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How Long Does It Take To Detox From Alcohol?​

The acute phase of alcohol detox usually lasts from 7 to 10 days. This is the most critical and uncomfortable time for someone struggling with alcohol addiction. 

How Long Does It Take To Detox From Alcohol?

The process of fully recovering from alcohol dependence can take weeks, months, or even longer. If you are struggling with alcohol addiction, it’s important to get compassionate and qualified care, from the detoxification process through the longer road of alcohol rehab

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Our rehab center can help you through your journey of recovery with caring professionals in a spa-like setting nestled into the Wasatch Mountains of Provo, UT. 

Let’s look at all the factors that affect how long it takes to detox from alcohol addiction.

What is Alcohol Detox?

Alcohol detox, short for detoxification, is the first step to getting treatment for alcohol abuse. It involves eliminating alcohol from the body and managing withdrawal symptoms when someone stops drinking alcohol. It involves allowing the body to metabolize and remove alcohol while addressing the physical and psychological effects of withdrawal. 

Alcohol detox is typically conducted under medical supervision to ensure safety and provide support during this challenging phase. It serves as an initial step towards recovery from alcohol addiction, preparing individuals for further treatment and ongoing sobriety.

During the alcohol detoxification process, alcoholics can experience several withdrawal symptoms, including fatigue, bodily symptoms, anxiety, and tremors. Sometimes, the process can be painful as well.

What are the Signs of Alcohol Addiction?

Are you wondering whether you or a loved one suffer from alcohol addiction? Take the following quiz to find out. The more of these you can answer “yes” to, the more likely you are to suffer from alcohol addiction or alcohol use disorder.

  1. Alcohol consumption: do you find that you need to consume larger amounts of alcohol to achieve the desired effect?
  2. Heavy drinking: once you start drinking, do you struggle to control or limit your alcohol intake?
  3. Alcohol withdrawal: do you experience alcohol withdrawal (physical and psychological discomfort, such as tremors, anxiety, insomnia, rapid heart rate, or agitation) when you’ve tried to reduce alcohol intake or quit drinking alcohol?
  4. Behavior: have you neglected important responsibilities, such as work, school, or family obligations, due to your drinking habits?
  5. Alcohol cravings: do you often experience strong cravings or an intense desire to drink alcohol?
  6. Despite negative consequences on your relationships, health, or other areas of life, do you continue to consume alcohol?
  7. Do you find yourself preoccupied with thoughts of drinking, planning drinking episodes, or recovering from its effects?
  8. Have you lost interest in previously enjoyed hobbies and activities, replacing them with drinking?
  9. Are you increasingly isolating yourself from friends, family, or social events in order to drink alone or with others who drink excessively?
  10. Do you engage in risky behaviors, such as drinking and driving, while under the influence of alcohol?

If you find that you have answered “yes” to multiple questions, it may indicate a higher risk of dependence on alcohol. Consult with a healthcare professional, alcohol treatment center, or addiction specialist for a comprehensive assessment and guidance. 

Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength and taking control of your well-being.

What are the Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal?

Alcohol withdrawal is not pleasant, but the sooner you begin the detox process, the sooner you can be out the other side. 

Here are some common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

  1. Restlessness, irritability, anxiety, and agitation
  2. Anorexia (lack of appetite), nausea, and vomiting
  3. Tremor (shakiness), elevated heart rate, and increased blood pressure
  4. Insomnia, intense dreaming, and nightmares
  5. Poor concentration, impaired memory, and judgment
  6. Increased sensitivity to sound, light, and tactile sensations
  7. Hallucinations (auditory, visual, or tactile)
  8. Delusions, usually of paranoid or persecutory varieties
  9. Grand mal seizures (severe, generalized, abnormal electrical discharge of the brain)
  10. Hyperthermia (high fever)
  11. Delirium with disorientation, fluctuation in level of consciousness

Getting proper withdrawal treatment from qualified professionals can help manage severe symptoms.

Alcohol Detox Timeline

Alcohol dependency and substance abuse don’t happen overnight. Neither do detox and recovery. Normally, the more severe the substance abuse disorder, the longer the detox.

Here is a timeline of detoxing from different severities of alcohol addiction. Just like in 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.

