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How Long Does Alcohol Detox Take?

When an alcoholic goes into a rehabilitation or treatment center, it’s important to realize that detoxification will just be the beginning of a longer process. The detox process entails a cleansing of one’s system to remove all traces of alcohol. Generally, you will be still intoxicated when you arrive at treatment. From there, it will take most people around 7-10 days to detox, but it also depends on how long and how much a person was drinking, with a touch of genetics thrown in. During detox, there will likely be multiple symptoms a person will experience which are known as withdrawal symptoms. How bad these symptoms are will depend on the severity of the person’s addiction. The feelings can range from mild headaches to nausea and shaking and sweating or worse.

Beyond Alcohol Detox

When detox is over, the really tough part begins. Because detox is just the first step, the long-term work starts as treatment for the disease of alcoholism. If you are going to inpatient rehabilitation, your stay can last up to 45 days. Detox will clear the alcohol from the system and end the withdrawal symptoms, but an alcoholic’s body has been changed and the psychological aspects of addiction are enduring. The person has to learn what things trigger their want for alcohol and learn how to cope and handle stress in other ways besides drinking. This is because even though detox removes alcohol from the body, the desire to drink alcohol will still remain.

After detox, a person with an alcohol dependency should also seek therapy. The person will need to learn what his or her strengths are, which will help them fight their urge to drink alcohol. In order to face every day life again in a normal way and to function in the real world, there is a lot of work to be done. An alcoholic has to make many changes in order to avoid relapse, including finding new hobbies and friends who will be more in line with their goal to remain sober.

What about relapse – is alcohol detox necessary?

If an alcoholic does relapse, it isn’t that detox was not successful. It means that a psychological aspect of their addiction was not addressed and worked out to a point that the person could cope without drinking. If there is a relapse, detox must be done all over again. A second detox may not be as difficult as the first one; however, it still may take about the same amount of time. Detox is a very necessary part of getting sober and unless the person goes through the process, he or she will not really learn how to abstain from alcohol. Having willpower is not enough for some addicts, which is the reason that inpatient treatment is often more successful than outpatient alcohol treatment. The inpatient treatment center provides a safe place, experienced staff members and helpful tools & regulated therapy sessions to help the addict deal with detox and rehabilitation.

We Can Help! Call us today at (888) 842-3167 for your Free Confidential Assessment for Alcohol Detox.


Our articles are written by individuals who have seen addiction up close. They may have watched addiction take a toll on someone they loved or had their own battles with substances, and they write for us to spare others some of that pain and confusion. If you find these writings useful and would like to speak to someone who gets addiction, call us at (844) 826-1700.

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