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Overcoming Alcohol Addiction: How to Quit Drinking Alcohol?

Overcoming Alcohol Addiction: How to Quit Drinking Alcohol?



Overcoming Alcohol Addiction

Have you made up your mind to give up on alcohol? Then you are not alone. In India, it is estimated that about 14 million people are alcohol addicts and are in search of help. To quit drinking is a good decision, but the dark side is the fact that it is quite difficult to quit on your own. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so is the same when it comes to quitting drinking. It does take time for a person to quit drinking, meanwhile, all that is most important is to be patient.

Overcoming alcohol addiction is a bumpy and long road. Most people do not transform their drinking habits overnight. Healing is a gradual process in cases of alcohol-related problems. Though it doesn’t seem like an easy task, there are ways to help you out to quit drinking alcohol. Nowadays advanced medical care and psychological counseling are available to more and more people to overcome their alcohol addiction. Below are some other approaches to help you or your family members or closed ones in fighting alcohol addiction.

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. 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 headache, sweating, depression, anxiety, nausea, etc. following the discontinuation of alcohol or any drug.

What to expect when you quit alcohol? 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?

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.  

Suddenly stopping drinking 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 behaviors 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

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

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome: Causes and Symptoms

 

Causes

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.

Symptoms

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?

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

People who have quit drinking alcohol suddenly and 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 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.

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.

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.

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. 

Call us now @+919611194949 or visit Cadabam’s Anunitha.