our patients. One tool is known by the acronym CAGE – a questionnaire that measures the severity of an alcohol problem. If you answer “yes” to two or more CAGE questions, we strongly recommend that you call us today. We’re here to help. 

The four CAGE screening questions are:

  1. Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
  2. Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
  3. Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
  4. Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get over a hangover?

Whether it’s you or a loved one struggling with alcohol addiction, it’s sometimes hard to see the situation from a non-biased perspective. We urge you to look at things from an honest angle. Ask yourself these questions and answer them truthfully.

There is no shame in going through obstacles. You have the power to change your life and use your pain to catapult you forward. To begin the recovery process, medical detox is necessary. Keep reading to learn more about how a detox from alcohol could help. 

So, How Long Does it Take to Detox from Alcohol?

For anyone serious about getting sober, medical detox is a necessary and crucial first step of the recovery process. Self-detox is not only dangerous but can also have fatal consequences. With professional assistance, it’s considered a safe and effective method of treatment.

The amount of time it will take to complete medical detox from alcohol will vary from person to person. Generally, this process takes about 7-10 days. However, several factors will help determine the exact time frame, as well as the severity of the withdrawal symptoms each faces. 

Some of these include:

  • How long the individual been drinking
  • Whether alcohol consumption is used in conjunction with any other addictive substances
  • How much alcohol the individual consume daily
  • Whether the individual has co-occurring mental health symptoms that could have resulted from the long-term abuse or a co-occurring mental disorder

Medically-assisted detox for alcohol addiction is the first step in ridding your body of toxins and starting fresh. Thinking about how long it will take to detox from alcohol may be intimidating. However, we assure you that the long-term reward of sticking it through is beyond worth it. The recovery journey has its ups and downs. But you’re strong enough to get through it.

The Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can begin as early as two hours after your last drink. Within 24 to 48 hours upon cessation, symptoms generally start to appear. This is when you may experience the most uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, such as insomnia, rapid heartbeat, changes in blood pressure, sweating, tremors, and fever.

The severity of side effects will be dependent upon each person’s unique addiction. How long detox takes will also be dependent upon the severity of withdrawal symptoms. For instance, delirium tremens is one of the most severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Delirium tremens can become prevalent within the first 48 hours after your last drink. It involves confusion, severe shaking, hallucinations, and high blood pressure. Although delirium tremens is rare, it can be life-threatening. 

Heavy drinkers who suddenly stop drinking may experience any range of dangerous symptoms. This is why it’s crucial to undergo medically-assisted detox in a monitored and safe setting.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms generally follow this timeline:

Six to 12 hours post-ingestion

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Shaking
  • Nausea and vomiting

12 to 24 hours post-ingestion

  • Disorientation
  • Hand tremors
  • Seizures

48 hours post-ingestion

  • Seizures
  • Insomnia
  • High blood pressure
  • Tactile, auditory, and visual hallucinations
  • High fever and excessive sweating
  • Delirium tremens

Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment

As mentioned above, detox is necessary. The type of detox program or level of intensity needed for effective alcohol withdrawal management will depend on the severity of the addiction. The magnitude of alcohol dependence and the risk of experiencing a complicated withdrawal. 

Our dedicated medical staff will evaluate you before any kind of treatment. We’ll make sure your current state is accounted for, and each step forward is as comfortable as possible. The specific detox method will vary based on the patient. However, you generally have the option of detoxing in an inpatient or outpatient setting.

Medically-Assisted Detox

Benzodiazepines or other sedative medications may help to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Medication is not a cure for alcoholism. However, several medications have been proven to aid in recovery when used as part of an overall plan involving counseling, group therapy, and social support.

Outpatient Detox for Alcohol

Outpatient detox for alcohol withdrawal may be the right level of care for people at low risk for severe withdrawal. Withdrawal progress is monitored through frequent check-up appointments within our facility. If additional care is needed, we can modify the treatment accordingly.

Inpatient Detox

Undergoing the detox process while residing at our facility is generally the best option. This is ideal for those struggling with a severe addiction to alcohol. Inpatient detoxification also provides individuals with a trigger-free setting. In other words, stimuli that might increase the risk of relapse is removed from their environment.

Help is Available for You or a Loved One

Now that we’ve answered the question, “how long does it take to detox from alcohol,” it’s time to explore your options. For successful and long-lasting results, detox should be immediately followed by extensive addiction treatment at a reputable rehab facility, such as 1st Step Behavioral Health.

Treatment is about using a wealth of resources to treat alcohol addiction. We tailor our treatment programs to meet each patient’s needs. From therapy to medical care to massage services, your comfort and security are our priority.

We’ll give you the tools to continue long-lasting sobriety after your treatment with us. We’re not just a treatment facility; we’re a family that’s in this together.

Our treatment programs include:

  • Personally assigned medical physician and therapist
  • Individual, group, and family therapies
  • Long-term care lasting up to one year
  • Recovery coaches on staff to assist patients with job/recovery skills
  • 2-bedroom, fully furnished apartments that offer the convenience and comforts of home
  • Holistic and recreational therapies such as yoga, art, music, wellness, massage, and acupuncture therapies

Beat Alcohol Addiction with Detox

There is no reason to let alcohol addiction control your life any longer. At 1st Step Behavioral in Pompano Beach, Florida, you can overcome your active addiction and learn how to successfully maintain your sobriety for many years to come. 

