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All You Need to Know About Quitting Alcohol

All You Need to Know About Quitting Alcohol



How to Quit Drinking Alcohol?

Alcoholism is a serious issue that affects millions of people around the world. Making up your mind to quit alcohol is a great step forward. But doing it on your own without professionals’ support can be dangerous. This is because you may experience severe withdrawal symptoms that are too hard to control alone. And if you are not able to deal with these symptoms in a timely manner, then you will be right back to where you started. However, when you can seek support from professionals, you will be in a much better position to deal with the withdrawal symptoms and maintain your progress.

Cadabam’s has a comprehensive treatment program to deal with alcohol abuse disorder. If you want to quit alcohol abuse and need help, our multispecialty team of experts is there for you. We do not have a specific plan that we follow; instead, our approach is entirely personal. Our treatment process starts by understanding the cause of alcoholism, and we work to address those issues. Subsequently, we offer long-term treatment to help you get back to your normal and healthy life. Alcohol use disorder is not something you can treat with just medication or one therapy; it is a long-term effort that includes a combination of treatment approaches. If you or your loved ones need help in beating alcohol use disorder, please get in touch with us today. Call us at +91 96111 94949 or +91 7353226622. You can even email us at info@cadabams.org.

Symptoms And Risk Factors of AUD 

The first step of understanding how to quit alcohol is identifying the symptoms and risk factors of AUD.

Symptoms –

  • Not being able to limit the use of alcohol
  • Spending a  lot of time getting alcohol, drinking or recovering from the use
  • Failing to adhere to personal, professional, and social obligations
  • Feeling immense urge to drink alcohol
  • Continue to abuse alcohol even after getting in trouble for the same
  • Consuming alcohol in situations where it is physically unsafe.
  • Experience withdrawal symptoms like sweating, nausea, shaking, etc.

Causes Of AUD

Following are some of the risk factors that can alcohol use disorder:

  • Drinking alcohol for a long period
  • Starting drinking at a very early age
  • Family history of alcohol use
  • Mental health issues
  • Social and cultural factors
  •  History of trauma

 

Effective Ways to Quit Drinking

Identify your triggers

Recognizing the triggers is a great way to start a sober life. Anticipating triggers might reduce the possibilities of risk and potentially maximizes overall well-being. Triggers can be of two types:

Internal triggers: For a few, it could come with positive emotions like exhilaration or negative emotions like exasperation, and for others, it may arise with physical symptoms such as body pain, headache, and anxiety. All these factors could compel one to drink.

External triggers: As compared to internal triggers, external triggers are easy to identify. Depending upon the place, people, and things, the individual may experience craving.

  • Bypass the high-risk situations

One of the best ways to stop craving for alcohol is to avoid attending social gatherings where alcohol is served. Stop stocking bottles at home, and keep yourself away from people who encourage you to drink. Also, make sure you don’t dwell in any traumatic event that would trigger alcohol cravings.

  • Communicate well

Letting others understand your determination is an added advantage in the process of overcoming alcohol addiction. Communicate it properly to your spouse, family members, friends, and colleagues. Show them that you are serious about it!

  • Seek a support system

Keep yourself surrounded by a strong support system. People with positivity boost your confidence and self-esteem. Beating alcoholism is hard without a strong support system.

  • Find a new meaning for life 

Try to engage yourself in various social activities and things that could take you away from drinking. Take good care of yourself by developing healthy eating and exercising habits.

  • Eat a nutritious diet

A deficiency in macro and micronutrients in your diet may cause you to feel low, depressed, and anxious. One of the best ways to restore physical and mental health is to maintain proper nutrition and hydration levels.

  • Be Strong Minded 

Expect and accept the setbacks you get in the process of quitting drinking; Do not let the feelings of blame, guilt, or shame keep you away from getting back on the track. These will pave the way to sobriety. In due course of quitting drinking, a person may encounter various alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms are physical or psychological features that a person develops, such as a headache, sweating, depression, anxiety, nausea, etc. following the discontinuation of alcohol or any drug.

