Alcohol is a legal, socially acceptable drug. However, it causes many challenges for those who struggle with alcohol abuse and addiction. For those wanting to stop alcohol abuse, an alcohol detox timeline can give you some insight into what to expect during detox.
The detox process for alcohol will vary from person to person. Although detox specialists can still provide a general guideline for the time it takes to detox and the withdrawal symptoms to expect.
What Is Alcohol Detox?
To understand detox, it is vital to learn what alcohol abuse is. When someone is addicted to alcohol, their body becomes dependent on the substance for normal function. Without it, the body goes through detoxification as traces of alcohol leave and are not replaced.
Detox is the removal of harmful toxins from drugs, including alcohol. As the body filters out any harmful substances, it goes through uncomfortable and painful withdrawal symptoms. No matter the severity of the addiction, doctors recommend this process be completed at a drug and alcohol detox center.
Factors that Affect the Detox Timeline
There are many variables that can alter the alcohol detox timeline. These include:
- Physical health – someone in low health will likely experience more severe withdrawal symptoms
- Psychological health – mental health issues can exacerbate withdrawal symptoms
- Age, height, and weight – these three can influence how likely an individual is to experience complications
- Length of time abusing alcohol – longer abuse of alcohol normally results in worse withdrawal symptoms
Before the alcohol detox process begins, a thorough medical evaluation will occur. This provides a more accurate picture of what symptoms and side effects to expect during detox.
Alcohol Detox Timeline
The general alcohol detox timeline you can expect begins only 6 hours after the last drink. The timeline normally includes the following:
- 6 hours – Around the 6-hour mark, alcohol withdrawal symptoms will start to occur. These early symptoms include sweating, shaking, headache, irritability, and increased heart rate.
- 12 to 48 hours – Minor withdrawal symptoms continue, but those with severe dependence may experience seizures.
- 72 hours – This timeframe is when the more severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms will happen. Individuals with severe addictions to alcohol may begin to experience delirium tremens between 48 to 72 hours after the last drink.
- After 72 hours – It is rare for withdrawal symptoms to continue past this point. However, cravings and mental health issues can persist for months after the last drink. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) can also occur in the 4 to 6-week mark.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
During the alcohol detox timeline, one can expect to experience a variety of withdrawal symptoms. Again, they will depend on the aforementioned factors, such as length of alcohol abuse and physical health. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms fall into two categories.
Physical symptoms include:
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Rapid breathing
- Pale and clammy skin
- Decreased appetite
- Abdominal pain
Psychological symptoms include:
- Anxiety or depression
- Mood swings
- Increased aggression
Severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms include delirium tremens. This symptom can be fatal and includes hallucinations, fever, and high blood pressure.
In order to achieve alcohol addiction recovery, it is best to attend an alcohol detox center. Experts can recommend medication-assisted treatment to reduce the effects of withdrawal and mental health disorders.
Contact South Tampa Detox
South Tampa Detox provides a safe setting, free of drugs and alcohol, for detox. This reduces the risk of immediate relapse and gives individual 24/7 supervision in case of complications.
Alcohol rehab does not end after the alcohol detox timeline. Treatment continues after detox at an addiction treatment center in Tampa. Our experts work with partner facilities to make sure the transition to continuing care programs is easy for you.