How To Taper Off Alcohol Risks of Quitting Alcohol Cold Turkey

It achieves its effects by working with an inhibitory neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid, known as GABA. GABA is a chemical messenger in the brain that slows activity in the central nervous system so that you can rest, relax, and sleep. It is important in curbing the effects of anxiety and vigilance when it’s time for you to get some rest. The chemical binds to its receptors on your nerve cells and opens up a channel that allows a negative charge to shut down or slow your nervous system’s excitatory functions. BetterHelp can connect you to an addiction and mental health counselor. If you struggle to stop drinking, avoid places and situations that tempt you to drink alcohol.

The first days were miserable, but now you’re a week in, you’re at the 5-6 drinks a day mark, and you feel fine. Your addicted brain may use this as an excuse to increase your dosage. You may feel you’re in control of your addiction, and that it’s okay to have a cheat day and drink a little more.

How To Safely Taper Off Alcohol

A popular way to taper off alcohol is to gradually reduce the number of drinks you consume over a period of time. For example, if you normally drink 6 glasses of wine each night, you can try reducing that to 5 glasses of wine a night. After several days of 5 glasses of wine, you can reduce that down to 4. Eventually, after a period of time, you will have tapered down to zero drinks. If you’re interested in medication-assisted treatment, medication to curb cravings can be a helpful tool for reducing your consumption.

  • The steam created from the mixture will have loosened the food, making it much easier to remove.
  • The first night I barely slept because of auditory hallucinations and the second night I had tunnel vision and felt like a stroke victim.
  • The tapering down process can take place for the first several weeks or even months of the alcohol recovery timeline.

Generally, alcohol-free days are better towards the end of a gradual reduction, not towards the beginning. 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. 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. Delirium tremens is also more common in people of older age, those with a history of seizures, and people with co-occurring illnesses or disorders.

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It’s physically dangerous, and it may also cause emotional instability. Discussing these issues with a loved one how to taper off alcohol can help you avoid relapse. Expect to feel some discomfort, including anxiety, sweating or irritability.

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. Over time, this can help you slow down and make more intentional choices about how much you’re drinking. You can read all about mindful drinking in this article by a licensed therapist at Monument. It’s a good idea to talk with a medical professional before you begin a taper. They can help you decide if it’s the safest way to start your recovery, and they can help you make a taper plan.

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But that does not mean home detox is effective, appropriate, or safe. When you quit alcohol cold turkey, you quit drinking completely and suddenly. Track your progress, note how you feel, and adjust if necessary. Always consult a medical professional before starting any tapering schedule. Ultimately, you shouldn’t taper off of alcohol unless you’ve checked with your doctor first.

  • Meanwhile, the brain is producing more and more neurotransmitters, making a person further imbalanced.
  • Depressants are so-called because they depress activity in the central nervous system.
  • The support of an alcohol detox program may help you wean off alcohol more quickly and with fewer unpleasant side effects.
  • People tapering off alcohol may begin experiencing early withdrawal symptoms within 6 to 12 hours after their last drink.
  • If you don’t like beers, drink beers (find ones with lower alcohol, some have high concentrations).