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How to Taper Off Alcohol to Avoid Withdrawal Symptoms

All Addiction Group content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible. “Alcohol Withdrawal.” Harvard Health, /a_to_z/alcohol-withdrawal-a-to-z. Sitting and talking with other people who share your struggle can help you to feel supported. Local groups like Alcoholics Anonymous can provide you with the moral support and strength you need. You do not have to drink just because others are, and you shouldn’t feel obligated to accept every drink you’re offered. Drink soda, water, or juice after having an alcoholic beverage. When you stop drinking, you might find yourself dealing with cravings for alcohol.

What happens when you stop drinking all of a sudden?

When you abruptly stop drinking, your body is deprived of the effects of alcohol and requires time to adjust to functioning without it. This adjustment period causes the painful side effects of alcohol withdrawal, such as shakes, insomnia, nausea, and anxiety.

It is important to understand exactly how alcohol can affect your body so that you can be aware of changes that occur. Make a list of the negative effects of alcohol on your life. Find support by asking your friends, family or self-help groups to assist you in staying sober. Deciding to quit drinking and following through isn’t just about willpower. Many other factors go into play with these difficult and trying scenarios. Tolerance, dependence, social habits, setting, the biology of the individual and more must all be considered. With these things in mind, you need to weigh the pros and cons of tapering your alcohol use—ideally with someone you trust—to make a fully informed decision.

Challenges of Tapering Off Alcohol

Tapering off alcohol with professional help can lead you to feeling better and healthier. While the road to recovery may be longer for some people than others, you might start noticing positive changes right away. If you are struggling to stop drinking, do your best to avoid places and situations that involve alcohol. You may even ask your family members and friends not to drink while they are around you. You should not try to fight alcohol addiction on your own at home.

Start by estimating how much you drink on a daily basis—and be honest with yourself. It can help to make use of standard drink measurements, as mentioned above.

What are Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms?

It requires ongoing effort to meet and to continue to achieve your and health goals. Stay away from people who encourage you to drink beyond your drinking goal. Today, we’re going to discuss withdrawal and some ways that you can taper off your alcohol use. Evan O’Donnell is an NYC-based content strategist with four years’ experience writing and editing in the recovery space. He has conducted research in sound, cognition, and community building, has a background in independent music marketing, and continues to work as a composer.


For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health . Staff will talk you through all of your treatment options and agree a treatment plan with you. Private drug treatment can be very expensive, but sometimes people get referrals through their local NHS. You might reach for alcohol when you’re really just thirsty, says Crews. Drink a cup of soothing tea or a tall glass of water before you imbibe—once your thirst is quenched, you may not feel the need for as much—or any—alcohol. Instead of aiming for complete abstinence, for instance, aim to drink fewer than seven days a week. “Try sober Mondays or sober Mondays through Wednesdays,” he says.

Eat before and in between drinks.

It’s common to have a difficult time when making big changes, but good self-care practices can help you manage overwhelming feelings and take care of your mind and body. Choosing the right replacement beverage can help you stand firm in your desire to stop drinking. Plain water might offer plenty of health benefits, but it’s admittedly not the most interesting choice. Alcohol in your house can tempt you when you’re trying to quit. If you feel like having a drink, knowing you’ll have to go out and make a purchase can deter you long enough to find a good distraction. When alcohol makes up part of your typical routine, drinking can become something of an automatic response, especially when you feel stressed or overwhelmed. Maybe your partner, sibling, or roommate is also thinking about making a change.

  • Make meetings a priority – Join a recovery support group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous , and attend meetings regularly.
  • You should only attempt an alcohol taper while under a doctor’s care.
  • Keep in mind the reasons you chose to cut back on or quit alcohol.
  • If you were experiencing any symptoms of liver disease from your drinking, then you may see these symptoms begin to dissipate within a few weeks after quitting drinking.
  • Find healthier ways to keep your stress level in check, such as exercising, meditating, or practicing breathing exercises or other relaxation techniques.

Have a shot of whiskey, water for two hours, have another shot of whiskey. Rather than consuming back to back alcohol-filled drinks, you are replacing some with a non-alcoholic beverage. In this article, we’re taking a closer look at how to taper off alcohol to avoid withdrawal.

Follow a Tapering Schedule

However, the information provided by Addiction Group is not a substitute for professional treatment advice. For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the Addiction Group helpline is a private and convenient solution.

  • Seeking help as early as possible during the withdrawal process is the best way to stay safe as you cleanse your body of alcohol.
  • Make a note about how you feel physically and mentally on these days—recognizing the benefits may help you to cut down for good.
  • Tapering off alcohol may also include switching to a drink you don’t care to try and reduce the number of drinks you have.
  • Making a list of the reasons to curtail your drinking — such as feeling healthier, sleeping better, or improving your relationships — can motivate you.
  • When we stop drinking all at once, rather than tapering, these symptoms can be a stressful shock to the system.
  • The risk of tapering too slowly is that you won’t stick with it, while the risk of tapering too fast is severe withdrawal.
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