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How Long Does Alcohol Withdrawal Last?

Alcohol withdrawal is an event that occurs when an individual with a severe dependency to alcohol quits drinking. Physical withdrawals occur because long-term dependency has caused a neuro-adaptation in the brain. At this point, discontinuing the use of alcohol will cause your body to go into a hyper-excitable state, causing a number of physical symptoms, what we refer to as “withdrawal symptoms.”

Looking at the question, how long does alcohol withdrawal last?

Because the entire process of dependency is so complex, the factors determining how long withdrawal symptoms last are equally as complex. For the majority of people, the worst of the alcohol withdrawal symptoms will occur between the second and fourth day after the last drink. And yet, the symptoms could last anywhere from a few hours to weeks, depending on individual health and dependency level.

A typical alcohol withdrawal timeline can look something like this:

5-10 hours: Five to ten hours after your last drink, you will likely notice you get the shakes. If you experience tremors a few hours in, your withdrawal process is likely to be worse. It would be highly beneficial to you to seek out a facility to help with your detoxification process before the detox progresses any further. These symptoms might also be supplemented by anxiety, nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, sweating, and lack of sleep.

12-24 hours: This is the area of time when hallucinations may occur. These will often be in the form of voices. The likelihood of hallucinations increases the longer you have been dependent on alcohol and if you have used other drugs while being dependent.

The first 2 days: The first 48 hours of your detox process are the most crucial. You may experience several seizures. Mortality becomes a major possibility during this time period as well.

2-3 Days: In some cases, a severe case of delirium, called delirium tremens, is possible. Symptoms included within this phase include panic attacks, night terrors, visual and auditory hallucinations, tachycardia, hypertension, and diaphoresis. In some instances these can come to last the entire first week after drinking.

In many more severe cases, the mortality rate can rise to around 15 percent. This is why it is most beneficial for your detox to enroll in a treatment facility for the duration of your recovery process. However, if you insist on detoxing by yourself, make sure a loved one stays with you in case of an emergency so they can transport you to a medical facility.

If you or someone you know needs help with addiction or finding an alcohol detox, we can help: Call Today, (877) 548-0193.


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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