How Long Does Alcohol Detox Last?

Alcohol detox (or detoxification) is the natural process that occurs in the body as it attempts to rid the system of waste products and toxins from excessive, long-term alcohol consumption. In a treatment setting, alcohol detox is usually accompanied by medication, clinical observation, and counseling. Some people are apprehensive to quit drinking due to withdrawal symptoms, but alcohol detox is always the first step in successfully treating alcoholism.

alcohol detox last

What are the symptoms of Alcohol Detox?

According to The National Library of Medicine:

Alcohol withdrawal or detox symptoms usually occur within 8 hours after the last drink but can occur days later. Symptoms usually peak by 24 to 72 hours, but may go on for weeks.

The detox process is not a walk in the park if you’re physically dependent on alcohol to get through the day. The most alcohol withdrawal common symptoms include:

  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Jumpiness or shakiness
  • Mood swings
  • Nightmares
  • Not thinking clearly

Some other symptoms, depending on your condition, may include:

  • Sweating, clammy skin
  • Enlarged (dilated) pupils
  • Headache
  • Insomnia (sleeping difficulty)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pallor
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Tremor of the hands or other body parts

A severe form of alcohol withdrawal called delirium tremens can cause:

  • Agitation
  • Fever
  • Seeing or feeling things that aren’t there (hallucinations)
  • Seizures
  • Severe confusion

What treatment is used in Alcohol Detox?

Alcohol detox is the preparatory step before a longer treatment program. Alcohol Detox can be safely performed at both inpatient and outpatient facilities, but round-the-clock medical monitoring is recommended for heavy users. Part of the detox process includes keeping the patient’s system right and avoiding major physiological upsets. Sometimes medications are necessary to do this. Benzodiazepines (benzos), including Librium, Valium, and Ativan, are commonly used for alcohol treatment because they reduce alcohol withdrawal symptoms and also prevent alcohol withdrawal seizures. Seizures are one of the most common causes of fatality in alcohol withdrawal, so additional anti-convulsion drugs are often used as well.

While benzos have been proven effective in treating or preventing certain symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, it is imperative that a recovering alcoholic only use medically recommended amounts of the drugs. Benzos are addictive substances all on their own, and use should be closely monitored.

It can be dangerous detoxing alone the same with any other substance. Especially in the cases of long-term alcohol abusers, detoxing cold turkey can be dangerous and even fatal. It is always recommended to seek medical attention for an alcohol detox to avoid life-threatening side effects.

Everyone’s favorite question: “How Long Does Alcohol Detox Last?”

The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal will typically begin to subside after 10-12 days in most cases. There is no one size fits all answer to address exactly how long detox will last. Several factors can play a role in the number of days detoxification will continue.

  • Amount of alcohol consumed
  • How long the person has been drinking
  • How often the person has been drinking on a regular basis
  • Nutritional considerations
  • Weight and age
  • Was the alcohol combined with other substances
  • Does the person have any other co-occurring mental health issues such as depression, eating disorders, etc?

Detox is just the first step of treatment for people trying to overcome their alcohol addiction. Ridding the body of alcohol will not cure alcoholism; it clears the mind and heals the body so that a person suffering from alcohol addiction may get the full treatment.

According to the NIH:

It is important to go to a living situation that helps support you in staying sober. Some areas have housing options that provide a supportive environment for those trying to stay sober. Permanent and life-long abstinence from alcohol is the best treatment for those who have gone through withdrawal.

The road to recovery from alcoholism may have its challenges, but the hard work is worth the effort. Being able to enjoy life without having to resort to drinking makes everything worth it.

Allure Detox is a New Way to Start Your Life Again

Allure Detox can help. We are a comfortable and evidence-based drug and alcohol detox in West Palm Beach, Florida. We can free you or your loved one from the physical symptoms of addiction and start you on the path to recovery. We offer detox from drugs and alcohol on a medical basis so that you can safely resume the life you once lived, the life you thought was lost forever. Alcoholics emerge from Allure Detox healthy, sane, and prepared for a lifetime of recovery. Please contact us today if you or someone you love is suffering from alcoholism.


  • How long is detox?