Are you trying to start the process of recovery from alcohol addiction? You’re taking a crucial first step by putting in your research, so you should be proud of yourself.
Many people are scared of the initial recovery period. The alcohol detox period can be strenuous and uncomfortable, and people who try to do an alcohol detox at home often fail or get sick.
Getting professional detox treatment is the best way to make sure that you’re doing everything safely, but how long does it take to detox alcohol from your system? What is the alcohol detox timeline?
We’re here to talk you through the process of detoxing from alcohol so you’re prepared when it’s time for you to start your recovery journey. Keep reading to learn more.
Intro to Detoxing From Alcohol
It’s important to know that the length of a detox period is going to vary from person to person. There are several factors involved.
People with severe alcohol addictions who may have been abusing alcohol for years or who drink far more than the average alcohol addict may experience a longer and more difficult withdrawal and detox period. People who are early in their addiction will likely have a shorter and less intense detox period.
For most people, the initial period of withdrawal lasts about 72 hours. This is the period in which your symptoms will be the worst. After this, it’s common for the rest of your detox period to last about a week, though a medical facility may extend this time depending on their methods of detox assistance.
People who have severe alcohol use disorders may take several weeks to detox, and some have experienced withdrawal symptoms for months. For the best chance at a quick detox, it’s best to do it with medical professionals.
What Are Common Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms?
Alcohol withdrawal is uncomfortable. This is the reason many people fail their initial attempts at detoxing on their own. Once your body is dependent on alcohol, it struggles to maintain its normal functions when you take the alcohol away.
Withdrawal symptoms vary in severity and you may experience all of them. They grow more severe over time.
Common mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms include irritability, nausea, tremors, anxiety, and a racing heart. These things are normal and tolerable for most people.
There are, however, more extreme symptoms of withdrawal that need to be observed by a medical professional. Someone going through the later stages of withdrawal may experience hallucinations, paranoia, fevers, and seizures. They may also be prone to violence.
While it’s not common, it is possible to die from alcohol withdrawal if you’re not being monitored.
What Does the Alcohol Detox Timeline Look Like?
Each stage of your alcohol detox timeline will look different. The first three stages are the intense stages of withdrawal. When they’re over, your detox period will be more mild and tolerable as you’re observed by medical professionals.
Here’s what you can expect as you go through the stages of withdrawal.
Stage one of your alcohol withdrawal can start a few hours after your last drink, once the “buzz” has worn off. For serious drinkers, it may start while you’re still under the influence.
This is where your mild symptoms start. For some people, this is the only stage of alcohol withdrawal. After this, their symptoms soften.
For those who make it to stage two of their alcohol detox, the symptoms begin to worsen.
This is when a patient may become delirious. They’re likely to have severe mood swings, be off in “their own world,” and have a hard time connecting with reality. This is also where severe physical symptoms begin. The patient may experience high fevers, a high heart rate, and in rare cases, seizures.
Again, for some people, this is the final stage of withdrawal before they’re able to reduce their symptoms.
Stage three is the most intense period of detox. People who make it to this stage are in the most danger.
More intense seizures are possible during stage three. The patient may move from delusions to hallucinations and serious paranoia. If a patient reaches this stage, they will likely have a longer post-withdrawal period.
After these initial stages of your withdrawal and detox are complete, you will still be going through the detox period. The worst is behind you.
Your symptoms will start to de-intensify. For people with mild to moderate addictions, this takes about a week (though you may still experience anxiety, cravings, and mood swings for many months to come if not indefinitely).
For those with serious addictions, you may still experience moderate symptoms for the next month before you graduate to the normal mild symptoms, though this is uncommon.
Why Should I Have a Monitored Detox?
With all of this in mind, it might be obvious why you should seek professional help for your alcohol detox.
Because alcohol detox symptoms can be intense, having someone there to monitor your health can be the difference between an uncomfortable experience and an excruciating one. Whether you’re experiencing therapeutic care or medically-assisted care, a medical professional will make the transition easier.
It’s also helpful to be in a detox center because you’re free from temptation. There’s no way for you to get alcohol into your system, and you know that you’re surrounded by people who know how to handle someone who’s tempted to give up.
While your friends and family may support your recovery, it’s difficult to see someone suffering without trying to help. While alcohol isn’t helpful, it seems that way on the surface and it’s a “quick fix.”
Do You Need Alcohol Detox Help?
The withdrawal period from alcohol is scary. You shouldn’t be afraid of the alcohol detox timeline, though. It’s a lot of work, but with the right help and care, the light is at the end of the tunnel.
When you’re ready to start seeking help for your alcohol addiction, we’ll be here for you. Contact us to find a place in our judgment-free treatment facility. We can’t wait to meet you.