Alcohol Tapering How to Taper Off Alcohol Safely

His career began working in the accounting industry as a financial auditor. In that role, James audited a national trade association with over 1,300 member companies that sell health insurance coverage to more than 200 million Americans. He also conducted official financial examinations of various non-profit organizations and for-profit corporations.

In contrast, robust evidence supports quitting alcohol while under medical supervision. 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.

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Although going cold turkey on opioids is dangerous and can cause significant withdrawal symptoms, quitting alcohol cold turkey can be fatal. These patients, as well as a substantial number of other people who stop drinking without seeking professional treatment, experience alcohol withdrawal (AW). AW is a clinical syndrome that affects people accustomed to regular alcohol intake who either decrease their alcohol consumption or stop drinking completely.

  • The results of these clinical studies are confounded by differences among the subjects in the severity of dependence, duration of dependence, and quantity of alcohol consumed.
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  • The length of the tapering process can vary based on the needs of the person.
  • The tapering down process can take place for the first several weeks or even months of the alcohol recovery timeline.
  • 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).
  • If you taper off alcohol without seeking treatment for your alcohol addiction, you will likely start drinking again.
  • Withdrawal symptoms can vary in severity and depend on many factors, such as drinking history, metabolism, age, medical condition, what other substances or medication you take, and more.

Further, if you start to develop alcohol withdrawal symptoms during the taper, your doctor may instruct you to pause or slow the taper as a result. These factors can make one person’s taper last longer than another person’s taper. A typical tapering schedule may follow a pattern of 3 beers per day for the first two days, followed by 2 beers per day for the next two days and 1 beer per day for the next two day for a total of six days. If you try tapering off alcohol and find that you are struggling with withdrawal and relapse, it is a good idea to seek the assistance of a professional medical alcohol detox facility. Chronic and excessive alcohol use disrupts the brain’s neurotransmitters. Alcohol will increase the effect of gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) – the neurotransmitter in the central nervous system that creates feelings of peace and relaxation.

How To Taper Off Alcohol Safely Tips & Strategies

When a person decides to stop drinking, they must decide whether to stop “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 each day. Tapers are commonly used in an attempt to reduce the chance of experiencing withdrawal or the severity of withdrawal symptoms. If you suddenly quit drinking, your brain can start to make more of an excitatory substance called glutamate.

can you taper off alcohol to avoid withdrawal

We personalize every aspect of your detox and offer counseling, treatment plans, nutrition services and options for continuing rehab treatment at The Recovery Village Ridgefield. Substituting a prescription drug for alcohol should only happen with the help of a medical professional. 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. You don’t have to let the fear of alcohol withdrawal stop you from cutting back or quitting.

How Long Should Tapering Off Alcohol Take?

Consequently, when the alcohol level is suddenly lowered, the brain remains in a hyperactive, or hyperexcited, state, causing withdrawal syndrome. Tapering off alcohol at home versus under medical supervision can also lengthen the process, for the sake of safety. Unlike a home environment, medical detox services have the professional support and resources necessary to treat severe withdrawal symptoms. This medical supervision allows for some patients to quit drinking cold-turkey without compromising safety. If you are struggling with severe alcohol use or addiction, tapering off alcohol at home may not be a safe option. The most effective option for alcoholics to stop drinking is to find a treatment program that offers medical detox services.

can you taper off alcohol to avoid withdrawal

This excessive glutamate level can lead to alcohol withdrawal symptoms, which can be dangerous. Choosing to taper off alcohol is an admirable decision and a step in the right direction. As with many self-detox methods, the risks and rewards go hand in hand when attempting to overcome an alcohol substance use disorder. But, with a little prior knowledge on how to taper off alcohol, adequate planning and professional consultation from a healthcare provider, it can certainly be done. Those who find that they cannot taper off the number of drinks for any significant length of time probably have developed a severe alcohol use disorder or have become what is commonly known as an alcoholic. For others, simply cutting back the number of drinks can bring on alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Symptoms may vary, depending on several factors, such as which medication you’re taking and the length of use. Don’t supplement your taper with additional medications from home, visits to the emergency room, or with alcohol or street drugs. If you’ve taken opioid medications for more than a couple of weeks, it’s likely you need to stop soon — and stop slowly, to avoid severe symptoms of withdrawal. 1Clinicians generally distinguish between signs and symptoms of a disorder or syndrome. “Signs” are changes in the patient’s condition that can be objectively observed by an examiner (e.g., temperature, a rash, or high blood pressure). Conversely, symptoms are changes that are subjectively perceived by the patient (e.g., irritability or craving for alcohol).

  • If you want to know about our medically-assisted detox program, call today, and one of our admissions agents can help you get started.
  • Whatever method you use to taper down, your plan should also be approved and monitored by a healthcare profession to ensure your safety.
  • Attempting to quit all at once can lead to severe symptoms that can be difficult to manage safely outside of a detox setting.
  • By receiving professional help, you can tailor the decrease in alcohol consumption to a method that will be safe for you and your circumstances.

Specifically, excessive drinking can cause an imbalance in the important brain neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). If you suddenly stop drinking, your brain will not have enough GABA and can become hyper-excitable, leading to uncomfortable and dangerous withdrawal symptoms like increased heart rate and seizure. If you drink frequently, you can become physically dependent on alcohol, meaning that your brain needs alcohol to function normally. If you stop drinking, your body needs to rapidly adjust to the absence of alcohol, leading to withdrawal symptoms.

Physical DT symptoms may include shaking, irregular heartbeat and blood pressure, sweating, and a change in body temperature. Tapering off alcohol was long ago considered the primary approach for alcoholism treatment. While it is possible to manage alcohol detoxification without medical supervision, it is extremely how to taper off alcohol at home dangerous and can be fatal. Along with increased direct risks to one’s health, tapering also results in a much higher relapse rate. Here we will examine the unique risks and methods that people have used to taper off alcohol. Many patients who experience mild withdrawal symptoms do not seek treatment at all.

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  • One of those decisions will be what you will do when friends or family pressure you to drink.
  • Consultation with a medical professional or recovery coach is strongly recommended.
  • Don’t try to go through the recovery process alone — reach out for help and support.
  • Historically, several mechanisms have been suggested to play a role in the development (i.e., etiology) of AW.

You can be assured that every stage of the detox and withdrawal process will be closely monitored. With the support and medical interventions the detox team provides, you will be guided safely into recovery. As many as 71%8 of people who go through alcohol detox experience symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal can range from uncomfortable to life-threatening, so anyone considering stopping alcohol should speak with a medical professional to determine which method is best for them.