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How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System?

Woman puts head in hand and wonders how long does alcohol stay in your system

If you are asking yourself how long alcohol stays in your system, you may be concerned that a loved one is struggling with an addiction to alcohol. If so, educating yourself on the dangers of alcohol abuse can show you how dangerous this substance really is.

Zelus Recovery welcomes Idaho teens and adults who have developed an alcohol use disorder (AUD) and are ready to accept help in their recovery. We base our treatment programs on the individual and the severity of the disorder. Patients will work closely with a professional therapist in group and private therapy sessions while receiving medication to ease withdrawals, cravings, and other disruptive symptoms.

To see if our alcohol rehab in Boise is right for you or a loved one, call 208.518.0797 today to take that first step toward a better life.

Understanding Alcohol Withdrawals

Alcohol is as much a part of our society as baseball and apple pie. Despite the harm that is possible with alcohol abuse, many people continue to do so and, in fact, will purposefully go out with the intention of getting drunk. It has almost become a right of passage into adulthood.

When you drink on a regular basis, your body’s chemical makeup changes to the point where normal neurological functions, like the release of dopamine and serotonin, will stop. These neurotransmitters are essential for everyday living, and if you abuse alcohol, your body will no longer produce these without more alcohol. The result is physical withdrawal symptoms and psychological cravings that get harder to resist the longer you go without.

Common alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Racing heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Fever
  • Tremors

One reason to enroll in an AUD rehab program is delirium tremens. A sometimes fatal alcohol withdrawal symptom that happens 2-5 days after quitting. Symptoms include shaking, confusion, high blood pressure, fever, and hallucinations. Without medical support, the risk of death increases significantly.

At Zelus Recovery, our goal is to create a welcoming space for you to begin your addiction recovery. We have a variety of outpatient treatment options, including in-person at our facility in Boise or via telehealth services for those who live further away.

How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System?

How long does alcohol stay in your system? The answer is more complex than you may think. It depends on several factors, including a person’s weight, sex, length of abuse, and the amounts taken.

Here is a breakdown of how long alcohol stays in your system:

6-12 Hours

The first few hours after quitting drinking, you will not feel any immediate effects. It will take time for the level of intoxication to diminish before symptoms begin to show. This is the “hangover” stage, and you can experience mild symptoms of headache, nausea and vomiting, shaking, and sweating.

Heavy drinkers with a long history of alcohol abuse will experience more intense symptoms in this stage.

12-48 Hours

As toxicity levels drop, more severe withdrawal symptoms will begin. Your body and mind are screaming at you to keep drinking, which will cause intense cravings, hallucinations, and intensification of other withdrawal symptoms. Between this stage and the next is when the risk of relapse and alcohol poisoning is at its highest.

48-72 Hours

By now, withdrawal symptoms and cravings will peak and be extremely discomforting and dangerous without medical support. Delirium tremens, or DTs, will begin at this stage for those with severe AUD.

72+ Hours

After 3 or 4 days, your body will have cleansed itself from all of the toxins and will begin the slow process of restoring normal chemical levels and functionality.  This process can take 2-3 weeks or longer, depending on how long the abuse was allowed to continue.

Those who enroll in an alcohol rehab program will be given medication and will work with a behavioral therapist while detoxing and beyond. This is so you can develop healthier coping skills that allow you to better control your cravings and triggers.

Begin Alcohol Rehab in Boise Today at Zelus Recovery

Zelus Recovery is a fully accredited addiction treatment facility that supports all Idaho residents who struggle with an alcohol use disorder. Our programs use a number of proven therapeutic techniques to treat all aspects of the disorder.

Alcohol addiction is a treatable mental health disorder. Call 208.518.0797 today or reach out online to schedule a consultation, and let us help you begin a journey toward healthy living and long-lasting sobriety.