How Long Does Alcohol Withdrawal Last: Symptoms and Duration

March 18, 2019

Being addicted to alcohol can destroy a person’s life. But it can also be dangerous to go through alcohol withdrawal after deciding to quit. It is important to be aware that withdrawal symptoms and length will be different for each individual.

If you or someone you love is trying to quit drinking, or in the process of quitting, the following information will be very helpful. At Steps Recovery Centers in Utah, we provide drug and alcohol rehabilitation for those in need. We feel it is vitally important to have at least a basic knowledge of what to expect in situations such as alcohol withdrawal.

We’ll lay out what some of these factors are before getting into the typical alcohol withdrawal symptoms and duration.

What Factors Determine Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms and Duration?

We are all unique, both biologically and situationally. That uniqueness plays a role in how each person will think, feel, or react to situations both in and out of our control. Some people will only experience mild withdrawal symptoms from alcohol, while for others it will be much more severe.

Every human has a distinct biological makeup that causes us to be affected differently by alcohol withdrawal. Outside factors also play a role in an individual’s susceptibility to both alcohol addiction and the withdrawal reactions. These factors include:

  • Medical History
  • A family history of alcohol abuse
  • Presence of health issues outside of the alcoholism
  • How long someone has been an addict and what they drink
  • How much someone drinks

Keep these factors in mind as you continue reading. The following withdrawal symptoms and duration will vary based on your or your family’s specific responses to the above factors.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol withdrawal occurs most commonly in three stages. The first stage is usually the mildest in terms of symptoms, including:

  • Mood Swings
  • Anger
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Abdominal pain
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Heart palpitations


The second stage of alcohol withdrawal is more severe. Symptoms during this time of the withdrawal process are reactions such as:

  • Abnormal heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Breathing problems
  • Confusion
  • Sweating
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability


The final stage of withdrawal is the most serious. It produces the most dangerous symptoms. Seek medical attention if/when you or your loved one experience:

  • Hallucinations
  • High fever
  • Seizures
  • Extreme agitation

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptom Duration

A certain amount of time will go by before an alcoholic going through withdrawals will experience the above-mentioned symptoms. The time is measured from the very last drink consumed.

Stage one symptoms can begin to occur as early as an hour after the last drink and last up to eight hours. Stage two begins directly after stage one ends, lasting 1-3 days give or take. You or your loved one may experience stage two symptoms for around 72 hours before heading into stage three symptoms.

Stage three symptoms, the serious, get-medical-attention ones, start after about 3 days or 72 hours and can last up to a week. Overall, your experience with alcohol withdrawal can last anywhere from five days to a week or even a little past that. Your own experience with withdrawals will be different than someone else’s.

Don’t live or let your loved one live through an experience like this alone. Contact Steps Recovery Centers in Utah for more information about our rehabilitation facilities and packages. Click here to get more information about the alcohol rehabilitation centers located throughout Utah.

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