How To Taper Off Alcohol Risks of Quitting Alcohol Cold Turkey

How To Taper Off Alcohol Risks of Quitting Alcohol Cold Turkey

A therapist will work with you to create a personalized plan for cutting back and provide ongoing guidance and accountability. People who have alcohol use disorder that goes undiagnosed may have an especially difficult time cutting back on their alcohol consumption. In many cases, people with a moderate to severe alcohol use disorder may be advised to undergo medical detox, where they slowly rid the body of alcohol under medical supervision rather than a taper. If you’re struggling to stick to a taper or do not trust yourself to moderate your alcohol use, having strict supervision and support can help you meet your recovery goals. I have experience working in psychiatric hospitals, inpatient, outpatient, detox, and partial hospitalization programs providing clinical social work services.

One approach is the cold turkey method, which involves immediately and completely cutting out the substance. If a person is quitting cold turkey, they are more likely to succeed with the right support. The serious form of alcohol withdrawal is called delirium tremens (DTs). It also leads to changes in how the brain regulates blood circulation and breathing. This is very dangerous because – just like with heroin and similar drugs – withdrawals can be severe. Regardless, today we know that this phrase refers to quitting something abruptly.

What are the risks?

I have experience working with all age groups and backgrounds and have worked in hospitals, inpatient, outpatient, and partial hospitalization programs providing clinical social work services. However, this may work for some people, but it is not effective nor is it the safest way of quitting alcohol. Quitting cold turkey doesn’t rewire your brain the way tapering off alcohol does, so it is more likely that the patient will relapse if they decide to quit alcohol cold turkey. If you suddenly quit drinking, your brain can start to make more of an excitatory substance called glutamate. This excessive glutamate level can lead to alcohol withdrawal symptoms, which can be dangerous.

Vanessa is certified in addictions counseling by Maryland’s Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists, with credentials as a clinical supervisor. She comes to The Freedom Center with over 14 years of direct experience in residential and outpatient treatment between the private and federal sectors. Over the past several months, Erin has worked with our team to create a strong clinical program for our residential location in Buckeystown.

What Is Tapering or Weaning off Drugs?

The first 6 to 12 hours after the last drinks, the mild withdrawals will set in. These milder symptoms of withdrawal often present as insomnia, anxiety, tremors, headache and stomachache, excessive sweating, heart palpitations, and a lack of appetite. If you or someone you love struggles with addiction, The Recovery Village is here to help.

alcohol tapering vs cold turkey

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