That said, some independent groups have stepped in, publishing sample tapering schedules to guide people trying to cut back on drinking. It can take different people varying amounts of time to taper off alcohol. How long it takes depends on factors like how much you typically drink.
- The most common research technique among those surveyed is an internet search (61%), followed by asking a doctor or medical professional (55%).
- Usually, alcohol withdrawal symptoms occur within 12–24 hours after stopping alcohol and can last 2–10 days.
- Just don’t convince yourself that you can be a normal drinker after stressfully forcing yourself to do this a few times.
- The second situation involves counting the drinks you consume daily and switching them for a beverage with lower alcohol content, such as beer.
- They can help you determine the best and safest action for your needs.
- This means that there is little data about the best way to taper your drinking.
If you have a seizure, the best thing they can do is stay with you, move any hazardous objects out of the way, prevent you from falling on anything hard, and call 911. They shouldn’t hold you down and there’s no real need to worry about choking on your tongue. If you can get through a day with no physical withdrawal symptoms, you probably won’t need to taper. If you get moderate tremors or start hallucinating six hours after your last drink, you probably need to taper.
Weaning (or Tapering) Off Alcohol: What it Means
Tapering gradually lowers the amount of alcohol that you use over time. This lessens the severity of withdrawal symptoms, as there is not an abrupt or dramatic change. Tapering will normally create less severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms but will spread them out over a prolonged period. Essentially, tapering provides less intense withdrawal symptoms but over a longer amount of time. You may be able to detox at home and still attend outpatient therapy or support group meetings.
Your friends and family may not be the best support system, unless they’re also recovering addicts/alcoholics. They may have trouble relating to you and you could feel out-of-place talking to them about your problems. If you’re self-tapering, I assume you don’t want to go how to taper off alcohol to rehab. You can try out any of the things in my guide on Alternatives To Inpatient Drug Rehab. Do anything and everything you can to distract yourself from drinking. Whether that’s watching TV, cooking dinner, cleaning the house, going for a walk, or taking a bath.
How Long Does It Take To Taper Off Alcohol?
As a general rule, if you’ve been drinking an average of 10 drinks or more a day every day for more than a couple of weeks, you will need to taper. If you’ve been binge drinking 15-20+ drinks a day for 2-3 days, you will need to taper. The numbers may be less for women, individuals with smaller bodies, and people who are underweight.
- The purpose of tapering off alcohol is to avoid major withdrawal symptoms so you can achieve sobriety safely.
- For example, if you start to suffer from alcohol withdrawal symptoms despite an attempt to taper, your symptoms may worsen before you have the chance to seek medical attention.
- A community of understanding and empathetic people can help you recover.
- The effects of alcohol can vary depending on weight, gender, age and other factors.
- When people who are dependent on alcohol drink, they feel normal.
If you struggle to stop drinking, avoid places and situations that tempt you to drink alcohol. You may even ask your friends and family not to drink while around you. You can taper off alcohol if you worry that you are developing alcohol addiction. Many who consume alcohol do so to cope with stress, anxiety, and depression, but experts say this is counterintuitive and that drinking can increase these symptoms. Heavy drinking not only increases your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, it also raises your risk of cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
You Experience Withdrawals When You Stop Drinking
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. Easier said than done, but if you go down this path, you’ll be right back where you started. Remember, you probably just felt horrible a few days earlier.
Don’t just give up and drink a fifth because you had your 6 drinks before noon when you meant to have 6 drinks over the whole day. If you must get drunk during your taper, do yourself a favor and just get buzzed, not completely trashed. If you’re lucky enough to have a supportive friend, a roommate, or a family member that lives with you who can assist, that is ideal. Tell them what you’re planning on doing, give them a copy of your planned taper schedule, and have them hold all the alcohol to portion out and give to you as needed. Ideally, pick someone who doesn’t also have a problem with alcohol.
How to Get Same-Day Admission Rehab
But, perhaps most importantly, understand that setbacks happen and that progress takes time or may look different than imagined. It is all part of the process, and no one’s process is the same. A community of understanding and empathetic people can help you recover. These support groups require no commitment from attendees, and you can attend meetings online. Light exercise and a proper diet can help you adjust to the detox.
- Cautious tapering may take longer than medically supervised detox, but it will help you avoid major health problems.
- Overall, getting professional help can improve your chances for long-term sobriety.
- Research has shown that professional help improves your ability to overcome an addiction to alcohol or cut back if you have found it difficult.
- If you are an underweight male or female, a woman or trans male, or at risk of complications due to high blood pressure, you may want to consider tapering slower than this.
- These medications are prescribed and managed by healthcare providers.
- Using alcohol and marijuana in combination increases your risk of experiencing uncomfortable side effects due to increased absorption of THC.
Do not stop drinking entirely if you have previously experienced seizures (fits) or hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there) when you stop drinking. When you’re drinking less than 10 units a day, you can try to stop drinking altogether. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms consistent with DT, call 911. DT can be fatal, and a person going through them should have medical support in a hospital or rehab facility.
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A doctor can supervise your tapering progress, helping you manage your cravings and prevent relapse. Overall, getting professional help can improve your chances for long-term sobriety. You might not think consuming alcohol has an impact on your personal relationships or daily life until you take a harder look, Thiry says. This kind of deterioration is responsible for disease like Alzheimer’s, which we can lower the risk for when we cut down on heavy drinking. Alcohol proof is the amount of alcohol found in distilled spirits or liquor. The higher the proof, the more alcohol the liquor contains.
There are serious, potentially life-threatening risks involved with detoxing from alcohol—especially when you’re doing it on your own. Cutting down your alcohol intake may not be as easy as it sounds. People who want to reduce their alcohol consumption often do not realize how much of their social and daily routines alcohol has become. Tapering alcohol may be uncomfortable, and there may be subconscious triggers that stimulate the desire to drink alcohol.