What to expect when you stop drinking alcohol cold turkey? Management of AWS

You went out last night. You had a lot to drink. Now, you feel like you’ve been drinking too much and you want to stop so you stop drinking for a little bit.

Most people feel like that after a night of occasional excessive drinking. However, when the social or occasional infrequent drinking becomes something you have no control over, you may have a problem on your hands. If your glass of wine of beer has turned into several pints, or you have noticed that your drinking has negatively affected your work, home, or family life, then you may be suffering from alcohol addiction

Once you have identified and accepted the problem, you will want to know how to quit it for good. However, if you’re a long time alcoholic, each time you quit, you may face severe alcohol withdrawal syndrome where you experience tremors, nausea, anxiety, and delirium. 

So, what happens when you stop drinking alcohol?

If you quit alcohol cold-turkey, especially after being a chronic alcohol abuser for some time, you will begin to experience mental and physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

The symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on how much alcohol you have consumed and the period of consumption. 

Alcohol has a lot of negative impacts on the body including inflammatory effects on organs to potential damage to your DNA. Excessive drinking can also put a human body to certain risks like cancers of the head, neck, oesophagus, liver, breast, colon, and rectum; diabetes; and liver disease. Along with serious illnesses, there are other not-so-pleasant effects like lousy moods, intake of too much food, excess calories, poor sleep habits,  crazy sugar cravings, dry skin, and foggy concentration.

Doctors, Nutritionists and Dieticians all over the world recommend that alcohol should be consumed in moderation – up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. When you are too much addicted to alcohol and quit it all of a sudden, this is what will happen.

Immediately after 1 hour since your last drink, your body kicks into high gear to clear the alcohol from your bloodstream and your liver starts working rigorously. Your pancreas also starts producing extra insulin which causes an intense desire to consume carbohydrates.

After 12 hours, your blood sugar finally normalizes, but you will still crave for sugar or carbs, which can last for days. Alcohol has a diuretic effect on human bodies, so you are going to be extremely dehydrated from 12 to 24 hours after quitting. Do not forget to sip a lot of water or fluids to compensate for this dehydration. 

48 hours after you quit, your body finishes its first stage of detoxification. Depending on how much of an addict you were, symptoms like headaches, grogginess and tiredness might linger. Officially after 72 hours of quitting, your hangover side effects will be out of your system and free you of the carb cravings. This is the stage when you finally feel back to yourself, physically and mentally.

After a week without alcohol, you will start sleeping properly, which re-energizes your mental and physical energy. Your skin starts to look more youthful as the hydration process in the body restores. Skin conditions like eczema, dandruff, rosacea begin to improve.

Quitting alcohol all of a sudden can be a bad idea if you drink heavily on a regular basis or have been a heavy drinker for many years. Suddenly stopping drinking can cause alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) which can be really difficult and painful to go through.

For you to have AWS, you will most likely have exhibited the following harmful behaviours related to alcohol abuse.

  • Drinking a significant amount for months or years
  • Been drinking heavily (4-7 standard drinks per day)
  • Have had withdrawal symptoms previously
  • Have an alcohol addiction 
  • Have a binge drinking problem

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

Why it Happens

Alcohol has depressing effects on your body. It can slow down your brain’s functions when you consume too much alcohol, frequently, and for a long time. The brain compensates the depression effects by releasing more chemicals in the body than it normally would when without alcohol.

So, if you stop drinking alcohol suddenly, the brain still produces the extra chemicals resulting in unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that are linked with overstimulation. Eventually, the brain will adjust, but until you get to normal, you may feel uncomfortable and sick.

Withdrawal symptoms are not standard to everyone who stops drinking, but people who have been drinking for a long time or drink large amounts of alcohol frequently will experience withdrawal symptoms if the alcohol consumption is stopped suddenly.

