Alcohol Detox: How Long Does This Process Take?

September 9, 2021

Although the symptoms might be harsh at first, one of the most critical stages of treating alcoholism is alcohol detox for a fresh start. 

Alcohol is one of the most addictive substances readily available across the United States. Even though alcohol is legal for those who reach the minimum age requirement of 21, that doesn’t mean that it’s not a harmful drug for those who overuse it. 

Alcohol is a depressant that your body and brain will start to rely on if you drink large amounts regularly. The feeling and the chemicals released when consuming alcohol will stop being naturally produced, leading to reliance and abuse of the substance. Alcohol releases neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin that make us feel happy and calm; however, these neurotransmitters naturally occur without alcohol use. But when drinking has become a habit, your brain will stop producing these chemicals, causing you to crave alcohol often. 

Once your body has gone through detox and has gotten rid of any trace of alcohol, your brain may start developing dopamine and serotonin naturally again, but that’s not to say you won’t have an urge to consume alcohol after detox. If you are struggling with alcohol abuse, medical detox is likely one of the most complex parts of your path to recovery and an essential stage, which is why it always comes first. To learn more about alcohol detox, continue reading. 

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms 

Many people don’t want to seek help through detox due to the severe symptoms that come with cleansing your body of the substance. Symptoms can set in as quickly as a few hours after the last drink but are manageable. It will take about a day or two for the worst symptoms to set in. Here are the signs that your body is trying to detox: 

● Anxiety 

● Sweating 

● Nausea 

● Insomnia 

● Headaches 

● Muscle tremors 

● Tactile, auditory, and visual disturbances 

● Seizures 

● Extreme hallucinations 

● Disorientation 

● Delirium tremens (for the most severe cases) 

Alcohol Detox Timeline and Process 

When your body is detoxifying, it could take anywhere from a few days to ten days. It’s relatively standard that it will take about a week for the symptoms to taper off. Here is a basic breakdown of the timeline of alcohol detox:

● 6-12 Hours – mild symptoms begin to set in; headaches, anxiety, shaking, nausea, and irritability are the most common feelings to settle in first. 

● Day one – symptoms will become increasingly worse and other symptoms like disorientation, hand tremors, and seizures. 

● Day two – the most painful symptoms begin to appear between the first and second day. Hallucinations and panic attacks might happen during this time in the worst cases. ● Days three through seven – symptoms will come and go during this time. If your case is severe enough, this is when you might experience delirium tremens. 

● Days eight through ten – after the first week, the most severe symptoms will start tapering off. 

● Post-detox – Minor symptoms might persist, but if you’re doing a medically supervised detox, you may be able to treat the symptoms with medication. Some people might also suffer from post-acute withdrawal syndrome after going through detox, but that is not the case for everyone. 

Medical Alcohol Detox With Steps Recovery Centers 
We know that alcohol detox is hard; we also know that admitting you need help might be just as hard. But at Steps Recovery Centers, we will do our best to make sure you get the attention you deserve as you go through this difficult time. We believe in using medically proven and holistic practices that will help you healthily work towards recovery. You can trust our dedicated staff and medical experts to be there and encourage you every step of the way. So, if you or someone you know is searching for treatment for alcohol abuse, consider Steps Recovery Centers. We have centers in St. George, Utah Valley, and Salt Lake Valley, Utah, so contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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