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How Long Does It Take to Detox From Alcohol?

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An alcohol detox timeline will vary from person to person. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms typically begin within eight hours of the last drink. Most people’s withdrawal symptoms last for five to seven days before they begin subsiding, but other people may notice symptoms for several weeks.

Regardless of a person’s alcohol detox timeline, detoxing at a professional facility that can offer medical support for alcohol withdrawal is vital to ensuring a person does not experience the dangerous health effects that can occur from withdrawals.

The First Symptoms

Some of the early symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Nightmares
  • Shakiness

These early symptoms can then progress to more significant ones. Examples of secondary symptoms include:

  • Appetite loss
  • Headache
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Shaking hands
  • Sweating

A person will usually experience their worst alcohol withdrawal symptoms about 24 to 72 hours after they took their last drink. Once a person has reached this part of the alcohol detox timeline, their symptoms will usually begin to improve.

About the Delirium Tremens

Some people can experience a severe form of alcohol withdrawal known as delirium tremens or DTs. This syndrome can be life-threatening if a person does not have access to medical care. Symptoms of the DTs include:

  • Agitation
  • Tremors
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Seizures
  • Severe confusion

If a person has gone through an alcohol detox timeline before or has a multiple-year history of heavy drinking, they are more likely to experience the DTs. They should seek immediate medical attention at an alcohol treatment facility for their withdrawal symptoms.

Alcohol Detox Timeline

A person experiences symptoms on an alcohol detox timeline because the prolonged alcohol exposure has made changes to their nervous system. When the alcohol is no longer present, the nervous system reacts to the change and begins to adjust the body’s chemistry, resulting in the symptoms of fatigue, tremors, nausea, and more that can occur. Over time, as the body adjusts to the absence of alcohol, withdrawal subsides and the symptoms begin to fade.

While withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant, they should not be a deterrent to getting sober. Once a person makes it through withdrawal, they can experience the positive and life-changing benefits of sobriety.

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