What are the “signs”

What happens when you quit drinking? Here are some of the major symptoms you may incur during withdrawal, the intensity will range from minor to severe:

Mental symptoms:

  •         Feeling skittish or nervous
  •         Trembling
  •         Frequent anxiety episodes
  •         Irritability
  •         Get excited easily
  •         Rapid mood swings
  •         Depression
  •         Lethargy
  •         Foggy thoughts
  •         Nightmares

Physical symptoms:

  •         Headache
  •         Sweating profusely, especially your face and palms
  •         Clammy skin
  •         Paleness
  •         Rapid heartbeat
  •         Nausea and vomiting
  •         Loss of appetite
  •         Insomnia
  •         High blood pressure
  •         Hand tremors

Delirium Tremens

When it comes to the management of alcohol withdrawal syndrome, you need to be aware of a severe type of alcohol withdrawal syndrome called delirium tremens (DTs) because they can happen anywhere between two to four days or a week after your last drink.

DTs happens mostly when you’re malnourished. The symptoms include-

  •         Severe confusion
  •         Hallucinations
  •         Aggressiveness
  •         Irregular heartbeat
  •         Dangerous changes in blood pressure
  •         Excessive sweating
  •         Tremors
  •         Mood swings
  •         Sensitivity to light, touch, or sound

A person going through DT will need hospitalization because they need to get the symptoms under control, which can be life-threatening if not treated on time.

How Do You Deal With AWS?

Still wondering how to quit Alcohol? Alcohol addiction is difficult to control without the right guidance and treatment. It is important to consult doctors so that they can guide you through a recovery process with the necessary medication to keep your body in good health

Alcoholism cannot stop in one day; it needs to be weaned off. Your body and brain would have heavily adapted to the use of alcohol and require alcohol to perform functions at this point. Quitting suddenly without any treatment or medication can lead to serious side effects. 

So, it is okay to suddenly stop social/occasional drinking or other infrequent uses of alcohol. But if there is a possibility of addiction, it is recommended that you consult a doctor instead of suddenly stopping the alcohol intake. It is okay to ask for help.

Rather it is necessary to ask for help. You may have to accept that people around you may not understand alcoholism entirely, and hence it is necessary to get professional help. You can also ask family or friends who are educated about the problem and accompany you for your doctor’s appointment.

Withdrawal Duration and Treatment

Withdrawal Duration

What to expect when you quit drinking? People who have quit drinking alcohol suddenly and are experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms commonly wonder about two questions – ‘Is what I am experiencing normal?’ and ‘How long is it going to last?’. Everyone responds differently to alcohol and hence, alcohol withdrawal can be different for everyone as well. So, there isn’t anything normal or abnormal as such.

Typically, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can start to show up within a few hours after you quit alcohol, or in some cases, a day or two. You may experience the worst of the symptoms usually around 24 to 72 hours after you had your last drink. Other effects on the body after quitting drinking such as fatigue, mood changes, irregular sleep patterns may last for weeks or even months. However, most people start feeling better after around five to seven days after they stop drinking alcohol.

Treatment

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are manageable. With appropriate medical care, one can quit alcohol completely and the symptoms can be significantly reduced or eliminated. Effective treatments option are also available for people with long-term and chronic alcohol abuse.

But during the early stages of recovery, withdrawal symptoms can be a major hurdle for individuals who have decided to avoid drinking alcohol.  The effects of withdrawal symptoms can be so intense at times that may lead to relapse. It may also cause them to take a drink just to ease the distress, and eventually, people tend to give up on their quitting efforts. Fortunately, there are certain medications that can help them to control their withdrawal symptoms and curb the need to drink alcohol during their recovery period. Some of the medications available are Librium (chlordiazepoxide) and Ativan (lorazepam).

Other Treatment Options

Treatment options for individuals can vary. Some people can quit drinking on their own with the help of support groups or 12-step programs, while others have to go for medical supervision to recover from alcohol addiction safely. The option that will work best for you depends on how much and how long you have been drinking, the stability of your living condition as well as on other existing health issues.

Some of the types of alcohol treatment programs to help people withdraw from alcohol are mentioned as follows.

Residential treatment: Here, the individual has to stay at a treatment facility and undergo intensive treatment for alcohol addiction recovery during the day. Typically, the residential treatment lasts anywhere between one to three months.

Partial hospitalization: Some people need regular medical monitoring, but have a stable living condition. In such cases, partial hospitalization treatment can be offered. Here, the individual has to go to the treatment facility for three to five days a week for four to six hours per day.

