How Long Does It Take To Detox From Alcohol (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Up to 7 days

Alcohol detox symptoms can be uncomfortable for someone with a long drinking problem. It may be severe and even life-threatening to those who have abused alcohol for years in a stretch. Excess alcohol consumption can cause severe withdrawal symptoms within a few hours or a few days, which may also last up to a month.

Detox symptoms may last up to four to five days depending on several factors. Alcohol detox should be performed within the presence of a doctor or a skilled professional, even if the symptoms are delicate enough to be taken care of alone. When an alcoholic stops drinking with no medical help, it may be extremely dangerous and even fatal, and so, skilled treatment is recommended to such people.

How Long Does It Take To Detox From Alcohol

How Long Does It Take To Detox From Alcohol?

Withdrawal symptoms can be of different times and intensities, depending on age, weight, and drinking history. Minor detox symptoms should last only for 2 to 6 hours for mild drinkers but a week for consistent drinkers. Persistent withdrawal symptoms may also last for a month in rare cases. The general guidelines about alcohol withdrawal symptoms that one might expect are as follows:

Minor withdrawal symptoms can begin after six hours of your last drink. The symptoms can be accompanied by a seizure, six hours after no alcohol consumption in people who drink heavily. Some individuals probing alcohol withdrawal could experience hallucinations once 12 to 24 hours, however, it’s not a heavy health complication. Symptoms such as headache, tremors, or stomach upset indicate minor withdrawal. These symptoms peak at 18 to 24 hours and may decrease after four to five days.

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A severe form of alcohol withdrawal, also known as delirium tremens (DTs) or alcohol withdrawal delirium, can cause high heart rate, seizures, or a high body temperature in heavy drinkers. After 72 hours, withdrawal symptoms are the worst. In unusual cases, moderate withdrawal symptoms may last for a month, accompanied by a fast heart rate and delusions.

In summary:

Withdrawal TypeTime
Minor 6 to 48 hours
Major 48 to 72 hours

Why Does It Take So Long To Detox From Alcohol?

The Central Nervous System gets depressed by alcohol, causing feelings of relaxation and euphoria. The human body tries to maintain balance, because of which it signals the brain to create more neurotransmitter receptors to stimulate the nervous system. As one stops drinking, it takes away alcohol from all the receptors that were present originally but also from the new receptors that the body has made. As a result, the nervous system becomes overactive and starts showing different withdrawal symptoms.

Daily drinkers ought to be more cautious than people who drink occasionally. Major alcohol withdrawal symptoms include irritation, confusion, fever, paranoia, and hallucination. Other symptoms may include anxiety, nausea, rapid heartbeat, sweating, and tremors. There are multiple other risk factors, that determine how long alcohol withdrawal may take.

Some DT associated risk factors include:

  • Low levels of potassium and sodium
  • Old age at the time of withdrawal
  • Dehydration
  • History of DT and seizures
  • Presence of brain lesions
  • Abnormal liver function
  • Use of other drugs

Alcohol withdrawal should be performed at a well-equipped medical facility to treat alcohol-related difficulties. There are rehabilitation centers that also offer a rapid detox process, that may involve sedative medication to eliminate any symptom-related pain. However, this strategy may not be well suited for people with health problems.

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To avoid any health complications, perform alcohol detox only under the guidance of skilled professionals. People with other health issues such as liver or heart problems should directly consult a doctor and stop drinking alcohol immediately. It takes at least seven days to detox alcohol from the human body. However, for daily drinkers, it may even take up to a month to heal from alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Minor alcohol withdrawal symptoms may take 6 to 48 hours to function at their peak. These symptoms are not deadly and can be treated easily by professional caregivers. Major alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be experienced after 48 hours of alcohol consumption. Such symptoms require immediate attention and can be treated with prescribed medication and rehabilitation facilities.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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