How to Quit Drinking Safely and Effectively
Drinking alcohol is an acceptable practice in most cultures and while many people are able to drink on occasion with no difficulties quitting, alcohol consumption in others, becomes a part of their everyday life to deal with stress, boredom, emotional issues, or to support a physical dependence that results in withdrawals if the alcohol intake is ceased.
If you are looking for ways of how to quit drinking safely and effectively, there are a few things you should know.
Alcoholism is a Progressive Disease
Alcohol is an addictive substance that changes the physiological responses of those who use it and progressively damages their ability abstain from if it is used heavily or frequently. When things get out of control, an alcoholic or person dependent on alcohol tends to use more alcohol to feel better, rationalizing use at the time, while secretly knowing there will be more problems ahead. While there is no cure for alcoholism, like other chronic diseases, it can be treated and managed through abstinence and help from the right sources.
Many people, who turn to alcohol as a way of escaping physical or psychological pain, create defense layers to shield themselves from the effects of their behaviors so they can continue drinking. They may begin to blame others, deny any problems exist, hide their use, or avoid conflicts with those who discourage use by isolating themselves from family and friends.
These extra defense measures are hard to break, but, the first step in quitting drinking safely and effectively is being able to admit these defense mechanisms exist, and then, to work on them over times of abstinence.
Counseling and behavioral therapies can help you identify the consequences of your alcohol use and where you need to make changes for accountability and to cope with the cravings. 12-Step support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous can augment these recovery efforts and help you work on issues and practice healthier behaviors with the help of those who have been there.
As alcohol tolerance and dependence increases, it becomes more difficult to deal with the adverse effects that the person experiences when they abstain from use. Whether physical or psychological, alcohol withdrawals can range from a mild shakiness in the morning to an outright delirium or seizure with the risk of severities increasing over time.
Alcohol withdrawal severities increase the longer the person consumes alcohol, the greater the amounts they consume, and the more times they attempt to quit unsuccessfully. There is no way of predicting who will suffer the severe consequences of withdrawal and that’s why it is best to enter an alcohol detox program to be safe.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), in addition to the above risk factors there is a greater risk of DT’s and seizures, which can be fatal, in those who have:
- Abnormal liver function
- Prior detoxification
- Past experiences of seizures or DT’s
- Intense craving for alcohol
- Concomitant acute illness
- Older age
- Polysubstance abuse
- More severe withdrawal symptoms when presenting for treatment