How Long Does Alcohol Withdrawal Last?

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Oct 31, 2016

How Long Does Alcohol Withdrawal Last?


You may be wondering, “how long does alcohol withdrawal last?”.

The best answer is: it depends.

Everyone’s body and situation are different, which is why the duration of alcohol withdrawal also varies.

For example, heavy drinkers who’ve been drinking for the better part of a decade will take longer to detox than those who’ve been doing so for a couple of months.

Read on to find out what to expect (depending on your situation) and things you can do to expedite the process.

What Are the Signs of Alcohol Withdrawal?

You can start seeing signs of withdrawal as early as two hours after your last drink.

These withdrawal symptoms are usually mild, and they include:

-Anxiousness
-Distress
-Headaches
-Nausea and vomiting
-Dehydration

After a day, you start seeing more severe withdrawal symptoms such as:

-Dizziness/Disorientation
-Tremors
-Seizures
-Severe Dehydration

Withdrawal symptoms usually peak after two or three days:

-Insomnia
-Abnormal increase in blood pressure
-Hallucinations
-High fever
-Delirium tremens (can be fatal if left unattended)

How Long Does Alcohol Withdrawal Last (or How Long Does Alcohol Detox Last?)

The duration of alcohol detox is different for everyone, but it begins right after you stops drinking.

The average amount of time it takes for people start to experience symptoms is within 8 hours (some as fast as within two hours), but the whole process may go on for days or even weeks.

In addition to the list above, you can also experience these kinds of symptoms:

-A rise in body temperature
-Confusion
-Irritability
-Breathing problems
-Mood swings

Factors That Can Influence the Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline (and how to spot them)

Many factors affect how long you’re experiencing alcohol withdrawal for.

They include:

– How much alcohol you’ve consumed (of course, more is worse)

– How long you’ve been drinking

– How often you’ve been drinking heavily (everyday or just on the weekends?)

– What you eat regularly (people who have a balanced diet enjoy a shorter timeline)

– Your weight and age

– If you’re taking other substances when you drink

– If you have any co-occurring mental health issues (depression, anxiety, etc.)

– Your family’s history of alcohol abuse/genetics

– Your stress levels

– Your medical history or if you have other health issues

Seek Professional Help (And Why It’s Important)

If you or a loved one are experiencing alcohol detox symptoms, it’s essential to you reach out for professional help.

This is because, while unlikely, alcohol withdrawal can be fatal.

For example, one of the most severe symptoms that accompany alcohol withdrawal is delirium tremens (DT).

Delirium tremens is characterized by heightened levels of hallucinations and uncontrollable seizures that can cause choking or falling.

Most people who try to quit drinking do it “cold turkey” or all at once, instead of “tapering” or reducing the amount of alcohol gradually.

For heavy users, this is not recommended because you will experience more severe symptoms if you suddenly shock your body (which has grown accustomed to having alcohol in the system).

The safest way to address alcohol abuse is to go to a drug facility, so they’re able to monitor your condition 24/7.

With this method, you will reduce how long it takes for your body to detox and the severity of the symptoms.

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