How Long Does Alcohol Withdrawal Last: Timeline, Symptoms & Detox

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is truly a disorder that happens as soon as a person stops drinking alcohol after being addicted for a long time.

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal that have links with this disorder can be severe, mild, or in a few cases, can be life-threatening.

The alcohol withdrawal symptoms typically begin within 6 to 12 hrs of the last consumption and they can endure for some days.

On the other hand, for most individuals, symptoms will generally improve within just 5 days or so. Individuals undergoing severe symptoms may need immediate action to reduce the risk of probable difficulties.

So, let’s now know in detail about alcohol withdrawal symptoms, timeline, and detox method in this article below…


What’s Alcohol Withdrawal?

how long does alcohol withdrawal last

Well, alcohol withdrawal truly is believed to occur as a part of numerous changes in our brain activity generated by excessive and prolonged alcohol consumption.

Although the neurochemical components of the alcohol withdrawal syndrome are rather complicated, its related symptoms reminisce a compensation for last disruptions in both an inhibitory neurotransmitter and excitatory activity—the ratio between the 2 having been taken to start with as an effect of extended alcohol usage.

An alcoholic influenced by alcohol dependence every day for over a decade is likely to be affected by alcohol withdrawal symptoms as compared to an individual who has just had a habit for some months.

Somebody with cognitive health disorders is more likely to experience withdrawal symptoms than somebody with sound health. It is unattainable to indicate who will undergo the withdrawal symptoms, or in case the effects will be severe.

What Are The Alcohol Withdrawal Stages 

how long does alcohol withdrawal last

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms occur generally in 3 stages. Not all of them needed hospital treatment but some stages experience withdrawal symptoms that need hospital treatment. So, here are the stages of alcohol use disorder…

  • Stage 1: This stage includes anxiety, nausea, abdominal pain, and insomnia, and tends to start within 8 hrs of your last consumption of alcohol.
  • Stage 2: This includes irregular heart rate, high blood pressure, stomach upset, raised body temperature, and also confusion. Such symptoms generally begin 24 to 72 hrs after the last consumption of alcohol.
  • Stage 3: Such symptoms generally start approximately 2 to 4 days after the last consumption of alcohol and can have a fever, poor brain functioning (poor mental health), hallucinations, agitation, and also seizures.

Since alcohol consumption leaves our body, we should commence detecting symptoms reducing.

Most individuals tend to detect a lessening in symptoms within only 5 to 7 days. Besides physical symptoms, you will probably experience a few psychological effects, like alcohol anxiety or alcohol cravings.

Ultimately, it’s significant to mention that, in some cases, you could undergo life risking symptoms because of alcohol withdrawal.

As per Recovery Worldwide, alcohol withdrawal happens as soon as you stop drinking after prolonged and heavy alcohol use in the past.

A person can also experience alcohol withdrawal syndrome if they’ve been consuming for years, months, or weeks. Withdrawal syndrome of alcohol can be harmful, especially in case a person undergoes severe seizures or hallucinations.

For this basis, it’s recommended to go to a rehab center and seek help to monitor deteriorating symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

What’s Alcohol Withdrawal Symptom?

how long does alcohol withdrawal last

Alcohol pushes the central nervous system of our body. This leads to feelings of euphoria and relaxation. Since the body generally functions to maintain equilibrium, it’ll signal our brain to produce further neurotransmitter receptors that stimulate or excite our central nervous system.

As soon as you stop consuming, you not only take away alcohol from the receptors you initially had but also take away from the extra receptors your system made. Consequently, your nervous system becomes overactive. This leads to symptoms like:

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Sweating, etc.

In severe examples, you may encounter delirium tremens (in short DTs) or you may experience mild alcohol withdrawal delirium. Signs doctors link with DTs contain:

  • High body temp
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Illusions
  • Seizures, etc.

These are among the most common and severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

Alcohol Effects On Our Body

Individuals who drink heavily or binge drink may witness more health issues sooner, but the drink also poses a few serious risks for individuals who consume alcohol in moderation amounts.

