Alcohol Addiction
two women hugging and smiling while discussing how to quit alcohol safely
By BrightView
Author Dan Bielecki, LPCC-S, LICDC-CS
Avatar photo
Dan Bielecki, LPCC-S, LICDC-CS

Dan is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with supervision designation (LPCC-S) and a Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor... read more

Published: November 23, 2022
Updated: November 29, 2022

If you think your alcohol use has become problematic, you may be considering quitting. Before you go cold turkey, you should consider whether it is safe to do so on your own or you should get professional help. Safely quitting alcohol may require assistance from an alcohol addiction treatment program.

When you are concerned about the dangers of quitting alcohol, reach out to BrightView. Our comprehensive treatment programs will ensure your comfort and safety as you end alcohol dependence. Call us today at 888.501.9865 to get started.

Should You Try Quitting Alcohol on Your Own?

If you come across a person who says they were able to quit drinking on their own, you may wonder how they did it. Some people claim they just stopped when they wanted to, and while this is possible, it is not the experience of every person who tries quitting alcohol. In fact, if you have an alcohol use disorder, it is not recommended that you try to quit cold turkey. For some people, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be intense and even life-threatening in the most severe cases. The people who can stop drinking successfully on their own at home most likely have a mild dependence.

Instead of trying to quit alcohol on your own, you may be better off entering an addiction treatment program. A treatment program can provide you with evidence-based therapies and medications to help make sure your withdrawal symptoms are managed safely. Additionally, you will be under the care of addiction professionals who can provide the support and guidance you need to focus on recovery.

Can the Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal Be Dangerous?

You may have already experienced symptoms of alcohol withdrawal without even knowing it. Sometimes a person feels awful the day after consuming alcohol and thinks they have a hangover. However, if you are dependent on alcohol, your discomfort may be related to alcohol withdrawal rather than a hangover. The symptoms are somewhat similar:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Anxiety

Unlike alcohol withdrawal, hangovers are not dangerous unless you become severely dehydrated. On the other hand, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can endanger your life. The symptoms range from mildly uncomfortable to severe:

  • Insomnia
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Tremors
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Delirium tremens (DTs)

The most dangerous symptoms of alcohol withdrawal tend to occur in those with a severe alcohol use disorder. Regardless of the severity of your condition, it is wise to learn about safely quitting alcohol so you do not put yourself in unnecessary danger.

Tips for Safely Quitting Alcohol

If you have a mild alcohol dependence, you may be able to taper off your use at home. This involves slowly reducing your alcohol consumption to minimize withdrawal symptoms. A taper may look something like this:

  • You track your current alcohol consumption to give you a starting point so you can monitor your progress.
  • You can create a schedule for gradually decreasing your alcohol intake each day. This could mean cutting down by one drink per day, but if that is too challenging, you could taper more slowly by dropping your consumption by two ounces per day. If you taper too quickly, you are at a higher risk of withdrawal symptoms and relapse.
  • Cut drinks with club soda as you taper. Each day, your drinks can contain more club soda and less alcohol. If you do not like club soda, you could also do this with flavored sparkling water.
  • Stock up on supplies to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Tapering will minimize your withdrawal symptoms, but you will still experience some discomfort. Pick up over-the-counter medications for pain and upset stomach, melatonin to help you sleep, and plenty of fluids to keep you hydrated, especially water, coconut water, and sports drinks.

Since you may experience depression or anxiety as you taper off your alcohol use, try to be extra gentle with yourself during this time. Take some time off from your responsibilities if possible and allow yourself plenty of time to rest.

Quit Alcohol Safely with BrightView’s Alcohol Addiction Treatment Program

At BrightView, we understand that some people may prefer quitting alcohol on their own at home. Our priority is that you stay safe as you go through alcohol withdrawal, and we are here to support you through it. Our centers around the country provide evidence-based care and medications to help manage withdrawal symptoms. We also offer supportive therapies and aftercare resources to put you on the path to long-term recovery.

Our programs are covered by Medicaid, Medicare, and most insurance policies so you can access the care you need. If you need assistance quitting alcohol, reach out to us at 888.501.9865 to enroll in our alcohol addiction treatment program.