Detoxing from Mild to Moderate Alcoholism

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

With the worst of the withdrawal symptoms behind you on day eight, you’ll need ongoing care. Our qualified rehab facility can help you adjust to life without alcohol and combat ongoing cravings with cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, and other modalities.

Detox from Severe Alcoholism 

Detoxing from severe alcoholism takes longer. For those who have used alcohol for years or decades, detoxification can take much longer. The process can be dangerous as well, and should be monitored by medical professionals in a clinical setting. Severe alcoholics may experience severe alcohol detox symptoms such as alcohol withdrawal syndrome, extreme mood swings, and other dangerous symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

Delirium tremens can occur in severe cases of alcoholism once the detox process gets underway. This is a frightening and dangerous condition characterized by:

  • 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. Hyperthermia, cardiac arrhythmias, seizures, or other medical conditions are frequently the causes of death. Most delirium tremens deaths are preventable in a medically supervised setting. 

Delirium tremens start 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.

Our treatment facility can help you through severe alcohol withdrawal, including delirium tremens. Once you’re detoxed, we can help you combat the longterm effects of alcohol addiction and get your life back.

Factors That Affect How Long it Takes to Detox

Different people detox at different rates due to a number of factors that interact and compound. The two most significant factors are a person’s tolerance to alcohol and their severity of addiction. 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

One’s detox method will, of course, influence how long the process takes. Quitting alcohol cold turkey is the fastest and most intense way, especially if an alcoholic is doing it on their own. 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 of medical professionals.

Ardu Recovery Center 

At Ardu Recovery Center, we understand the challenges of alcohol detox and the journey to recovery. Our compassionate team is dedicated to providing comprehensive support, personalized treatment plans, and a safe environment for detoxification. 

We are here to guide you every step of the way, offering evidence-based therapies, medication-assisted treatment, counseling, and holistic approaches to address the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of addiction treatment. Our goal is to empower you to break free from the grip of alcohol and embrace a healthier, more fulfilling life in recovery. You don’t have to face it alone; Ardu Recovery Center is here to help you on your path to lasting sobriety. 

In addition to alcohol addiction treatment, we also have a drug addiction recovery program. Whether you’re struggling with methamphetamine addiction, need an opioids detox, or need help recovering from benzodiazepine addiction, Ardu Recovery Center has a medical detox facility as well as both inpatient and outpatient rehab programs.

Contact us to learn how our addiction treatment program can be your doorway into a new life. It’s time to take that first step and reclaim your life. Call us today to start your journey into addiction recovery. 

Alcohol Detox FAQ

How long after you quit drinking does your body return to normal?

After stopping drinking, it may take weeks or months for your body to return to normal. Assuming no long-term damage, factors such as the duration and severity of alcohol use, overall health, and individual circumstances will affect the timeline. Generally, the body begins to experience positive changes shortly after alcohol cessation.

In the first few days and weeks, you may start to notice improvements in sleep quality, energy levels, and hydration. Within a few weeks or months, liver function and blood pressure may start to normalize. Over time, the risk of developing alcohol-related health conditions, such as liver disease and certain cancers, decreases.

However, it’s important to note that alcohol recovery is a journey, and the full recovery process may take longer, especially for individuals who have experienced long-term or heavy alcohol use. Mental and emotional well-being, as well as repairing relationships and rebuilding one’s life, are also essential aspects of recovery that may require ongoing support and time.

Remember, everyone’s recovery journey is unique, and seeking professional guidance and support can greatly assist in your overall recovery process. It’s never too late to embark on a path of healing and rediscover a healthier, more fulfilling life.

A good alcoholism treatment program can certainly help you get back to normal faster.

How long does it take your liver to detox?

After quitting alcohol, the liver can begin its healing process almost immediately. Within a few days or weeks, you may start to see improvements in liver function as it regenerates and repairs damaged cells. However, the extent of liver damage and the duration of alcohol use affect the recovery timeline.

For individuals with mild to moderate liver damage, the liver can generally recover within several months to a year of abstinence from alcohol. However, for those with severe alcohol-related liver diseases, such as cirrhosis, the liver damage may be irreversible, and complete recovery may not be possible.

