How To Quit Drinking At Home
If you feel that youd like some help quitting alcohol, but dont have the time or money to go to inpatient or outpatient rehab, there are some options that can make things easier. One of the best tools at your disposal may turn out to be your smartphone.
Telemedicine is a growing industry, and is making medical assistance easier to access than it was before. People can now talk to a doctor through video chat and get help for many common ailments. Alcohol abuse turns out to be no exception, and resources like medical counseling, recovery coaching, and even prescriptions are now available through telemedicine programs. Ria Health is among these.
And on the subject of digital tools, there are now many apps that can help you monitor or manage your quitting process. These include drink trackers, daily reminders, and even bluetooth breathalyzers that record your blood alcohol content. Finally, online communities are springing up that make it possible to socialize with others who are quitting, exchange support, and even build a new community.
In other words, digital technology is making it easier than ever to stop drinking at home.
Dry January And Other Chances To Take A Break
Dry January has become a popular way for people to experiment with drinking less. Officially begun in Great Britain in 2013, it has grown quickly, with over four million people in the U.K. participating in 2018.
Taking a break for a month can give you some perspective on how much you drink, and what it feels like when you dont. For some people, this can be a motivating step towards sobriety or moderation. For others, it can be a chance to start pursuing long-term abstinence at a time when fewer people around them are drinking.
Regardless of when you choose to take a break, there are more and more socially condoned opportunities to see what its like to drink less alcohol. The health benefits of even a month without alcohol may surprise you. If youre thinking of cutting back, this can be a great way to test things out, or get started on your journey.
Continue Reading: 31 Things to Do Other Than Drink During Dry January
Medication To Stop Drinking
Medication has been an option for many decades, and despite having a strong success rate it is not very well known. Fortunately, this is starting to change.
The original medication for alcoholism is disulfiram, also known as Antabuse. This prescription drug causes you to feel ill when you drink any amount of alcohol, and is now considered a fairly harsh way of quitting. Still, for some people, disulfiram remains an effective choice.
There are now milder options as well. Since the 1990s, naltrexone has been approved by the FDA to treat alcohol use disorder. This drug limits the pleasurable effects of drinking without making you feel sick. Naltrexone is a key component in the Sinclair Method, which uses targeted doses of this drug to help people moderate or quit over time. It is also available as a monthly injection , or as a daily pill.
For those who have already quit and want help managing cravings, there is also acamprosate, an abstinence maintenance medication that helps rebalance your brain chemistry. And beyond these, there are several off-label medications that can be useful, including gabapentin, topiramate, and baclofen. There is even research in progress to see if kudzu, an herbal remedy from traditional Chinese medicine, can help limit drinking.
Any of these medications can make a big difference in battling physical addiction, making the psychological parts of alcohol dependence easier to work through.
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What Happens When You Stop Drinking Cold Turkey
One out of every 12 adults in the United States suffers from alcohol dependence, making alcohol the most regularly used addictive substance in America, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence reports. Drinking large amounts of alcohol regularly can cause the brain to get used to the way that alcohol interferes with neurotransmitter transmission, movement, and absorption.
Alcohol disrupts regular levels of these neurotransmitters in the brain, and the more the brain becomes accustomed to the artificial interference, the more it will rely on alcohol to keep these levels stable. After a person becomes dependent on alcohol, dopamine and GABA activity is altered, leading to uncomfortable and even dangerous withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop drinking. Alcohol is a substance that should never be stopped cold turkey without professional intervention, care, and supervision.
Where Detox Is Carried Out
How and where you attempt detoxification will be determined by your level of alcohol dependency. In mild cases, you should be able to detox at home without the use of medication as your withdrawal symptoms should also be mild.
If your consumption of alcohol is high or you’ve previously experienced withdrawal symptoms, you may also be able to detox at home with medication to help ease withdrawal symptoms. A tranquiliser called chlordiazepoxide is usually used for this purpose.
If your dependency is severe, you may need to go to a hospital or clinic to detox. This is because the withdrawal symptoms will also be severe and are likely to need specialist treatment.
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How To Deal With Alcohol Withdrawal At Home
Some people avoid medically supervised rehab because they prefer natural remedies for alcohol withdrawal. Slowly tapering off alcohol is the safest way to naturally overcome alcohol withdrawal, and many at-home remedies can help you cope with mild withdrawal symptoms. However, medical treatment is necessary to treat major symptoms of withdrawal.
