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Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline: How Long is Alcohol Detox?

When Does Alcohol Withdrawal Start?

Alcohol is an addictive substance that can cause the user to experience physical withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly stop drinking. Individuals with other substance abuse disorders such as cocaine addiction do experience withdrawal symptoms but they are more mental and physiological than physical in the way withdrawal from alcohol abuse or heroin addiction is, making the latter group more difficult to recover from in most cases. 

If you have been drinking heavily for a period of weeks, months, and especially years, you will experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms within as little as 6 hours after your last drink.

To contact The Detox Center of Los Angeles to learn how to access our addiction treatment programs, call (888) 346-4350 today.

Timeline for Alcohol Withdrawal 

Alcohol withdrawal typically lasts up to three days but in the extreme cases of individuals with a long-term history of heavy drinking or binge drinking, especially of hard liquor, they can experience symptoms for up to 7 days, although this is rare, occurring in less than 5% of those who go through symptomatic alcohol withdrawal. Here is a timeline of alcohol withdrawal and the symptoms that may be experienced at these times. 

6 Hours: Anxiety, shaky hands, headache, nausea, vomiting, trouble sleeping, sweating, heart racing, and hyperreflexia or overactive reflexes which presents as twitching or spastic movements. 

12-48 Hours: Hallucinations and alcohol withdrawal seizures

48-72 Hours: Delirium tremens, commonly known as DT. Consists of severe hallucinations, life-threatening cardiovascular symptoms such as tachycardia and hypertension, hyperthermia, agitation, and an extreme form of sweating known as diaphoresis 

Of those who progress from the mild to moderate symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome within the first 48 hours since their instance of alcohol consumption, only 3% experience seizures. If more severe symptoms like seizures do not manifest, it is incredibly unlikely that the timeline will extend beyond 2-3 days or that the individual will experience delirium tremens.  

How Medical Detox Benefits Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms 

It is highly recommended to undergo medical detox to help you through alcohol withdrawal. While sufferers are at less risk of mortality than those going through benzo or heroin withdrawal syndrome, medical detox greatly increases the success of recovering from alcohol addiction and maintaining sobriety by easing severe symptoms and shortening the detox timeline. 

Alcohol treatment centers that offer medical detox will be fully staffed and equipped to manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms and shorten the detox timeline. On-site MDs prescribe FDA- approved medications like Campral which reduces the brain’s dependence on alcohol, antiadrenergic agents which inhibit epinephrine symptoms and lessen the severity of alcohol addiction, and anti-nausea medications. A medically trained caregiver will administer these and offer 24 hr monitoring and support to prioritize your safety and comfort throughout your withdrawal process. 

What Happens After Alcohol Detox?

Removing alcohol from your system is vital to recovery and an important first step, but alcohol addiction is more than a physical response to the substance, with deeper rooted issues that need to be addressed so alcohol is not used as a coping mechanism in the future and the addiction cycle does not begin again.  

Once you stop drinking, you should enroll in a professional treatment program or at the very least enlist the help of a trained psychological expert to help you develop the tools necessary for maintaining sobriety. Behavioral therapy plays an important role in relapse prevention, as does participation in peer support groups like alcoholics anonymous to provide encouragement and accountability during your recovery journey. 

It is now considered standard practice for drug and alcohol treatment centers to offer aftercare services to their clients to help them maintain sobriety after they complete their rehab program and remain successful in their recovery journey. Some individuals may only need continued individual therapy and resources to help them manage their finances or find work and others can greatly benefit from additional help and structure like living in a sober living facility. Your rehab counselor can work with you to determine what next steps best suit your lifestyle and needs. 

Alcohol Detox and Rehab at The Detox Center of LA

The Detox Center of LA is a fully accredited luxury rehab that specializes in providing all levels of care, with a focus on medical detox. They realize the extensive benefits of easing the withdrawal process and the impact it has on recovery success rates. 

Along with medically assisted withdrawal and detox, the Detox Center of LA offers residential treatment and can refer you to a partner treatment facility for outpatient care such as a partial hospitalization program and intensive outpatient programs. 

At this luxury treatment center, you will have access to fully trained medical caregivers 24 hours a day and will undergo a full biopsychosocial assessment to determine your best course of medical detox and behavioral therapy. Our licensed therapists are familiar with current standards of dual diagnosis therapy to effectively identify and understand the underlying mental health issues that often trigger alcohol addiction and substance use disorder. 

If you or a loved one is seeking help in their recovery journey, we work 24/7 and provide same-day admissions. Reach out to our team to verify your insurance and begin detoxification today. 


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Will my insurance cover treatment for addiction?

The Detox Center of L.A. accepts most major insurance providers and private healthcare policies. We offer free insurance verification as well as eligibility and benefits for both behavioral and mental health treatment services. Please fill out our insurance verification form here to verify your insurance.

What happens in addiction

Effective addiction treatment programs are tailored to each individual. Because of this, it will be a different experience for everyone. However, it generally involves a combination of detoxification, group and individual therapy, educational presentations, and aftercare planning in order to ensure long-term recovery. Upon arrival at The Detox Center of L.A., you can expect our professionally trained staff to create an individualized treatment plan based on your needs and treatment goals.