Quitting Drinking: How to Taper Off Alcohol

Talk therapy is an important part of treatment for alcohol use disorder, but Dr. Streem says just about anyone who is making a life change, like quitting drinking, can benefit from therapy. Laying it all out in black and white can take time and some serious self-examination. Understanding your habits and your motivations to quit drinking can help you understand the change you’re making in your life and reinforce why it’s important. But if you’re living with alcohol use disorder, drinking is more than a habit. People with alcohol use disorder can’t stop drinking even when it causes problems, like emotional distress or physical harm to themselves or others. However, even the best-designed tapers can put you at risk for alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

how to taper off alcohol

When you drink a lot over a long period, your brain reduces sensitivity to GABA. This means that if you quit drinking cold turkey, your brain will not be sensitive enough to GABA. This can cause your brain to become hyper-excitable and leads to withdrawal symptoms. People tapering off alcohol may begin experiencing early withdrawal symptoms within 6 to 12 hours after their last drink. Over the next few days, additional symptoms may also appear. In most cases, the longer you take to wean off the effects of alcohol, the less severe your withdrawal symptoms should be.

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If you are tapering yourself off alcohol for the first time, it can be helpful to know what symptoms to expect during the process. Although the symptoms can vary for each person based on personal factors, many people share common experiences during this process. Tapering off alcohol is not the most beneficial option for everyone. People who are severely dependent or addicted to alcohol should seek medical support for alcohol detox. Recovery.com is an independent organization that simplifies finding the best mental health and addiction treatment.

  • Anyone wanting to stop using alcohol may benefit from tapering if they first consult with their doctor to ensure they are tapering safely.
  • To avoid severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms, you should slowly reduce alcohol consumption.
  • It can take different people varying amounts of time to taper off alcohol.
  • Alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder, is a mental health issue.

Comprehensive profiles of over 3,000 rehab centers include insurance coverage, pricing, photos, reviews, and more. Recovery is a lifelong process, and safely tapering off of alcohol is the first step towards achieving the life you want. It’s important to nurture a healthy relationship with your body so you can have a healthy relationship with how to taper off alcohol your mind. You can start building the foundation for a happy future by going to rehab for alcohol. We are dedicated to transforming the despair of addiction into a purposeful life of confidence, self-respect and happiness. We want to give recovering addicts the tools to return to the outside world completely substance-free and successful.

Severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal

For this reason, you should always talk to your doctor before attempting to quit drinking. 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. In contrast, in-patient care can be more beneficial and less expensive in the long-term.

In this schedule, the biggest drop occurs during the first couple days. During this time you’ll likely experience the worst portion of withdrawal symptoms. You then get a couple days where the drop is not as much to stabilize. Many patients don’t realize the toxicity of prolonged alcohol abuse and how it affects the body. Alcohol detox at the luxurious rehab addiction centers at Gratitude Lodge leeches your body of these toxins in preparation for successful treatment for drugs and alcohol abuse. Alcohol detox may not take as long or produce severe withdrawal symptoms, but it is still an essential beginning to your recovery.

Challenges of Quitting Alcohol

Check your state’s regulations if this is a concern to you. Instead, you should try to reduce the amount you drink slowly, over a few weeks. Medical detox may include psychological support to address the emotional aspects of addiction and help individuals prepare for ongoing treatment. There is also the matter of the specific type of alcohol in question.

Contact us today to learn more about the insurance we accept and find an alcohol addiction treatment program that can work well for your situation. Alcohol dependence and addiction are serious medical conditions. Minor symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be overcome with rest and at-home remedies, and it is possible for some people to taper off alcohol without supervision.

How Long Does Tapering Off Alcohol Take?

This is a staggering number considering that many other drugs do not even have the possibility of lethal withdrawals. For this reason, experts advise that alcohol cessation be monitored safely with steady effort between oneself and a physician. Contact emergency health services if you or someone you know experiences more than one symptom of severe alcohol withdrawal. This is why it’s always best to find some form of long-term support in sobriety.

  • Always remember that if the taper is not working for you or if you are having major withdrawal that it is safest to check into a medical detox because alcohol withdrawal can kill you.
  • This is why many people dependent on alcohol will choose to taper down their usage rather than stop drinking altogether.
  • Essentially, when an individual drinks, the brain amplifies certain activities to counterbalance the depressive effect alcohol has on it.
  • An effective tapering schedule may include cutting out one drink at a time at regular intervals.


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