It’s crucial to remember that detoxification and liver recovery are ongoing processes, and maintaining long-term abstinence from alcohol is essential for the liver’s health. Additionally, adopting a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding other liver-damaging substances, can further support liver recovery and overall well-being.

If you have concerns about your liver health or are seeking guidance on alcohol detoxification, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide personalized advice and support based on your specific situation. 

For help in treating alcoholism, marijuana addiction, cocaine addiction, or any other substance use disorder, contact Ardu Recovery Center.

What happens after 2 weeks of no alcohol?

After two weeks of abstaining from alcohol, your body begins to experience significant positive changes. These include improved liver function, better hydration levels, normalized blood pressure, and a reduction in inflammation. 

Additionally, your sleep patterns may improve, and you may notice an increase in energy levels and overall well-being. It’s important to remember that everyone’s journey is unique, and the timeline for recovery may vary. Seeking professional alcohol addiction treatment during this time can greatly contribute to your long-term success.

Will I lose belly fat if I stop drinking alcohol?

When you stop drinking alcohol, it can contribute to weight loss, including a reduction in belly fat. Alcohol is high in calories and can lead to weight gain, particularly in the abdominal area. 

By cutting out alcohol, you eliminate those extra calories and give your body a chance to shed excess weight. However, it’s important to note that individual results may vary, and losing belly fat requires a comprehensive approach that includes a healthy diet, regular exercise, and lifestyle changes. Consulting with a healthcare professional can provide personalized guidance to help you achieve your goals.

What is the hardest day of sobriety?

Many recovering alcoholics describe the initial detoxification period as particularly challenging. These initial stages can be filled with intense cravings, withdrawal symptoms, emotional turmoil, and adjusting to a new way of life without relying on alcohol. 

As time progresses, you can develop coping mechanisms, build a support network, and learn healthier ways to navigate life’s ups and downs. Remember that recovery is a continuous process, and with perseverance and support, each day can become an opportunity for growth and personal transformation.

What can I drink instead of alcohol?

There are many great beverages you can substitute for alcohol to help you on your journey.

  1. Mocktails: enjoy alcohol-free versions of your favorite cocktails by mixing different fruit juices, sodas, and garnishes. Get creative with flavors and combinations to create refreshing and flavorful drinks.
  2. Infused water: add slices of fruits, herbs, or vegetables to your water for a burst of flavor. Cucumber and mint, lemon and ginger, or strawberry and basil are just a few examples of refreshing combinations.
  3. Herbal tea: explore a variety of herbal teas that offer unique flavors and soothing properties, such as chamomile, peppermint, lavender, and ginger tea. They can be enjoyed hot or cold and provide relaxation and comfort.
  4. Sparkling water: if you enjoy the fizziness of carbonated drinks, opt for sparkling water with a splash of fruit juice or a twist of citrus for a refreshing and hydrating beverage.
  5. Fruit smoothies: blend together your favorite fruits with yogurt or plant-based milk for a nutritious and satisfying drink. Smoothies can be a great way to indulge in natural sweetness and boost your intake of vitamins and antioxidants.

Finding alternatives to alcohol is a personal journey, and it’s important to choose beverages that align with your taste preferences and health goals. Explore different options and experiment until you discover the drinks that suit you best.

Do heavy drinkers lose weight if they stop drinking? 

When heavy drinkers stop consuming alcohol, they may experience weight loss. Alcohol is calorie-dense, and cutting it out reduces overall calorie intake. Additionally, alcohol can stimulate appetite and lead to poor food choices, so eliminating it may improve eating habits. 

However, individual factors like metabolism, exercise, and diet have an impact on weight loss. It’s important to focus on overall lifestyle changes and consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance on achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

At Ardu Recovery Center, we focus on nutritional therapy to help you meet your weight loss goals while achieving lasting sobriety.

Can Alcoholics Anonymous help me stop drinking?

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a widely recognized support group that has helped many individuals on their journey to sobriety. AA provides a supportive and anonymous environment where people struggling with alcohol addiction can share their experiences, receive guidance, and work through the 12-step program. 

The effectiveness of AA varies from person to person, and it may not be the right approach for everyone. It’s important to remember that recovery is a highly individualized process, and exploring various treatment options, including professional counseling, therapy, and medical support, can also be beneficial. Ultimately, the decision to participate in AA or any other treatment approach should be based on your personal needs and preferences.