Long-Term Alcohol Effects on Our Body

how long does alcohol withdrawal lastAlcohol consumption can cause more lasting problems that prolong your health and mood. Some of these long-term side effects of often consuming alcohol can contain:

  • Insomnia as well as other sleep problems
  • Persistent transformations in mood, such as irritability and anxiety
  • Changes in sexual function and libido
  • A weak immune system, suggesting you may get sick easily and more often than non-alcoholic persons
  • Issues with concentration and memory
  • Changes in weight and appetite
  • Increased conflict and tension in the family and romantic relationships
  • Difficulty concentrating on anything that you do

Short-term Alcohol Side Effects

Temporary side effects you may notice while consuming alcohol (or soon after) can contain:

  • A sense of giddiness or euphoria
  • Feelings of drowsiness or relaxation
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Changes in mood
  • Slurred or slowed speech
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Changes in vision, hearing, and also a perception
  • Gaps in remembrance or loss of consciousness (often known as a blackout)
  • Headache
  • Trouble making decisions or focusing
  • Loss of coordination, etc.

A few of these side effects, such as lowered inhibitions or relaxed mood, may quickly show up after only 1 drink. Other effects, such as slurred speech, or loss of consciousness, may form after a few shots.

Dehydration-related side effects, such as headache, dizziness, and nausea, may not occur for a few hours, as well as they can depend on the type of liquor you drink, the amount of your alcohol intake, and multiple factors like that.

These side effects may not last for a long time, but that does not make them unimportant. Impulsiveness, changes in mood, and loss of coordination can impact your behavior and judgment as well as contribute to further far-reaching side effects, such as injuries, accidents, and also decisions you regret later in your life.

Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline: How Long Does Alcohol Withdrawal Last?

Symptoms Of alcohol use disorder or symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may happen soon after a few hours of your last consumption.

For some people, these signs may raise within the 1st 24 to 48 hrs after finishing drinking, but they might continue even after the highest limit of consumption.

And while signs generally enhance within only 5 days, some people may undergo prolonged signs. As per a study, the normal alcohol withdrawal timeline, as well as associated symptoms, may appear as follows:

6–12 hours: Minor alcohol withdrawal symptoms

Minor withdrawal symptoms will begin around 6 to 12 hrs after your last consumption. Signs can include excessive sweating, tremors, vomiting, nausea, high heart rate, hypertension, fast breathing, and high body temperature.

12–24 hours: Alcoholic hallucinosis

Some people may commence experiencing hallucinations after drinking. They may start hearing and seeing things that aren’t there and also experience sensations, like pins & needles. Although this’s unusual, experts don’t consider them intense.

24–48 hours: Alcohol withdrawal seizures

At 24 to 48 hours after the last drink, some people may start undergoing seizures as well as some milder signs. In case they aren’t at the hospital already, it’s recommended to seek prompt medical attention ASAP.

48–72 hours: Delirium tremens

This’s where signs are generally the most unbearable, with some people showing delirium tremens — an autonomic hyperactive activity that can cause cardiac collapse at any time.

Delirium tremens may last around 5 days or so, with a 37% mortality rate. This emphasizes the seriousness of the situation and the requirement for instantaneous medical attention.

Treatment Alternatives For Alcohol Withdrawal

Some people going through symptoms related to alcohol withdrawal syndrome will tend to recover with an appropriate treatment plan.

Nevertheless, it’s significant for people to get proper medical help in case of symptoms worsen or become severe over time.

Some alcohol withdrawal symptoms, like irritability, sleep disturbances, and fatigue, may continue over time when your body adjusts to the absence of alcohol. People may even wish to consider maintaining medications, enrolling the support of companions, or a support group.

More severe withdrawal symptoms of alcohol can violently and quickly shift – you can undergo minor symptoms of alcohol withdrawal to incredibly severe effects within a few hours or so.

There’re several alcohol treatment plans available that emphasize helping people overcome drinking issues, no matter how serious or how minor the condition is.

Professional alcohol withdrawal treatment offers several benefits to those people who are struggling with addiction to alcohol.

For instance, treatment offers help that alleviates some of the most disheartening severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms and also mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms, as well as provides 24*7 support throughout the entire process of recovery.

As there’s nothing like a ‘one-size-fits-all’ method for treating alcohol addiction, recovery plans usually include the following:

In-patient & Outpatient Treatment

Getting to the inpatient or outpatient treatment center improves your possibility of staying clear. Moreover, ask your medical professional or American family physician how long-term consumption of alcohol may have impacted your health conditions, brain lesions, and bring a severe form of potentially life-threatening medical history.

Receive treatment ASAP from either family therapy or any rehab center as they have a great understanding of withdrawal of alcohol.

Substance Abuse Treatment

It is a booklet for families developed mainly for family members of individuals with drug abuse or chronic alcohol abuse issues.

