Remember that “social distancing” should not mean that you are isolating from social contact, and you can take advantage of online support to help you meet your goals. We recommend in-hospital detoxification for people in danger of withdrawal. But hospital resources at this time are likely to be focused on caring for the infected, not the intoxicated. There has been a growing acknowledgment that illicit drug supply chains are already changing. This impacts drug quality and cost for people on the ground, increasing their risk of involuntary withdrawal and overdose.

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. We can keep you safe and comfortable throughout the detox process and provide you with the foundations you need to stay sober. Within a detox facility, you wouldn’t have to worry about experiencing the above-mentioned symptoms or alcohol withdrawal complications because the medical staff would taper you off of alcohol. Getting support can also lessen your chances of relapsing during the early stages of recovery, allowing you to build the foundations you need to obtain and maintain long-term recovery from alcoholism.

What is Quitting Cold Turkey?

Other studies should address the clinical significance of kindling and the risk factors for more severe withdrawal (Fiellin et al. 1998). Additional research also is needed to determine the most appropriate treatment settings as well as how to taper off alcohol at home methods of engaging patients in ongoing relapse prevention efforts. Improved insight into these issues will enable clinicians to improve the efficiency and quality of care for patients who are experiencing or are at risk for withdrawal.

how to taper off alcohol

Tapering off gives your body time to adjust to living without the effects of alcohol by slowly reducing your intake over a period of days or weeks. Making a schedule to slowly reduce your alcohol intake is a safe way to taper off the substance. This will ensure that you are not quitting cold turkey which could result in severe and debilitating  withdrawal symptoms or even death.

Can You Use Alcohol to Taper Off?

Despite the variability in the type and severity of symptoms that a person can experience, the clinical syndrome of AW has been well defined. Its symptoms generally appear within hours of stopping or even just lowering alcohol intake and, thus, BAC. Even without treatment, most of these manifestations will usually resolve several hours to several days after their appearance. AW syndrome varies significantly among alcoholics in both its clinical manifestations and its severity. These manifestations1 can range from mild insomnia to severe consequences, such as delirium tremens (DT’s) and even death. Substantial variability also exists in the incidence with which symptoms occur in various drinkers.

A 2019 survey found 7.4% of adult (ages 18 and over) Oregonians reported having alcohol use disorder in the past year. This is a significant difference from the overall United States average of 5.7% of U.S. adults that reported having alcohol use disorder in the past year. The annual cost of excessive alcohol use to Oregon’s economy each year is $3.5 billion due to lost productivity, health care expenses, criminal justice costs, and motor vehicle crashes.

Quitting Cold Turkey

You can quit cold turkey under the guidance of a trained medical detox team, or you can slowly reduce intake. This option is only appropriate for someone who has an emerging drinking problem. If you have an alcohol problem of a long duration, you should undergo a monitored medical detox. If you have taken antidepressant medications in the past, your doctor probably instructed you to slowly decrease the amount of medication you are taking rather than quitting them cold turkey. Tapering off substances gradually can prevent withdrawal symptoms from occurring. Tapering is the practice of reducing the consumption of alcohol over a period of time until the amount of alcohol in the system has dropped to zero.

  • For heavy drinkers, they will need to follow a specific medical detox which is also monitored to ensure this is done safely.
  • Once you have completely tapered off alcohol, you will have to decide if you want to follow a path of total abstinence or moderate alcohol use.
  • Antipsychotic medications such as haloperidol can treat hallucinations and agitation that are unresponsive to adequate doses of benzodiazepines.
  • “Signs” are changes in the patient’s condition that can be objectively observed by an examiner (e.g., temperature, a rash, or high blood pressure).
  • This surge in glutamate can trigger alcohol withdrawal symptoms, which can be potentially dangerous in certain cases.

My approach to therapy is grounded in compassion, empathy, and a deep understanding of the unique experiences and perspectives of each of my clients . I utilize a person-centered approach to my clients to help empower change within themselves. These progressed to mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms when my tolerance increased in college. By the time I finished college, I experienced moderate symptoms if I went a few days without drinking.

Is alcohol beginning to take up more and more of your time, budget, and life? You may be wondering how to begin the process of ridding yourself or your loved one of alcohol use once and for all. If you have any questions or comments about how long it takes to detox from alcohol, please leave them in the comment box below. To make matters worse, alcohol suppresses glutamate, which is an “excitatory” neurotransmitter. Glutamate has the opposite effect as GABA, making our brains hyperactive and our experience of the world hypersensitive. Alcohol is a depressant that mimics GABA, which is the primary “inhibitory” or calming neurotransmitter in our brains.