How Long Does Alcohol Detox Take?

outpatient detox tampa

Making the decision to get help for an addiction to alcohol takes bravery. It also means you have a lot of questions about the process. Chief among them is wanting to know, “How long does alcohol detox take?” Several different factors influence the answer because every person is unique. However, there is a general guideline for what to expect.

Tampa Bay Recovery Center helps clients find detox in Tampa that surrounds each person with the medical and psychological support needed to make their experience go by as quickly as possible. Call us now at 813-733-8774.

What Is Alcohol Detox?

When someone becomes addicted to alcohol, they require professional help in order to stop drinking. While some people may be able to stop consuming alcohol for short periods of time on their own, most of them succumb to the urge to drink again. This is because the inevitable withdrawal symptoms that occur become too much to bear. 

When someone has an alcohol use disorder, their brain’s ability to naturally produce feel-good chemicals like endorphins becomes compromised. The person begins to rely on consistent consumption of alcohol in order to experience happiness or feel as if they can handle their day-to-day lives. The first step in giving up drinking is going to an alcohol detox and alcohol rehab program. This provides the all-important first days of living without drinking and allows the person to begin adjusting to living alcohol-free. 

During detox, each person is monitored by medical professionals to ensure their safety. The staff provides them with medications and psychological support that helps minimize or reduce many of the withdrawal symptoms that accompany the detox process. Trying to detox on their own puts a person at risk because dangerous withdrawal symptoms can arise. Being in a detox facility ensures the person has immediate access to any necessary medical care to keep them safe.

How Long Does Alcohol Detox Take?

It’s understandable that anyone going into initial treatment for alcoholism will wonder, “How long does alcohol detox take?” The amount of time varies per person. Factors that influence the length of time include how long the addiction has been going on, how much the person typically drinks, and their current physical and mental health. On average, a stay in a detox program lasts about five to seven days. 

Common Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Part of determining how long does alcohol detox take includes which withdrawal symptoms a person has and the severity of each one. While each person’s experience in detox is different, some withdrawal symptoms are common to many of them.
These include:

  • Shakiness or trembling
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Elevated heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormal breathing
  • Fever
  • Seizures 
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium tremens
  • Cravings to drink

Besides physical withdrawal symptoms, many people develop changes in their moods. This includes feelings of anxiety, depression, and agitation. 

Related: How Long Does Alcohol Withdrawal Last?

Alcohol Detox Timeline

While each person’s experience varies, there is a general timeline for going through alcohol detox. 

Within 6-12 hours after the last drink: Withdrawal symptoms begin to happen. Common ones are headaches, nausea, trembling, and a strong urge to drink. 

12-24 hours: Initial withdrawal symptoms tend to increase. Many people begin to feel anxiety and agitation during this period.

24-48 hours: Along with the existing withdrawal symptoms, many people experience fever, abnormal breathing, high blood pressure, elevated heart rate, and confusion. The desire to consume alcohol often increases.

48-72 hours: This is typically the peak period of withdrawal when the symptoms are at their highest level. Some people experience hallucinations, seizures, vomiting, insomnia, and nightmares. This is also the time when a person is most at risk for developing delirium tremens.  

After the first few days, most withdrawal symptoms begin to ease up or stop altogether. Medical symptoms tend to end more quickly, with emotional ones like anxiety and depression often lingering longer. 

What Happens After Detox?

Once a person completes the detox process, they have two choices for their next step. Some people choose a residential program that provides 24/7 housing and more of the focused care they received in detox. Others who don’t need that type of intensive care can enroll in outpatient rehab. These types of programs provide treatment sessions during the day but don’t require the person to live in a facility.

Addiction treatment consists of two basic approaches. The first is therapy, which typically comes in the form of several types of therapeutic modalities. Each type helps people understand why they became addicted to alcohol and how to address related issues that contributed to the addiction. They develop healthy coping skills that allow them to make smart choices to avoid triggers to relapse. Those still experiencing withdrawal symptoms can continue to take FDA-approved medications that ease their symptoms.

Begin Alcohol Detox in Tampa Today

Have you reached the point where you no longer want to go through life with alcohol controlling you? If so, you are likely wondering, “How long does alcohol detox take?” The right detox program ensures you receive round-the-clock support and attention that helps you move through the process with as little discomfort as possible.

Tampa Bay Recovery Center understands how to keep a person’s time going through the detox process short-lived. Our skilled therapists and clinical staff care for you throughout the process. In addition, we prepare you for the next step in maintaining your recovery.

For more information on how to get started on our program, visit our admissions page now. Our staff is happy to answer any questions you have.