Whether a person in your family is dependent on cocaine, alcohol, marijuana, prescription medications, heroin, or other medications, the dependence impacts you & your family, as well.

This booklet generally answers queries often requested by family members of individuals entering alcohol addiction treatment.

Take benefit of this service, ask alcohol abuse or other drug treatment professionals questions, and consult with supporting family members or other friends about your emotions, mild symptoms, etc.

Medication-Assisted Therapy Method

To relieve painful withdrawal symptoms, several treatment plans offer medication-assisted treatment. Certain specified medications can effectively treat alcohol withdrawal syndrome, allowing you to concentrate on other elements of the recovery process.

Individual Counseling For Addiction Treatment Plan

Alcohol detox consultants provide help during the highs & lows of alcohol escape after your last drink. Consultants also check if there’re underlying aspects that may have impacted your alcohol addiction and train you on how to function through numerous matters in life.

Help Of Support Groups

Support groups, such as Al-Anon and Alcoholics Anonymous, present a platform to consult treatment plans, challenges, and goals with other individuals who are also in the alcohol recovery process. This provides you with the motivation to keep your sobriety.

people undergoing mild symptoms of alcohol could get home treatment to get rid of the addiction. However, in case of symptoms deteriorate, it’s recommended to pursue immediate medical attention so that you receive proper treatment for your recovery.

Administration of Long-Acting Benzodiazepines

Maximum treatment plans may contain the management of long-acting benzodiazepines. Your doctor may prescribe a common benzodiazepine including diazepam.

Throughout your initial therapy, you may get a higher dosage to reduce signs and the desire to drink alcohol more. After your symptoms decrease, the medical professionals will reduce the dose

A few experienced alcohol withdrawal symptoms that this drug benzodiazepines can assist prevent as well as treating are as follows:

  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Aggravation & irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Chills & sweats


A medical professional can perform a general checkup & blood test to check if you are still in sound health or require a treatment program or medication to recover. Others experiencing withdrawal symptoms of alcohol may need hospitalization to prevent life threatening conditions.

How Do You Know Whether Your Liver Is Detoxing Or Not?

As per the National Health Service, the liver is extremely resilient as well as can regenerate itself.

Nevertheless, a part of your liver cells dies each time you last drink alcohol. Your liver can restore cells, but regular heavy consumption can cause damage to your liver.

In case you have damaged your liver by drinking, then lifelong celibacy is advised because not consuming alcohol is the sole way to stop your liver injury from getting more menacing.

Blood tests, as well as liver functioning tests, can assist determine whether your liver is recovering or not.

What Happens During Alcohol Withdrawal & Alcohol Detox?

Withdrawal symptoms of a drinker last for around 4.83 days. However, for 95% of drinkers, withdrawal symptoms last for 2 to 8 days. This timespan stayed the same if they were utilizing home remedies for body detoxing or alcohol withdrawal at a specialized medical center.

Drinkers who had successfully detoxed from alcohol abuse reported undergoing the withdrawal symptoms as follows:

  • Irritability- 47%
  • Fatigue – 42%
  • Sweating- 45%
  • Anxiety or stress- 49%
  • Hand tremors- 34%
  • vomiting or nausea- 24%
  • Mood swings- 24%
  • Rapid heart rate- 23%
  • hallucinations- 13%
  • Delirium tremens- 11%
  • Seizures- 8%

Overall, heavy alcohol dependence persons were likely to partake typical symptoms tend. If you are a heavy drinker then you may double your risk for symptoms like hallucinations throughout the detox process, being 2.39x more probable than other users of alcohol to undergo them. As compared to others throughout detox, a heavy drinker will:

  • Experience delirium tremens- 90% more
  • Experience seizures- 45% more
  • Experience fast heart rate- 95% more
  • Experience hand tremors- 147% more
  • Experience sweating- 69% more
  • Experience vomiting or nausea- 65% more
  • Experience irritability- 35% more
  • Experience fatigue- 28% more
  • Experience anxiety or stress- 28% more
  • Experience mood swings- 27% more


It will take roughly a week for your body to detox from alcohol. An individual can often become alcohol addicted within only a few weeks or so, but in some other patients, it can take a few years.

As soon as a person determines to quit alcohol, they should think of seeking expert assistance. This assistance may take the form of rehab or performing with some medical professionals to lower alcohol drinking slowly over a few weeks or so.