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How many days do I need to stay in alcohol detox?

When someone who is addicted to alcohol enters an alcohol treatment center, detox is the beginning of the addiction recovery process. The alcohol detox period is the time where the person’s body will be ridding itself of alcohol altogether. This is often the most difficult part of alcohol rehab so many people ask, “How many days do I need to stay in alcohol detox?” The average length of stay in alcohol detox is about 5 – 10 days. This varies due to the severity of the person’s addiction as well as how long & how much the person has been drinking. During the alcohol detox period, a person will experience certain effects known as withdrawal symptoms. How mild or severe the withdrawal symptoms are will be different with each person; what he or she will feel may be as mild as just having headaches and a bad mood or as severe as extreme nausea, irritability, sweating, shaking & other uncomfortable feelings.

When the alcohol detox period is complete, this is when addiction treatment begins. If you will be in an inpatient alcohol rehab, you may be there anywhere from 28 – 45 days. Sometimes this can be longer if necessary. Alcohol detox is meant to remove your physical dependence but it does not address the other aspects of addiction. You will need to learn a lot about your addiction and how to cope with day to day life without using alcohol. You will learn to deal with stress in other healthy, productive ways.

After alcohol detox, you need behavioral therapy to really understand and get to the bottom of the urge to drink. You can also build on what your personal strengths are and figure out ways to fight off the desire to consume alcohol. There are many things to do to be ready to face life as a sober person and be able to function in the real world. You will have to make permanent changes in your life to avoid relapse, which may be anything from finding new activities to do in your free  time as well as seeking out new friends who do not drink or use drugs.

If you do relapse after detox and treatment, this does not mean that the program did not work for you. Instead, it often leads to understanding that some aspect of your addiction was not addressed during treatment or that something was not worked out enough to be resolved to a point of coping without alcohol. In the event of relapse, alcohol detox needs to start again. Fortunately, a subsequent alcohol detox is not always as severe or as hard as the first one. Alcohol detox is a necessary part of a successful treatment plan and begins the journey into a lasting, successful addiction recovery.

If you or someone you know needs help with addiction or finding an alcohol detox, we can help: Call Today (888) 842-3167


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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