In 2018, 85.6% of adults in the United States reported having drunk alcohol at some point. In that same study, 54.9% had drunk within the last month before the study took place. Alcohol use is common among adults. However, there may come a time when it is important to stop drinking alcohol for your mental or physical health.1
Many times, there will be signs that it is time to stop drinking alcohol. These can be mental, physical, or behavioral and can include:
When someone consumes alcohol, the substance will interact with different brain parts known as neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are special parts in the brain that help it communicate with the rest of the body, and they can help to experience happiness and other emotions and interact with our environments.
However, because alcohol can impact this part of the brain, it can also change how the brain communicates with itself and the body. This is like other substances, including opioids or illicit drugs, that can alter brain chemistry.3
As a result of how prolonged alcohol consumption can interact with the neurotransmitters in the brain, alcohol can be extremely addictive. The body can adapt to these changes in the brain the alcohol causes. While stopping infrequent drinking may not lead to any effects, you can expect the body to undergo alcohol withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking.4
These withdrawal symptoms should not be taken lightly, and it is important to recognize them in order to know when it is necessary to pursue treatment.
As mentioned above, frequent alcohol use can change how the brain interacts with the rest of the body. This means that the body will become more adapted to the relaxed state that alcohol can create. As a result, when you stop drinking, the body will begin to go back to its natural state, which is known as detoxification. Detoxification, or detox, can be an uncomfortable period due to alcohol withdrawal symptoms, which are the result of the body reverting to its natural brain chemistry.
Although withdrawal can be uncomfortable, it is a necessary part of recovery from an alcohol use disorder. Some of the alcohol withdrawal symptoms that may be experienced include:
If alcohol use is causing negative life changes, it is important to learn how to stop drinking. Although there are professional services available, which will be discussed in more detail further below, there are some steps you can take on your own, including:
Outside of different steps to stop drinking on your own, professional services are also dedicated to helping with alcohol use disorder. These vary in structure and may be better suited for one person over another. Taking the time to understand the treatment options available is an important first step in learning how to stop drinking.
Residential treatment programs can be beneficial for those needing a more hands-on approach to learning how to stop drinking. Residential treatment programs usually last from a few days to a few weeks.
However, because they involve living inside the treatment facility during this time, residential treatment isn’t usually the first choice for treatment unless in severe cases of addiction.
Outpatient programs offer the care and skill of other programs, such as residential programs, while allowing the individual to continue their daily routine. As a result, it’s more accessible to people who need to work or have daily responsibilities they cannot step away from. It also allows them to learn and apply the coping mechanisms they learn right away.
However, because outpatient programs allow the patient to be exposed to triggers, they may not be the best choice for those with an elevated risk of dangerous drinking.
There are several different therapeutic options available for drinking. Psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, is one of the most common options for alcohol therapy, but it is not the only option. Some patients may benefit from group therapy, family therapy, and other options that help address the root of alcohol addiction.
If you’ve decided that professional addiction treatment is right for you, then you may be wondering about your next steps in finding the best option. Some of the steps you can take to find the best addiction treatment facilities and options include:
Although it can be daunting to stop drinking, you don’t have to undergo the process alone. Iris Healing is a treatment option devoted to providing you with the services you need to recover from alcohol use disorder in a holistic environment.
Our professional staff of licensed therapists and healthcare providers are prepared to help you throughout your recovery journey. Here, you can experience various science-backed services focused on your physical and mental health and spiritual health.