How to Wean Off Alcohol & Safely Taper Drinking

People attempting to quit may turn to drinking again to prevent withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol is the third-leading preventable cause of mortality in the United States, with approximately 95,000 people dying from alcohol-related causes each year. By gradually tapering off alcohol, you can lower your risk for alcohol-related accidents or death. Most people experience the most severe symptoms from about 36–72 hours after stopping drinking. The exact symptoms you experience will depend on factors such as how much alcohol you’re consuming, other medical conditions you have, medications you take, and your body’s response to the taper.

best way to taper off alcohol

Is it Better to Taper Off Alcohol or Quit “Cold Turkey?”

  • If you or a loved one is suffering from an alcohol use disorder, it can feel like being trapped in a tunnel with no way out.
  • It’s imperative to approach tapering cautiously, and individuals are encouraged to seek professional guidance to ensure safety throughout the process.
  • The time it takes to taper off alcohol varies based on how much a person drinks.
  • If you properly taper your alcohol use, you’re less likely to experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

According to a national population-based survey, a significant proportion of individuals with unhealthy alcohol use experience withdrawal symptoms. Tapering off alcohol requires careful planning and may include the use of medications to assist in the process. Medications such as benzodiazepines are often used to manage symptoms, while adjunctive medications like gabapentin and valproate may be employed to address persistent withdrawal symptoms. Talk with a healthcare professional if you’re concerned you may experience detox symptoms when quitting drinking or cutting back.

  • Others may discover after consulting with a doctor that it’s safe for them to quit alcohol cold turkey if they choose to.
  • If you have the shakes, medical intervention is typically necessary, as shakes can be a sign of more serious withdrawal complications.
  • Ark Behavioral Health offers 100% confidential substance abuse assessment and treatment placement tailored to your individual needs.
  • If you feel more severe symptoms, such as paranoia, increased pulse, or tremors sometimes called alcohol shakes, you should taper more slowly and consider seeking professional help.

Saved Costs and Time

This phenomenon is often described as “alcohol dependence.” The most common more mild withdrawal symptoms include headaches, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. If you’ve been drinking for a long time, you may experience withdrawal symptoms when you quit drinking. People who try tapering off alcohol won’t have the guided support of medical professionals that they would at inpatient treatment. In contrast, in-patient care can be more beneficial and less expensive in the long-term.

Recognize Dangerous Withdrawal Symptoms

Tapering can sometimes help a person avoid uncomfortable and sometimes deadly symptoms of withdrawal. For many other drugs, tapering is actually a standard treatment during medical Sober House detox. For people who depend on opioids, benzodiazepines, or antidepressants, it is typical to slowly reduce someone’s dosage as opposed to immediately cutting them off completely.

What Happens to the Body When You Stop Drinking?

best way to taper off alcohol

The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals. A final strategy to assist with an alcohol taper is to get a good network of peer support. In addition, social pressures can make it hard to quit drinking, especially if your friends or family also drink heavily. Quitting drinking can feel very isolating, making it even more difficult to do alone at home without medical support. It is important to note that prescription medication should not be used for a substitution taper unless it has been prescribed as part of a medical detox program.

Identifying a Standard Drink

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