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How Long Does it Take to Detox from Alcohol

Some people aren’t quite sure about quitting drinking because of the horror stories they hear about withdrawal symptoms. However, detoxing from alcohol is one of the first things that needs to be done if you are going to overcome an addiction to alcohol. 

Do you struggle with alcoholism? If so, our Harmony Recovery team wants you to know you aren’t alone. We want to discuss with you how long it generally takes to detox from alcohol and how to make your recovery process more comfortable. 

Why Detox From Alcohol Is So Important

The first step in getting treatment for alcoholism is the detox stage. In this stage, you will completely have alcohol flushed out from your body. Generally, the symptoms of withdrawal will subside in about 1 to 2 weeks after they begin. However, in some cases, it can take a bit longer depending on how severe your alcohol use disorder is. Once you get through this stage, you can focus on various other stages in your recovery process such as therapy, substance-free activities, support groups and other options. 

If you are ready to enter an alcohol detox program now, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Harmony Health Group today. We can help you get started with your sobriety and assist you as you detox from alcohol.

Common Alcohol Detox Symptoms

The phase of alcohol detox involves withdrawal symptoms that range in severity from mild to life-threatening. Sometimes, the severity and longevity of the alcohol addiction will affect how many or the severity of your withdrawal symptoms. For instance, if you have been abusing alcohol heavily for years, you are likely to have more severe withdrawal symptoms such as delirium tremens and seizures. If you have only been abusing this drug for a short time, you will likely only have minor symptoms.

With this being said, some of the more minor alcohol withdrawal symptoms that you may experience include:

  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety

Some of the more severe alcohol withdrawal detox symptoms you may experience include:

  • Disorientation
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Severe hallucinations
  • Delirium tremens (rare cases)

As noted above, delirium tremens are rare but very serious. They generally occur 2 to 5 days after you last drank alcohol. They can become life-threatening. 

Since some withdrawal symptoms can be severe, we highly recommend you get professional medical supervision while going through the detox process. Our Harmony Health Group team can make sure you are as comfortable and safe as possible throughout the withdrawal process.


Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline 

In some cases, symptoms of withdrawal may start in just 2 hours after a person’s last alcoholic drink. Some of the more uncomfortable symptoms may subside in 1 week. However, other milder symptoms may last weeks to up to one year. 

The alcohol withdrawal timeline isn’t exact. Everyone will have their own experiences with it. However, there is a general timeline to detox from alcohol, which includes:

  • First 6 to 12 hours – mild symptoms that can worsen quickly such as anxiety, headaches, shaking, irritability, and nausea
  • 1st day – symptoms may worsen and might include those from the 1st 12 hours along with hand tremors, disorientation, and seizures
  • 2nd day – similar to the 1st day and more severe symptoms may continue into this day such as panic attacks and hallucinations
  • 3 to 7 days after last drink – some of your symptoms might come and go but you are at the highest risk for the life-threatening symptoms like the DTs during this stage (it is highly recommended to seek professional detox help during this point in your withdrawal process if you aren’t already receiving it)
  • After the 1st week – most symptoms will taper off (however, some symptoms you may have continuously for weeks to a year, but there are medications to treat the ones that are bothering you the most)

If you need help detoxing from alcohol, our Harmony Health Group is here to help you get started today. 

Alcohol Detox: Which Medications Are Used?

If you are going to detox from alcohol, we highly recommend you attend a professional detox program. If you do this, there are numerous medications that can help to ease the more uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal. There are also medications we can use to help balance the chemicals in your body to reduce the risk of more severe complications. 

If you do attend a professional detox program, the specialists there will administer your medications and watch for any side effects. If there are uncomfortable side effects, they are going to be there to counteract those, as well. Some of the most widely used medications during a professional detox program include:

  • Benzodiazepines – help with calming the central nervous system and used to treat muscle spasms, anxiety, and insomnia 
  • Naltrexone – helps lower cravings for alcohol, but it usually given about 7 to 10 days after someone stops drinking to prevent worsening of withdrawal symptoms
  • Acamprosate – used to help the brain start functioning properly again and helps to reduce symptoms of post-acute withdrawal syndrome (restlessness, anxiety, and insomnia)
  • Disulfiram – used to cause severe reactions if someone consumes alcohol (these unwanted effects such as weakness, facial flushing, low blood pressure, and nausea help deter people from wanting to continue drinking)

If you or someone you know is ready to overcome an alcohol addiction, the detox process is going to be your first step. Luckily, there is something known as medication-assisted treatment that can help to make uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms less uneasy. If you have questions about these specific medications, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Harmony Health Group team. We will answer any questions or concerns you might have about these medications or others which might be used during the alcohol withdrawal process. 

Get Into an Alcohol Detox Program Today

Whether you just recently started becoming dependent on alcohol or you have had an alcohol addiction for a long time, there are numerous treatments that can help you to overcome this type of addiction. The first step is to admit you have an addiction and reach out for assistance. When you do this, you will be encouraged to attend a detox program. This can be your stepping stone into recovery.

Contact us today, here at Harmony Health Group, to start in an alcohol detox program right away.