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How Long does Alcohol Withdrawal Last? | Primary Purpose Behavioral Health

Moderate drinkers will experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms for up to 5 days after their last drink, but heavy drinkers are advices to seek inpatient treatment for alcohol withdrawal, as it could be fatal.

What is alcohol withdrawal?

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) happens when you stop drinking or significantly reduce alcohol intake after long-term use. AWS typically affects people with alcohol use disorder (AUD). Alcohol withdrawal can be very mild or severe, known as delirium tremens. Severe alcohol withdrawal can be fatal. See a doctor if attempting to withdrawal from long-term alcohol use.

how long does alcohol withdrawal last

50% of long-term drinkers will experience some sort of alcohol withdrawal.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptom Timeline

6-12 hours after last drink - mild headache, anxiety and insomnia is expected.

24 hours after last drink - varying levels of hallucinations

24-72 hours after last drink - symptoms typically reach their worst and/or begin to resolve

48-72 hours after last drink - delirium tremens may appear.

Weeks-months after last drink - insomnia and mood changes, that can last for weeks or months.

Severe or Complicated Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment

The Cleveland Clinic has important advice for those with severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Severe and complicated alcohol withdrawal requires treatment in a hospital — sometimes in the ICU. While receiving treatment, healthcare providers will want to monitor you continuously to make sure you don’t develop life-threatening complications.
The main management for severe symptoms is long-acting benzodiazepines — typically IV diazepam or IV lorazepam.
You’ll likely need other treatments for related health issues.


Dangers of Quitting Alcohol "Cold Turkey"

Can you die from Alcohol detox? Yes.

Call 911 if you experience any of these symptoms while when you stop drinking alcohol.

  • hallucinations (visual, auditory, tactile)

  • seizures

  • delirium tremens

  • feeling disoriented or confused

  • rapid heart rate

  • fast breathing

  • high blood pressure

  • low-grade fever

  • profuse sweating

  • feeling agitated

  • stupor

  • loss of consciousness

Reach out to Primary Purpose Behavioral Health today for the help you need for safe and effective alcohol withdrawal and sober living help.

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