Alcohol abuse - how to stop; Alcohol use - how to stop; Alcoholism - how to stop
Deciding to quit drinking alcohol is a big step. You may have tried to quit in the past and are ready to try again. You may also be trying for the first time and are not sure where to start.
While quitting alcohol is not easy, it helps to make a plan to quit and ask for the support of family and friends before you quit. Here are some tips to help get you started.
There are a number of tools and resources to help you quit. You can try one option or combine them. Talk with your health care provider about which options may be best for you.
Join a support group. Many people have quit alcohol by talking with others who face the same challenges. Some groups have online forums and chats as well as in-person meetings. Try a couple of groups and see what is most comfortable for you.
Work with an addiction counselor. Your provider can help you find a mental health specialist trained in working with people who have problems with alcohol.
Ask about medicines. Several medicines can help you quit drinking by getting rid of the craving for alcohol and blocking its effects. Ask your provider if one may be a good choice for you.
Treatment programs. If you have been a heavy drinker for a long time, you may need a more intensive program. Ask your provider to recommend an alcohol treatment program for you.
If you have withdrawal symptoms, such as trembling hands, when you go without alcohol, you should not try to quit on your own. It may be life threatening. Work with your provider to find a safe way to quit.
Take some time to make a plan for quitting. Start by writing down:
Once you have created your plan, keep it somewhere handy, so you can look at it if you need help staying on track.
Tell trusted family and friends about your decision and ask for their support in helping you stay sober. For example, you can ask them not to offer you alcohol and not to drink around you. You can also ask them to do activities with you that do not involve alcohol. Try to spend the most time with your family and friends who do not drink.
Triggers are situations, places or people that make you want to have a drink. Make a list of your triggers. Try to avoid the triggers you can, such as going to a bar or hanging out with people who drink. For triggers you cannot avoid, make a plan to deal with them. Some ideas include:
At some point you will be offered a drink. It is a good idea to plan ahead for how you will deal with this. Here are some tips that can help:
Changing habits takes hard work. You may not succeed the first time you try to quit. If you slip up and drink, don't give up. Learn from each attempt and try again. Think of a setback as just a bump in the road to recovery.
Call your provider if you:
Carvalho AF, Heilig M, Perez A, Probst C, Rehm J. Alcohol use disorders. Lancet. 2019;394(10200):781-792. PMID: 31478502 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31478502/.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website. NIAAA alcohol treatment navigator: find your way to quality alcohol treatment. alcoholtreatment.niaaa.nih.gov/. Accessed September 18, 2020.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website. Rethinking drinking. www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/. Accessed September 18, 2020.
O'Connor PG. Alcohol use disorders. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 30.
Swift RM, Aston ER. Pharmacotherapy for alcohol use disorder: current and emerging therapies. Harv Rev Psychiatry. 2015;23(2):122-133. PMID: 25747925 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25747925/.
US Preventive Services Task Force, Curry SJ, Krist AH, et al. Screening and behavioral counseling interventions to reduce unhealthy alcohol use in adolescents and adults: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. JAMA. 2018;320(18):1899-1909. PMID: 30422199 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30422199/.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 9/7/2020
Reviewed By: Fred K. Berger, MD, addiction and forensic psychiatrist, Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2022 A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.