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Duration of Alcohol Detox: How long does alcohol detox last?

Kristin Miller Profile

Written By:

Kristin Miller LCSW

Medically-Reviewed By:

Braulio Mariano-Mejia MD

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For those who struggle with alcohol use disorder (AUD), detoxing from alcohol is an important step in the recovery process. But how long does it last? Let’s discuss the duration of alcohol detox, as well as what to expect during the process.

The Severity of Symptoms Determines Length of Detox

The duration of alcohol detox depends on a variety of factors, including how much alcohol was consumed and how long it was abused. It also depends on the severity of withdrawal symptoms experienced. Generally speaking, mild symptoms can last up to a week while severe symptoms can last up to two weeks or longer.

In some cases, the symptoms may even linger for months or years after an individual has stopped drinking. This is known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). Symptoms are typically more disruptive in the first few months after quitting drinking than they are later on, but they can still be quite debilitating if left untreated. It’s also important to note that heavy drinkers may experience delirium tremens (DT), which can be dangerous and even life-threatening if not treated appropriately by a medical professional.

What to Expect During Detox

Typically, the first day or two after quitting drinking will be filled with intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, nausea and vomiting, sweating, anxiety, irritability and depression. These physical and emotional reactions can range from mild to severe depending on the individual’s substance abuse history. As days go by, these symptoms should start to recede until they diminish completely or become more manageable over time. If any signs or symptoms worsen during this period or linger past two weeks, it is advised that you seek medical attention immediately as this could indicate a more serious underlying condition such as DT or PAWS.

Conclusion: Withdrawal from alcohol can range from mild to severe depending on a variety of factors such as amount consumed and length of abuse. In general, milder symptoms may last up to one week while more severe ones could take up to two weeks or longer before abating completely—although some individuals might experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome for months or even years afterwards without proper treatment. If you are struggling with AUD please speak with your doctor about your options for detoxing safely and finding lasting recovery solutions for your journey ahead.


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About the Author:

Kristin completed her Master’s in Social Work from Colorado State University and is a qualified supervisor in the state of Florida. Kristin has dedicated her entire career to the study and treatment of substance use and mental health issues affecting people of all ages for over 15 years. Kristin is passionate about impacting the field of addiction and mental health disorders. She provides ethical, evidence-based treatment and is passionate about providing education to the families and loved ones, on the disease of addiction.

Read Our Editorial Policy

To guarantee that all of our information is accurate, we ensure that all our sources are reputable. That means every source is authenticated and verified to be backed only by medical science.

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