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. Establishing new habits https://ecosoberhouse.com/ and routines, and dealing with the underlying causes of your drinking habits, are essential to lasting recovery. Alcohol also changes your brain chemistry, which can result in higher levels of anxiety and depression for the first several months.
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. If your body is used to a certain amount of alcohol, you may feel certain effects when you stop. How you feel when you stop drinking is largely based on how often and how heavily you drink. People who only drink occasionally probably won’t notice any physical or psychological symptoms.
Can Tapering Down Alcohol Use Reduce Withdrawal Symptoms?
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. While tapering can be helpful for some, others may require medical supervision. For severe alcohol addiction, seeking help from healthcare professionals or addiction specialists is crucial.
If you do it too fast, you increase your chance of severe withdrawal. The process begins with a thorough medical evaluation by healthcare professionals who assess your physical and psychological health, alcohol use history, and withdrawal risks. By talking with your doctor or an addiction treatment specialist, together you can determine a safe tapering schedule that suits your needs. The length of the tapering process can vary based on the needs of the person. People with a greater dependency on alcohol may need to stretch out the process to gradually reduce their alcohol intake.
Do I Need to Taper?
Once your taper is complete, discard or immediately give away any remaining alcohol in your house and try to avoid high-risk environments such as bars, liquor stores, casinos, etc. The hardest thing will probably be to stop yourself from starting again. I’ll be honest, your chances of staying sober on your own are slim to none. It doesn’t mean you have to go to rehab (though that’s certainly an option). You can try support groups, therapy, psychiatrists, spiritual groups, and outpatient rehab services. I have a complete guide on Alternatives to Rehab, which has over a dozen different options to select from.
We can leverage our resources and team to help you reduce and eventually end your alcohol use. However, some groups have stepped in to try to bridge this gap and have published sample tapering schedules to help those trying to stop drinking. Deciding to quit drinking and following through isn’t just about willpower. Many other factors go into play with these difficult and trying scenarios.
Can tapering off reduce alcohol withdrawal symptoms?
By gradually drinking less instead of stopping cold turkey, your body has a chance to adapt to smaller and less frequent drinks. In turn, your risk of undergoing alcohol withdrawal may be lower. If you’re struggling with severe alcohol addiction, a medical detox program is your likely best option for tapering off alcohol safely.
A person is free to increase the taper speed (e.g., lower by three drinks instead of two) as they see fit. Withdrawal symptoms are a sign that the taper is going too fast. A sample taper schedule involves calculating the number of drinks consumed per day. After this is calculated, make a schedule where you consume your normal amount on the first day and make regular reductions each day after.
Finding An Alcohol Rehab
It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers. It can be tempting to just “rip off the Band-Aid” when getting sober, but tapering off alcohol is often much safer—and much less stressful. Rather than quitting drinking abruptly (or “cold turkey”), many professionals recommend gradually reducing your drinking (or tapering) over time. This can give your body the chance to adjust, helping you avoid the worst of withdrawal symptoms. Tapering off alcohol is the gentlest approach to discontinuation.
- If you are tapering yourself off alcohol for the first time, it can be helpful to know what symptoms to expect during the process.
- Little data is available about the safety and effectiveness of alcohol tapers.
- 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.
- Tapering will normally create less severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms but will spread them out over a prolonged period.
- People with moderate to severe alcohol addiction may find an alcohol taper difficult to accomplish.
The longer and harder a person has drunk alcohol–the more severe the withdrawal will be. Do not stop drinking entirely if you have previously experienced seizures (fits) or hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there) when you stop drinking. When you’re drinking less than 10 units a day, you can try to stop drinking altogether. I’m not saying smoking weed all day is a healthy coping skill. But from a harm reduction standpoint, it’s much less likely to get you into trouble than alcohol, pills, or harder drugs. If you’re making mixed drinks, only use half a shot instead of a full shot, and turn it into two drinks (still count both as one combined).
How to safely taper off your alcohol consumption
While the safest way to taper is with professional help in a detox facility, this may not be an option for everyone. A person may need to detox at home for many reasons, including how to taper off alcohol cost or time. The timeline for alcohol withdrawal will be different for each individual. However, here is a sample timeline of what the average person can expect.
If you drink alcohol and are thinking about quitting, it is important to make sure you do so safely. One potential way to quit drinking is through tapering, which involves slowly reducing your alcohol intake over time. More serious alcohol withdrawal symptoms may require medical attention. If you have a friend or family member who knows that you’re trying to taper off alcohol, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help.