How Long Does it Take to Recover from Alcohol Abuse Alone?

The time it takes a person to recover from alcohol abuse varies depending on how long that person has been addicted to alcohol, the amount that they have been drinking on a daily basis and the support systems that they have in place. A person who is physically addicted to alcohol should not try to quit on their own, because withdrawal symptoms are unpredictable and can become serious quickly.

Many people find that they are unable to quit drinking on their own and need help. There are some people, however, who are able to walk away from alcohol with little outside help without looking back. People may choose solo recovery because they have had a bad prior experience with recovery groups, they do not have access to much help or simply because they do not wish to have extra support or feel it will not be helpful.

The first thing that happens after a person quits alcohol is that a person may begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms, if they are physically addicted to alcohol. Getting medical help when trying to quit makes the process much more comfortable, because there are medications available that can ease symptoms.

Mild symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Sleeplessness
  • Sweating
  • Shaky hands
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
Moderate to severe symptoms of alcohol include:
  • Tremors
  • Visual or auditory hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Seizures
For most people, withdrawal symptoms will subside within a couple days or up to about a week, although rarely, some people may experience protracted withdrawal. After the acute period of alcohol withdrawal a person usually begins to feel much better and will find it easier to begin eating and sleeping normally.

A person may still crave alcohol after the withdrawal phase is over. The amount of time that a person craves alcohol will vary according to how much they had been consuming, what triggers for drinking still exist for them and how psychologically addicted they are to alcohol.

There is no timeline that can help predict how long it will take a person to stop craving alcohol. Some people never stop craving it, while others find it easy to go about their day without thinking about drinking much at all. A person can reduce the amount of time it takes to recover from alcohol abuse by removing triggers. Triggers include people, places and events that make that person want to go back to drinking.

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