Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline
Mild, moderate and severe alcohol withdrawal duration can vary to some degree between individuals, but for the most part, the symptoms are reliable and consistent. Symptom onset is generally within about six to eight hours after the last drink. Mild and moderate withdrawal symptoms peak around 72 hours after the last drink and acute withdrawal symptoms often resolve within about one week. Severe withdrawal has a prolonged timeline, however, and may include incredibly dangerous, even lethal symptoms.
Even after the resolution of acute withdrawal symptoms, some people may experience fluctuating withdrawal symptoms for weeks, months or even years after their last drink. This phenomenon is called post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), and it can be frustrating to manage. It is important that people in recovery understand that PAWS is normal and that the symptoms will subside as time goes on.
A Day-by-Day Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline
Although there is some individual variability, a general timeline of alcohol withdrawal involves:
Factors Impacting Alcohol Withdrawal
While the most significant factor affecting alcohol withdrawal is the degree of alcohol dependence, there are other factors that can contribute to withdrawal.
Factors that may lessen withdrawal severity include:
- Healthy diet
- Regular exercise
- Younger age (if dependence was established after adolescence)
Factors that may increase withdrawal severity include:
- Poor diet
- Lack of exercise
- Mental health disorders
- Alcohol dependence that began during adolescence
- Immune system dysfunction or other diseases
Related Topic: Alcohol Withdrawal
How To Cope With Alcohol Withdrawal
Alcohol withdrawal is an uncomfortable process even in the best of cases, and there are no shortcuts or reliable home remedies for alcohol withdrawal. People with mild dependence may be able to somewhat lessen the severity of their withdrawal symptoms during home detox using the following tips:
- Stay hydrated
- Maintain an appropriate electrolyte balance by sipping a sports drink
- Try to eat healthy foods. If you cannot eat, drink soup or broth.
- Enlist a trusted friend or family member to check on you regularly
- If possible, lightly exercising or taking a walk can help with symptoms including alcohol withdrawal insomnia
When Professional Detox Is Needed
Regular excessive alcohol consumption rapidly produces physical dependence that can be challenging to overcome. Detox and withdrawal can be dangerous, even for people with mild or moderate dependence. To ensure safe detox and withdrawal, an assessment with a rehab professional should be sought before the detox begins.
Alcohol withdrawal delirium is associated with confusion and hallucinations. People who are experiencing these symptoms may not be able to seek medical help. If you or someone you know has a serious alcohol use disorder, quitting cold turkey without professional oversight can be dangerous, even lethal. By some estimates, up to 37% of untreated delirium tremens can be fatal. When appropriate, medically assisted detox can provide pharmacotherapies that can attenuate the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
Related Topic: Ativan and alcohol detox
Where to Find Help in South Florida
There are a number of South Florida alcohol detox centers, but they are not all alike. When you are evaluating rehab facilities, look for experienced teams that provide multidisciplinary care and evidence-based treatment strategies to allow you to safely detox from alcohol. Rehab centers that can provide quality care during every stage of recovery, from the initial assessment to aftercare programs that support long-term recovery, provide the most reliable way to overcome an alcohol use disorder and maintain long-term sobriety.
Contact The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health to speak with a representative about how professional treatment can address an alcohol use disorder and any co-occurring mental health disorders. You deserve a healthier future, call today.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Alcohol Facts and Statistics.” August 2018. Accessed September 12, 2019.
Bayard, Max; et al. “Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome.” American Family Physician, March 2004. Accessed September 12, 2019.
Trevisan, Louis A; Boutros, Nashaat; Petrakis, Ismene L; Krystal, John H. “Complications of Alcohol Withdrawal: Pathophysiological Insights.” Alcohol Health & Research World, 1998. Accessed September 12, 2019.
Rogawski, Michael A. “Update on the Neurobiology of Alcohol Withdrawal Seizures.” Epilepsy Currents, November 2005. Accessed September 12, 2019.
Schuckit, Marc A. “Recognition and Management of Withdrawal Delirium (Delirium Tremens).” The New England Journal of Medicine, November 2014. Accessed September 12, 2019.
Rahman, Abdul; Paul, Manju. “Delirium Tremens (DT).” NCBI StatPearls, November 2018. Accessed September 12, 2019.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.