How Long Does Alcohol Detox Take?

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As you prepare yourself to pursue treatment for alcohol abuse, it’s important to take some time to research what the process is like. Doing so will help you mentally prepare yourself for the road ahead. As part of that, you might ask questions like, “how long does alcohol detox last?”

If you want to know what the alcohol detox timeline is like, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve outlined the entire process from start to finish in the sections below.

Alcohol Detox Timeline

Experts will often split the alcohol detox timeline into three distinct phases. They do this because each phase has its own average set of symptoms.

Understanding these phases and their timelines will give a ton of insight into what your alcohol detox process will be like. We’ll give you a look at each of them in this section.

Stage 1

The first stage of the alcohol detox process generally starts about six hours after your last drink. It’s characterized by symptoms like headaches, anxiety, insomnia, and nausea, among others. This stage usually only lasts about 12 hours.

Stage 2

The second stage of the alcohol detox timeline starts about 24 hours after your last drink. During it, you may continue experiencing the symptoms that you had during the first stage of your detox. But some of these could be more severe.

Stage 2 may also include several new symptoms, such as high blood pressure, increased blood pressure/heart rate, and mild hyperthermia. It should conclude in about 24-48 hours.

Stage 3

Stage 3 is when your most severe alcohol detox symptoms may occur. It can include withdrawal symptoms like:

  • Hallucinations
  • Disorientation
  • Fevers
  • Seizures
  • Agitation

Most people will make it through stage 3 of their detox by about 72 hours after their last drink. But some individuals will continue to experience milder symptoms for up to a few weeks after their last drink.

Does Everyone Go Through Each Alcohol Detox Phase?

Both the timeline and the symptoms of alcohol detox vary significantly from person to person. Factors like how much you were drinking and your mental and physical health can influence how severe the symptoms that you experience during detox get.

For example, you may not even make it to stage 3 of the alcohol detox timeline. It’s very possible that you experience your most significant symptoms during stage 2 and then return to normal soon after that.

The bottom line is that every person is different. So, while the alcohol detox timeline gives you a sense of what could happen during your detox, you shouldn’t assume that you will experience all of the symptoms on the same timeline.

Can You Detox From Alcohol Alone?

Virtually every addiction professional will tell you that you shouldn’t attempt to detox from alcohol on your own. That’s not because they want you to pay for their services. It’s because withdrawal symptoms like seizures and delirium can be fatal if you experience them in a non-medical setting.

Even if you don’t think that your alcohol addiction is severe enough to warrant the worst symptoms, you still shouldn’t risk it. Withdrawal symptoms are unpredictable and you never know what the process is going to be like before you go into it — even if your drinking isn’t as bad as it could be.

How Does Detox Fit Into a Broader Care Plan?

You should also keep in mind that detox isn’t the only step you need to take to treat your alcohol dependency. Instead, it’s the first step in a longer process that will give you the support you need to live a happy, sober life.

Most people complete rehab after detox is over. This can take place in a residential treatment center or outside of one. This is when you’ll get to work individually with a therapist and collectively with a group. The work that you’ll do in rehab will help you build the solid, healthy foundation you need to live an enjoyable sober life.

Once rehab is done, you can transition your recovery into aftercare. This involves continuing to work with a therapist and possibly with a group. But you will get to do so in a more informal setting than you did while in rehab.

Find the Support You Need to Recover at Zoe Behavioral Health

Alcohol detox is a complicated process. You need the right type of support to make sure yours goes as safely and comfortably as possible.

That’s why you should reach out to Zoe Behavioral Health. We provide personalized alcohol detox services to help you jumpstart your recovery.