Quitting alcohol abuse can improve your health and well-being. Knowing what to expect and doing it with the help of medical professionals is important though. Physical dependence on alcohol is a serious condition. Alcohol detox can be uncomfortable and dangerous if you try to quit without help. Knowing how long withdrawal symptoms last can help you resist the urge to drink because you\u2019ll know what to expect. If you\u2019re a heavy drinker trying to quit alcohol, here\u2019s some important information on the alcohol withdrawal timeline: Alcohol Detox Timeline Heavy drinkers often experience physical and mental alcohol withdrawal symptoms when they quit drinking. Research shows about half of people with alcohol dependence have severe withdrawal symptoms. When you regularly abuse alcohol, your central nervous system thinks alcohol is the \u201cnew normal.\u201d It starts needing alcohol to keep brain chemicals balanced and withdrawal symptoms at bay. Without alcohol, your body goes into overdrive trying to achieve balance again. This causes alcohol withdrawal. The alcohol detox timeline varies by individual and severity of substance abuse. The process may last weeks for some, but for others it can last months. The length of withdrawal a person experiences is influenced by several factors, including length of use and amount of alcohol consumed. The most uncomfortable and dangerous symptoms usually peak within 24 to 48 hours. Most severe symptoms ease up within a week. Sometimes, less severe symptoms can linger for months. If your substance abuse includes drug abuse, this can change the withdrawal timeline. Uncomfortable Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms 6 hours after last drink, getting progressively worse If you\u2019ve been abusing alcohol for a long time, withdrawal may start as soon as six hours after your last drink. These alcohol withdrawal symptoms often feel like an intense hangover and may include: \tDelirium tremens \tHeart palpitations \tNausea \tVomiting \tHeadache \tDifficulty sleeping \tIrritability \tSweating \tAnxiety Dangerous \/ Severe Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms 24-48 hours after last drink It\u2019s difficult to know when the most dangerous alcohol withdrawal symptoms will kick in for you. This is why it\u2019s important to complete alcohol detox from start to finish under the care of medical staff. For many people, the most severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms begin around a day after drinking. They may last a couple of days. These withdrawal symptoms include ones from the first phase of alcohol detox. They also may include: \tDelirium tremens \/ seizures \tUnsteady or high heart rate \tHallucinations involving hearing, sight, and touch \tIncreased blood pressure \tConfusion \tIrritability \tNightmares The timeline for alcohol withdrawal for this phase may last a couple of days after stopping drinking. Less Severe Physical \/ Psychological Symptoms Up to seven days Most people are past the most intense alcohol withdrawal symptoms within a few days. At that point, discomfort becomes more manageable. But it could remain bothersome for about a week. Some symptoms during this period may include: \tStomach issues \tSleep problems \tLow mood \tFeeling \u201cfoggy\u201d \tAnxiety \tLoss of appetite The withdrawal timeline for this phase lasts about a week. Lingering Mood and Anxiety Issues Up to one year after quitting alcohol It takes time to repair the psychological damage from alcohol abuse and alcoholism. The physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal usually subside within days or weeks. Your nervous system takes longer to rebalance. This is known as protracted withdrawal. It\u2019s also called post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). PAWS affects your emotional state. Many alcoholics really start to notice PAWS about four to eight weeks after alcohol abstinence. These symptoms gradually start improving. They may take around a year to stop for some people. Common symptoms of this condition include: \tDepression \tAnxiety \tConfusion \tSleep problems \tIrritability \tMemory issues \tLow tolerance to physical and emotional pain PAWS may come and go. It may be more severe at some times than others. For many people, this is when the risk of relapse is highest. Studies show that substance abusers are more vulnerable to stress and triggers during this time. The body and mind are still in \u201crepair\u201d mode. You may find yourself craving the temporary relief alcohol provided. While reaching for a drink may ease discomfort for a few hours, alcohol ultimately makes psychiatric symptoms worse. This is because of the way it affects the brain\u2019s chemistry. Research suggests medications work well with behavioral therapy to help manage mental symptoms. You may feel less likely to self-medicate your mood with alcohol abuse. Alcohol detox is not enough to keep you sober. It\u2019s important to have coping skills and support to maintain sobriety during the first year. Following up alcohol detox with inpatient rehab helps you address the reasons why you abuse substances. It teaches you healthy ways of coping with triggers. When Will I Feel Better After I Stop Drinking? It may have taken a while to develop an alcohol addiction. It will likely take a while to repair all the damage. The timeline for alcohol detox and alcohol withdrawal symptoms depends on: \tThe severity of your alcohol dependence \tHow long you\u2019ve been abusing alcohol \tYour physical and mental make-up \tIf you have co-occurring disorders like depression or anxiety Most people can count on getting through the most uncomfortable physical alcohol withdrawal symptoms within a week. You may continue to have mild symptoms for several months. The effects of withdrawing from alcohol are different for everyone. Many alcoholics struggle with nutrition issues, poor physical health, digestive issues and low or anxious mood. You can take steps that may help speed up physical and mental healing. Ways to aid recovery include: \tExercising \tEating well-balanced meals \tGetting plenty of sleep \tPracticing mindfulness \tTaking medications as directed \tJoining a sober support network Expecting that you may experience low mood, anxiety, sleep disturbances and other symptoms for up to a year means you can take steps to minimize these. It also means you can remind yourself that these challenges are temporary. With each passing day of sobriety, you\u2019re closer to feeling your best. Alcohol Treatment Trying to quit drinking on your own is difficult if you have an alcohol dependency. Attempting alcohol detox on your own can be dangerous and even fatal. It\u2019s best to get help from substance abuse and addiction specialists. Inpatient rehab may be necessary to provide the time and space you need to get better. Alcohol rehab will: \tProvide a medically supervised detox program. Medical professionals will ease withdrawal symptoms with medications for treating alcohol withdrawal. They\u2019ll make sure you\u2019re safe and comfortable. \tHelp you address emotional issues and stressors that lead you to drink alcohol. \tProvide dual diagnosis treatment for mental health conditions. A large portion of alcoholics also have an underlying mental illness that contributes to drinking. You may be trying to cope with depression or anxiety through alcohol abuse. \tOffer evidence-based treatment options for alcohol abuse. These often include individual, group and family therapy. \tGive you regular access to addiction treatment specialists. \tHelp you begin recovering from the mental and physical effects of alcohol abuse. \tTeach you healthy coping skills to help you stay sober for the long run. If you\u2019re looking for somewhere safe to detox from alcohol, a Promises Behavioral Health treatment center can help.