8 Tips For How To Safely Taper Off Alcohol

By Nashville Detox

If you’re an alcoholic or think you may be experiencing alcohol withdrawal, you probably have a lot of questions. Should you try to quit on your own or seek professional treatment? What will happen if you stop drinking gradually or cold turkey? Will, your body heal from the damage that alcohol has caused? 

The following tips provide a resource for how to safely taper off alcohol to prepare for medical detox will help you decide whether this type of treatment is right for you or a loved one. Nashville Detox Center can help you or a loved one safely detox and manage your condition to avoid relapse. 

1. Admit That You Need Help

If you don’t believe that you need help with alcohol addiction, you’re probably not ready to go to detox. But if you’re reading this article, then it is likely that you or a loved one is battling a substance abuse disorder and could use some tips for alcohol detox.

The first step to recovery is admitting your addiction. But it can be tough to come out and label yourself as an alcoholic. Perhaps it’s easier to acknowledge that you need help.

Maybe you need help learning more about addiction. You could require assistance determining whether your condition qualifies as an addiction. Getting the help that you need now can set you up with the framework that will continue to support you if you do seek alcohol detox.

2. Realize That You Don’t Need a Label to Get Support

You might wonder if your situation is severe enough to require treatment.

Some signs that you’re an alcoholic include:

  • Drinking more than you planned to
  • Feeling unable to stop when you start drinking
  • Your tolerance has increased
  • Cravings for alcohol make it hard to think about anything else
  • Drinking is negatively impacting your physical, emotional, social, or financial life
  • Feeling like you need alcohol to function normally

Asking yourself whether you’re an alcoholic may not be the best question to determine whether you need treatment, though. According to the CDC, 90 percent of people who drink too much and may have a problem don’t fit the criteria for having a severe alcohol use disorder. A better question may be, “Is alcohol impairing my life in any way?” If it is, it’s in your power to ask for help.

3. Prepare Yourself

Once you’re honest with yourself about the way that you want to live your life, you can seek help. That doesn’t mean that you have to go to treatment right away. It does mean that you can seek out tips for alcohol detox to set yourself up for the best outcomes no matter what path you choose.

Some questions that you might want to answer include:

  • What detox options are available?
  • Can alcohol cause seizures?
  • What will withdrawal feel like?
  • Do I need support for other mental health issues or triggers?
  • Are there medications that can help me manage withdrawal symptoms?
  • How to taper off alcohol?

Consider joining a support group to connect with others who have gone through a similar situation. They can often answer some of your questions and give you tips for alcohol detox.

If you decide that treatment is for you, some of the other tips for alcohol detox in this article will help you prepare yourself for the journey to recovery.

4. Decide Whether to Quit Cold Turkey or Cut Down Gradually

If you’re wondering how to taper off alcohol, you should know that your level of alcohol use will determine whether it’s best to quit cold turkey or stop drinking gradually.

Some reasons that quitting abruptly is the best choice include:

  • You want to get things over with as fast as possible.
  • You have a medical condition that requires you to quit drinking.
  • You don’t drink heavily enough to produce life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
  • When you try to cut back gradually, you find yourself drinking at your usual levels again shortly afterward.
  • Some reasons to quit gradually include:
  • You drink heavily and frequently, in which case abrupt withdrawal could be dangerous to your health without medical supervision.
  • You don’t drink heavily, and your cravings and withdrawal symptoms are minimal.
  • You have plenty of support.

Can alcohol cause seizures? Binge drinking can trigger seizures in people with and without epilepsy.

In some cases, quitting abruptly can cause severe health problems, such as seizures, delirium tremens, rapid heart rate, and hallucinations. But someone who drinks heavily and frequently can experience withdrawal symptoms from tapering off slowly. The safest way to quit drinking is to seek professional supervision.

5. Learn What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Drinking

Learning what happens to your body when you stop drinking prepares you for withdrawal. It can also encourage you to maintain your sobriety.

In the first few days after quitting cold turkey, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, which often mimic a hangover. You may experience flu-like symptoms as well as mental distress. Withdrawal symptoms usually peak within a few days. Then, they begin to diminish, with full withdrawal happening within about two weeks.

When you stop drinking, the damage that alcohol has done to your body begins to heal. Your blood pressure and triglyceride levels may decrease. Your liver begins to repair itself. You may sleep better. Your weight might even drop, and your libido could go up. These factors may give you the motivation to keep going.

6. Change Your Beliefs About Alcohol

Many people never seek treatment for alcohol use disorder even when they need it. There are many reasons for this. Some of the rationales for avoiding detox have to do with your beliefs about alcohol, such as:

  • Drinking makes me happy.
  • Social situations will be awkward without alcohol.
  • Withdrawal will be scary and painful.
  • My drinking is not heavy enough to require treatment even though it’s negatively impacting my lifestyle.
  • I won’t enjoy myself without drinking.

Challenge yourself to acknowledge your beliefs about alcohol. You might be surprised by what comes up. Once you have an awareness of your beliefs, you can work to change them. For example, if you believe that alcohol makes you happy, come up with a list of other activities and things that bring you joy. If you think that withdrawal is scary and painful, contact a reputable detox center to learn exactly what their method entails and what to expect.

7. Plan to Distract and Fulfill Yourself

You may feel like your life has completely changed after detox. It can be hard to find fulfillment in the things that you once enjoyed, especially if alcohol played a large role in your life. Plan to come up with ideas to keep yourself occupied, distracted and content as you continue with your recovery.

Some options include:

  • Socializing with supportive friends and family members
  • Getting outdoors more often
  • Developing an exercise or yoga routine
  • Meditating
  • Taking up a new hobby

It’s not always easy to generate these ideas when you’re in the midst of a crisis. But if you go into detox with some ideas, you may be more motivated to accomplish your goals when you get out.

8. Explore Different Therapies

Looking for tips for alcohol detox is only the first step toward recovery. If you attend a detox center, you’ll have to quit drinking cold turkey. You’ll have support as you get through withdrawal.

After the acute withdrawal symptoms have subsided, you may still experience physical and emotional distress. You might think about alcohol all the time. You may be depressed.

There is a wide variety of treatment options for the mental, emotional and social issues that arise after detox. Be open to exploring these therapies to customize your treatment plan and give yourself the best chance for success.

At Nashville Detox Center, we offer a safe, peaceful environment with an experienced staff that can help you set the best foundation for recovery. If you would like more tips about alcohol and how to safely taper off it before undergoing the medical detoxification process, or have questions about the treatments that we use, contact us today. You’re not alone! 

References 

https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/faqs.htm#alcoholismAbuse

https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/report_2716/ShortReport-2716.html

https://archives.drugabuse.gov/publications/diagnosis-treatment-drug-abuse-in-family-practice-american-family-physician-monograph/treatment

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