Once your alcohol tapering schedule is complete, the work of maintenance begins. Continue to abstain from alcohol and monitor cravings or urges to drink. Don’t try to go through the recovery process alone — reach out for help and support. The support of family, friends, and others in recovery is crucial during this period of adjustment. If you have been drinking heavily, reducing your alcohol consumption gradually can help you avoid severe withdrawal symptoms that can result in major health concerns and, in severe cases, death.
However, when the GABA receptors are exposed to alcohol over a long period of time they struggle to overcome the effect of the alcohol and to return to normal functioning. This is one reason why drinking alcohol has less and less of a payoff when consumed constantly over a long period of time. One is not nearly so relaxed by alcohol the third day into a bender as one was on the first day.
Use distractions, have a trusted friend to talk to and keep a reminder of your reasons to quit in a place that’s easy to reach, such as a wallet or phone. 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?
Support groups, from Alcoholics Anonymous to SMART Recovery, are one free way to find a community of people on the same journey. There are also a number of anti-craving medications to help you avoid drinking again, or even help with your tapering process. Finally, finding a therapist or a recovery coach can help you develop new coping mechanisms and move forward in your life. Some people are facing problems with their health or personal lives which require them to quit immediately. However, for many people with alcohol use disorder, tapering off alcohol is a far better experience than quitting abruptly. If you’ve decided to quit drinking, and tapering seems like the right approach, we’ve got you covered.
It’s physically dangerous, and it may also cause emotional instability. Discussing these issues with a loved one can help you avoid relapse. If you’re struggling with severe alcohol addiction, a medical detox program is your likely best option for tapering off alcohol safely.
How to Gradually Stop Drinking
The best schedule varies based on how much you drink each day and your overall health. As mentioned above, we strongly recommend speaking with a doctor to ensure your plan is a safe one, and won’t cause dangerous withdrawal symptoms. what does drinking in moderation look like However, when you quit drinking abruptly, your body’s chemical balance will be thrown off suddenly, leading to uncomfortable side effects. You will have an imbalance of excitatory and inhibitory chemicals in your nervous system.
In 2017, James had the opportunity to combine his business experience and passion for recovery to start The Freedom Center. Alexandra oversees all operations with The Freedom Center to ensure clients are given the best chance at success. She works with The Freedom Center team to develop and implement policies, procedures and oversees Intakes and Transportation.
Tapering can be done by using alcohol itself or various medications; however, can only be done safely under the supervision of a physician. Whether you feel like you drink too much alcohol, or you have an alcohol abuse issue, quitting drinking cold turkey can be dangerous. Knowing how to safely taper off alcohol can make all the difference in how successful you are in quitting drinking. Just as what is a useful method for one person may not be for another, what is a safe method for someone may not be for someone else.
Ways to Taper Off Alcohol
Internal triggers are thoughts, emotions, or physical sensations that cause a person to drink. Being exposed to either form of a trigger can result in unwanted relapse. We have taken the necessary precautions to minimize the risk of exposure and transmission of the Coronavirus to those in our treatment programs, allowing them to focus on their recovery. The typical warning signs that someone is going to experience Delirium tremens include tremors, an extremely elevated heart rate, and a drastic increase in body temperature. This is because Delirium tremens is caused by hyperactivity in the nervous system, which is now without the depressant effects of alcohol and is instead going into overdrive. List activities, times of day, feelings, places and people that trigger the urge to drink and make a plan to avoid them.
- Alcohol withdrawal can range from uncomfortable to life-threatening, so anyone considering stopping alcohol should speak with a medical professional to determine which method is best for them.
- When an individual has developed a substance use disorder or dependence on alcohol, stopping its use outright can seem virtually impossible.
- This may work for many people, but in practice each individual will respond best to a different pace, and each doctor will have their own recommendations.
