What is the Alcohol Detox Timeline?

An important part of the treatment process when starting on the road to recovery from alcohol abuse is detox. A person who has been drinking for a while and wants to quit, will most likely need to attend an inpatient program where the detoxification process can begin. It is necessary to first rid the body of alcohol, so recovery can begin. The alcohol detox timeline may vary slightly for each individual, but typically it can take about seven days.

Depending the severity of the person’s alcohol problem, detoxing may take place in a detox center where medical assistance can be provided for support in the withdrawal process. Once a person stops drinking, withdrawal symptoms may show up. Withdrawal symptoms from alcohol can be difficult for some people to manage. In most cases, it is better to seek medical help.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, alcohol withdrawal mostly occurs in adults, but it can also become present in teenagers and children. The more alcohol the person has consumed, and the more often they have consumed it, then the more likely they may experience withdrawal symptoms once they stop drinking.

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What is the Alcohol Detox Timeline?

A timeline during detox from alcohol is the period from when a person has the last drink, to the time it has left their body and they are no longer in the withdrawal process. For some individuals, the symptoms of detoxing from alcohol can start to appear about six hours after the last drink.

Some of the symptoms a person may experience during this timeline include:

Alcohol Detox Timeline

Withdrawal does not last forever! Once detox is over you are on the road to recovery.

The first 6 – 12 hours after the last drink these are some of the symptoms that may appear:

  • Headaches
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Tremor
  • Craving for alcohol

Between 24 – 48 hours, more severe symptoms may become present:

  • Shakiness
  • Delirium Tremens (DTs)
  • Nervousness
  • Mood swings
  • Depression

During the next 2-5 days some of the symptoms that appear may be:

  • Confusion
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Restlessness
  • Fever

The symptoms may vary from one individual to the next. Not everyone that goes through alcohol detox experiences the exact same symptoms. The ones listed here are common though. For some, the symptoms can be more severe, for others they may be milder throughout the detox process. In cases where the alcohol addiction is severe, medication-assisted treatment may be best during the detox process. This can prevent complications if withdrawal symptoms are too painful for them to handle.

Would the Alcohol Detox Timeline Be the Same for Someone Detoxing On Their Own?

If a person decides to detox on their own, complications may arise which can require immediate medical assistance. The more severe the addiction to alcohol is-the more serious the health risks that can become present if a person tries to do it on their own. While for some, the time period and the symptoms may be similar to those mentioned above. It is best to seek help from a detox center that can provide medical support if needed, and a trained staff that monitors the detox process from beginning to end.

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