How Long Does Alcohol Withdrawal Last?

How Long Does Alcohol Withdrawal Last? Alcohol withdrawal is a serious medical condition that can cause uncomfortable, sometimes dangerous, symptoms when someone significantly reduces or stops their regular alcohol intake.


It’s essential for anyone who decides to reduce their alcohol use to understand the risks of detoxing from alcohol and how long withdrawals may last. In this article, we’ll cover what you need to know about the duration of alcohol withdrawal and how it can vary among individuals. We will also provide tips on managing your recovery process if you decide to quit drinking altogether. By understanding the potential timeline of withdrawal symptoms and the different treatment options available, you can gain better peace of mind as you navigate this potentially challenging journey toward sobriety.

Withdrawal symptoms usually appear within 8 hours after the last drink and peak between 24 to 72 hours.

The process of alcohol withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms usually begin within 8 hours after your last drink, which can range from mild to severe. The most intense symptoms often appear during the first 24 to 72 hours of detoxification.

During this time, you may experience physical withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, sweating, nausea, vomiting, and headaches. You may also have cognitive issues like confusion or difficulty concentrating. These are all normal reactions to alcohol withdrawal and will gradually fade over several days. After a few days, these initial symptoms should start to subside, but it’s important to remember that some people may experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), which can last up to two years after they stop drinking.

Factors Affecting the Duration of Alcohol Withdrawal

Post-acute withdrawal can present psychological and emotional challenges such as mood swings, depression, insomnia, and anxiety. These episodes can come and go in cycles; you may feel completely fine for some time only to experience a surge of symptoms weeks or months later. It’s important to have a plan to manage these episodes and to receive the proper support from your Priory rehabilitation team.

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Mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms

  • Nausea
  • Mild itching
  • Slight tremors
  • Heightened sensitivity to sounds and light
  • Feeling clammy
  • Mild headaches

Moderate alcohol withdrawal symptoms

  • Frequent episodes of nausea and dry heaving
  • Pins and needles sensation, burning, or numbness
  • Visible tremors in outstretched arms
  • Hypersensitivity to noises and bright light causing discomfort
  • Sweating, anxiety, and restlessness
  • Decreased mental alertness, such as confusion about the current day of the week

Severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms

  • Persistent nausea, dry heaving, and vomiting
  • Hallucinations, including auditory, visual, or tactile sensations of bugs on the skin
  • Coarse tremors
  • Profuse sweating
  • Acute confusion, such as an inability to recognize familiar surroundings or people

What to Expect During Alcohol Withdrawal


The duration of alcohol withdrawal varies from person to person and depends on the individual’s drinking history and physical health. The more severe your symptoms are, the longer they will take to subside. Being patient during this process is important as it can take weeks or even months before you feel like yourself again.

It’s essential to have a detox plan in place with the help of your Priory healthcare professional. During this time, you will be monitored for any complications that may arise and given medications to help control your withdrawal symptoms. It’s also important to have a solid support system of family or friends who can provide emotional support as you take this recovery journey.

Short-Term Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can start within 8 hours of your last drink, and the intensity of these symptoms varies from person to person. The most common short-term symptoms include:

  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating, clamminess, or feverishness
  • Nausea and vomiting

Long-Term Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

Long-term symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months and can include:

  • Mood swings, depression, and irritability
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Fatigue or low energy levels
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing
  • Loss of appetite and nausea
  •  Memory problems
  • Increased sensitivity to sound or light
  • Tremors in the hands and body
  • Nightmares or intense dreams
  • Cravings for alcohol.



How long do alcohol withdrawal symptoms last?

The duration of alcohol withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person, depending on the individual’s drinking history and physical health. Short-term symptoms of alcohol withdrawal typically last between 24-72 hours, and long-term symptoms are usually present for several weeks or months.

Will my body return to normal after I stop drinking?

Yes, your body will begin to recover and return to normal after you stop drinking. It can take some time for your physical and mental health to recover completely.

How quickly does your body recover when you stop drinking?

The body’s recovery process after stopping drinking can vary from person to person. Generally speaking, your physical health can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to recover. However, the psychological effects of alcohol withdrawal may take longer to dissipate.

What happens 4 days after you stop drinking?

Your physical and mental health will likely improve four days after you stop drinking. You may experience reduced cravings for alcohol, fewer withdrawal symptoms, and increased energy levels. However, it can take several weeks or months to recover from the effects of alcohol withdrawal fully.


Alcohol withdrawal can cause uncomfortable and dangerous symptoms, so it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol abuse, seek medical help immediately.

With a comprehensive detox plan and dedicated support from family and friends, recovery is possible. Remember to be patient throughout this process, as it may take some time to feel like your old self again.

Ultimately, taking control of your life by addressing the issue head-on can lead to a healthier lifestyle for all involved. We hope the above information has provided all you need with this topic. Leave a comment below if you have any other questions!

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