Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

Most people consume alcohol to ease stress, chill and unwind. However, when a person becomes dependent on alcohol, it can affect the person’s health, social life, relationships, and more. Therefore, it’s important for alcohol dependents to take steps toward discontinuing alcohol consumption. 

Quitting alcohol can be challenging, and once you stop drinking, your body begins to adjust to the change, and you will experience alcohol detox. Alcohol detox is usually the first thing you’ll go through when you stop alcohol consumption. The detoxification process often lasts for a period and the length of time it takes varies from person to person. Furthermore, the alcohol detox timeline depends on various factors, including; how much you drink, your age, how long you have been drinking, your health, body weight, and many more. Read on to learn more about alcohol detox.

What Is Alcohol Detoxification

Alcohol detoxification is the sudden discontinuation of alcohol consumption in people who are dependent on alcohol. It is the process of removing toxic alcohol chemicals from the body. This is usually done to help with addiction recovery. 

During detoxification, your body will notice the sudden discontinuation of alcohol consumption and might protest the change with various alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms can be noticed within a few hours of alcohol stoppage, and the symptoms can be mild, moderate, or even severe. Some of these symptoms include

  • Tremors and shakiness,
  • Headaches,
  • Insomnia,
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anxiety and irritability,
  • Seizures or convulsions.

In general, it’s advised that alcohol detox should be done under the close watch of medical practitioners. They’ll help you monitor your withdrawal symptoms and offer you adequate medical support during your detoxification process.

Timeline For Experiencing Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

5 To 8 Hours After Your Last Drink

At this time, you’ll begin to experience minor withdrawal symptoms. You may begin to experience minor seizures, anxiety, nausea, abdominal pain, and insomnia.

12 to 24 hours 

The symptoms begin to increase from mild to moderate gradually. At this stage, some people may begin to hallucinate.

24 to 72 hours

After 24 to 72 hours of staying away from alcohol, the symptoms may get to their peak. In addition to the aforementioned symptoms, you may also experience high blood pressure and abnormal heart rate.

2 to 4 days

Symptoms may include agitation, alcohol cravings, hallucinations, and fever.

5 To 8 Days After The Last Alcohol Consumption 

Most people begin to notice a gradual reduction of withdrawal symptoms at this stage. 

Factors That Affect The Timeline Of Alcohol Detoxification

Underlying medical conditions and medications

It is crucial to note that the timeline of alcohol detoxification may be disrupted if you have underlying medical conditions or if you are on certain medications. Medical conditions that can complicate alcohol detoxification include diabetes, high blood pressure, and hepatitis. Furthermore, medications such as antidepressants, allergy medications, antibiotics, and others can affect your detox process and timeline.


As you grow older, your body and organs also age. When an older person consumes alcohol, it takes longer for the liver to metabolize the alcohol; this means there will be excess alcohol in the bloodstream. Due to this, alcohol detox will take longer for older people.

Other Substance Abuse

Drinking and drugs are known to be a dangerous combination, and it can be quite challenging to stop both at the same time. Both drug and alcohol detoxification result in severe withdrawal symptoms, and it could make it difficult for your body to go through the withdrawal process. 

Diet and Nutrition During Detoxification

Your diet contributes remarkably to the length of alcohol detox. Appropriate diets containing the right calories will help ease the detox stress on your body. A diet that is low in carbohydrates and proteins and high in fruits and vegetables will help you to process alcohol faster and help your body to detoxify efficiently. It’s important to know that heavy meals digest slowly, and a full stomach can slow down your alcohol detox process.


Having excess body fat tends to prolong the detoxification process. Also, being underweight can make withdrawal symptoms more severe and extend the detox period.

Finally, the length of time it takes you to detoxify may also be affected by your efforts to deal with the associated challenges. It is important to understand that alcohol detox isn’t a walk in the park, and it takes dedication and the right medical support to go through the process successfully. It is best to have family members or a trusted loved one by your side all through.

By Manali