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What Happens When You Detox From Alcohol?

You’ve reached the end of the line. The life you lived as an alcoholic is coming to an end and you’ve finally decided to take the big step toward a life of sobriety. But you are probably plagued with questions about what’s next.

You might be wondering things like how long does it take to completely detox from alcohol? Or what will happen to you during that process?

Well, wonder no more. We’re here to help you demystify the process. Let’s have a look!

Why Detox?

Withdrawals are an in-between period of discomfort for the recovering alcoholic, where feelings of discomfort and strong cravings are prevalent. They could be both life-threatening and dangerous.

During this time, alcoholics are provided treatment in detox to help them ease the symptoms, navigate the process in a painless way, and ensure life-threatening symptoms don’t cause irreparable harm.

Pharmacotherapy tends to be used by most patients during detox as a way to manage withdrawal symptoms. 

Typically medicines like benzodiazepines are used to help manage anxiety, seizures, and insomnia. Other antipsychotics and anti-seizure meds could also be made available as part of the detox.

How Long Does it Take to Completely Detox From Alcohol 

The detox timeline will look different for each person, as the process is highly dependent on how much and often the patient consumes alcohol.


Alcoholics and heavy drinkers might end up experiencing more severe withdrawal symptoms that will last much longer. Withdrawals will typically begin for them within the first 8 hours of their last drink. However, those with a lesser problem might experience milder symptoms that could take longer to kick in.


So how long does it take to completely detox from alcohol? Typically, alcohol withdrawal symptoms will peak within 24 to 72 hours after the last consumption. But some symptoms could last for weeks.

The alcohol detox process tends to last between 7 and 10 days. Let’s take a closer look at what that looks like.

What Happens When You Detox From Alcohol in Rehab

As we mentioned before, each timeline will be different, depending on the severity of the disease. But generally speaking, during alcohol detox a patient can expect to:

  • Receive a medical examination
  • Experience withdrawal symptoms
  • Take medication for symptoms
  • Receive around-the-clock support 

The First 6 to 12 Hours

The first few hours after consumption are when alcoholics will begin to experience symptoms of discomfort, although severe addiction patients could begin to experience withdrawal symptoms much earlier.


It’s during this period that medical staff will proceed with examining the patient. This will give them an overall idea of their health profile and any other issues that could be present.

Patients will be placed on medications immediately after the examination to help manage withdrawal symptoms and ease the discomfort that may occur.

During this period patients could expect:

  • Tremors
  • Irritability
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hypertension and hyperventilation
  • Elevated heart rate
  • High body temperature
  • Alcohol cravings
  • Anxiety

12 to 24 Hours After The Last Drink

This is where more severe symptoms begin to surface. During this time the patient will receive critical around-the-clock attention to ensure any severe symptoms are properly managed.

Some of them might include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Disorientation 
  • Seizures
  • Feeling pins and needles
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression

24 to 48 Hours After The Last Drink

This is a time of transition during which symptoms might intensify. The medical staff remains committed to providing round-the-clock care to the patient at this stage.

3 to 7 Days After The Last Drink

For recovering alcoholics, the third to seventh day is usually the most difficult and risky. Not only is this a debilitating time for their mental health, but it is also dangerous to their physical health, posing the highest risk to their life.

It’s during this period that patients might experience delirium tremens—a life-threatening symptom that could lead to cardiac arrest. Delirium tremens are one of the primary reasons why alcoholics choose to detox under professional supervision. 

Data shows that there is as much as a 37% risk of mortality rate for alcoholics that endure delirium tremens without proper treatment.

The Final Countdown

After the 7th day, some severe cases might still have symptoms of withdrawal, but they are much milder than before. However, for most alcoholics, the most challenging part of their recovery will be behind them at this point.

Finding The Right Detox

Now that you know how long it takes to completely detox from alcohol, you might be tempted to take the next step and attend detox. But with so much on the line, it could be challenging to make the right decision about a trusted facility.

90210 Recovery offers some of the best detox services in Beverly Hills, California. We are a luxury facility with a medical staff you can trust. Contact 90210 today and find out how we can help make your recovery as painless as possible.


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90210 Recovery offers free help to anyone who seeks it. Regardless of your situation, we will help you find the treatment program that best fits your personal needs, whether thats one of our programs or another.

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