The Timeline of Alcohol Detox and What To Expect

When someone becomes dependent on alcohol, it can be difficult for them to wean themselves off of it. And because each person is different, it may take some longer than others before they are fully recovered from alcohol abuse. That is why the detox process is so important to kicking alcohol abuse so that it can be done in a safe and supervised manner. Here’s what to expect in the timeline of detoxing from alcohol.

Expectations Of Alcohol Detox

Before a person can overcome withdrawal symptoms, they have to go through a detox procedure. Several steps are taken before a person can be admitted into a detox program, including:

  • An initial assessment: a comprehensive medical evaluation is done to determine exactly what those person’s needs are moving forward.
  • Establishing a treatment plan: a plan is drafted as to what kind of treatment options might work best for the individual.
  • Counseling: individual and group therapy are recommended to help the person get over their alcoholism, as well as root out the causes of their addiction.
  • Providing support: support needs to continue even after treatment has ended so that an individual won’t relapse once they leave the program.

What Are The Withdrawal Symptoms During Detox?

When a person has been abusing alcohol for a long time, the nervous system becomes overreactive. When they stop drinking, the physical body doesn’t know how to cope with this and starts to experience a lot of uncomfortable symptoms. These include:

  • increased body temperature
  • irritability
  • body tremors
  • rapid heart rate
  • dehydration
  • nausea
  • cravings for alcohol

In most severe cases, a person can experience mental confusion, delirium tremens, and seizures. That’s why it’s important for there to be medical staff included in the detox procedure to ensure that the addict’s withdrawal symptoms aren’t life-threatening.

Factors That Come Into Play With the Detox Timeline

Each individual is different so the factors that determine how long it takes include:

  • Gender, weight, and age
  • How long they’ve been abusing alcohol
  • How much alcohol they consume
  • Mental and physical health
  • If alcohol is combined with other drugs

These different factors can alter the time it takes for a person to be completely detoxified from alcohol.

The Detox Timeline

A person will go through various stages during the detox process, but these time frames might look different for different people.

  • 6-12 hours: mild symptoms typically stop 6 hours after the last drink. A person will experience headaches, insomnia, tremors, and nausea.
  • 12-24 hours: withdrawal symptoms get slightly worse.
  • 24-28 hours: symptoms include alcohol cravings, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, fever, confusion, and anxiety.
  • 48-72 hours: this is the most intense period of withdrawal and typically requires medical supervision.

It is important that care be continued after detox to ensure that patients overcome their addiction for the long haul and don’t relapse. Depending on the severity of the condition, a person with addiction may be admitted into an inpatient treatment program to better help through the process. If you fear that you may have an alcohol addiction, don’t hesitate to speak to a medical professional as soon as possible.