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What is the Alcohol Detox Timeline?

Alcohol withdrawals can be life-threatening if not handled with proper medical care. For heavy drinkers and alcoholics, withdrawal symptoms may begin shortly after discontinuing a session, typically within eight hours of the last drink, although it may take longer in some cases.

During this period, the alcoholic may experience feelings of discomfort and strong cravings that can make time feel like it’s slowing down for them. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms usually peak within 24 to 72 hours after the last consumption.

Alcohol Detox Timeline

A detox timeline of alcohol is mainly determined by the severity of the disease, the worse the addiction, the more severe the withdrawal symptoms will be, and the more likely it’s that they will stick around for longer.

During an alcohol detox a patient can expect to:

  • Receive a medical examination
  • Experience withdrawal symptoms
  • Take medication for symptoms
  • Receive around-the-clock support 

While some symptoms can last for weeks, the alcohol detox process is but a short journey, usually lasting between 7 and 10 days.

6 to 12 Hours After Discontinuing Consumption

Most alcohol withdrawal subjects will start experiencing discomfort between six to twelve hours after cessation, although severe addiction patients could begin to experience withdrawal symptoms as early as two hours after consuming their last drink. 

The first withdrawal symptoms will appear to be mild and progress as time passes without further consumption.

During the emergence period, the patient can expect to receive a medical examination if he or she has checked into a detox center, which will help the medical staff determine the conditions of their health and if there are any other issues present that may endanger the life of the patient.

After the examination is completed, the patient will be placed on medications that will help in managing the withdrawal symptoms.

The first symptoms that can be observed during the emergence phase of withdrawal include:

  • Tremors
  • Irritability
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hypertension and hyperventilation
  • Elevated heart rate
  • High body temperature
  • Alcohol cravings
  • Anxiety

12 to 24 Hours After Discontinuing Consumption

After the first symptoms develop and time progresses, the alcoholic will commence experiencing increasingly severe and dangerous symptoms of alcohol withdrawal such as:

  • Hallucinations
  • disorientation 
  • Seizures
  • Feeling pins and needles
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression

24 to 48 Hours After Discontinuing Consumption

With the arrival of the second-day hallucinations, panic attacks, and seizures tend to be more common. This is a sensible period where the patient enters a delicate medical condition. 

At this point, patients should be under constant supervision and can expect to have around-the-clock medical support from the detox staff.

3 to 7 Days After Discontinuing Consumption

Days three to seven tend to be the most severe and risky for the health of the recovering alcoholic. This is not only a debilitating period for their mental health but also for their physical health, risking the highest possibility of mortality.

During this period, delirium tremens, a life-threatening symptom, could lead to cardiac collapse. Statistics show that patients have a whopping 37% risk of mortality rate when the proper treatment is not provided.

8 Days After Discontinuing Consumption

The end of the detox timeline of alcohol brings with it a new window of opportunity, as seeing that many of the withdrawal symptoms start to fade away. In some cases, mild symptoms may persist for longer, but most of them can be treated with medication.

Where to Get Help

If you or a loved one is suffering from alcoholism then you can’t overestimate the need to get help! 

As data shows, detoxing with severe withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening. Signing up for a detox program will shelter the alcoholic from the health risks that come with alcohol withdrawal, offering the protection and care of competent medical staff.

Now that you know what the detox timeline of alcohol is like, it’s time to take action.

Veritas Detox offers alcohol detox programs to help you or your loved ones get sober and stay that way.

Help is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week at no cost or obligation. Speak to one of Veritas recovery experts, to seek the help you and your loved ones need. Contact Veritas Detox today!

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