How long does alcohol withdrawal last?

alcohol rehab

Many individuals never seek assistance for excessive and chronic alcohol use because they may be worried about experiencing alcohol withdrawal. If you are wondering “how long does alcohol withdrawal last,” and if it is preventing you from getting help, here is some information that may help to put your fears to rest. Of course the best resource for you is to consult with your doctor.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms generally begin when an individual stops consuming alcohol. Depending on how much alcohol you consume, how often you drink alcohol and how long you have been drinking; your withdrawal symptoms may begin within a few hours of your last alcohol use, or they may begin with a few days. It may be comforting to know that some people never experience withdrawal symptoms.

Physical Withdrawal Symptoms

Typically most withdrawal symptoms are physical. Physical alcohol withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors
  • Increased heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • DTs or delirium tremens, or periods of confusion and hallucinations
  • Psychological alcohol withdrawal symptoms may include:
  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Depression

Physical withdrawal symptoms may last a week to ten days; however the psychological withdrawal symptoms can last longer or begin after the withdrawal or detox process is completed.

Forms of Detox

Many individuals seek detox for alcohol withdrawal assistance and there are several different methods to help such as outpatient treatment through Methadone clinics and inpatient treatment through traditional hospital detox or IV therapy medical detox.

Inpatient medical detox makes it possible for the individual to take medication that can help them go through the withdrawal symptoms and not experience as much or no discomfort, depending on the type of medical detox treatment that they receive. For example, traditional hospital detox provides medical detox, but the type of medication that they use has been seen by many patients as not providing adequate relief from withdrawal symptoms. The medication used in IV therapy medical detox on the other hand can be adjusted to meet the withdrawal symptoms as they change, which keeps the patient comfortable throughout the process.

Methadone Clinics

Patients who receive alcohol detox through outpatient Methadone clinics, may experience little to no alcohol withdrawal symptoms, however Methadone is an opiate narcotic. If the individual using this method stops taking Methadone once they have detoxified from alcohol (about a week to 10 days) then there should be no need to detox from Methadone. However, research conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests that many individuals do not stop taking Methadone. In fact, some reports reveal that many individuals have been taking Methadone for more than twenty years.

Once the alcohol withdrawal symptoms have passed and the detox is complete, it may be worth considering that you enroll in a program to help you become better prepared for life without alcohol use. There are programs that offer traditional 12 steps programs such as A.A., holistic programs that offer meditation therapy and educational programs that offer cognitive behavioral therapy.