After prolonged alcohol use, your body can come to rely on alcohol for normal functioning, and suddenly going without it can cause potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms. This phenomenon is often described as “alcohol dependence.” The most common more mild withdrawal symptoms include headaches, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. People with moderate to severe alcohol addiction may find an alcohol taper difficult to accomplish.
Why is it scary to stop drinking?
Most people are terrified of moving away from alcohol because of the fear of losing “friends,” and because of the shift in their social lives. It's normal. At the end of the day, however, you have to be serious with yourself about what you can and cannot live with – and if alcohol is worth it.
We’re here 24/7 to help guide you or your loved on through rehab and recovery. Submit your number to receive a call today from a treatment provider. If your doctor thinks you might be going through alcohol withdrawal, they’ll ask you questions about your drinking history and how recently you stopped. If you need help figuring out how to taper off alcohol, or want to find alcohol detox services near you, our treatment specialists at Vertava Health can help. People who are severely dependent or addicted to alcohol should seek medical support for alcohol detox.
Challenges of Cutting Down on Alcohol Intake
We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers. Working with a medical professional Top 5 Tips to Consider When Choosing a Sober House for Living to taper your alcohol consumption can help the likelihood and severity of alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Instead of quitting alcohol cold turkey, you can steadily reduce your consumption so that your body has time to gradually readjust to absence of alcohol. It’s important to note that stopping drinking can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
However, if you attempt to taper on your own without a doctor’s knowledge, tapering can sometimes be unsafe. For example, if you start to suffer from alcohol withdrawal symptoms despite an attempt to taper, your symptoms may worsen before you have the chance to seek medical attention. For this reason, even at-home tapers should be done under a doctor’s care. Whether you’re a daily imbiber, heavy drinker, or frequent binge drinker, you’re likely to experience withdrawal symptoms when you quit. Unfortunately, there’s little to no evidence that tapering off reduces the effects of alcohol withdrawal, some of which can be severe or even life-threatening. Quitting with proper medical supervision may be more important than whether you stop gradually or all at once.
Free Support Group: Beginning a sobriety or moderation journey
The guidelines for tapering from alcohol are generalized; you may need to modify the tapering schedule if you have difficulties with the original plan. The risk of tapering too quickly is potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms, and the risk of tapering too slowly is an increased likelihood of relapse. By receiving professional help, you can tailor the decrease in alcohol consumption to a method that will be safe for you and your circumstances.
This is a highly personal decision, which can be made through self-reflection, and with the support of a medical professional and your peers. If it’s safe for you to quit cold turkey, you may find that cutting alcohol out entirely from the start helps you clearly uphold your boundaries. Or, you may find that quitting all at once is too drastic and decide to start by practicing harm reduction. The goal of tapering down is to make a gradual change while causing less stress on your body, both physically and emotionally. Withdrawal symptoms can vary in severity and depend on many factors, such as drinking history, metabolism, age, medical condition, what other substances or medication you take, and more.
Why You May Need to Wean Your Alcohol Use
Erin is grateful to be a part of the dedicated, caring and compassionate Freedom Center Team. Being a person in long term recovery, Erin wanted to give back and help those struggling with the disease of addiction. Erin decided to switch careers and went back to school to obtain her Addiction Counseling certification. In addition, to being a certified Addictions Counselor, Erin is a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS), and a Registered Peer Supervisor (RPS).
Going cold turkey can lead to acute alcohol withdrawal for those who have a history of long-term and/or heavy alcohol use. Aside from unavoidable triggers, tapering off alcohol can also have side effects which can be difficult to manage at home. Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or sober living houses can help you get connected with peers who are going through the same journey as you are. There’s no set time frame for tapering off alcohol that works for everyone.
An alcohol taper1 can be an effective strategy to begin recovery and help set a realistic goal for people who are not ready to quit alcohol completely, but they’re not for everyone. Someone who has been drinking heavily for a long period of time may struggle with cravings and alcohol withdrawal symptoms, leading to relapse. Because alcohol withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person, anyone struggling with an alcohol use disorder should seek professional medical assistance before considering an alcohol taper.
For this reason, it is best to seek medical advice on whether you should taper at home or under medical observation. Tapering gradually lowers the amount of alcohol that you use over time. This lessens the severity of withdrawal symptoms, as there is not an abrupt or dramatic change. Tapering will normally create less severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms but will spread them out over a prolonged period. Essentially, tapering provides less intense withdrawal symptoms but over a longer amount of time. After the initial alcohol withdrawal symptoms have subsided, some people may experience prolonged side effects.
But, with a little prior knowledge on how to taper off alcohol, adequate planning and professional consultation from a healthcare provider, it can certainly be done. Depending on how much alcohol https://goodmenproject.com/everyday-life-2/top-5-tips-to-consider-when-choosing-a-sober-house-for-living/ you drink to start with, the amount of time an alcohol weaning schedule takes may vary. For example, those who drink more heavily may need more time to taper than those who drink less alcohol.
Thus, a user will likely seek out alcohol again to rid themselves of the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. If you have mild-to-moderate alcohol withdrawal symptoms, you can often be treated in an outpatient setting. During this process, you will need someone to stay with you and keep an eye on you. You will likely need to make daily visits to your provider until you are stable. Once your alcohol tapering schedule is complete, the work of maintenance begins.
As the alcohol wears off, these effects lead to common hangover symptoms, such as headache, nausea, and fatigue. The brain has tremendous capacity to heal, but it doesn’t heal quickly. In general, PAWS symptoms peak around four to eight weeks after quitting. Most addicts know about PAWS from their experience of quitting and then relapsing because they felt terrible, they just don’t have a name for it. Reach out to a treatment provider for free today for immediate assistance. If you drink alcohol heavily for weeks, months, or years, you may have both mental and physical problems when you stop or seriously cut back on how much you drink.
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. For example, healthcare providers usually don’t take patients off antidepressants suddenly; rather, they gradually reduce the dosages. Because tapering can be tricky and alcohol withdrawal syndrome can be dangerous, you should never start a taper before talking to your doctor. Another big factor in how long a taper lasts is alcohol withdrawal symptoms.