Professional Tips to Stop Drinking

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Professional Tips to Stop Drinking

Table of Contents

Alcohol Intake Recommendations

In many countries, including the United States, drinking can compose a significant part of daily and social interactions. However, moderation is important when dealing with anything, including substances like alcohol. As a result, it is vital to learn and understand alcohol intake recommendations and the anatomy of drinking safely.  

What Constitutes One Drink?

For alcohol intake, one drink goes beyond one serving. “One drink” can mean a single serving for one type of alcohol while it can mean less or more for a different typeIn the United States, one drink is defined as 14 grams of raw alcohol. The amount of alcohol present is determined by the alcohol content, which is represented as a percentage (1). 

As a result, “one drink” can vary based on the medium of alcohol depending on their alcohol content. 

  • Beer : Most beers contain 4 to 5% alcohol, depending on the brand and whether or not they are light. For beer, 14 grams of alcohol is in 12 ounces, which is about a single can.  
  • Wine : Most wines contain around 12 percent alcohol. This aspect means that 14 grams of pure alcohol can be found in about 5 ounces of wine.  
  • Liquor : Many liquors contain around 7% alcohol. As a result, one drink of liquor is about 8 ounces. 

Moderate Drinking

In most societies throughout the world, drinking is an accepted part of day-to-day life. From casual drinking at home to social drinking, moderate drinking can be found in many different ways 

By definition, moderate drinking consists of no more than one drink for women and two drinks for men a day When moderate drinking strays away from this definition, it often becomes excessive drinking. Over drinking can increase the risk for alcohol use disorder and addiction. As a result, it is important to learn how much alcohol is too much. 

Excessive Drinking

Excessive drinking can come in many different forms. By broad definition, it includes any type of drinking that exceeds the recommended daily alcohol intake. Specifically, though, excessive drinking can include: 

  • Binge drinking 
  • Heavy drinking 
  • Drinking while pregnant 
  • Drinking while under the legal age of consumption 

What is Binge Drinking?

Binge drinking is a form of excessive drinking defined by exceeding the guidelines for daily alcohol intake. For excessive drinking to be considered binge drinking, women must consume four or more drinks on a single occasion while men must consume five or more. 

Binge drinking can turn into heavy drinking once a woman consumes 8 or more drinks per week and a man consumes 15 or more drinks in a single week. Many people who binge drink are not alcoholics or have a dependency on alcohol. However, continued excessive drinking can lead to an alcohol use disorder.    

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol use disorders occur when moderate drinking becomes less common than excessive drinking. The rise in drinking levels can occur if someone is having difficulty regulating their  alcohol consumption. Alcoholism can also occur if someone participates regularly in binge drinking. 

When a substance is introduced to the body in regular intervals – and increasingly larger doses – the body can develop a dependency on that substance. This same type of dependency can occur with alcohol, especially with regular excessive or binge drinking, thereby leading to the development of alcohol use disorder. 

The signs and symptoms of an alcohol use disorder can include: 

  • Difficulty with regulating alcohol consumption 
  • Cravings for alcohol 
  • Shakes and tremors 
  • Headaches 
  • Preoccupation with drinking 
  • Agitation and aggression 

An alcohol use disorder can make it difficult to learn how to stop drinking due to the severe withdrawal symptoms that occur when someone stops consuming alcohol. 

Alcohol’s Effects on Your Body

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that can create both short and long-term effects on the body. Like other CNS depressants, alcohol works by reducing the speed of function in specific parts of the brain, which can have dangerous consequences, especially with excessive drinking.    

Brain

The brain, along with the rest of the central nervous system, is one of the organs most susceptible to the effects of alcohol. In order to maintain proper physiology and function, the brain requires certain amounts of different chemicals, a balance that alcohol can disrupt. 

Alcohol produces short and long-term effects on the brain. The short-term effects of alcohol are known as intoxication and can be produced within drinking one to two standard drinks.  

Intoxication creates mild mental and physical impairments that can grow more severe as more alcohol is consumed. The signs and symptoms of intoxication include dizziness, slurring, and decreased motor function. Large quantities of alcohol ingested in a short period can result in an alcohol overdose which requires medical intervention (2). 

