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Tapering Off Alcohol vs Quitting Cold Turkey

People tapering off alcohol may begin experiencing early withdrawal symptoms within 6 to 12 hours after their last drink. Medical detox programs for alcohol dependency commonly offer medications to ease the discomfort or pain of withdrawal. This is a benefit that isn’t available to all who attempt to taper at home. Medicines can be used to reduce nausea, severe anxiety, other flu-like symptoms, and treat seizures.

On the other hand, it will take longer to metabolize in someone with a lower tolerance. By setting a social limit for yourself, you are creating a safe zone. This is where you can still have a drink, but not to the point of compromising your sobriety.

How Does Alcohol Dependence Work in the Brain?

People with moderate to severe alcohol addiction may find an alcohol taper difficult to accomplish. If you have trouble controlling how much you drink or experience significant alcohol cravings, you may need professional help instead of trying to taper your alcohol use at home. Whichever method you choose, what is most important is to commit to your alcohol tapering schedule, so you can be sure that you have avoided the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal as much as possible.

Here are some tips and strategies for how to taper off alcohol safely. Intoxicating beverages have been around since the Neolithic period (about 10,000 BC) which is a lot longer than modern medications. Throughout history alcohol has been used for a number of different issues, including tapering off to overcome alcohol use.

How To Taper off Alcohol

Someone who drinks heavily for many weeks or months is likely to develop a dependence on alcohol. A healthcare provider can evaluate your case and determine the treatment how to taper off alcohol program that is most suitable for you. Mutual support groups like AA can provide a strong support network for those in addiction treatment for alcohol misuse.

tapering off alcohol to avoid withdrawal

If you experience withdrawal symptoms, speak to a doctor about tapering safely. If you’ve been drinking regularly for a long time, you may need to speak to a doctor before you stop drinking. With a doctor’s help, you can taper off alcohol slowly to avoid severe symptoms. You may cut back on drinking slowly over time, but if you have an alcohol use disorder, it can be very challenging to resist drinking too much for an effective taper. Instead, you may be treated with benzodiazepines, a class of medications that are chemically similar to alcohol.

Does an instance of alcohol withdrawal mean that I can never safely drink again?

However, chronic alcohol use will suppress GABA activity in such as way that progressively increased amounts of alcohol are needed to produce the desired effects – which is known as tolerance. Chronic alcohol use also suppresses glutamate activity, the neurotransmitter that produces feelings of excitement. In excessive alcohol users, the glutamate system has to function at a higher level to maintain equilibrium. When alcohol consumption stops or is significantly reduced, the neurotransmitters that were suppressed by alcohol rebound into what is known as brain hyper-excitability and create alcohol withdrawal symptoms. The process of reducing alcohol consumption should begin with your baseline of use, since your taper schedule depends on how much you drink before you start decreasing your intake. To calculate your baseline, you need to know how many standard drinks you drink in a day.

Depending on how much you drink, tapering off alcohol can take one to several weeks. It’s best to reduce your drinking by a small amount each day to avoid the shock to your system. So, if you normally have 6 beers a day, you could be done tapering within one week.

The support of family, friends, and others in recovery is crucial during this period of adjustment. In 2019 the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that 14.5 millions of americans suffered from Alcohol Use Disorder. Treatment is the best way to ensure long-term abstinence from alcohol. This is especially true if you are suffering from an alcohol use disorder. Addiction alters the chemical balance in a person’s brain, making it extremely difficult to quit drinking alcohol on one’s own.

tapering off alcohol to avoid withdrawal

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