How Long Does It Take To Detox From Alcohol

16% of adults in Arizona say they binge drink at least once a month. Here at Pinnacle Peak Recovery, we understand how many people are impacted by alcoholism, and we know that many people have questions about alcohol use disorder and what can happen while you’re going through recovery. 

Regular consumption of alcohol can develop into alcoholism when a dependency develops. This can mean that the person has difficulty stopping drinking once they start, they crave alcohol throughout the day, they experience negative side effects when they’re not drinking alcohol regularly, and their need for alcohol starts to impact their life substantially. When the body becomes used to a certain level of alcohol consumption, a lack of alcohol can lead to the body starting to detox from it.

Detoxing from alcohol can start as early as 6 hours after a person finishes their last drink. How often you or your loved one partakes in alcohol will affect how severe the effects of the detox will be.

Detoxing lasts an average of 72 hours. The withdrawal symptoms and other side effects that can come along with alcohol detoxing can last much longer, up to several weeks. 

Detoxing Your Body From Alcoholism

Detoxing is the period of time it takes for a substance to leave the body and for the person to recover from it. In the case of long-term alcohol use, this process can come with withdrawal symptoms and other side effects that can vary in intensity and may require medical care. If you’re thinking about detoxing from alcohol, it’s important to speak with a medical professional to find out what method of detoxing will work best for you. 

Knowing if Your Liver Is Detoxing From Alcohol

The process of detoxification and the withdrawal process varies from person to person depending on many factors such as length of alcohol use, age, metabolism, how much they drink, and their history of detoxing and substance use.

Here are some symptoms to keep an eye out for if you think you or your loved one has started detoxing:

  • Sweating/clammy skin
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Difficulty thinking
  • Dilated pupils
  • Headaches

There is another condition called delirium tremens that can develop during alcohol withdrawal, primarily in those who’ve had a history of excessive or long-term alcohol consumption. Delirium tremens happen due to a sudden shift during detox that affects the brain and nervous system. Signs of delirium tremens include:

  • Heart rates over 100 bpm (tachycardia)
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Hypertension
  • Hallucinations

Some of the side effects can be severe and dangerous for you or your loved one, so it’s important to seek out medical consultation when you know that the detox process is happening. 

When Does Alcohol Detox and Withdrawal Start?

Detoxification and withdrawal are similar but don’t act on the same timeline. Detox is the process of the body being rid of alcohol, while withdrawal is the result of this detoxification. Detoxing tends to only last a few days, while the side effects and experience of withdrawal can last up to several weeks afterward.

The more dangerous symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, such as seizures, tend to occur within the first 24-48 hours, with symptoms overall peaking within 1-3 days of the detox process. 

The Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline

The process of withdrawal can begin as early as 6 hours after the last drink. This is when the side effects can start popping up. Within the first 24 hours, some people may experience hallucinations not caused by delirium tremens.

Within the first 24-48 hours, seizures can occur in cases of heavy alcohol use. 

Overall, the side effects of withdrawal peak within the first three days, but can last for weeks after. With some potential symptoms being dangerous to your health, it’s important to speak with a medical professional about the withdrawal process in order to have the best and safest experience possible.

There are medications that can assist in reducing the symptoms of withdrawal. Be open and honest with your doctor about your history of alcohol use or other substance disorders in order to ensure you receive the right medications to help you. 

Receiving additional treatment outside of detoxing, such as inpatient or outpatient treatment, is important if you want the best chance of recovery. During treatment, you will learn more skills that can help you manage future situations that may arise.  

What Happens to the Body When Going Through Detox and Withdrawal?

Certain substances, especially over a prolonged period of use, can change and impact our bodies in many different ways. Alcoholism has many side effects, even before detox and withdrawal. Here are some of the primary organs alcohol use disorder can impact:

  • The brain - Alcohol can alter the brain’s pathways, leading to mood shifts, behavioral changes, and difficulty with coordination and concentration. Brains are very adaptable and can become used to having alcohol in the system, so when that is removed it can cause a negative disruption as the brain has to adjust to its absence. 
  • The heart - Even short-term alcohol use can negatively impact the heart, leading to irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, altering of the muscles within the heart, and even causing strokes. 
  • The liver - As this is where alcohol is primarily processed, heavy drinking can take a toll on the liver which can lead to fibrosis, cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis, or even liver cancer
  • The pancreas - Alcohol use causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances which can result in pancreatitis over time. 

Recovering From Alcoholism

Recovering from alcoholism involves more than just getting through the detox and withdrawal process. It also involves learning new skills to help you in the future and unlearning old behaviors that can develop during long-term alcohol use.

Here at Pinnacle Peak Recovery, we offer individualized options for our clients’ paths to recovery to ensure they receive the best care. We are committed to lifelong success for our clients and their families while helping them on their journey through treatment.

  • Detox Center - Our rapid drug detox center offers a care team of licensed medical and behavioral professionals who will help you get safely through detox, offering medications and support to help manage side effects. 
  • Inpatient Rehab - Inpatient treatment offers clients the chance to get away from environments that were potentially contributing to their alcohol use disorder. It also offers a comfortable, neutral, and supportive environment where clients learn new skills to help them recover. Clients in inpatient rehab tend to stay on site 24/7, where supportive staff are available to assist at any time. They’ll also receive support from others who are in recovery. 
  • Outpatient Rehab - Not everyone who is going through recovery is looking to leave their homes or families to do so. Our Arizona outpatient treatment offers many of the same services and amenities that inpatient rehab does, while clients stay at home overnight.

If you or a loved one is thinking about your recovery options from alcoholism, reach out to us today. We’re ready and happy to help you on your journey and want to answer any questions you may have. Give us a call at 866-377-4761.

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FAQs About Detoxing and Alcoholism 

What are common withdrawal and detoxification symptoms?

The most common symptoms of withdrawal while detoxing from alcohol are headaches, nausea, irritability, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Other side effects can occur that are more severe, such as seizures and hallucinations, depending on the history of alcohol consumption.  

What is the treatment for alcoholism withdrawal?

There are medications that can help manage and alleviate some of the symptoms of withdrawal, such as benzodiazepines. Inpatient or outpatient treatment is recommended based on the individual needs of the client. 

What factors may influence the detox timeline?

Every person and their history is unique, making the detoxification timeline a rough estimate. Things such as their history of substance use, age, and length of alcohol use can and do impact the timeline for each person. 

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