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How long does it take to detox from alcohol?

Data shows over 14.5 million people ages 12 and older in the United States suffered from Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) in 2019. Alcohol-related emergencies and overdose deaths are at an all-time high, and many individuals die due to chronic conditions related to alcohol abuse. In the same year, more than 95,000 people died from an alcohol-related cause. The numbers are staggering, and the statistics are shocking. Fortunately, being addicted to alcohol doesn’t mean you have an automatic death sentence. Choosing to detox from alcohol is the first step in recovery.

Detoxing from alcohol can be a challenging process. With the help of compassionate staff at a treatment center like Arista Recovery, you can get the support you need to detox safely and effectively. How long the detox process takes depends on several factors, including how severe your addiction is and how healthy your liver is.

What determines how long it takes to detox from alcohol?

Detoxing isn’t a fun time, but it’s necessary. The length it takes to detox largely depends on the patient’s physiology and habits. In general, detoxing from alcohol usually lasts between five and seven days. However, there are cases where people have needed to detox for up to two weeks.

If you are an alcoholic and experience significant withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop drinking, make sure you seek medical advice and only detox under a doctor’s supervision. This is especially important if you have a history of seizures, other substance addictions, or issues with your liver. Inpatient care can also be an option, which offers 24/7 care.

A few factors determine how long it will take a patient to detox from alcohol fully, which are age, weight, history with alcohol, and other illnesses or addictions.

A study found that the “severity of symptoms correlated significantly with the duration of harmful drinking and the amount of daily alcohol consumption in patients aged between 30 and 50 years. The highest positive correlation between the severity of AW symptoms and the number of previous AW episodes was found in patients aged >60 years.”

Simply put, the results showed that it took longer for many people to detox if they had been drinking heavily for an extended period of time and drank daily. Those 60 years and older experienced more severe withdrawal symptoms; therefore, it may take longer to detox fully.


Overall, detoxing from alcohol is not the same as detoxing from a drug like meth. Each substance has different stages of detox along with various withdrawal symptoms to prepare for.

Alcohol detox withdrawal symptoms to be aware of

Substance abuse experts state there are four withdrawal stages before full detox. Not everyone experiences the symptoms listed below, and some of these symptoms can happen out of order. Regardless, it is beneficial to be aware and knowledgeable.

  • Stage one: The first six to 12 hours after drinking their last drink, alcoholics can experience headaches, anxiety, stomach pains, insomnia, poor appetite, and nausea.
  • Stage two: Between the 12 and 48-hour mark, withdrawal symptoms can potentially intensify into hallucinations and seizures.
  • Stage three: At 48 to 72 hours, withdrawal symptoms can include fever, sweating, confusion, quick heart rate, high blood pressure, and delirium tremens, which are potentially fatal.
  • Stage four: After 72 hours of stopping alcohol, withdrawal symptoms will become more manageable and slowly cease over the next four to seven days.

Delirium tremens have significant risk factors to be aware of.

  • abnormal liver function
  • history of DTs
  • history of seizures with alcohol withdrawals
  • low platelet counts
  • low potassium levels
  • low sodium levels
  • older age at the time of withdrawal
  • preexisting dehydration
  • presence of brain lesions
  • use of other drugs

Withdrawal symptoms sure aren’t exciting. Many people suffer from them, but thankfully, they only last a few days to a week, depending on how addicted you are to alcohol. Remember that detoxing from alcohol can be life-threatening; take it seriously and ensure friends or loved ones are there to help and support you through the process. Your doctor must also be aware if you aren’t checking into a substance abuse facility.


If you’re struggling with alcohol addiction, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. There is no shame in getting help for addiction; it shows courage and strength. You can recover from alcohol addiction and live a healthier life with the right treatment plan. Arista Recovery has a well-equipt, compassionate staff that can help you detox in an inpatient or outpatient setting.

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