How Long Is the Alcohol Detox Period? | Yellowstone Recovery

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How Long is Alcohol Detox?

Just like any other drug or intoxicating substance, when a person drinks excessively and regularly for an extended amount of time, the brain and body eventually become dependent on the alcohol to function normally. When alcohol is withheld, agonizing symptoms of withdrawal begin to set in.

The only way to break free from the physical addiction and stop the cycle of sickness and relapse is to go through a detox process. Because the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be powerful and even life-threatening, many turn to professional alcohol rehab programs for safe detox. How long this detox process takes depends on the individual.

The Alcohol Detox Process

Alcohol detox in a treatment facility is carefully overseen by a team of medical professionals who are experienced in working with drug- and alcohol-addicted individuals. Based on discussion and examination, your team will come up with a plan to safely eliminate alcohol from your system while keeping you as comfortable and stable as possible. Vital signs like blood pressure, heart rate, and more are monitored constantly to watch for red flags and prevent medical emergencies.


Depending on the severity of your symptoms and the risks they may pose to your health, doctors may choose to prescribe temporary medications to help you ease discomfort during detox. Things like anti-nausea and anti-anxiety medications are common for this purpose. At the end of your detox period, your team will work with you to taper down and off of any medications as needed.

How Long Does Alcohol Detox Take?

The answer depends on the following questions:

  1. How is your physical health?
  2. How is your metabolism?
  3. What kinds of alcohol do you drink?
  4. How much alcohol do you drink?
  5. How long have you been struggling with alcoholism?
  6. Have you admitted your addiction?

Detox Duration: Influencing Factors and Questions to Consider

How long does it take to detox from alcohol? Well, because no two individuals’ bodies or situations are exactly the same, there is no single way to describe the length or experience of detox for everyone. There are a number of different factors that can affect how long the alcohol detoxification process will take.

Ask yourself the following questions; your answers may provide surprising insight into how long your alcohol detox will take, as well as what it will be like.

How Is Your Physical Health?

Other than your addiction to alcohol, are you generally a physically healthy and fit person? Do you have health conditions that may require special care and consideration during detox? How much damage have your liver and other organs experienced due to excessive alcohol? If you are in poor health or the medical staff is concerned about how a certain condition or medication will affect detox (and vice versa), the plan you follow may be less aggressive and take additional time. Also, your body simply may take longer to recover.

What About Your Metabolism?

Because detoxification is a metabolic process carried out by your liver, the efficiency of your natural metabolism does play a role in how quickly toxins are eliminated from your body. If you have a metabolic condition or simply don’t have a very fast metabolism, it may take you slightly longer than it otherwise would to detox from an alcohol addiction.

What Kinds of Alcohol Do You Drink, and How Much?

The type of alcohol you typically drink, how often you tend to drink it and how much you drink at a time can all affect how long it will take to detox from it. If you tend to drink heavily and choose things with a high percentage of alcohol (like vodka or rum), your body will need to eliminate large doses of alcohol during detox, which naturally tends to take longer.

How Long Have You Been Struggling with Your Addiction?

If you’ve been dealing with an alcohol addiction for a long time, it’s likely that your liver has felt the effects. It may take longer for you to detox if you’ve been drinking for a long time, as your body simply may not be able to eliminate it from your system as well as it used to. You may also need to go through a slower, more tapered detox plan to prevent serious harm from withdrawals.

Have You Fully Accepted the Reality of Your Addiction?

It can be easy to underestimate the impact of a person’s mental and emotional state on the success of rehab, even during detox. If you are still resistant to the idea that you need help or have not yet truly acknowledged alcohol’s effects on your body and your life, you might be getting in your own way. To avoid delays, you need to be ready to face facts and trust your doctors. Denial will only slow your treatment and hold you back.

The Importance of Undergoing Proper Medical Detox

Nurse Checking Heart Rate

The symptoms of withdrawal can be physically and mentally agonizing. One of the most severe phases of withdrawal in heavy drinkers is known as delirium tremens, a suddenly occurring set of nervous system changes that cause symptoms of intense confusion and bodily hyperactivity. This distressing experience can last for two to three days and can even lead to a cardiovascular emergency. Certainly, this condition illustrates how important it is to detox from alcohol properly, with medical help.

Going through alcohol detox in a professional rehab facility also makes the entire process much easier for you. If necessary, doctors can prescribe temporary medications to help ease certain symptoms and give you a more comfortable experience. In addition to simply being effective, going through a real medical detox with professional help is the best way to break free from an alcohol addiction with the least amount of suffering.

Find Expert Help for Alcohol Withdrawal and Addiction at Yellowstone Recovery

Are you or a loved one struggling with a dependence on alcohol? The experts at Yellowstone Recovery in Southern California can help. Our expert addiction specialists and experienced medical team have worked with thousands of individuals from all walks of life, helping them to break free from drug and alcohol addictions and regain control of their lives.

Our safe detox program with 24/7 monitoring and quick access to clinics and hospitals gives our clients the opportunity to escape the prison of addiction with as little discomfort as possible. Each detox plan is individually tailored to suit the person’s health, substance use history, and present needs.


If you’re ready to rise in the step toward sobriety, we’re ready to help you up! Call Yellowstone Recovery today at (888) 418-4188 to get started.

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