Working with a medical professional 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. It’s vital to speak with a medical professional before you begin weaning off alcohol to ensure you have a plan to do so safely. Approximately one-half of patients with alcohol use disorder who abruptly stop or reduce their alcohol use will develop signs or symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. The syndrome is due to overactivity of the central and autonomic nervous systems, leading to tremors, insomnia, nausea and vomiting, hallucinations, anxiety, and agitation.

  • Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions.
  • However, individuals who suffer from alcohol addiction require professional rehab.
  • Another significant factor in how long a taper lasts is alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
  • Here are some tips and strategies for how to taper off alcohol safely.
  • Tapering can be a long process that takes weeks or even months to finish.
  • But, as many in recovery will tell you, it is only the first chapter in a long process.

All of these withdrawal symptoms are common during acute alcohol withdrawal syndrome. For example, depression could cause suicidal thoughts, and eating poorly can weaken your immune Sober Living Scholarships in Texas system. Tapering off alcohol is a method of reducing your alcohol intake gradually. This process can help your body break its dependency on alcohol with minimal side effects.

Medical Supervision

It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers. 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.

  • Sometimes, people think that if their symptoms are mild, they don’t need medical help.
  • Cautious tapering may take longer than medically supervised detox, but it will help you avoid major health problems.
  • Amina Zafar covers medical sciences and health topics, including infectious diseases, for CBC News.
  • These can indicate a life threatening condition called delirium tremens.
  • At a rehab clinic, an alcohol withdrawal taper can be provided to slowly get you back to normal life.
  • The withdrawal process can be dangerous, and its symptoms vary depending on the severity of alcohol use.
  • If you choose to drink water make sure that you get enough salt for electrolyte balance so that you avoid water intoxication.

Detoxing at home usually takes longer because you should be cautious to avoid serious complications. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that affects your brain. When you quit drinking or wean off alcohol, your body will adjust to the lack of alcohol in your body. Some find tapering is not a suitable option to stop drinking due to various factors such as social responsibilities or peer pressure. For many people, tapering alone is insufficient to help heal their addiction. Tapering is also a strategy used by people with a substance or alcohol use disorder (AUD).

How to Taper Off Alcohol at Home

However, try not to have too many firm expectations, as symptoms can continue for multiple weeks in some people. During the 12- to 24-hour time frame after the last drink, most people will begin to have noticeable symptoms. These may still be mild, or the existing symptoms might increase in severity. There is no exact timeline for alcohol withdrawal, and individual factors, such as the level of dependence on alcohol, will influence it.

how to taper off alcohol

Creating a tapering schedule you can stick with is a crucial part of weaning yourself off alcohol. The best schedule varies based on how much you drink each day and your overall health. 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. From here, you can plan a schedule for gradually reducing how much you drink per day. Ideally, this schedule will be determined with the assistance of a doctor or addiction treatment professional. The most severe form of alcohol withdrawal is known as delirium tremens, which develops in about 3 to 5% of people with severe alcohol addiction.

Severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal

Research studies have also started to look into whether or not acamprosate helps reduce the symptoms of PAWS including insomnia, anxiety and restlessness. It also works to reduce alcohol cravings; however, it will not produce an unwanted effect if alcohol is consumed. The initial symptoms of alcohol detox are mild, but can quickly begin to worsen as time goes on.

Although detoxing from alcohol at home can have benefits, the early stages of sobriety pose a dangerous risk for medical complications. Tap into your social network to help support you through alcohol withdrawal. Find a supportive friend or family member to be with you while you withdraw and support your new non-drinking lifestyle. For those with alcohol use disorder, withdrawal is just the first (but very important) step on a long journey to recovery. These first few weeks are critical because they are when the risk of relapse is highest.

Reduce Your Number of Drinks Per Day

Normally, we would recommend getting professional support before you try to cut down your drinking. It also can reduce the risk of relapse by not trying to attempt too much too soon, failing, and then going back to regularly using alcohol to cope with the feelings of failure. Take the first step toward addiction treatment by contacting us today. As such, there is only limited guidance available about the best ways to taper. If you are considering at-home detox, speak with your doctor before beginning the process. They can help you determine the best and safest action for your needs.

  • About 10 percent of people experience more severe symptoms, such as fever, fast breathing, and heavy sweating.
  • You can taper off alcohol if you worry that you are developing alcohol addiction.
  • DT can be fatal, and a person going through them should have medical support in a hospital or rehab facility.
  • This phenomenon is often described as “alcohol dependence.” The most common more mild withdrawal symptoms include headaches, anxiety, and sleep disturbances.
  • When they suddenly quit drinking, the brain continues its hyperactivity, but alcohol no longer suppresses the effects.
  • Start by estimating how much you drink on a daily basis—and be honest with yourself.
  • You don’t need to be diagnosed with alcohol use disorder in order to quit drinking.

The amount of alcohol it takes to cause withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person. For this reason, you should always talk to your doctor before attempting to quit drinking. Unstable vital signs increase the risk of complications and can be managed with medications. People who experience severe withdrawal symptoms or DTs may require hospitalization or intensive care unit (ICU) treatment during alcohol. For most people, alcohol withdrawal symptoms will begin sometime in the first eight hours after their final drink. You don’t need to be diagnosed with alcohol use disorder in order to quit drinking.

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