Risks & Dangers of Quitting Alcohol Cold Turkey
When you quit drinking, you should also seek medical advice about any alcohol withdrawal symptoms you experience. This includes early symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, such as mild tremors and anxiety. The reason for this is that alcohol withdrawal symptoms can quickly snowball and worsen. Mild anxiety, for example, can turn into overwhelming agitation or even hallucinations. When symptoms become that serious, it can be difficult to seek help. Seeking help as early as possible during the withdrawal process is the best way to stay safe as you cleanse your body of alcohol.
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Even if you fail, there are still plenty of treatment options you can turn to. 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. Keep your refrigerator stocked with nutritious foods and drinks.
It also can reduce the risk of relapse by not trying to attempt too much too soon, failing, and then going back to regularly using alcohol to cope with the feelings of failure. Maintain a healthy diet with lots of B vitamins (especially thiamine/B1), as alcohol makes it hard for the body to absorb vitamins.
If you need help figuring out how to taper off alcohol, or want to find alcohol detox services near you, our treatment specialists at Vertava Health can help. Tapering off alcohol, rather than stopping all at once, is the most effective way to avoid serious withdrawal symptoms and other problems such as dehydration. It’s vital to speak with a medical professional before you begin weaning off alcohol to ensure you have a plan to do so safely.
Is it better to go cold turkey or slowly?
Being free of the harmful substance sooner
By going cold turkey, a person's body can begin to recover immediately from the damage the substance was causing. In quitting gradually, people are continuing to ingest the harmful substance in their body for a longer time, which may lead to more damage.
To avoid or reduce the impact of the withdrawal symptoms, people struggling with alcohol may choose to progressively taper off alcohol rather than quit abruptly. While detox is an important first step, it may not be enough to support an individual’s long-term recovery from alcohol addiction. To maintain recovery over time and avoid relapse, ongoing treatment can more comprehensively address your underlying thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that led to the alcohol misuse in the first place.
Online Therapy Can Help
Electrolytes are vital nutrients, including calcium, potassium and sodium. Alcohol intoxication and withdrawal can create electrolyte imbalances, which causes side effects such as muscle spasms, numbness and seizures. A Healthy Diet A healthy diet includes eating foods that contain the proper balance of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats. If a person is malnourished, the body doesn’t have the energy it needs to recover from alcohol dependence. Learn more about the role of nutrition during recovery A Shower Taking a shower doesn’t help you sober up, and it doesn’t help alcohol leave your body more quickly. But it can relieve some symptoms of alcohol withdrawal by helping you relax. Taking a shower that is too hot or too cold can cause dangerous changes to body temperature, but a lukewarm shower may distract you from some minor withdrawal symptoms.
Take the first step toward addiction treatment by contacting us today. At Ethos Recovery, we know that overcoming alcoholism is a life-long journey.
How do you know if your liver is detoxing?
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. Minor symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can start as soon as six hours after the last drink of alcohol. Once they appear, acute symptoms may continue for around a week. Tapering is the practice of slowly reducing regular consumption of a substance like alcohol. Tapering can help a person avoid uncomfortable and sometimes deadly symptoms of withdrawal. Inmedical detox, doctors and nurses provide around-the-clock care while helping you wean off alcohol.
Is it better to stop drinking gradually?
If you're dependent on alcohol, it can be dangerous to stop drinking suddenly. Instead, you should try to reduce the amount you drink slowly, over a few weeks. This takes a bit of preparation, but it's much safer than stopping suddenly.
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- Simply put, GABA receptors cause a person to feel calm, relaxed or sleepy.
- Up to three doses are required in most patients, which helps in reliably preventing the occurrence of withdrawal seizures.
- The daily dose is calculated by using the aforementioned formula.
- You will also find information on spotting the signs and symptoms of substance use and hotlines for immediate assistance.
- When alcohol is suddenly taken away from an addict, seizures and delirium tremens can occur.
Medical detox is then followed by inpatient and outpatient rehab to help you maintain your sobriety over the long term, andmedication-assisted treatmentmay be prescribed as medically appropriate. Because tapering can be tricky and alcohol withdrawal syndrome can be dangerous, you should never start a taper before talking to your doctor. Addiction experts have not conducted many studies on alcohol tapering. As a result, little information is available regarding the best way to taper. That said, some independent groups have stepped in, publishing sample tapering schedules to guide people who are trying to cut back on drinking.
Essentially, when an individual drinks, the brain amplifies certain activities to counterbalance the depressive effect alcohol has on it. When that numbing sensation disappears entirely, the brain is left dangerously overstimulated. Insomnia, anxiety and paranoia — the opposite effects of alcohol — are the expected results. Thus, a user will likely seek out alcohol again to rid themselves of the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Anyone wanting to stop using alcohol may benefit from tapering if they first consult with their doctor to ensure they are tapering safely. Tapering is a more cost-effective method of stopping alcohol use, especially for those who do not have healthcare insurance or the resources needed to get a professional detox. People who have successfully tapered from alcohol before may be especially likely to benefit from this strategy.
- We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals.
- If you suspect someone has alcohol poisoning, then it is important to get them to a hospital right away.
- With physical dependence, your body becomes used to the presence of alcohol in your system and begins to adapt accordingly.
- However, some groups have stepped in to try to bridge this gap and have published sample tapering schedules to help those trying to stop drinking.
- If you are doing a self detox be sure to drink lots and lots of fluids and to take vitamin pills.
- It’s always best to speak with a healthcare provider when changing your relationship with alcohol.
Learn which signs to look out for, and how to care for your well-being. Dependence is often accompanied by tolerance, which is when it takes more and more alcohol for you to achieve the same effects that you experienced when you first started. Another sign that you might need to taper is morning alcohol cravings.
This can cause your brain to become hyper-excitable and leads to withdrawal symptoms. Obviously quitting cold turkey from a 12-beer-a-day habit is going to be more stressful than tapering off slowly. But that does not mean home detox is effective, appropriate, or safe.