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How Long Does it Take to Detox from Alcohol?

How Long Does it Take to Detox from Alcohol?

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse and wondering how long it takes to detox from alcohol, continue with reading today’s blog. We discuss the process of detoxing, symptoms, and some factors about the timeline of getting clean.


Detox Length

Alcohol abuse doesn’t just happen overnight, so depending on what type of substance the person uses, several factors go into how long the person has been addicted. Genetics and composition play a role in the timeline of detoxing. Normally, the more severe the substance abuse disorder, the longer the detox.

Let’s break down the factors here, but let’s first talk about what detoxing means.


What is Detox?

Detox is the first step to getting treatment for alcohol abuse. It’s the process of removing toxins from the body, so the person can concentrate on staying clean. Keep in mind, when someone abuses drugs, it changes their brain chemistry. It takes time for the brain to rewire itself from its addictive stage. 

During this process, alcoholics can experience several withdrawal symptoms, including fatigue, bodily symptoms, anxiety, and tremors. Sometimes, the process can be painful, as well. Someone that has been addicted for many years will likely take a longer time to detox than an individual who only abused alcohol addiction for a short time—a few months.


Alcohol Detox Timeline

Here is a timeline of detoxing from mild-severe alcohol addiction. Just like with the early stages of alcoholism where the body adapts to alcohol use, it must do the same with detoxing from mild or moderate alcoholism, hence the symptoms.


Detox from Mild to Moderate Alcoholism

According to a 2014 report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, symptoms of withdrawal usually begin shortly after the last drink, about eight hours. Withdrawal effects peak typically around the third day, with symptoms reducing between days five and seven. These effects can be insomnia or anxiety, sweating, shaking, nausea, among others.


Detox from Severe Alcoholism 

Detoxing from severe alcoholism takes longer. For those who use alcohol for years or even decades and then detox, it can take much longer and needs to be monitored because it can be dangerous as well. Usually, severe alcoholics may experience something called delirium tremens—a set of severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms, such as:

  • Body tremors
  • Sudden or severe confusion
  • Stupor or sleepiness
  • Excitement or fear
  • Sudden mood changes
  • Hallucinations
  • Sensitivity to light, sound, or touch

The same report from the New England Journal of Medicine stated that about 1-4 percent of people who experience delirium tremens die. This is usually from hyperthermia, cardiac arrhythmias, seizures, or other medical disorders. This condition usually starts about three days after the beginning of detox and can last about two to three days, but can last upwards of a week or more, depending on the severity of withdrawal effects.


Factors to Consider with Detoxing

As stated above, there are several factors to consider for the timeline of detoxing from alcohol. The two most significant factors are a person’s tolerance to alcohol and their addiction severity. Other factors include:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • How much the person drinks
  • How long the person has been drinking
  • Whether a person binge drinks or drinks steadily
  • Genetic factors
  • Biological sex
  • Tobacco or other drug use
  • Mental and overall health

Note that the way a person detoxes can also affect the length of time it takes. Of course, quitting cold turkey is the fastest but also the most dangerous. The best way to detox is by going through rehab, where a safe and secure location allows the person to detox with the support and care from medical professionals.


Ardu Recovery Center 

This is where our rehab center comes in and how we can help those who suffer from alcoholism. Our experienced staff cares about you or your loved ones and creates customized programs to ensure a successful outcome. Contact us if you have challenges with addiction, and we can discuss with you any concerns or answer your questions. It’s time to take that first step and reclaim your life. Call us today.