The most common research technique among those surveyed is an internet search (61%), followed by asking a doctor or medical professional (55%). If you’re relying on internet searches to find potential treatment centers, make sure to ask these ten questions to find a licensed facility that can meet your needs. Addiction experts have not conducted many studies on alcohol tapering. As a result, little information is available regarding the best way to taper. That said, some independent groups have stepped in, publishing sample tapering schedules to guide people who are trying to cut back on drinking. Another big factor in how long a taper lasts is alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
It also taught him the value of building meaningful relationships with clients and having a strong ethical framework. As you know, drinking does not provide actual relief from the difficulties of life; instead, drinking often makes our problems worse. Develop a plan in advance for how you will manage triggering spaces and events (i.e., bars/restaurants, alcoholism treatment & alcohol rehab holiday parties). With a plan, you will likely be better able to monitor and manage your drinking habits. Take a break from drinking and choose alcohol-free days.Decide not to drink for at least a day or two every week. Again, a medical professional can help you determine what’s the right fit for you based on your history and symptoms or problems.
How do I know if I need to taper off?
She earned her Master’s Degree in Clinical Counseling from Johns Hopkins University with an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland. She has served in both clinical and leadership positions in a number of roles, in inpatient and outpatient settings, as a Primary Therapist and Clinical Supervisor. In autumn and winter, the days get shorter, and skies are often cloudy, depriving us of natural sunlight and unleashing all sorts of mood disturbances in many people. This is often known as seasonal depression, winter depression, or seasonal affective disorder …. Studies suggest that a tapering regimen that gradually decreases doses at fixed intervals can be beneficial.
Some people may be at greater risk of developing an alcohol use disorder, which is why some can drink in moderation, while others struggle with drinking. A substitution taper can involve substituting a prescription drug for alcohol. It can also involve substituting the drink of choice with another drink; for example, a person may taper off hard alcohol with beer. It is important to only attempt a taper while under a doctor’s care. However, understanding how an alcohol taper works and what the process is like can help you prepare yourself and find the support you need.
If a person abruptly stops drinking alcohol within 6 to 8 hours they will experience hyperactivity, anxiety, tremors, sweating, nausea, and confusion. Seizures are another complication of abruptly quitting alcohol that may occur within the first 12 to 48 hours of stopping. When an individual has developed a substance use disorder or dependence on alcohol, stopping its use outright can seem virtually impossible. On top of this, quitting immediately — or “cold turkey” as many users and professionals call it — can be dangerous. Withdrawal symptoms are generally uncomfortable to deal with, but they can be fatal. To avoid or reduce the impact of the withdrawal symptoms, people struggling with alcohol may choose to progressively taper off alcohol rather than quit abruptly.
How to Wean Yourself Off Alcohol Safely
People who try tapering off alcohol won’t have the guided support of medical professionals that they would at inpatient treatment. This can make it more challenging to stick to a long-term plan. During medical detox, medical professionals obverse the side effects of withdrawal and can help provide the support and guidance you need to continue your recovery process. They can also ensure you receive fluids to manage dehydration and provide balanced meals to minimize withdrawal effects. When talking about tapering or gradually reducing alcohol use, it is important to have awareness of possible withdrawal symptoms.
Some people may, however take longer–three days or even a week. If you start to feel withdrawal that is a sign that your taper is not done yet.It is also very important when tapering off to fight dehydration and to replenish lost vitamins. If you go through a medical detox the people they may rehydrate you with an IV and may also give you vitamin shots. If you are doing a self detox be sure to drink lots and lots of fluids and to take vitamin pills.
The risk of tapering too quickly is potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms, and the risk of tapering too slowly is an increased likelihood of relapse. The process of reducing alcohol consumption should begin with your baseline of use, since your taper schedule depends on how much you drink before you start decreasing your intake. To calculate your baseline, you need to know how many 10 most common reasons for addiction relapse standard drinks you drink in a day. Generally, alcohol withdrawal starts within eight hours of the last drink, but can occur anytime within the first several days after you stop drinking. In most cases, alcohol withdrawal symptoms peak after 24–72 hours but may continue for weeks. At a rehab clinic, an alcohol withdrawal taper can be provided to slowly get you back to normal life.
Online Therapy Can Help
In the small intestine, alcohol is easily absorbed into the bloodstream. The circulatory system, which is made up of the heart, blood, and blood vessels, spreads alcohol throughout the body. Alcohol comes into contact with every major organ, including the heart.
As you begin your alcohol tapering process, talk to someone you trust about your plan. Consider sharing your process with a friend or family member so they can offer helpful support. This is why it’s always best to find some form of long-term support in sobriety.