How To Taper Off Alcohol: Key Strategies and Tips

Treatment is the best way to ensure long-term abstinence from alcohol. This is especially true if you are suffering from an alcohol use disorder. Addiction alters the chemical balance in a person’s brain, making it extremely difficult to quit drinking alcohol on one’s own. Tapering off alcohol is the act of slowly reducing alcohol intake until a person becomes completely abstinent. Tapering off alcohol to reduces potential withdrawal symptoms and decreases the likelihood of a potentially fatal withdrawal from alcohol in individuals who consume alcohol on a regular basis.

Benzodiazepines, which are commonly known as tranquilizers, are prescribed to treat conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, and muscle relaxation (along with alcohol withdrawal). Common “benzo” medications include Valium (diazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), Klonopin (clonazepam), and Ativan (lorazepam). Few substances are as addictive as alcohol and produce withdrawal symptoms that are as dangerous. A final strategy to assist with an alcohol taper is to get a good network of peer support. When we aren’t posting here, we build programs to help people quit drinking.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Many of the effects of drinking every day can be reversed through early intervention. Deciding to quit drinking and following through isn’t just about willpower. Many other factors go into play with these difficult and trying scenarios. Tolerance, dependence, social https://g-markets.net/sober-living/alcohol-shakes-symptoms-causes-treatments-and/ habits, setting, the biology of the individual and more must all be considered. When you first come to our facility, we will need to perform a full screening, including medical and psychological evaluations, so we can help you in all aspects of your treatment.

  • How, then, do we go about dispelling the beliefs if we do want to stop drinking—gradually or all at once?
  • Physical cravings caused by low levels of GABA and other neurotransmitters may be temporarily eased by drinking.
  • I have experience working in psychiatric hospitals, inpatient, outpatient, detox, and partial hospitalization programs providing clinical social work services.
  • With his expertise, experience, and passion for helping others, David is an asset to the Freedom Center, empowering individuals on his recovery journey.

A veteran of two branches of the U.S. military, Max is continuing his education in healthcare administration. Max began his career in the addiction field working as a group facilitator and teacher, developing and delivering a successful faith-based curriculum in a long-term residential treatment setting. Cheryl is a Clinical Social Worker licensed by the state of Maryland with over 30 years of experience in the field.

Can Tapering Your Drug Intake Reduce Withdrawal Symptoms?

While there are no significant health risks when quitting smoking cold turkey, nicotine withdrawal symptoms can be very unpleasant. He earned a Bachelor’s degree at Lincoln University of Pennsylvania while pursuing his CAC-AD. With strong ties to Victory Christian Church and the 12-step community, Federico shares an amazing personal story of redemption and long-term recovery. With over 32 years in the arena of addiction and sobriety, he uses his vast experience to provide a unique approach to mentorship and guiding our clients toward a supportive lifestyle of recovery. Mr. Douglas’ experience, strength, and hope inspires those in our program, and prepares them for the real-world journey of recovery.

  • Stopping alcohol use is the first step of the recovery journey, but staying sober for longer and longer periods is the goal.
  • He earned a Bachelor’s degree at Lincoln University of Pennsylvania while pursuing his CAC-AD.
  • Unlike cold turkey, tapering involves taking smaller and smaller amounts of alcohol over a set period.
  • People who want to reduce their alcohol consumption often do not realize how much of their social and daily routines alcohol has become.
  • If you simply show up and you’re not having a medical emergency, they might just refer you to a local substance abuse treatment center.
  • People looking to quit drinking may consider either tapering or going cold turkey, meaning they abruptly stop all alcohol consumption without weaning.

In these settings, they use a taper-off method that sometimes includes medications to help mitigate the effects of alcohol withdrawal symptoms. It can be tempting to just “rip off the Band-Aid” when getting sober, but tapering off alcohol is often much safer—and much less stressful. Rather than quitting Bored, Bored, Bored, and Overeating drinking abruptly (or “cold turkey”), many professionals recommend gradually reducing your drinking (or tapering) over time. This can give your body the chance to adjust, helping you avoid the worst of withdrawal symptoms. The phrase cold turkey refers to abruptly stopping drug or alcohol use.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

By Buddy T

Buddy T is a writer and founding member of the Online Al-Anon Outreach Committee with decades of experience writing about alcoholism. Because he is a member of a support group that stresses the importance of anonymity at the public level, he does not use his photograph or his real name on this website. Even if you fail, there are still plenty of treatment options you can turn to. With these things https://g-markets.net/sober-living/100-most-inspiring-addiction-recovery-quotes/ in mind, you need to weigh the pros and cons of tapering your alcohol use—ideally with someone you trust—to make a fully informed decision. John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

  • If you’re interested in medication-assisted treatment, medication to curb cravings can be a helpful tool for reducing your consumption.
  • Other research indicates the condition has an anticipated mortality rate of 37% without appropriate treatment.
  • Start by estimating how much you drink on a daily basis—and be honest with yourself.
  • To stop drinking successfully, try applying the ACT Technique (Awareness, Clarity, and Turnaround) to all of the beliefs that mentally keep you going back for more.

A medical professional can give you advice on the safest way to quit. Cold turkey can be an effective method for some people quitting smoking and low level alcohol addiction. However, its success depends heavily on the amount of support the person receives while attempting to quit. A medical professional can help ensure they quit safely, providing specific medications if they need.

A Life Free From Addiction Is Possible

One 2016 study found that abruptly quitting smoking is more likely to lead to lasting abstinence than gradually cutting down. It is important to note that the researchers provided support to study participants when they were trying to quit. Some research suggests that when it comes to smoking, cold turkey can be a more effective method of quitting than gradual reduction.

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This process will help get mental health issues under control, understand the basis of your unique addiction issues, and gain the necessary tools to move forward in life without drinking. People who quit cold turkey also risk alcohol poisoning as alcohol tolerance will be much lower than before your detox period. Whether you decide to taper down your alcohol use or safely begin with abstinence, having a sobriety toolkit and support system will be the most important factor towards success in reaching your goals. Getting curious about a life without alcohol is already an incredible step, and a healthier lifestyle is within reach. If an individual has become dependent on a substance, they may experience withdrawal symptoms when quitting cold turkey. Withdrawal can be very dangerous with certain substances, while symptoms vary depending on the substance a person is quitting.