11 Minutes

Edited & medically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
Fact checked

Detox is the process by which your body removes the alcohol from your system through the process of metabolism of the residues of alcohol. It might take from a few days to several weeks. The body may undergo withdrawal from alcohol during the detox process, with delirium tremens, seizures, and death is the most serious concerns. Medically supervised detox is advised for individuals who’ve been consuming alcohol for a long time because of these hazards.

Among the most commonly abused substances is alcohol. According to data from the National Survey on Drug Use in Households, a yearly government data gathering for mental health and substance use, approximately 67 million people binge drank in the previous month.  Long-term and heavy alcohol consumption can have a variety of negative psychological and physical effects.

Detoxification, often known as detox, is the 1st step in recovering from substance dependence. It entails devoting a length of time following your last drink to purging your system of all alcohol or chemicals so that you may begin therapy with a blank slate. The fundamental purpose of detox is to begin the recovery process safely and comfortably with a period of abstinence.

What is the most effective approach to getting rid of alcohol? Completing medical alcohol detox boosts the likelihood of successful therapy, according to research. Recovery can begin after your body systems are free of the short-term impact of alcohol.

When people are talking about detox, they usually mean one amongst two things: either the process of detoxifying from a chemical or a detoxification treatment program. Detoxing from alcohol or drugs entails removing the chemicals from the body and treating any symptoms of withdrawal that may arise. It could take anywhere between a few days to several weeks or months to complete the process. For example, while alcohol exits the body after just a few days, cravings may take considerably longer to detox. The length of time it takes to detox is determined by a number of variables, including:

  • If more than one substance has been abused.
  • How frequently alcohol was abused by the user.
  • The amount of the substance consumed by the consumer.
  • Occurrence of underlying co-occurring mental illnesses.
  • The patient’s medical history, as well as his or her general physical and mental well-being
  • Bodyweight, age, gender, and genetics of the user
  • Tolerance to alcohol
  • Drinking on a regular basis vs. binge drinking

The intensity of an alcohol user’s symptoms of withdrawal during detox is directly proportional to the severity and duration of his or her dependence on alcohol. It’s crucial to remember that your detoxification experience may vary from what you’ve read here or what you’ve seen in other people.

So, how long would it take to get over an alcohol detox and danger symptoms? The type and degree of effects that an individual may experience in the process of alcohol detoxification can be influenced by a number of factors (mentioned above). These will affect how your detoxification progresses, making it difficult to predict with certainty what path your detox will take. However, a broad timeline for the detoxification process, along with symptom progression can be obtained. 

Symptoms usually peak between 24 and 72 hours and subside within 4-5 days. In certain circumstances, less severe anxiety symptoms can continue after withdrawal.  Anxiety that persists after the detox could be a sign of a generalized anxiety disorder.

Detoxing from Alcohol in the First Hours

Temptations are one of the first signs of detoxing from alcohol, and they are a clear indication that the body is starting to detox.

Cravings might start as soon as you finish your last drink and last all the way through the detox process.

Symptoms may occur during the early hours of detox such as.

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Depression, anxiety, irritability, or nervousness
  • Increase in blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Insomnia and nightmares.
  • Tremors (very common in alcohol addiction of any intensity).
  • Symptoms may remain and worsen all through the detox process in people with a more substantial physical reliance on alcohol.

Detoxing from Alcohol in the First Two Days

Increasingly severe acute effects are possible after the first few hours of unmanaged alcohol detox. New symptoms at this phase could include seizures and hallucinations, in addition to the ones listed above.

If the central nervous system, particularly the brain is unable to make up for the lack of chemical messengers to reenter the normal resting potential and normal physical state after excitement or stress, the clinical manifestations that emerge within the first 2 days of detoxification can become life-threatening, and control over blood pressure, heart rate, and nervous system operation can be lost.

Throughout this stage of detox, hallucinations can occur.

Seizures are also possible, and they usually happen within the first 12 hours to 2 days following the last drink, but they can last for days.

If no action is taken, the high blood pressure and increased heart rate will continue.

Chest pain may occur, indicating a lack of blood supply to the heart (due to elevated blood pressure and the greater energy demands of the heart).

Delirium tremens is a severe and potentially fatal side effect of abrupt alcohol abstinence

For many people, detoxing does not end after 48 hours.

Serious or long-standing forms of addiction to alcohol may necessitate extra care in the days after the process of detox.

The Final Stages of Alcohol Detox

Detox effects might last for several days after the first signs of withdrawal appear. Long periods of untreated alcohol withdrawal exacerbate cravings, restlessness, and anxiety. Seizures may become more severe and frequent if they are present and not handled properly.

In many situations, the risk of seizures decreases after the first 48 hours of detox. However, because the risk of significant disorientation and cardiovascular problems like stroke or heart attack remains high, continuous medical care may be required.

If a patient has these side effects, they usually appear 48 to 96 hours from the last drink. They can sometimes have a latent period, beginning 7 to 10 days following the previous drink. 

Symptoms of delirium tremens (DT) in severe cases of alcohol detox include:

  • Tremors in various parts of the body.
  • Irritability or agitation.
  • Fever and perspiration.
  • Extreme disorientation or perplexity.
  • Mood swings occur frequently.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Seizures.

Because DT is a life-threatening disorder with a high mortality rate, it is normally treated in a medical hospital’s intensive care. Untreated instances of delirium tremens have a mortality rate of 10-15 percent.  Until the health hazards reduce, sedating drugs, strict monitoring, and supportive therapy will be necessary.

