How Long Do Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

How Long Do Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

Content Overview

Deciding to quit drinking with our Alcohol home detox programme may sound like the end goal, but to ensure your sobriety success, that goal needs to be specific and realistic. There are three stages to consider:

1. The decision to stop drinking alcohol.

2. The planning of your treatment programme with a medical professional – Our at-home-based detox service conducts an extensive assessment with you over the phone to ensure your needs and safety during detox and withdrawal are taken into consideration.

3. Staying motivated during the withdrawal phase of your recovery. Understanding the withdrawal symptoms you may experience and the typical timeline these symptoms can occur in, will help you to be prepared and able to stay motivated and sober.

General guidelines according to the Industrial Psychiatry Journal ( of what you can expect to experience are:

1st Day (Stage 1 & 2)

During an alcohol detox and within 6hrs of your last drink, the first minor withdrawal symptoms may begin

  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • nausea
  • rapid heart rate
  • sweating
  • tremors

12 – 24hrs – at this point, a small percentage of people may experience hallucinations:

  • tactile hallucinations, such as having a sense of itching, burning, or numbness that isn’t occurring
  • auditory hallucinations or hearing sounds that don’t exist
  • visual hallucinations, or seeing images that don’t exist

You may experience all or only some of the withdrawal symptoms listed.


2nd Day (Stage 3):

The minor withdrawal symptoms you have been experiencing will usually continue through the second day with increasing severity and may now include

    • Headache
    • Stomach irritability
    • Increased tremors

3rd Day - 1 week (Stage 4):

Between 48hrs and 72hrs since your last alcoholic drink or decrease in alcohol consumption, you may experience a severe form of withdrawal called DTs – Delirium Tremens or Alcohol Withdrawal Delirium.
The DTs only affect heavy long term drinkers (defined as 15 drinks a week for men & 8 drinks a week for women) your risk is higher if you also have:

  • a history of alcohol withdrawal
  • a history of AWD
  • other health problems in addition to alcoholism
  • a history of seizure disorder or other brain damage
  • low platelet counts
  • low potassium levels
  • low sodium levels
  • older age at the time of withdrawal
  • pre-existing dehydration
  • presence of brain lesions
  • use of other drugs

Symptoms of AWD or DTs may include all or some of the following:

  • agitation or irritability
  • anxiety
  • chest pain
  • confusion
  • delirium (an extremely disturbing state of mind)
  • delusions (irrationally believing untrue things)
  • excessive sweating
  • excitement
  • eye and muscle movement problems
  • fatigue
  • fear
  • fever
  • hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)
  • increased heart rate or breathing rate
  • increased startle reflex (an exaggerated reaction to unexpected stimuli)
  • involuntary muscle contractions
  • nausea
  • nightmares
  • restlessness
  • seizures
  • sensitivity to light, sound, or touch
  • stomach pain
  • sudden mood changes

If your drinking habits have been heavy for a long time you may have a seizure within 6hrs of your last drink. It is advised that if you have been a long-term heavy drinker or been diagnosed with an Alcohol Use Disorder that you have medical supervision during the detox and withdrawal phase of your recovery.

A ‘Support Buddy’ should be with you throughout your detox to help you stay hydrated, monitor the seriousness of your symptoms as well as ensure the medication you are prescribed is taken as directed. If you don’t have a nominated person to help, we offer a Sober Coach as part of our home detox service.

Minor withdrawal symptoms will usually peak between 18 to 24hrs and start to decrease after about five days. In rare cases, moderate withdrawal symptoms (rapid heart rate, illusions) can last for a month. But all symptoms will have ceased in under 6 months.

We Can Help!

Our At-Home detox service has been developed to provide you with the safest home detox process possible, we understand that there is a need for an affordable, safe, and flexible option to facilitate alcohol detox within your home.

Our service offers:

Medically Assisted Alcohol Detox
After your initial telephonic assessment, with our medical professional, to ensure that our service can assist with providing you with a safe detox programme for you at home, you will be prescribed medication needed to assist with and treat the withdrawal symptoms you may experience, these medications are then posted to you as part of our convenient and confidential service.

Home-Based Therapy
Detoxing from alcohol is a major achievement, to ensure your success in staying sober, you still have some work to do.
Counselling is a vital part of any substance abuse treatment plan. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and family counselling can help you stay sober by helping you identify and cope with triggers like

Our service offers an At-Home Therapy option to assist you during and after your withdrawal.

Book Your Initial Assessment Today

Withdrawal symptoms can be managed with our home detox service.

    Jason Shiers
    Author / Jason Shiers / Dip.Psych MBACP
    Jason Shiers is a Certified Transformative Coach & Certified Psychotherapist who is a specialist in addiction, trauma and eating disorders. He has been working in the field of addiction for 25 years now.

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