Tapering Off Alcohol: Weaning Off Alcohol to Avoid Withdrawal Symptoms

It can be used to monitor the severity of withdrawal and in titrating pharmacotherapy. The score on CIWA-Ar remains high even after adequate dosing with benzodiazepines in cases with comorbid medical illness (“DT plus» condition). If you’re struggling with severe alcohol addiction, a medical detox program is your likely best option for tapering off alcohol safely.

What is the safest way to stop drinking?

Start by reducing your drinking by 10% a day. For example, if you normally drink 20 units a day, try reducing this to 18 units a day. Keep drinking at this reduced level for four days, then try to cut down by another 10%. If you start to have any withdrawal symptoms, it means you're cutting down too fast.

Stepping across that line and quitting alcohol cold turkey can be difficult. I always recommend that in the preparation stage, between two weeks and the month before you stop drinking, that you gradually reduce the amount of alcohol that you are drinking. Alcohol works just as well as benzodiazepines for detoxing off alcohol. A lot of people don’t want to go to the AA, or medical detox, for many different reasons. For one, they don’t want it on their medical records. 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.

Taper Off of the Drugs

The most common research technique among those surveyed is an internet search (61%), followed by asking a doctor or medical professional (55%). Talking to your doctor can be a great place to start. If you’re relying on internet searches to find potential treatment centers, make sure to ask these ten questions to find a licensed facility that can meet your needs.

  • Further doses of diazepam should be given orally every 2 h until CIWA-Ar scores are less than ten.
  • Symptoms may vary, depending on several factors, such as which medication you’re taking and the length of use.
  • In 2019 the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrationreported that 14.5 millions of americans suffered from Alcohol Use Disorder.
  • This method can take anywhere from three days to a week.

D’Onofrio G, Rathlev NK, Ulrich AS, Fish SS, Freedland ES. Lorazepam for the prevention of recurrent seizures related to alcohol. A clear evidence of recent cessation or reduction of alcohol after repeated and usually prolonged and/or high-dose use. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, influencing the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid .

Alcohol Taper Schedule

They also depend on other factors like your weight, age, and gender. Your doctor may recommend combining your taper with counseling on medication use. Counseling can help you learn strategies to cope with stress, identify early warning signs of relapse and avoid opioid use. Depending on your pattern of medication use, your doctor may recommend continued chemical dependence counseling after you’ve completed your opioid taper. Let’s talk about one of the main struggles of cutting down or quitting drinking, withdrawal. This is offered to patients with moderate to severe Alcohol Use Disorder, having the goal of achieving abstinence.


Many people are interested in medical detox because it can keep life-threatening symptoms at an arm’s length. It can also lead to fewer bed stays and quicker recovery times. It’s much easier to detox from alcohol with the right cocktail of medications. While everyone responds in a different way to liquor withdrawals, there are three distinct withdrawal stages to expect. The onset of each stage, as well as the severity, is very telling on one’s condition. Stage 1 kicks in an average of 8 hours after your last drink although it can appear as soon as 2 hours.

Medically Supervised Detox

Prefer Topiramate or Gabapentin if patients are intolerant to or have not responded to Naltrexone and Acamprosate. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms consistent with DT, call 911. DT can be fatal, and a person going through them should have medical support in a hospital or rehab facility. Tapering off alcohol is a reasonable strategy for anyone who desires to stop drinking.


The how to taper off alcohol may need medication-assisted treatment using a benzodiazepine like Valium, easing them off their brain’s need for GABA suppressants. Before these medications were approved, many people were able to successfully quit drinking by tapering off.

Potentially Life-Threatening Liquor Withdrawal Symptoms

Let your doctor know whether you had any trouble tapering off opioids in the past. He or she may recommend alternate pain medication, especially if you have a chronic pain condition. Talk with your doctor if the taper process becomes difficult. Your health care team can assist and encourage your success. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that works in the brain by slowing down activity.

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