If you or a loved one is giving up alcohol, you may be wondering what to expect. In order to prepare mentally and physically, you all may be wondering how long alcohol withdrawal lasts. This is a reasonable question to ask, but a bit of a complex one to answer. The short answer is that withdrawal will probably last up to 7 to 10 days, but it can vary greatly case by case. Determining how long alcohol withdrawal will last depends on various factors. These factors are not limited to, but can include:
- Amount of alcohol consumption
- Length of time drinking alcohol
- Underlying health issues
- Biological Sex
- Weight & Height
Typical Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline
Although the exact amount of time alcohol withdrawal will last can vary, there is a general order in which symptoms present. There is also a range of time in which certain symptoms will present to start to taper off. A typical alcohol withdrawal timeline may look something like this:
The Onset of Withdrawal Symptoms: About 6 to 12 hours after the last drink, the early withdrawal symptoms begin to appear. These may include аnxіеtу, insomnia, nаuѕеа, lоѕѕ оf арреtіtе, ѕwеаtіng, hеаdасhе, аnd іnсrеаѕеd оr іrrеgulаr heartbeat. In some cases, depression and mood swings also present.
2nd Stage of Alcohol Withdrawal: Between 12 and 24 hours after the last drink, more serious withdrawal symptoms may begin to develop. This includes increase blood pressure, irregular breathing, and worsening anxiety and mood swings. The late part of stage 2 is also known to be the time period when hallucinations may develop. Hallucinations often include sensations of іtсhіng, burnіng, оr numbnеѕѕ, hear ѕоundѕ which dо nоt еxіѕt, or see things which aren’t there.
3rd Stage of Withdrawal: Symptoms usually peak around 72 hours following the last drink, meaning the most severe symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal may present but will begin to taper off. This includes seizures, hallucinations, severe irregularities in heart rate and breathing, tremors, and delirium tremons. Over the next several days, the symptoms slowly begin to improve. Typically, the worse symptoms will have subsided after 5-10 days.
Delirium Tremons: Approximately 20% of people with detox from alcohol develop delirium tremons, a serious and potentially deadly symptom of withdrawal. Delirium tremons is classified by severe hallucinations, tremors, and confusion, and seizures.
How Long PAWS Last
Although the worse symptoms usually subside after 7-10 days, it is common for symptoms such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and fatigue. These symptoms will slowly decrease over time but may present for several months or even years. It is possible for PAWS to last upwards of 2 years since achieving sobriety. Healthy lifestyle choices such as physical activity, a nutrient-rich diet, and mindfulness exercises can help reduce how long PAWS symptoms and how severe they are.
Variations in Withdrawal
Keep in mind that not everyone develops all withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the factors listed above, one person may only experience mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms while another may develop severe delirium tremons. Withdrawal may last a shorter period of time for those who do not develop more severe symptoms and visa versa. Alcohol detox programs help manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce how long withdrawal last via nutrition, alternative therapies, and sometimes medication.