Tapering Off to Sobriety: How Much Cutback is Too Much Too Soon?


However, if you attempt to taper on your own without a doctor’s knowledge, tapering can sometimes be unsafe. 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. For this reason, even at-home tapers should be done under a doctor’s care.

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Many of the effects of drinking every day can be reversed through early intervention. One must always remember the importance of his or her environment. Users should avoid places where recreational or binge drinking is likely to occur, such as clubs, sporting events, parties and more. This comes down to personal discretion — nobody knows the people and places that create potentially negative how to taper off alcohol consequences like the individual in question. This, of course, is easier said than done if drinking has become the crux of one’s social or romantic relationships. Experts advise surrounding oneself with positive influences whenever possible. 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.

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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. A person who drinks more alcohol will probably have a longer taper than a person who drinks less alcohol. For some drinkers, cutting down on the amount of alcohol they drink simply does not work.

how to taper off drinking

Many people fail to successfully quit drinking at least once before managing to attain sobriety. The main difference between tapering and cold turkey is how fast you quit. Cold turkey is a common slang term for quitting alcohol all at once. Tapering or weaning means ramping down your alcohol use until you get to zero—or to a more moderate level of drinking that you prefer. 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.

Medications Used When Tapering Off Alcohol

If it’s too hard to control how much you drink each day, weaning might not be the right strategy. That said, there are now several medications that can help reduce your cravings and make weaning off alcohol easier. Medical detox can help minimize the unpleasant and dangerous side effects of alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal symptomsusually occur within 6–4 hours6after stopping alcohol and can last for 2–10 days11.

How do I know if I’m an alcoholic?

Feeling a strong craving or urge to drink alcohol. Failing to fulfill major obligations at work, school or home due to repeated alcohol use. Continuing to drink alcohol even though you know it's causing physical, social, work or relationship problems.

Instead, slowly cutting back on your drinking, or using an alcohol tapering schedule, is a safer method to become sober. Consultation with a medical professional or recovery coach is strongly recommended. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.

Cons of Tapering off Alcohol

Contact us today to speak with a representative and begin on the road to lasting addiction recovery. 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.

how to taper off drinking

If you only drink two to three drinks per week, you can easily quit cold turkey without experiencing major withdrawal symptoms. However, tapering off may be the way to go if you drink heavily or have more than six drinks per week. Another strategy for a successful taper is to drink just enough to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay. If you find it is difficult to prevent yourself from drinking too much and getting drunk, locking your alcohol up in a cabinet and giving your friend or family member the key can help. Although with this method, it is important that the friend or family member is accessible when symptoms of withdrawals such as tremors return. Also, learn to cope with and avoid situations that might cause you to want to drink more. Tapering off alcohol is the act of slowly reducing alcohol intake until a person becomes completely abstinent.

Find your treatment that works for you!

Ask for support from your loved ones.Let friends, family, and trusted community members know that you need support to reduce or stop drinking. Take a break from drinking and choose alcohol-free days.Decide not to drink for at least a day or two every week. Again, a medical professional can help you determine what’s the right fit for you based on your history and symptoms or problems. Insomnia is a common symptom of alcohol withdrawal, especially in the early stages of recovery. In fact, sleep disturbances can persist for months despite continued abstinence. Some studies have shown that sleep disturbances can increase the chance of relapsing…. It can be difficult to say no to people, especially when they care about you.


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