Predisposing Factors for Delirium Tremens

Delirium tremens would not occur in all recovering alcohol users, but because it is so hazardous you must have a clinician or other addiction recovery specialist analyze your risk in order to better prepare for future problems. The intensity and speed with which DT symptoms appear can be affected by how much and how often an individual drinks.

The following are some of the risk factors for getting DT during alcohol withdrawal:

  • The sudden discontinuation of drinking following a period of heavy drinking.
  • Intake of inadequate food during a term of chronic or excessive drinking.
  • Injuries to the head, infection, or disease in someone who has a history of binge or heavy drinking.
  • Withdrawal from alcohol in the past.
  • Drinking heavily or frequently for more than ten years.

Detox and withdrawal from alcohol can be physiologically and mentally difficult, with health concerns, addictions, and mood changes all being frequent. This may sound frightening, but it’s critical to have a thorough understanding of the process of detoxification, particularly if you have a severe addiction.

Even if you choose to detoxify from alcohol at home, it’s critical to have supervision by a health professional. Mild to severe symptoms of withdrawal can be treated in either an outpatient or inpatient facility setting, as research has found little difference in results. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms must be addressed in an urgent medical environment if there is a danger of severe symptoms.  Alcohol detox and withdrawal can cause serious health problems, such as seizures, hallucinations, and death. Finding the right detox program, whether it’s inpatient or outpatient, is critical to your recovery’s success.

There are outpatient recovery services that enable you to work through recovery from the comfort of your own home, but you should speak with your health professional before agreeing to outpatient detoxification programs, as it may not be the best option if you are experiencing physical symptoms of withdrawal or have other situations that could endanger your recovery.

Care After Alcohol Detox At Home

With the right drugs and frequent check-ins with a supervision of a physician, modest symptoms of withdrawal can be handled at home. However, it’s hard to predict symptoms of withdrawal and even more difficult to account for all of the factors at home. For that and other reasons, many people in early recovery prefer to detox in a healthcare facility and then complete the rest of their therapy at home.

After 5 days of detox, most of the symptoms of acute alcohol withdrawal will have subsided, but some may last a week or longer. At this stage, any severe symptoms that remain will be treated medically at the detox facility.

Professional health monitoring is provided during the detox phase of medically assisted detoxification to safeguard your safety amid the potentially dangerous consequences of alcohol withdrawal.

Traditional treatment will provide you with supportive counseling to assist you in transitioning back to regular life and teach you how to properly control drinking temptations.

If you or someone you care about shows symptoms of an alcohol use disorder, you should seek help. For someone who is battling addiction, seeking help might be difficult. Friends and family members can assist by reassuring the person that they’re not really the only one in their battle.

If an individual is uncertain whether or not they require assistance, Recovery Worldwide recommends using the CAGE tool, which is a faster and more effective method that healthcare practitioners can use to better screen patients for treatment.

If you answer “ yes ” to 2 or more of the CAGE queries, you should think about getting help.

The following are the CAGE questions:

  • Have you ever felt it necessary to cut down your alcohol consumption?
  • Have others annoyed you by denigrating your drinking behavior?
  • Have you ever felt terrible or guilty about the amount of alcohol you consume?
  • If you’ve ever had a drink early in the morning to calm down or get rid of a hangover?

Medically monitored detox in a high-end alcohol addiction treatment center has the best success rates among all categories of rehab facilities. This is obvious due to the availability of high-value medical professionals, up-to-date detox protocols, high staff-to-patient ratio, and a safe, hygienic environment. Apart from the medical facilities, the premium luxury inpatient centers offer all the comforts of home for high-ranked officials, executives, athletes, and celebrities. These include upscale private accommodation, availability of a swimming pool, sauna, and hot tubs, fitness centers with dedicated personal trainers, and gourmet chef-prepared meals.

The key factor in the high success rates of luxury inpatient alcohol detox centers is the frequent, prompt, and precise aftercare and relapse prevention programs. These are designed to cater to the individual needs of the clients so that they are able to maintain long-term sobriety.

If you or a loved one is seeking treatment for alcohol addiction or you have already sought treatment but are hopeless due to frequent relapses, contact us right away and give yourself a serious chance to recover from alcohol addiction.



The Balance RehabClinic is a leading provider of luxury addiction and mental health treatment for affluent individuals and their families, offering a blend of innovative science and holistic methods with unparalleled individualised care.


a successful and proven concept focusing on underlying causes


0 Before

Send Admission Request

0 Before

Define Treatment Goals

1 week

Assessments & Detox

1-4 week

Psychological & Holistic Therapy

4 week

Family Therapy

5-8 week


12+ week

Refresher Visit

Alcohol Insights

latest news & research on Alcohol
Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment
Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment

Based on the intensity of the withdrawal, individuals with AWS can be managed in an outpatient or inpatient setting

read more
Alcoholism Treatment
Alcoholism Treatment

It is not easy to give up that easily but it’s not impossible either!  The treatment of alcoholism begins with detoxification and ends till you recover fully

read more
Woman sitting at the table with green plants in the foreground.
Alcohol Detox

read more
Cross Faded
Cross Faded

Crossfaded refers to the state of being simultaneously intoxicated by both alcohol and marijuana.

read more


British Psychology Society
Institute de terapia neural
pro mesotherapie
Somatic Experience


Woman & Home
National World
American Banker
Marie Claire
La Nacion
Metro UK
General Anzeiger
Live Science
Mallorca Magazin
Apartment Therapy
Express UK
Manager Magazin
Entrepreneur ME
Khaleej Times
Business Leader
The Guardian
Daily Mail
Mallorca Zeitung
Mirror Uk
The Times
The Standard
The Stylist