Home remedies for alcohol withdrawal include:
- Nothing can replace the value of water. The body requires it to function. When youre dehydrated, you can experience irritability, fatigue and confusion. Some people mistake symptoms of dehydration for symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
- Drinks that Contain Electrolytes
- Water is important, but individuals should also consume beverages that contain electrolytes. 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. These nutrients help the brain and other organs function. If a person is malnourished, the body doesnt have the energy it needs to recover from alcohol dependence.
Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome Treatments
Left unmanaged, people who are physically dependent on alcohol may experience a markedly uncomfortable and potentially life-threatening called alcohol withdrawal syndrome when attempting to quit this drug. In such instances, a supervised medical detox may be needed to effectively manage symptoms and decrease the risk of complications to best promote continued abstinence in early recovery.2
As a part of this process, medications may be given at the onset of symptoms and continued until they subside.4
Though more than 150 medications have been explored for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal, there continues to be some disagreement regarding the best pharmacologic approaches to withdrawal management.2
Dangers Of Quitting Alcohol Cold Turkey
Stopping alcohol use abruptly can be very dangerous. There are various dangers associated with stopping alcohol use cold turkey. First, DT can lead to a person becoming functionally disabled or even dying. DTs are a sudden and severe mental or nervous system change that alters a persons breathing, circulation, and temperature control.
DT symptoms are severe and include: autonomic hyperactivity, hand tremor, insomnia, nausea or vomiting, transient hallucinations or illusions, psychomotor agitation, anxiety and generalized tonicclonic seizures.
Abruptly stopping alcohol intake after prolonged heavy drinking can also result in alcohol withdrawal seizures these seizures can originate anywhere in the brain and may be deadly. Seizures typically occur 12 to 48 hours after a person has their last drink. DTs and seizures are usually associated with severe alcohol withdrawal which can occur in individuals who consume high amounts of alcohol.
Further, the severity of withdrawal symptoms can cause a person to resort back to drinking alcohol to relieve any symptoms. However, doing so without the guidance of a physician, can complicate tapering and ultimately delay when, if ever, sobriety is reached.
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Give Up Or Gradually Reduce Your Drinking
If you want to stop drinking alcohol as part of a move towards a healthier lifestyle, cutting down on the amount of alcohol you drink as opposed to giving up alcohol completely can help bring lots of health benefits, and can be easier to stick to. Reducing the amount you drink can also be an effective stepping stone to giving up alcohol completely in the future.
Cutting down doesnt have to be complicated. If you drink every night, start by designating a couple of days a week as alcohol-free days. This can soon become habit, the personal challenge helping remove the temptation and perhaps encouraging you to add more alcohol-free days. Official alcohol unit guidance is that it is safest for both and women to not regularly drink more than 14 units a week and not to save up your units but spread them our evenly over the week.
- Our free MyDrinkaware: Track and Calculate Units app can help you track the amount youre drinking in units, calories and hard cash, and also lets you record days on which you drink nothing at all.
Regimens For Alcohol Detoxification
Three regimens for alcohol detoxification using benzodiazepines are most commonly followed ,
Fixed tapering dose regimen fixed doses of benzodiazepines are administered at scheduled intervals regardless of symptom severity. The initial doses are decided based upon the presenting severity of withdrawal and the time since last intake. This is best suited for out-patient setting where close monitoring is not possible . Consequently, a fixed-dose regimen may be preferred in admitted patients if CIWA-Ar scores cannot be accurately performed .
Symptom triggered regimen benzodiazepines are administered according to the withdrawal symptoms as assessed by withdrawal rating scales e.g. CIWA- AR. The ratings are done at a fixed schedule and drug doses are administered as per withdrawal severity. It needs training in applying scales and trained personnel. A symptom-triggered regimen is preferred in most cases of AWS because it results in the administration of less total medication and shorter duration of treatment . This regimen may also reduce the risk of under medicating or over medicating a patient since dosing is based upon withdrawal symptoms . The efficacy of symptom-triggered regimens, however, depends on the validity of patient assessment.
Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline Of Symptoms
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can occur as early as two hours after your last drink. Typically, symptoms will peak within the first 24 to 48 hours upon cessation. This is when you may experience the most uncomfortable of withdrawal symptoms, such as insomnia, rapid heartbeat, changes in blood pressure, sweating, tremors, and fever.
