How Soon Does Alcohol Withdrawal Start?

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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

November 29, 2023

Table of Contents

If you have been asking yourself, “How soon does alcohol withdrawal start”, today’s guide will clarify this and other aspects of the detox and withdrawal process.

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) affects 28.5 million adults in the US, according to NSDUH 2020. NIDA defines AUD as a progressive, relapsing condition, meaning you should view recovery from alcohol abuse as an ongoing process instead of a single event like detox or withdrawal.

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How fast does alcohol withdrawal start will hinge on many variables. All of the following factors can influence the recovery timeline:

  • Duration of alcohol abuse
  • Quantity of alcohol being abused
  • Any physical comorbidities
  • Medical history
  • Co-occurring mental health conditions
  • Home environment

To maximize your chances of successfully navigating alcohol withdrawal, it pays to gain an understanding of the detox process. This will help you detox safely and to engage with the most suitable alcohol addiction treatment.

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How Long Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Last

While there is no fixed blueprint for alcohol detox and withdrawal, most cases of AWS involve symptoms that subside after no more than 5 days.

In the event of PAWS (post-acute withdrawal syndrome), symptoms can sometimes persist for a month or more.

Fortunately, with the right evidence-based treatment program, you can leave alcohol abuse behind and kickstart sustained sobriety.

When Should Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment Start?

Now that you know how long it will take for alcohol withdrawal symptoms to start, it’s important that you know what to do to prepare. 

When alcohol withdrawal starts, it’s important that you immediately receive the care you need in a medically supervised inpatient setting. In the best-case scenario, you’ll have planned a specific time to quit drinking while in the care of a professional medical facility, and not on your own. 

For those with moderate to severe alcohol dependencies, alcohol withdrawals can be painful and extremely dangerous at home, so it’s incredibly important that you seek the help of a professional facility like a detox center, rehab, or hospital before attempting to quit drinking. 

Once in a treatment facility, the medical staff will provide you with a series of alcohol withdrawal treatments to help ease the process. These treatments include:

  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • 24/7 supervision & monitoring
  • Fluids and nutritional support
  • Counseling and Therapy
  • Follow up care 

Getting the treatment you need to detox from alcohol is incredibly important, and can often be the difference between life and death.


How long before alcohol withdrawal starts?

Alcohol withdrawal typically starts within 6-24 hours after the last drink.

How long does alcohol withdrawal last?

The duration of alcohol withdrawal varies, but acute symptoms often peak within 72 hours and can last for a week. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms may persist for months.

Can I detox from alcohol at home?

While some individuals can detox from alcohol at home, it’s advisable to seek medical supervision, especially for severe cases, to manage potential complications.

Does insurance cover alcohol detox?

Many insurance plans do offer coverage for substance abuse treatment, including detox. You can determine your coverage by contacting a recovery center and providing your policy number. 

Is detoxing from alcohol difficult?

Detoxing from alcohol can be challenging, and the severity of withdrawal symptoms varies among individuals. Seeking professional help is recommended for a safer and more comfortable experience.

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Alcohol Addiction Rehab at Renaissance Recovery

Here at Renaissance Recovery, engage with one of our highly personalized outpatient programs for addiction treatment and build a firm foundation for sober living.

To unpack the psychological aspect of alcoholism, you’ll first need to purge your system of toxins. If you feel you are at risk of developing severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms, we can connect you with a local medical detox center. After a week or so, the physical component of alcohol use disorder is addressed, allowing you to focus on combating what drives you to abuse alcohol.

For anyone requiring more time commitment than an OP (outpatient program) offers, we also provide the following more intensive forms of treatment for alcoholism:

All of these outpatient programs give you access to the services typically found in residential rehab. Outpatient treatment is less restrictive, though, and it’s also much more affordable. We are happy to accept insurance coverage here at Renaissance Recovery.

Regardless of the program you choose, you’ll benefit from medication-assisted treatment, psychotherapy, and counseling, as well as holistic therapies to supplement this research-based treatment.

Commit to ongoing recovery today by reaching out to admissions at 866.330.9449.



At Renaissance Recovery our goal is to provide evidence-based treatment to as many individuals as possible. Give us a call today to verify your insurance coverage or to learn more about paying for addiction treatment.

Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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