Our team of expert physicians, psychologists, and other medical professionals are eager to help you make this life change. Call 1st Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126 or contact us here for more information about available programs.

how long does it take to detox from alcohol

How Long Does It Take To Detox From Alcohol? 9 Things You Should Expect

Who could have known that that first time you got drunk, back in high school at some party, would be the start of a new addiction? Now, you may jokingly wonder ‘how long does it take to detox from alcohol,’ when faced with the uncomfortable reality of being alcohol dependent. 

You remember the exciting stories of keg stands, a crowd cheering you on. But maybe you didn’t realize at first that alcohol was what made you more outgoing, confident, and fun. Slowly, you felt the need to drink, or at least hold one in your hand, to feel comfortable at social events.

Don’t feel bad about it, though. More than 15 million people over the age of 18 struggle with alcohol use disorder.

People develop addictions for any number of factors outside of their control. The way they were raised, the societal pressures they face, a chemical imbalance in their brain. It makes sense that people develop an addiction to things that make them feel good, and they shouldn’t be blamed for that.

But as humans with conscious minds, we can control the way we manage our biological impulses and learned habits. Alcohol addiction destroys relationships, the body, and the mind.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when struggling with something as overwhelmingly difficult as detoxing from alcohol.

How Long Does It Take to Detox from Alcohol?

Drinking alcohol raises dopamine levels in your brain. This rush of ‘the good stuff’ is what makes us feel happy, satisfied, or pleased by a situation. Reading something really funny, watching your favorite team score a goal, getting a notification on Instagram. 

When the event that produced the pleasant feeling is over, (i.e. your liver metabolizes that shot of whiskey and processes alcohol out of your bloodstream) those good feelings go away. So you take another drink and keep feeling good.

As you become more and more addicted to alcohol for that good feeling (or eventually, a feeling of normalcy), your brain stops making the chemicals it gets bombarded with every time you drink. This forms a dependence. 

Repeated use of alcohol for the release of dopamine weakens your brain’s ability to produce it on its own. The longer you rely on this addiction, the longer and more severe your detox from alcohol will be.

Withdrawal symptoms will be unique to you, but generally, last one or two weeks after your last drink. 

How Long Does Alcohol Withdrawal Last?

As your body is detoxing from alcohol, you will experience some combination of withdrawal symptoms. Some are considered minor, like nausea, headaches, anxiety, increased perspiration, and insomnia. While others are more severe, like hallucinations, disorientation, and seizures.

The most severe withdrawal symptom is delirium tremens. The sudden removal of large amounts of depressants to your central nervous system causes the rapid onset of numerous symptoms at once. This includes hallucinations, and life-threatening fever and seizures. 

Detox Timeline

2-12 hours after your last drink – Minor symptoms begin. You may feel nausea, headaches, and stomach pain. You may become snappy and irritable with others. Without alcohol, you may feel an anxiety that keeps you up at night. 

10-30 hours after your last drink – Withdrawal symptoms start to reach peak discomfort. You might become confused and start to shake uncontrollably. Your blood pressure and temperature will rise as alcohol is purged from the body.

40 – 72 hours after your last drink – Symptoms may start to lessen. The anxiety and hallucinations caused by withdrawal may induce panic attacks. Symptoms come and go, and come back again, which may be frustrating and increase agitation.

72 hours – 1 week after your last drink – You are most at risk for delirium tremens. The most uncomfortable symptoms begin to subside. 

More than a week after your last drink – Only a few minor symptoms remain. In some cases, you may experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome. This prolongs feelings of anxiety, lack of energy, insomnia, and delayed reaction time for as long as one year after your last drink. 

Why Go to A Detox Center?

Even if you can trust yourself to slowly wean off alcohol, or believe that you can cut yourself off cold turkey, the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are often too much for individuals or untrained persons to handle.

Detox centers provide stability in your path to recovery. A regular sleep schedule, proper diet, therapy and counseling, and proper medication are the many moving parts required to overcome this life-consuming addiction.

If you have a serious drinking problem, you should not suddenly stop all consumption without medical supervision. It can be fatal. Your brain and nervous system will struggle to bounce back from prolonged dependence without supplemental medication. 

Anyone with medical conditions, such as heart disease or lung disease, should seek medical assistance before detoxing from alcohol. Medical professionals will ensure your heart rate and blood pressure are monitored to avoid more severe conditions.

Symptoms can change rapidly. Independent recovery may be derailed by unexpected and overwhelming symptoms, leading to relapse. Detox programs offer medication to manage your pain, so you can stick with your recovery plan to the end.

Detox Medications

To combat cravings and chemical imbalances caused by alcohol dependents, the following medications may be administered:

  • Campral – Works to reduces alcohol cravings without negatively reacting to alcohol consumption.
  • ReVia, Depade (pill) or Vivitrol (injection) – Stops ‘high’ feeling caused by alcohol consumption and reduces cravings.
  • Librium and Valium – Benzos used to calm anxiety, insomnia, and muscle spasms brought on by withdrawal.

Find Professionals Who Know How Hard It Can Get

The first step to recovering from alcohol addiction is flushing the system. The first step is always the hardest.

Addiction professionals at 1st Step Behavioral Health understand how hard it can be to detox from alcohol, and have the resources to help you get through it. 

Here you can ask questions like ‘how long does it take to detox from alcohol,’ or ‘how can I fight my addiction,’ and get answers specifically tailored to you. Everyone has a unique set of experiences, so to fight your addiction, you need to understand your individual needs.

Request more information on how 1st Step’s detox center can help you or a loved one recover from alcohol addiction here