Will my health insurance cover my alcohol rehab?

Many insurance plans provide coverage for drug addiction treatment and alcohol addiction treatment to some extent. Here at Ardu, we accept a number of prominent insurance providers. Review your insurance policy or consult with your insurance provider to understand the extent of coverage for addiction treatment.

Do you have a dual diagnosis program?

Yes, we have a dual diagnosis program for those suffering from drug or alcohol addiction combined with a mental health diagnosis such as anxiety, bipolar disorder, or depression. Our treatment providers are trained to work with dual diagnosis situations.

How long does drug addiction treatment typically last?

The duration of drug addiction treatment depends on the drug in question, as well as your needs and progress. Treatment programs can range from a few weeks to several months. It’s important to consider that recovery is an ongoing process, and individuals may benefit from aftercare programs and long-term support to maintain sobriety.

What are the symptoms usually experienced when one quits alcohol?

When someone quits alcohol, they may experience a range of symptoms due to alcohol withdrawal syndrome. These symptoms can include anxiety, irritability, insomnia, nausea, sweating, tremors, and, in severe cases, seizures or delirium tremens. The severity and duration of symptoms can vary depending on individual factors and the extent of alcohol dependence.

How can behavioral therapy help in drug addiction treatment?

Behavioral therapy is a key component of drug addiction treatment. It focuses on identifying and changing unhealthy behaviors and thought patterns associated with addiction. Different types of behavioral therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing, can help individuals develop coping skills, address underlying issues, and prevent relapse.

What are drug rehabilitation programs?

Drug rehabilitation programs are comprehensive treatment programs designed to help individuals overcome drug addiction. These programs typically include a combination of therapies, counseling, support groups, and education to address the physical, psychological, and social aspects of addiction and promote lasting recovery.

How long does it take for drugs to leave the body?

The amount of time it takes for drugs to leave the body depends on factors such as the type of drug, frequency and duration of use, metabolism, and individual factors. Some drugs can be detected in urine or blood tests for a few days to several weeks. The effects of drugs on the body and brain can persist even after the substances have been metabolized and eliminated.

What is the role of inpatient rehab in drug addiction treatment?

Inpatient rehab, also known as residential rehab, provides a highly structured and supportive environment for individuals seeking drug addiction treatment. It involves residing at a treatment facility for a specific duration, typically ranging from a few weeks to a few months. Inpatient rehab offers intensive therapy, 24/7 medical support, and a community of peers, allowing individuals to focus solely on their recovery journey.

Can drugs and alcohol be simultaneously treated in addiction treatment programs?

Yes, our comprehensive addiction treatment program addresses both drug addiction and alcohol abuse. We recognize that you may struggle with multiple substances, and we provide integrated treatment approaches to address all aspects of addiction. Our treatment plans are tailored to your specific needs, considering the substances involved and their effects on physical and mental health.

How long does drug addiction treatment typically last in an inpatient setting?

Inpatient drug addiction treatment programs typically last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. The duration of treatment depends on your needs, progress, and the treatment plan developed by our team in collaboration with you. Longer stays may be recommended for individuals with more severe addictions or those requiring additional support and stabilization.

What is the role of a rehab facility in drug addiction treatment?

A rehab facility provides a specialized environment where individuals receive comprehensive treatment for drug addiction. These facilities are equipped with professional staff, medical resources, therapeutic interventions, and support services. They offer a structured and supportive setting to help individuals overcome addiction, develop coping skills, and establish a foundation for lasting recovery.

What is withdrawal syndrome in drug or alcohol addiction?

Withdrawal syndrome refers to the collection of physical and psychological symptoms that occur when someone stops using or reduces their intake of drugs after developing dependence. The symptoms of withdrawal syndrome can vary depending on the drug involved and the individual’s level of dependence. Common symptoms may include cravings, anxiety, irritability, restlessness, sweating, tremors, insomnia, nausea, and mood swings. In some cases, withdrawal syndrome can be severe and potentially life-threatening, requiring medical supervision and support during the detoxification process.

Mina Draskovic, B.Psy., reviewed this content for accuracy on 6/30/23