Quitting Drinking: How to Taper Off Alcohol

Having a plan can help you stay on track and it can keep you safe. One of the keys to a successful taper is taking gradual steps that will cause as few side effects as possible. How come I have six degrees—including a Ph.D. in antidepressants—and I’m getting advice on how to come off my drugs from a retired software engineer and a truck driver on a peer-support site,” he says. This regimen is often recommended in the online groups, which is where Horowitz learned of it several years ago after he unsuccessfully tried to stop his own SSRIs after 11 years. His depression, which he rates as a four out of 10 before he started the medicine, swiftly skyrocketed to a 10, accompanied by intense anxiety and the need to constantly move his body. Guidance from England’s Royal College of Psychiatrists recommends gradual tapering, working with a physician to begin reducing the dose by as little as 10 or even 5 percent.

If you’re not sure if cold turkey or tapering is right for you, you can join the Monument Community to hear from others who have confronted similar questions. If you have alcohol withdrawal symptoms when you cut back on your drinking or have previously gone through alcohol withdrawal, you are at higher risk of complications and should not try to quit on your own. In these cases, talk to your doctor before cutting back on your drinking. When coming off drugs or alcohol tapering is the best way to prevent severe withdrawal symptoms.

What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Drinking Alcohol?

While this probably still reduces the risk of a seizure or DTs, it’s certainly better than just quitting completely on day one, you’re going to be putting your body and brain through hell doing this. You may find success decreasing your number of drinks by a set amount each day. You could do one a day if you’re very weary of withdrawal symptoms, but you might drag it out unnecessarily. If you notice severe hallucinations, extreme brain fog, the world slows down around you; you feel drunk when you’re not, you may have warning signs of delirium tremens (DTs). Always have one of your drinks late at night before you go to bed, to prevent this from happening while you’re sleeping. Make sure they’re aware of the severe withdrawal symptoms that can occur and tell them what to do if you experience them (get a drink and possibly call 911).

One of the main reasons that alcohol has such a high relapse rate is that, like the majority of central nervous system depressants, it has some of the most uncomfortable and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms https://ecosoberhouse.com/ of alcohol withdrawal can be more than enough to drive people back to drinking to find relief. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal delirium include withdrawal seizures that can occur between 8 and 28 hours after your last drink.

Professional Help for Weaning off Alcohol

If you are struggling with severe alcohol use or addiction, tapering off alcohol at home may not be a safe option. The most effective option for alcoholics to stop drinking is to find a treatment program that offers medical detox services. If you are interested in medical detox, contact one of our Vertava Health treatment specialists to find alcohol detox programs near you. When someone stops drinking, they must decide whether to quit “cold turkey” or taper their alcohol use. Quitting cold turkey involves suddenly stopping all alcohol use, while tapering involves slowly decreasing the amount of alcohol a person drinks daily. Weaning off alcohol reduces the chance of experiencing withdrawal or the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

  • Tapering can help minimize these symptoms, but you might still experience some of them while your body adjusts to the lack of alcohol.
  • Try not to do this for too many days, though, or you may get stuck at that point.
  • Switching to beer from hard liquor is safer because it is easier to control the amount of beer that is consumed and is harder to binge drink.
  • They can monitor your intake and adjust it accordingly to reduce the risk of withdrawal symptoms.

Tapering is the act of gradually reducing alcohol use until completely abstinent. By creating a schedule to monitor your alcohol use you can see just how much of the substance you are drinking. The reason for weaning off alcohol instead of quitting cold turkey is to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. If a person abruptly tapering off alcohol 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. The phrase cold turkey refers to abruptly stopping drug or alcohol use.

Why Alcohol Withdrawal Occurs

But, as many in recovery will tell you, it is only the first chapter in a long process. There are several ways to taper your alcohol consumption without therapy. BetterHelp offers affordable mental health care via phone, video, or live-chat. Generally, light to moderate drinkers should plan to taper for a week or more.

  • This does not, by any means, mean that you have a 1% chance of a seizure if you taper with alcohol according to the schedule above.
  • “Most symptoms are gone except constipation and occasional shakes. Been sleeping really good.”
  • Further, mental health disorders like anxiety and depression are extremely common in those who struggle with drinking, and these disorders can make it even harder to stay sober.
  • Mild anxiety, for example, can turn into overwhelming agitation or even hallucinations.
  • Our knowledgeable and compassionate team is available 24/7 to help get you or someone you care about into treatment and answer any questions or concerns you might have.
  • GABA is a neurotransmitter responsible for your brain’s rest and digest response, which helps to facilitate sleep, relaxation, and anxiety release.

Delamere describes the different stages that you go through while detoxing from alcohol6. Using an innovative, mind-body-spirit treatment program called The Sierra Model, Sierra Tucson has been rated one of the region’s top-ranking hospitals by U.S. Renaissance Recovery provides a variety of addiction and outpatient treatment programs in up-scale facilities, including adventure therapy. As you navigate this question, it can be helpful to think about how you typically prefer to approach change.