How Long Does Alcohol Withdrawal Take?

The timeline for alcohol withdrawal varies from one individual to another. It also depends on certain factors. For a person addicted to alcohol, stopping drinking is a welcome idea. However, such a person must do it in a medically advisable manner.

Seeking medical advice is critical because abrupt withdrawal from alcohol can be life-threatening. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms range in severity. While some are mild, others are very severe. The latter category can become so intense and cause a person long term damage, illness, or death. 

In this article, you will gain more knowledge about how long alcohol withdrawal takes. You will also learn about the symptoms of withdrawing from alcohol and how to treat them. 

What is the Timeline for Alcohol Withdrawal? 

The duration of alcohol withdrawal varies for each person. It also depends on factors such as how long you drink and the average quantity of alcohol consumed. The presence of physical or mental health issues is also a factor. Generally speaking, a timeline for alcohol withdrawal looks like this: 

Stage 1

This starts six to twelve hours after your last drink. The symptoms you will experience at this stage include nausea, anxiety, and headaches. You will also experience low appetite, insomnia, and stomach pains. 

Stage 2

This usually takes place 12 to 24 hours after your last alcohol consumption. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms increase to hallucinations.

Stage 3

From 24 hours to 72 hours, the symptoms will begin to wear off. However, protracted symptoms can stay for more extended periods, running into weeks. Between 24-48 hours after drinking, you will be prone to seizures. 

From 48-72 hours, you may also experience fever, sweating, high blood pressure, and confusion. At this stage, you may also have delirium tremens accompanied by auditory hallucinations. This can sometimes lead to death. 

The symptoms of withdrawal begin to decrease in intensity after 5-7 days. Some side effects, especially psychological side effects, may continue after the first week. 

Protracted Alcohol Withdrawal

This is a condition that one may experience after severe withdrawal from drinking. It usually lasts for about a year. Symptoms include anxiety, tremors, high blood pressure, insomnia, increased heart rate, and respiratory issues. 

Some persons may experience other symptoms like decreased energy and metabolism. They may also experience fatigue and mental weariness. 

What are the Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal?

Based on the timeline, you now have an idea of what to expect from alcohol withdrawal. However, you must note that these symptoms are not the same for every person. 

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms usually change in intensity within a short time. One needs to remain careful all the time. 

You can classify alcohol symptoms into mild, moderate, and severe symptoms. Mild symptoms include: 

  • Mild headaches
  • Gloominess
  • Mild tremors
  • Mild Itching
  • Nausea
  • Light and sound intensity 

Moderate symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Frequent itching and nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety and sweating
  • Burning sensation or numb feeling
  • Poor mental alertness
  • Being uncomfortable around bright lights
  • Visible tremor when you stretch your hands out

Severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms include: 

  • Hallucinations
  • Severe tremor
  • Constant nausea and vomiting
  • Profuse sweating
  • Acute Confusion

Withdrawal delirium or Delirium tremens (DTs) is an extreme symptom of alcohol withdrawal. It can cause death. One of the signs of this condition is a change in your consciousness level. It is more common in older persons with a history of heavy alcohol consumption. If your liver functions poorly and you experience severe withdrawal symptoms, you may be prone to DTs. 

Since it is a Central Nervous System (CNS) depressant, an abrupt stop to alcohol consumption is dangerous. This is because when you consume alcohol regularly, your CNS gets used to the feeling. Quitting abruptly will lead to CNS excitability, causing seizures, a DTs symptom. With that in mind, it is essential to seek professional help when withdrawing from alcohol. 

What is the Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal?

Most of the symptoms that come with alcohol withdrawal usually fade off after five days. However, some of these symptoms remain for more extended periods. It is best to treat these kinds of symptoms with the help of professional alcohol addiction treatment services

Treatment at such centers is much safer. Also, it helps you manage potentially harmful symptoms you may experience. A good alcohol addiction treatment centre will monitor you at each stage of the withdrawal process. Also, they will ensure you remain in great condition with supportive therapy. 

This therapy gets you set to return to everyday life. It also trains you on how to manage drinking urges. A doctor will tell you the treatment best for you and guide you through it. However, treatment doesn’t reduce the duration of your withdrawal timeline.

Detoxification is the first step to alcohol withdrawal treatment. It ensures you do not have severe symptoms. Alcohol addiction treatment aims to ease the patient’s withdrawal symptoms. It also gives patients the support they need to navigate the phase.

Some typical alcohol withdrawal treatments include: 

  • Observing the patients to know the degree of their symptoms
  • Use of anti-anxiety drugs. Benzodiazepine is an example of such medications. It helps you reduce the anxiety you may experience during withdrawal.
  • Use of anti-seizure drugs like Depakote to prevent seizures. 
  • Use of Beta-blockers, which help to slow the heart rate. These blockers also reduce the tremors you may experience. Sometimes, beta-blockers help patients to curb their urge for alcohol. 

Detoxifying and withdrawing from alcohol can be a strenuous exercise. It exhausts you physically, mentally, and emotionally. This is why you are best in the hands of alcohol addiction treatment centers. 

Should You Do Alcohol Withdrawal at Home?

Many people wonder if they can perform alcohol withdrawal from the comfort of their homes. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you can do it home. However, you must do it with the supervision of a medical professional. Never practice alcohol withdrawal without the supervision of a professional. 

However, when you have to manage mild withdrawal symptoms from home, ensure you keep to the appropriate medications. Always check-in with your supervising physician when you need to. Don’t leave anything to chance.

The case is different when you show the risk of severe symptoms or have such symptoms. Then, it is always best to manage your treatment at an alcohol addiction treatment center. While detoxifying and withdrawing from alcohol, you are prone to severe health consequences. Being within the walls of a facility to manage your recovery process is key to your safety. 

Generally speaking, it is always best to undergo your alcohol withdrawal at a treatment center. Most times, early recovery patients undergo their detoxification at treatment services. After the detoxification process, they continue with the rest of their treatment from home. On the other hand, patients with protracted withdrawal symptoms undergo the full process at treatment facilities.

FAQs about Alcohol Withdrawal 

Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about alcohol withdrawal.

What Happens When You Quit Alcohol? 

When you decide to stop consuming alcohol abruptly, it leads to alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can be severe and lead to complications if you don’t manage them properly.

How Long Does Alcohol Withdrawal Take?

The duration of alcohol withdrawal depends on an individual. It also depends on the quantity of alcohol you consume and how long you consume it. 

The recovery process usually takes three stages, depending on the symptoms you exhibit. These stages may last between 6-72 hours. For persons showing protracted symptoms, recovery will take days, weeks, months, and even years.

How Best Do I Manage My Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment? 

It is best to treat withdrawal symptoms in alcohol addiction treatment centers. Even if you want to undergo your recovery process at home, do so under a professional’s supervision. Whether you recover at home or a center is dependent on the severity of your symptoms. 


You now have better information about alcohol withdrawal. You also have a better understanding of the symptoms and treatment. When withdrawing from alcohol, ensure that you have the supervision of professionals. It is always best to undergo your withdrawal process at alcohol addiction treatment centers. 

If you want the best treatment tailored to your needs, then look no further. Try our addiction treatment services for the best treatment experience you can get. 

Here at Addictions CA, our team of professionals will not just treat your withdrawal symptoms. We will also do a thorough check to find any hidden issues. This will reduce the chances of you suffering a relapse and will lead you to lasting and complete recovery. Contact us today!

Write us right now to get professional help

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