IOP Programs: IOP or intensive outpatient programs aim at preventing relapses and can be scheduled around work or school times.

Therapy: Therapy can be offered in groups, family, or individual settings. It can help you identify the root causes of your alcohol addiction, develop healthy coping skills as well as repair your relationships.

Medications

Medications cannot provide a definite cure to alcohol use disorder. However, it helps in your recovery process by making drinking less fun. This way, you will be tempted to consume alcohol less. Some of the common medications prescribed while treating alcohol abuse include:

  • Naltrexone – It blocks the high that you get after drinking
  • Acamprosate – It combats with the cravings
  • Disulfiram – It will make you sick if you drink

**These medications should not be consumed without doctor’s consultation.

 

Rehabilitation Program

People struggling with alcohol use disorder can benefit greatly from joining rehabilitation programs. It includes individualized treatment to help patients figure out and overcome the underlying issue that started the abuse. Rehab aims to create a daily routine including productive activities along with counselling sessions. This keeps the patients engaged and eliminates any distractions that may lead them to the use of alcohol again. There are both in-patient and out-patient rehabilitation programs. If you are thinking about how to stop drinking alcohol, then a rehab program is one of the best solutions you have. This is because these programs are extremely comprehensive and include a wide range of therapies such as –

  • Behavioural therapy
  • Dialect behavioural therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy
  • Community reinforcement and family training
  • Contingency management
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Rational emotive behaviour therapy
  • Multidimensional family therapy

How Can You Find the Best Treatment for Alcohol Addiction?

As every individual’s needs are different, there’s no single alcohol addiction treatment or program that will work for everyone. Therefore, it is essential to find a program that you feel will work best for you. Moreover, all alcohol addiction treatment programs can be customized to fit your unique situations and issues. Here are a few tips that can help you find out the best addiction treatment.

  • It’s not necessary that only doctors and psychologists offer your treatment. Many alcohol addictions and recovery programs are also offered by social workers and counsellors. You might want to consider them as well.
  • Alcohol addiction treatment should focus on other aspects of your life that have been affected by alcohol abuse as well.  The treatment program should also examine the impacts of addiction on your health, relationships, career, and psychological well-being and help you develop a new way of life.
  • If you want to know how to quit drinking effectively, understand that you will have to commit and follow-through during your treatment. This is an important part of recovering from alcohol addiction. Generally, people who have been drinking intensely for a long time will be needing more intense treatment as well. Whatever may be the length and intensity of your treatment program, remember that follow-up is crucial to your recovery. 
  • As you seek help on how to stop drinking alcohol, you also have to get treatment for other physical or mental issues that you may be facing as a consequence of alcohol abuse. Receiving treatment for mental health issues like anxiety or depression will ensure that you make a faster recovery from alcohol addiction. Therefore, combined treatment for both mental health issues and addiction recovery is essential.

If you successfully quit alcohol then you start to sleep better, lose a lot of weight (as you are consuming fewer alcohol calories now), your liver starts to repair itself, the skin gets improved, and an overall healthy ‘you’ start being more productive. Alcohol inflames the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, and long-term drinking can disrupt this delicate lining of the intestines, triggering poor digestion and a variety of chronic ailments. Once you are completely alcohol-free, your digestion improves too.

Your heart gets healthier and the risk of developing chronic or severe illnesses decreases. You will notice that you are not sick all the time as you were earlier. Well, why not? Afterall you are sleeping properly and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. You have more time for friends, family and near and dear ones. You’ll have more hangover-free time to focus on your relationships and be a better spouse, parent, friend and employee.

Tips for A Sober Lifestyle

Now, you must have understood how important it is to stay sober and stay active to prevent relapse into alcohol abuse. So, if you are looking for how to avoid alcohol abuse, the following tips can help you maintain a life of sobriety.

Take good care of yourself: You might have mood swings and cravings even after the treatment. To fight them, you need to direct your focus on eating healthy and getting enough sleep. Moreover, you also need to exercise regularly. This will release endorphins that promote emotional well-being and relieve stress.

