How Long Does it Take Your Body to Detox from Alcohol?

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Alcohol Use Disorder – How Long Does it Take Your Body to Detox from Alcohol?

It is easy to think that alcohol addiction is merely a choice. However, science tells us that it is a disease because of the similarities it shares with other mental disorders: it changes the structure of the brain. A surprising amount of people are affected by alcohol use disorder. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, over 15 million adults in the United States are classified as having alcohol use disorder in 2015.

Overcoming substance use disorder such as alcoholism can be achieved via the professional assistance that rehab centers provide. Initially, a detox is required. How long does it take your body to detox from alcohol? In this article, we will examine the alcohol detox timeline.

Alcohol Detox Timeline

How long does it take your body to detox from alcohol? The detox length can be affected by the how severe the drinking problem was, their medical history, other co-occurring mental disorders, their current stress tolerance and whether the person makes use of a medical detox. How long does it take your body to detox from alcohol when using a medical detox? Generally speaking, the average alcohol detox during a medical detox lasts around a week. Without the use of medications in detox, some of the symptoms can last for several weeks.

The detox can be broken up into three distinct phases. They are as follows:

Phase One

The first phase of alcohol detox can begin as soon as six hours from the last drink. It is considered a mild phase where symptoms such as insomnia, nausea, anxiety, vomiting, mood swings and fatigue are common. Additional symptoms during this phase include heart palpitations, tremors and a loss of appetite.

Phase Two

The second phase in alcohol detox reveals moderate symptoms of withdrawal. This phase generally begins around 24 hours after the last alcoholic drink. The person is expected to deal with symptoms such as an irregular heartbeat, heavy sweating, mood disturbances, irritability and an increase in body temperature and blood pressure. On the alcohol withdrawal day 3, most of the phase two symptoms will begin to fade. Additionally, around alcohol withdrawal day 3, the person can expect to start having the most severe symptoms associated with phase three of detox, such as delirium tremens.

Phase Three

The third phase of withdrawal is the most severe and dangerous to the person’s health. The third phase usually begins around the third day and can last for until around day 5-7 of the detox. Delirium tremens can be life-threatening but they only occur in about 3-5 percent of alcohol detox cases. The symptoms of delirium tremens include a fever, severe confusion, hallucinations, agitation and seizures.

After about a week, most of the symptoms will have faded if the detox was done professionally. Some psychological symptoms may remain for several weeks in some cases, such as depression, but these issues can be worked out in therapy or medications can be used to reduce the effects.

Through answering the question “how long does it take your body to detox from alcohol?” you will better understand what to expect if you are in need of a medical detox. The sooner you begin your recovery, the fewer long-term side effects of alcohol use disorder you will have to face. Call Better Addiction Care at 1-800-429-7690 to find medical detox programs near you.