While some people experience very few withdrawal symptoms, others may suffer from more serious side effects. For example, delirium tremens is one of the most severe of alcohol withdrawal symptoms. It can surface within the first 48 hours after your last drink and involves confusion, severe shaking, hallucinations, and high blood pressure. Although delirium tremens is uncommon, it can be life-threatening. Heavy drinkers who suddenly stop drinking may experience any range of dangerous symptoms, so its important for those experiencing withdrawal to undergo medically-assisted detox.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms typically manifest according to the following timeline:
6 to 12 hours post-ingestion
- Tactile, auditory, and visual hallucinations
- High fever and excessive sweating
- Delirium tremens
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How To Taper Off Ativan
Ativan is a prescription medication that is often used to treat anxiety, insomnia, continuous seizures, and as a medication used right before anesthesia. Ativans active ingredient is benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines have sedative properties that are most commonly used for anxiety relief, as a muscle relaxant, and amnesiac. Benzodiazepines work by producing a tranquilizing effect on the central nervous system. The drug can be addicting because it results in a surge of dopamine in the brain resulting in feelings of pleasure.
Taking ativan for prolonged periods of time can result in addiction and dependence. If a person becomes dependent on ativan they could experience painful withdrawal symptoms when attempting to quit.
Cutting Back Vs Quitting Alcohol Altogether
Whether or not you can successfully cut back on your drinking depends on the severity of your drinking problem. If youre an alcoholicwhich, by definition, means you arent able to control your drinkingits best to try to stop drinking entirely. But if youre not ready to take that step, or if you dont have an alcohol abuse problem but want to cut back for personal or health reasons, the following tips can help:
Set your drinking goal. Choose a limit for how much youll drink, but make sure your limit is not more than one drink a day if youre a woman, two drinks a day if youre a manand try to have some days each week when you wont drink alcohol at all. Write your drinking goal down and keep it where you will frequently see it, such as on your phone or taped to your refrigerator.
Keep a record of your drinking to help you reach your goal. For 3 to 4 weeks, write down every time you have a drink and how much you drink. Reviewing the results, you may be surprised at your weekly drinking habits.
Cut down drinking at home. Try to limit or remove alcohol from your home. Its much easier to avoid drinking if you dont keep temptations around.
Drink slower. When you drink, sip slowly and take a break of 30 minutes or one hour between drinks. Or drink soda, water, or juice between alcoholic drinks. Drinking on an empty stomach is never a good idea, so make sure you eat food when you drink.
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Withdrawal Symptoms And Alcohol Dependency
If youre experiencing withdrawal symptoms, its a sign that you are becoming physically dependent on alcohol. Alcohol dependence, sometimes known as alcoholism, is the most serious form of drinking problem and can lead to a whole range of serious health problems. People who are suffering from alcohol dependence may experience a strong, often uncontrollable, desire to drink and feel theyre unable to function without alcohol.
If youre experiencing these symptoms several days a week, its very likely you are already dependent on alcohol.
You must seek medical help – talk to your GP about how to reduce your drinking, and find out more about alcohol dependence and how other organisations can help.
If you think you may be drinking too much, or that your drinking is beginning to have a damaging effect on your life, we have a quick test that can help you understand if there is cause for concern.
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Historical: Detoxification With Alcohol
Alcohol was itself used as a detoxifying agent through gradual weaning that commanded support in the 18th and early 19th centuries . By the mid-19th century, the Temperance movement strongly influenced the way habitual drunkenness is conceptualized and had widened its focus to condemnation of all alcoholic beverages. This made it difficult to advocate gradual weaning as a justifiable intervention. A literature search found just two recent reports concerning the use of alcohol for alcohol detoxification , although there are reports in other medical specialties .
Richard Saitz suggested that Alcohol should not be used to treat withdrawal for several reasons . First, using alcohol as a treatment would promote its acceptability to the alcoholic. Second, alcohol has known toxic effects that are not shared by the safer benzodiazepines. Third, in one clinical study, alcohol was inferior to the benzodiazepine, chlordiazepoxide .
Can You Get Addicted From Short
All opioids are chemically related and interact with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the body and brain. Opioid pain relievers are generally safe when taken for a short time and as prescribed by a doctor, but because they produce euphoria in addition to pain relief, they can be misused and taken in a different way or in a larger quantity than prescribed, or taken without a doctors prescription. Regular use, even as prescribed by a doctor, can lead to dependence and, when misused, opioid pain relievers can lead to addiction, overdose incidents, and deaths.
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Have A Purpose To Weaning Off Alcohol
You wont quit something until you have a strong conviction. It has to rattle you to the core. You have to break up with the addiction almost like a divorce.
People have found purpose in their treatment through many avenues:
It could be that you hit rock bottom and hate seeing yourself that way. Or, you could simply be fed up with wasting all of your hard-earned money on booze. It doesnt matter what this purpose and conviction are as long as it works for you.
Talk to yourself, change your inner dialogue, and figure out what matters. Then, use that as a launching point to wean and quit alcohol for good. This will make dealing with the withdrawal symptoms somewhat easier.