How To Taper off Alcohol

This process can last several days, weeks, or months depending on your tolerance level, history of use, and other factors. Tapering off alcohol is one of the safest ways to overcome alcoholism. Instead of complete cessation of alcohol, you begin to slowly taper down on your consumption over a period of time. Maybe the negative consequences of your drinking problem are piling up. Maybe you are in legal trouble and are mandated by the court to get treatment for the disease of alcoholism.

  • The final step of tapering off alcohol is to define your alcohol-free days.
  • In these cases, talk to your doctor before trying to cut back on your drinking.
  • If you decide to suddenly stop drinking alcohol, you will experience symptoms of withdrawal.
  • Whether you’re a daily imbiber, heavy drinker, or frequent binge drinker, you’re likely to experience withdrawal symptoms when you quit.
  • The amount of alcohol it takes to cause withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person.

The alcohol content itself is important, and it depends on the percentage of alcohol, the proof of the alcohol and the actual amount of alcohol in the drink. Risky withdrawal symptoms are not limited to the above.3 Learn more about alcohol withdrawal here and, once again, speak to a doctor first. If you’ve decided to taper off alcohol, you’ll need to be prepared with some strategies to make the process easier. You’ll likely face the urge to drink more than you’ve planned each day, but there are some good tricks to help you delay that next serving and keep yourself honest. Quitting binge drinking may require different strategies than either tapering or cold turkey.

Challenges of Quitting Alcohol

Before you begin an alcohol taper, a little preparation can go a long way, especially when it involves handling your triggers and tracking how much you drink. Always start with a professional consultation with your doctor. Remember your motivation for cutting back and set realistic goals. Establishing new habits and routines, and dealing with the underlying causes of your drinking habits, are essential to lasting recovery.

A person who drinks more alcohol will probably have a longer taper than a person who drinks less alcohol. If you think you’re tapering too quickly, it’s okay to slow down. Just because you had 8 drinks instead of 6 one day doesn’t mean you’ve failed, especially if you still drank the same or less than the previous day. Maybe you just need to set more realistic goals for yourself and slow your taper. It includes a logging section you can use to keep track of your daily alcohol intake, along with some withdrawal warnings.

Tapering Off Alcohol Gradually

Getting professional treatment and long-term support are two of the most valuable strategies for avoiding relapse. Alcohol withdrawal occurs when neurotransmitters that combat the effects of alcohol on the nervous system suddenly have nothing to counteract them. Essentially, when an individual drinks, the brain amplifies certain activities to counterbalance the depressive effect alcohol has on it. When that numbing sensation disappears entirely, the brain is left dangerously overstimulated. Insomnia, anxiety and paranoia — the opposite effects of alcohol — are the expected results. Thus, a user will likely seek out alcohol again to rid themselves of the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

Our hope is to create the safest, most comfortable environment for you to begin your treatment journey. The best and safest first step is to consult with a medical professional to determine the best treatment plan for you. There can be medical risks to reducing or stopping alcohol use. A medical professional will evaluate your medical history and current symptoms or problems to determine the best treatment plan to meet your unique needs. I began working in the treatment field for alcohol and drug addiction in January 2020, and it has provided me with a sense of purpose, as helping others has always been a passion of mine.

Tapering Off Alcohol vs. Quitting Cold Turkey

Little data is available about the safety and effectiveness of alcohol tapers. In contrast, robust evidence supports quitting alcohol while under medical supervision. Quitting alcohol cold turkey is not recommended and can be dangerous. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that leads to an increase in brain neurotransmitters that slow down your brain’s functions, such as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). When you drink heavily over a long period of time, your brain and body adapt to expect this.

how to taper off alcohol

You should only attempt an alcohol taper while under a doctor’s care. However, learning more about how an alcohol taper works can help you prepare to quit. If you’re cross-addicted to harder drugs like stimulants or opiates, you need to stop using those. Experience has shown me most people who continue using other hard substances simply get high and then continue drinking. 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).

Addiction experts have not conducted many studies on alcohol tapering. As a result, little information is available regarding the best way to taper. That said, some independent groups have stepped in, publishing sample tapering schedules to guide people who are trying to cut back on drinking.

  • This means that there is little data about the best way to taper your drinking.
  • The most common research technique among those surveyed is an internet search (61%), followed by asking a doctor or medical professional (55%).
  • Whatever schedule is chosen, it’s important to commit so you can build upon your progress and avoid withdrawal symptoms as much as possible.
  • No one should ever attempt a substitution taper with prescription medication unless their doctor specifically prescribed it for that purpose in a medical detox program.
  • In order to create a tapering system that works for you, you need to know how much you personally drink each day or week.
  • When you attend a detox facility, you can rest assured that you will be safe throughout the entire process.

As a general rule, if you’ve been drinking an average of 10 drinks or more a day every day for more than a couple of weeks, you will need to taper. If you’ve been binge drinking 15-20+ drinks a day for 2-3 days, you will need to taper. The numbers may be less for women, individuals with smaller bodies, and people who are how to taper off alcohol underweight. If you can get through a day with no physical withdrawal symptoms, you probably won’t need to taper. If you get moderate tremors or start hallucinating six hours after your last drink, you probably need to taper. Everyone is different, so it’s ultimately up to you to decide if you want to taper or not.

There is no obligation to enter treatment and you can opt out at any time. Learn how to set boundaries to protect your mental health with tips from our experts. The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while doing so! Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol and our in-app Toolkit gives you the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

how to taper off alcohol

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