Alcohol Detox Timeline: Withdrawal to Recovery [Infographic]

01 Jul Alcohol Detox Timeline: Withdrawal to Recovery [Infographic]

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Alcohol detox or withdrawal is a challenging but necessary process on the road to sobriety. When an individual is dependent on a certain substance for a long period of time, it can have lifelong effects on their body and their mind. The detox process will depend on an individual’s daily alcohol intake, dependence on other drugs, and other existing medical issues. It is a process that is unique to each individual and, therefore, the timeline or symptoms cannot be accurately predicted every time. However, when going through alcohol withdrawal, people typically go through three main stages.

Please refer to the infographic below for a more in-depth look at the withdrawal process and more information about possible side effects and symptoms you or a loved one may experience when detoxing.
Alcohol Detox Infographic

Alcoholism doesn’t occur overnight. It’s a disease that progresses over time and continues to eat away at a person’s health and wellness. It can wreak havoc on a person’s liver and kidneys, which can go on to negatively affect others parts of the body and appearance.

Those who struggle with alcohol addiction may also find themselves isolated from their friends and family and in declining, overall health. When a person abuses alcohol, not all signs are immediately apparent, but eventually, the side effects catch up, which leads people to what is commonly referred to as “rock bottom.”

On the other hand, sobriety also doesn’t happen right away. It can’t be achieved in one day. Getting sober comes in stages and can feel like a slow path, but it’s important to stick with the process and take the proper steps to prevent relapse. The best decision you can make is to choose to end your battle with alcohol dependency.

How Long Does It Take to Detox?

Detox involves ridding the body of alcohol and eliminating future use. Withdrawing from alcohol suddenly after regular consumption can be tough on the body. Those being treated for alcoholism and their loved ones might wonder how long alcohol detox will take. While the timeline varies for each person, typically, it takes a few days for this first step to take place.

Everyone has a different experience with alcohol detox. However, most alcoholics in recovery will experience a combination of the following symptoms:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Mood swings
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Tremors
  • Hallucinations
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Seizures
  • Body aches

A person might also experience anxiousness or depression. In short, it’s not a comfortable process. Although the timespan lasts less than a week, even a few hours can feel excruciating for the person who is detoxing.

What to Expect From Alcohol Detox

Each person experiences alcohol abuse in different ways. The same goes for detox. It’s an individualized process and is dependent on how far into addiction a person is. There are different reactions to treatment and different withdrawal symptoms experienced, but overall, when it comes to an alcohol detox timeline, it typically follows the same general timeframe.

Cravings are common at the very beginning of alcohol detox. The body is used to having alcohol running through its veins, so when it is deprived of this, it may react in unpredictable ways. Certain medications are available to help as people are ridding their body of alcohol. These help with withdrawal symptoms, which can take a toll on the body. The withdrawal can cause shaking, high blood pressure, and make a person physically sick.

During these crucial first hours, the body is ridding itself of all traces of alcohol without caving into cravings. The symptoms will be ongoing for a few days and in some cases, become worse over the course of the detox period. This is one of the reasons why it’s often suggested to seek treatment from a professional facility. Going through withdrawals is physically and mentally draining. Comfort and support are highest on the list of priorities for detoxification to be a success.

What Are the Stages of Detox?

alcohol_detoxOnce the body is rid of alcohol and toxins, rehab follows. Both are equally important parts of the process. Without detox, a person cannot begin with a clean slate. A person needs to experience and overcome the withdrawal period before being able to enter the rehabilitation phase.

For alcoholics who try to get sober on their own, it’s much tougher than if they seek treatment at a facility. Trained professionals have the tools and resources necessary to make the experience as comfortable as possible. They also provide a built-in support system for the person going through detox to help them from backsliding and help keep them motivated.

Without the two working hand in hand, there is a much higher likelihood of relapse. Once a person rids alcohol from their body, they need to focus on where the alcohol abuse began. It’s important to stop repeated patterns and tackle any issues which might lead to temptation in the future.

Each rehab program is tailored to the individual’s needs. Some may choose an inpatient facility where they reside for approximately 30 days. Others may opt for outpatient rehab, and then there are those who choose a mixture of both. Addiction is the culprit of alcoholism. Rehab brings up reasons for a person’s addiction, what they can do to confront it, and how they will be able to handle it in the future.

Rehab also addresses the challenges alcoholics might face when it comes to their current lifestyle choices. Abusive drinking may have damaged an alcoholic’s relationships with friends or family. How do those relationships become repaired? How can situations be addressed to avoid increased stress or reason to relapse? Part of rehab includes therapy and guidance to teach communication skills and coping tools to allow for the person to enter back into society as a better and stronger person.


A Positive Path to Recovery with Care and Treatment

Detox may sound like an intense situation. No doubt about it, it is, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not doable. When people follow the process and believe in taking it step-by-step, the results will show. Detox builds a foundation for recovery.

When someone has such a strong dependency on alcohol, it’s hard to leave that habit behind. It takes time to heal fully and may require ongoing treatment in order to keep a person’s health and sobriety intact after they’ve left rehab.

Georgia Detox helps people find the right facility for them, one which will fit their needs and give them the information and support they need to get their lives back on track. When it comes to detox and everything that follows, having the right people in place helps the process move much more smoothly and effectively. Detoxing from alcohol is not something anyone should have to face alone.


Lautieri, Amanda. “Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment, Symptoms, and Timeline.” American Addiction Centers. 11 Mar. 2019.

“Alcohol Detox Symptoms, Timeline, Medications And Treatment.” 11 Mar. 2019.

T, Buddy. “Stages of Alcohol-Withdrawal Symptoms From Day 1 to Day 30 and Beyond.” Verywell Mind. 22 Sep. 2018. 11 Mar. 2019.

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