How to Wean Off Alcohol & Safely Taper Drinking

But quitting alcohol after becoming dependent can also be dangerous. For those at risk for severe withdrawal symptoms, medically-supervised detox is often the safest choice for beginning their sobriety or moderation journey. Others may discover after consulting with a doctor that it’s safe for them to quit alcohol cold turkey if they choose to.

  • This is because when you drink heavily for months or years, your body can start to depend on alcohol to function normally.
  • The success of these strategies will depend on how much you drink and what you drink.
  • Setting achievable goals and providing positive reinforcement upon reaching these milestones is beneficial when creating or adjusting a taper schedule.

How To Stop Drinking Without Rehab

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) notes that in 2021, approximately 28.6 million adults had AUD, underscoring its prevalence. Risk factors contributing to AUD include genetic predisposition, environmental influences, and psychological factors. Obviously quitting cold turkey from a 12-beer-a-day habit is going to be more stressful than tapering off slowly. But that does not mean home detox is effective, appropriate, or safe. Weaning off alcohol can benefit people who drink moderately or have support systems.

Delirium Tremens

  • The risk of tapering too slowly is that you won’t stick with it, while the risk of tapering too fast is severe withdrawal.
  • If you experience withdrawal symptoms, speak to a doctor about tapering safely.
  • Individuals may experience intense cravings, mood swings, and anxiety, which can be overwhelming and lead to relapse if not addressed appropriately.

Instead of criticizing yourself for having a hard time or slipping up and having a drink, remember that no one’s perfect. What matters most is your ability to maintain an open, curious outlook as you learn what does and doesn’t work for you. If you turn to alcohol to manage emotional distress, the added overwhelm can prompt the urge to drink, making success seem even more out of reach. What’s most important is looking at your drinking habits and finding a way to cut back that works for you. Maybe you don’t think you depend on alcohol exactly, but you still wonder whether you might be drinking too much. By Buddy TBuddy T is a writer and founding member of the Online Al-Anon Outreach Committee with decades of experience writing about alcoholism.

how to taper off alcohol

General Tips for Quitting Drinking

The exact symptoms of alcohol withdrawal depend upon how much you drink and your individual body chemistry, but they tend to follow a similar pattern. Alcohol is a depressant, so your nervous system compensates for long-term heavy drinking by becoming more hyperactive. The biggest issue with cold turkey is that withdrawal symptoms can be severe enough to threaten a person’s safety. This isn’t always necessary, but some people prefer to go straight through withdrawal—the equivalent of ripping off a band-aid.

how to taper off alcohol

These programs offer more flexibility than residential rehab, while still supporting a healthy lifestyle for people in recovery. Sober living homes provide a comfortable, safe place for you to focus on your healing. To learn about how our substance abuse treatment programs address alcohol dependence and withdrawal management, please contact us today. Medically assisted detoxification (detox) is an inpatient program that keeps you stabilized during alcohol withdrawals.

Medications like acamprosate can help you maintain abstinence, while naltrexone can help you guard against relapse by neutralizing the pleasurable effects of alcohol. Finally, continuing to meet with a recovery coach or therapist can give you strategies for navigating tough challenges, and a supportive ally to keep you moving forward. But overall, be cautious about giving up alcohol cold turkey, and consider tapering off if possible. Any of these medications can make a big difference in battling physical addiction, making the psychological parts of alcohol dependence easier to work through.

  • Since the 1990s, naltrexone has been approved by the FDA to treat alcohol use disorder.
  • Working with a physician on the Monument platform can help determine what timeline will work for you based on your past drinking habits and risk of withdrawal.
  • Diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis are more frequent in individuals who chronically drink.
  • A healthcare provider can tailor the tapering schedule to the individual’s needs, considering factors like dependence and overall health.

It can mean more time for your other interests, and even new interests. More time to meet new people, catch up with old friends and try new things. When you consider how to go about giving up alcohol, account for factors like how much you drink and your reasons for drinking. As you navigate this question, it can be helpful to think about how you typically prefer to approach change. Metaphorically speaking, do you like to dip your toe in first, or cannonball right in?

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