How Long Does Alcohol Withdrawal Last (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 3 to 5 weeks

Alcohol withdrawal is a complex and dangerous process. Abrupt stopping of alcohol consumption by a person frequented by such beverages can lead to consequences worst than the consumption of alcohol. However, a medically assisted alcohol withdrawal can help to safely overrule those withdrawal problems.

Stopping alcohol consumption all at once may seem like a very good idea but if it is anything, it is the opposite. It can lead to serious illness and damage that might be long-term and may even result in death. Thus, alcohol withdrawal is a very complicated process and is best when under medical supervision.

How Long Does Alcohol Withdrawal Last?

Alcohol Withdrawal StageTime Taken
Stage I1 to 2 days
Stage II2 to 6 days
Stage III1 to 3 weeks

The process of alcohol withdrawal is marked by several symptoms. These symptoms become more and more aggressive as time progresses after the last alcohol drink. These symptoms mark to divide the entire alcohol withdrawal process into three different stages.

The first stage is the least tough of the three. It starts as soon as the person stops drinking alcohol and can last up to 1 to 2 days with symptoms peaking at 8 hours on average.

Symptoms experienced by an alcoholic person are very mild and range from mood swings to anger. It may also lead to insomnia, heart palpitations and abdominal pain.

The second stage of alcohol withdrawal can be more serious. This stage kicks off after 2 to 3 days of the last alcohol drink and lasts for 3 to 5 days. After the fifth day, the second stage becomes more serious and transforms into the third stage.

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The mood swings increase further in the second stage and the alcoholic person is mostly confused. The person experiences a rise in blood temperature and an increase in blood pressure.

The third stage is the most serious and dangerous for a person. It starts on the fifth or sixth day of withdrawal and lasts for weeks.

In this stage, there is an increase in sweating leading to excess hydration. The person also faces high fever, hallucinations and seizures. This stage might result in even deaths.

Why Alcohol Withdrawal Lasts So Long?

The process of Alcohol withdrawal is not as simple as it may seem. Though it comes across as a good idea, an unconsulted and mild-mannered alcohol withdrawal can have as fatal consequences as severe illness or death.

Alcohol has very damaging effects on the body. It causes severe damages which cannot be undone abruptly.

An alcoholic drink brings an increase in the stimulation of certain receptors in the brain. This unwarranted increase leads to depression in the central nervous system or abbreviated as CNS. With more consumption of alcohol, this further increases.

If alcohol consumption is continued to rise, it would not have good results. These receptors of the central nervous system become desensitized and also get reduced in number. Increased alcohol consumption will make the person more dependent on alcohol and he would not be able to wait longer for his next drink.

In alcohol withdrawal, however, alcohol consumption is stopped all at once. This makes the alcohol habituated person feel uncomfortable. The person desires alcohol more intensely and frequently.

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When a person goes through alcohol withdrawal, his central nervous system is unable to cope with it. The nervous system faces uncontrolled firing and unprecedented stress. Such trouble may even cost the person his life.

The person will have to go through several symptoms in the process of alcohol withdrawal ranging from mild to severe. There would be mild symptoms like mood swings and severe symptoms like hallucinations and an increase in blood pressure.

Conclusion

Alcohol withdrawal lasts from 8 hours after a person’s last alcoholic drink to several weeks. While the first stage is mild and a person experiences mostly minor symptoms, the third stage is the life-threatening stage and the person faces severe symptoms like seizures and hallucinations. The second stage is moderate with the person experiencing symptoms like mood swings and increased blood pressure.

Alcohol withdrawal should not be attempted without medical attention. Proper medical care will certainly help to ease the process of alcohol detoxification.

References

  1. http://jsad.com/doi/abs/10.15288/jsa.1977.38.953?journalCode=jsa
  2. https://academic.oup.com/alcalc/article/33/2/103/229860?login=true

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