What Is an Alcohol Detox Timeline?

When an individual stops drinking after a long period of heavy alcohol use, that person may experience a variety of withdrawal symptoms. While these symptoms may not become apparent at the same time for everyone, there’s a general timeline of when symptoms may occur. What’s an average alcohol detox timeline for those suddenly abstaining from alcohol?

Body Tremors and Elevated Heart Rate Can Be the First Step Toward Alcohol Detox

When individuals have been drinking heavily for a long period of time, their bodies become chemically dependent on alcohol. Therefore, when alcohol is no longer used, the body will have to adjust to losing something that it’s needed to stay in balance. The first symptoms of withdrawal are shaking, tremors and possible seizures if the withdrawal symptoms are severe. These symptoms can last from several hours for up to five days, depending on the individual’s medical history and length of dependency on alcohol.

Delirium Tremens Can Be the Most Significant Part of the Alcohol Detox Timeline

Delirium tremens symptoms include hallucinations, vast confusion and high blood pressure. The timeline for such symptoms to begin is about 48 hours upon alcohol cessation and can last for up to 10 days. However, these symptoms can occur on and off for several weeks. While not everyone goes through this stage, symptoms can only be managed once they begin. It may be worthwhile to admit an individual experiencing these symptoms to a medical professional or an impatient facility right away for treatment and monitoring.

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The Overall Alcohol Detox Timeline Can Last Up to a Year

General symptoms from alcohol withdrawal include irritability, shaky hands and fatigue. These symptoms can last for up to a year depending on the individual. The good news is that these symptoms tend to occur sporadically and don’t typically interfere with the individual’s quality of life. Other symptoms may include unstable blood pressure, inability to concentrate and sporadic hallucinations. Many people report hearing animals or human voices that may threaten to hurt them.

There Is No General Timeline for Recovery

It’s important to keep in mind that there’s no set recovery timeline for someone overcoming a dependency on alcohol. The good news is that the symptoms do tend to subside in severity as time goes on. This means that although an individual may experience shaky hands or confusion, such symptoms won’t be as bad weeks or months out as they may be at first. It’s also worth noting that even those who have a mild dependence on alcohol may experience mild to severe symptoms.

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When a person becomes dependent on a substance, it’ll take some time for the body to adjust to functioning without that substance. Therefore, those who have a history of alcohol dependency should be monitored carefully after they stop drinking. While it may be possible for friends or family members to provide support for mild symptoms, it’s often necessary to put an individual into an inpatient program for severe symptoms. For more information, you can call the helpline at 800-447-9081.

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