How long does it take for alcohol to leave your body completely?

Written by Chloe Nicosia

If you are wondering how long does it take for alcohol to leave your body completely during detox, this alcohol detox timeline provides answers

One of the questions people frequently ask before seeking help for alcohol addiction is: how long does it take for alcohol to leave your body completely? The reason for this question is understandable. Anyone entering treatment for alcohol addiction has to quit drinking alcohol and go through detox, where they may experience hallucinations, seizures, and other unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Concerns about detox and withdrawal can make the thought of entering rehab a bit scary. Once you know how long it takes alcohol to leave your body and understand the symptoms that can occur at each stage of withdrawal, you can mentally prepare yourself for the experience.

Alcohol withdrawal timeline

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can range in severity from relatively minor to dangerously life threatening. The specific withdrawal symptoms you experience and the time range when they appear will be determined by several factors. The length of time you have been drinking, the amount of alcohol you imbibe, your general health, and genetic makeup will all play a role. If you are addicted to any other substances or have any concurrent mental or physical issues, that will also affect the alcohol withdrawal timeline.

Most people begin to experience the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal between 6 to 8 hours after their last drink. Symptoms start off mildly, growing in strength and severity as time passes. The first withdrawal symptoms can occur before alcohol has left your body completely. Symptoms become more severe as the last traces of alcohol leave your body and your system begins to have to function without alcohol. Withdrawal symptoms reach peak severity between 24 to 72 hours before beginning to taper off.  5 to 7 days after your last drink of alcohol, most of your withdrawal symptoms will be gone. Psychological symptoms of withdrawal, including cravings and depression, will persist for several more weeks.

Alcohol Detox Timeline

Alcohol detox progresses through several recognizable stages as alcohol leaves your body and you go through withdrawal. There is no way to shorten the alcohol detox timeline; anyone who is dependent on alcohol must go through each stage. In addition to these stages, individuals who have a long-term, chronic heavy drinking habit may also experience delirium tremens, commonly known as DTs.

The alcohol detox timeline with associated symptoms includes:

  • First stage of alcohol detox: 6 to 12 hours after the last alcoholic drink, alcohol has not yet left your body. Individuals experience mild withdrawal symptoms including tremors, anxiety, sleep disturbances, nausea/vomiting, and abdominal pains.
  • Second stage of alcohol detox: 12 to 24 hours after stopping drinking, symptoms increase in severity as alcohol leaves your body. One in five alcohol dependent individuals experience alcoholic hallucinosis, with auditory and visual hallucinations
  • Third stage of alcohol detox: 48 to 72 hours after stopping drinking, once alcohol has left your body completely, generalized tonic-clonic seizures can occur.

Detoxing from alcohol addiction is never enjoyable, but it is a necessary part of recovery. Now that you have a better idea of how long does it take for alcohol to leave your body completely, and what happens once it does, entering treatment may be a little easier.

The specialists at Better Addiction Care can help you find an alcohol addiction treatment center that offers medical detox to make the withdrawal process safer and more comfortable. Call 1-800-429-7690 today to speak to one of our knowledgeable specialists. We can assess your needs and help you find the best alcohol addiction treatment center to help you achieve long term recovery.