the average length of alcohol detox

The first step in the recovery process is detox and withdrawal, or the purging of the alcohol toxins from the body. When approaching this important step, many wonder what the average time for alcohol detox is. Understandably, it is helpful to have an idea of the timeline for detox and withdrawal. The short answer is, it varies. Several factors will help determine the length of time it will take to rid the body of the alcohol.

Symptoms of Alcohol Detox

The symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal arise as the brain responds to the absence of alcohol. The brain and central nervous system have gotten used to the depressive effects of alcohol, so when it is suddenly halted, over excitability occurs, causing the unpleasant symptoms.

The more severe the alcohol use disorder is, the more dangerous withdrawal symptoms may be. Typically, withdrawal symptoms can be broken down into categories based on severity:

Mild Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Muscle weakness
  • Sweating

Moderate Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Disorientation
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Shaking
  • Mild seizures
  • Confusion

Severe Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Hallucinations
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Delirium tremens

Stages of Alcohol Detox

The average time for alcohol detox begins with evaluation and assessment of the degree of an individual’s alcohol use disorder, and lasts approximately 5 to 10 days. Although the severity of the withdrawal symptoms will vary, the detox process follows a predictable pattern of three stages:

  • Stage 1:  Withdrawal symptoms commence about 6 to 8 hours after the last drink. During this stage, anxiety, fatigue, heart palpitations, nausea, vomiting, hand tremors, agitation, and unclear thinking are common.
  • Stage 2:  This stage occurs 1-3 days after the last alcoholic beverage. During this stage symptoms intensify, including irregular heart rate, mental confusion, profuse sweating, irritability, mood disturbances, increased blood pressure and respiration, and fever.
  • Stage 3:  This stage can occur between 3-7 days after the last alcoholic drink. During this stage many of the symptoms in stage 2 will begin to subside, however serious complications can occur without warning, including serious psychological effects or the sudden occurrence of the DTs.

At Asana Recovery, we understand how difficult recovering from these addictions through our daily work to help those struggling most from this disease. While some may believe they can make it alone, rehabilitation programs are essential in the fight to break dependency. The road ahead is not a smooth or easy one, but you can traverse it if done so with the support of the right team. Counseling and aftercare processes can assist you by addressing the psychological facets that led you to addition and help you build a structure from which to better cope with life without succumbing to addiction.

The supervised detoxification and residential treatment programs at Asana Recovery are offered in a supportive, relaxing, and inspiring environment. We’re deeply committed to ensuring your long-term recovery, and guiding you on your path to a healthier and happier future. There is no better time than now, and we’re always available to speak with you. Call us at (949) 438-4504 to learn more about our comprehensive drug and alcohol addiction treatment program today.


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