Surround yourself with your family and loved ones: Having a support system from your family and friends will have a positive influence on your well-being. The more you feel good about yourself, the more likely you will be to make more friends and be a useful part of your community. As a result, you will stay motivated and on the right track.

Involve yourself in new hobbies and activities: Participate in volunteering activities, find a new hobby to work on, or do something that gives you a deep sense of meaning and purpose in your life. When you involve yourself in fulfilling activities, you will gain the strength to hold back from your addiction problem.

Continued treatment: Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous can work wonders and improve your chances of staying sober throughout your life. Not only can you help yourself, but also you can share your experiences with others and help them on their journey to recovery and sobriety.

Dealing with stress: People often indulge themselves in alcohol abuse as a misguided attempt to avoid and stay away from stress. Rather, one must always try to find alternative and healthier ways to manage stress, such as eating healthy, regular exercise, mediation, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques.

Know more about addiction here

Why Cadabams?

If you are thinking about how to stop drinking alcohol home remedies, then that is not going to work. In fact, you will be at more risk of dealing with severe withdrawal symptoms alone. Instead, you need assistance from experienced and reliable professionals who can guide you through the right recovery process.

At Cadabam’s, we envision providing comprehensive treatment to combat alcohol use disorder. We have been treating mental issues, including AUD, for more than two decades. Our expertise allows us to offer customized treatment plans to our patients that focus on treating the underlying issue of the abuse. We imbibe a multispecialty team that works towards treating different areas of alcoholism to provide long-term treatment. If you are thinking about how to quit alcohol, then let our team help you with the same. Call us at +91 96111 94949 or +91 7353226622. You can even email us at info@cadabams.org.

Disclaimer: We strive to treat our patients with dignity and utmost sensitivity. We understand that alcohol addiction is a disease and that it is not a sign of weakness. Terms like an addict, abuser are used not in a derogatory way but to remain relevant to user search trends and common usage. It is important to note that alcohol addiction should be referred to with utmost care and sensitivity to better address the effects of this psychological condition. Words like addict should be avoided. In case you or your loved ones are struggling with alcohol dependency and share a unique viewpoint on how we can improve this content for our readers, please reach out to us at info@cadabamshospitals.com.

FAQs

Is alcohol use disorder the same as alcoholism?

Alcohol use disorder is also known as alcoholism. It is defined as a pattern of alcohol use in which you have trouble controlling the drinking habit, staying away from alcohol, the use of alcohol even if it leads to problems.

What are the DSM-5 criteria for alcohol use disorder?

DSM-5 criteria for alcohol use disorder include:

A maladaptive substance pattern that leads to significant distress or impairment by –

  • Consumption of a large amount of alcohol frequently or for longer period of time
  • There is a constant desire or effort to cut down or control alcohol abuse.
  • Experience strong desire to consume alcohol
  • Consuming alcohol even after constantly dealing with interpersonal or social issues
  • Recurrent alcohol use leading to failure of obligations at school, home or work
  • Recurrent alcohol use in a circumstance where it is hazardous

what is mild alcohol use disorder?

It is a condition when an individual is diagnosed with alcohol use disorder. Mild here means that there are only a couple of symptoms.

What is a standard drink?

To know what heavy drinking is, it is important to know what a standard drink is. A standard drink is measured by:

  •         44 ml of liquor (like whiskey, rum, or tequila)
  •         147 ml of wine
  •         355 ml of beer

Seek help now

Regaining one’s health from destructive alcohol drinking habits could be much easier when there are people around who could support, guide, and encourage you. This kind of support comes from friends and family members. But, in the worst case if the person is completely out of control, then it is advisable for him to undergo self-help programs & therapies, or go for a treatment-based approach. It is better to seek psychological help or medical treatment as well.

Alcohol Rehabilitation programs play an important role in helping to overcome alcohol addiction. The rehab centers serve as a strong support network providing patient-focused structured treatment methods to quit drinking.

To know more about how to get rid of alcohol addiction problems, their effects, and treatment options, you can seek the best psychological assistance from our professionals.