What’s the Longest Possible Alcohol Detox Time Duration?

Long-term addiction sufferers live with special circumstances due in large part to the extent of their addiction. That’s especially true of people who have been abusing alcohol for years. The fact is there’s almost always a direct correlation between the extent of someone’s alcoholism and the way it negatively impacts their lives.

The impact of long-term alcoholism goes well beyond the way it impacts the alcohol abuser’s every day life. The impact is also felt when said individual makes the decision to stop drinking and seek help for their drinking problem. When they finally take that step, they immediately face the prospect of going through some rather disturbing withdrawal symptoms.

As a point of reference, we thought it would be proper to list out some of the more troubling withdrawal symptoms an alcohol abuser might face after months or years of excessive drinking. The list includes

  • Confusion and inability to handle simple tasks
  • Onset of severe anxiety or depression
  • Profuse sweating
  • Rise in heart rate and blood pressure
  • Delirium Tremens also known as the DTs
  • Hallucinations and difficulty sleeping
  • Nausea and vomiting

Based on this troubling list, both the medical and addiction treatment professions recommend people don’t try to detox off of alcohol without help. The best places to get that help are from a professional dedicated detox facility or a reputable alcohol rehab that provides detox services. In the sections below, the conversation is going to focus on detox treatment and the timing related to the detox process.

The Medically Monitored Detox Program

Upon entering rehab, each client is put through an interview process. The purpose of the interview is to help administrators gather information about each client’s addiction and the circumstances surrounding said addiction. If a client indicates they have been going through a long period of significant alcohol abuse, it’s a good bet they will get placement in a medically monitored detox program.

The primary goal of a medically monitored detox program is to ensure clients are kept safe and comfortable while they detox off alcohol. Should any client start to show signs of pain or discomfort, there will be a physician standing by to prescribe the appropriate relief medications.

This process will continue until the client has cleared their withdrawal symptoms and any residual cravings they have for a drink. For the individuals with moderate drinking problems, the entire detox process will usually take five to seven days. It’s an entirely different story for someone who has being drinking large amounts of alcohol over many months or years.

To better understand what those folks face, the following describes the three stages of detox for someone with a significant alcohol addiction.

Stage 1

The first stage of alcohol withdrawal will start approximately 6 to 8 hours after the alcoholic’s last drink. In the earliest stage, the individual with start to experience a little anxiety, plus some nervousness and sweating. They might also struggle with headaches. These symptoms will be prevalent for the first 24 to 48 hours.

Stage 2

Heading into the second stage (1 to 3 days)of withdrawal, the individual will start to experience issues with blood pressure and their heart rate. Nausea and vomiting will typically occur as the individual struggles with their coordination and ability to handle simple tasks.

It’s at this point that the rehab facility’s treatment staff will start to realize that an individual is going to have a rough go through the entire detox process. This is also the point where a doctor might decide that a client is going to need medication in order to survive the last stage of detox.

Stage 3

If trouble is brewing, this is the stage where the big issues will become apparent. It’s during this stage that the client faces trouble with the DTs and hallucinations that interrupt their ability to get rest. Profuse sweating and high anxiety could also appear at this time. In the worst cases, this final stage of detox could last several weeks up to a full month.

If you are contemplating putting the bottle down and reaching out for help, we ask that you proceed with caution. We would like you to call us at 800-737-0933 and lets us help you with the detox process. During that initial call, we will also take the opportunity to tell you about our facility and addiction treatment services.