What is the Timeline for a Successful Alcohol Detox? [Infographic]
By: Lakeview Health Staff
Published: August 19, 2016

Roughly 23% of individuals admitted to detox and rehabs centers come because of an addiction to alcohol alone, and another 18% struggle with an addiction to alcohol in combination with another drug. This means that more than one-third of the people ready to make a change are dealing with alcohol issues, necessitating alcohol detox. This timeline answers some of the most frequently asked detox questions and explains what to expect from an alcohol detox, as well as how long, on average, the process will take:

Hour 1, Day 1: Admission

The first step to enter a medical detox program is the admissions process at a detox facility. This can be a self-admission, where the patient volunteers to begin the detox process and cease all alcoholic consumption. It can also be a mandatory admission, often the result of a court order due to DUI or other legal issue.

Hour 6, Day 1: Physical Withdrawal May Begin

Every year in the United States alone, more than 88,000 deaths are attributed to alcohol. To ensure that you or your loved one isn’t included in that statistic, cessation of alcohol is necessary. By as soon as hour six of cessation, however, physical withdrawal symptoms may occur. During this initial phase of detox, rest assured that, if needed, our staff will provide medication to limit the patient’s stress and discomfort. Patients in an alcohol detox may begin to experience physical withdrawal symptoms that include the following:

  • Insomnia or disturbed sleep
  • Minor tremors or shaking
  • Anxiety and tension
  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting

Hours 12–48, Days 1–2: Potential for Hallucinations and Seizures

Roughly 12-48 hours after the cessation of drinking, the initial withdrawal symptoms may become more intense. This is when it’s increasingly vital for patients to be under close medical supervision. Our staff is trained to administer the safe and non-intoxicating medication to reduce symptoms, which may include:

  • Hallucinations or paranoia
  • Seizures brought on by withdrawal
  • Disorientation
  • Dehydration caused by sweating, vomiting and difficulty drinking water

Hour 72, Day 4: End of Worst Physical Withdrawal Side Effects

Most withdrawal symptoms will subside around 50 hours after cessation of alcoholic consumption. However, in extreme cases DT, or delirium tremens, can persist for up to 72 hours. Many people believe that these 72 hours of detox are the toughest on the road to sobriety, but they are vital in the fight for lasting recovery.

Day 14: Physical Detoxification is Complete

Many detox programs are over in a period of five to seven days. Even in the most serious cases of addiction, physical detoxification and any associated withdrawal symptoms will almost certainly be over in under 14 days. Approximately one of every 12 adults struggles with an addiction or dependence on alcohol. Break free with the help of alcohol detox at Lakeview Health in Jacksonville, Florida. Call 866.704.7692 today for more details on a successful detox program to improve your life.