The long-term effects of drinking are alcohol use disorders and addiction. For those who are pregnant, consuming alcohol can lead to long-term side effects in the fetal brain (3). As a result, alcohol use should be avoided during pregnancy.   

Liver

The main ingredient in nearly all alcoholic beverages is ethanol. The liver is the main site for ethanal metabolism. With perpetual excessive drinking, the liver can be exposed to a variety of conditions, including tissues damage (4). 

One of the most significant medical concerns in the liver with drinking is cirrhosis.    

Addiction

Whenever a substance is regularly administered into the body, whether through ingestion, injection, or other forms, the body will become accustomed to its presence. This factor is especially true for substances like alcohol that alter the body’s chemistry by elevating or decreasing the levels of different chemicals. Once administration ceases, withdrawal symptoms can occur, which composes addiction. 

When the body is addicted to alcohol, it adapts to the short-term effects. Thus, when the body begins to return to a natural state, the body undergoes withdrawal, which can include headaches, lethargy, and psychological effects like cravings. 

Addiction and alcohol use disorders require medical intervention to treat, as well as a recovery process that begins with stopping excessive consumption of alcohol.    

Other Effects

Excessive drinking can also make it difficult to maintain societal expectations, including attending work or school as well as maintaining relationships. The elevated sugar and acid contents of alcohol can also lead to a decline in oral health, which can impact the entire body.  

Because of the side effects that excessive drinking can induce, it can be beneficial to learn how to stop drinking.   

Tips on How to Stop Drinking​

Once excessive drinking becomes a concern, reducing or stopping consummation can be beneficial to prevent or halt alcohol use disorder. Sobriety can help alleviate the symptoms associated with drinking to restore the body to health (5). 

However, addiction can make sobriety difficult, especially when facing withdrawal symptoms. As a result, following certain steps or incorporating different tips into your life can make it easier to stop drinking. Some tips on how to stop drinking can include:(6) 

  • Set a drinking goal to help reduce the amount of alcohol consumed daily. Tapering off can help prevent or reduce withdrawal symptoms, making the process easier.  
  • Reduce temptation to curb cravings and prevent relapse.  
  • Avoid triggers that could incite excessive drinking or binge drinking. 
  • Occupy your mind by staying busy with productive activities. 
  • Create a present support group by surrounding yourself with positive influences. 
  • Do not keep alcohol in your house.  
  • If you do drink, drink slowly and phase out alcoholic beverages with non-alcoholic beverages. 
  • Find healthier alternatives to replace alcohol in your daily and social life. 
  • Prepare to handle cravings and urges to prevent a relapse into excessive drinking.  
  • Know proper consent by understanding you don’t have to drink to be polite.     

Treatment for Excessive Drinking

When excessive drinking becomes unmanageable alone, it may be best to seek professional guidance to pursue treatment. 

Detox

Detox involves stopping the consumption of alcohol and allowing the body to eliminate any remains and clear the system. Removing any alcohol from the system can help prevent any harmful side effects and may even be able to reverse minor effects that are already occurring.  

Withdrawal

Withdrawal occurs during the detox period and can be defined through psychological as well as physical side effects. The withdrawal period of alcohol can last several days or even weeks as the body and brain move from a state of depression back to natural levels.  

Delirium Tremens 

Delirium tremens is a severe form of withdrawal caused by the absence of ethanol after the body has grown accustomed to it. Symptoms of delirium tremens include: 

  • Altered mental state 
  • Autonomic hyperactivity 
  • Cardiovascular issues

This condition is rare but may require medical intervention, especially in severe cases.  

Rehab 

For individuals suffering from withdrawal or delirium tremens, a rehabilitation center provides continuous care that can reduce the severity of symptoms. Rehab also offers professional medical guidance as well as access to mental health services such as psychotherapy to reduce the likelihood of relapse. 

Medication 

Medication can alleviate discomfort during the detox period by reducing the severity of symptoms, including psychological symptoms such as cravings. The FDA has approved three medications for the treatment of alcohol use disorders and excessive drinking: 

  • Disulfiram 
  • Naltrexone 
  • Acamprosate  

Resources

If you or a loved one needs help, please call us at
(888) 744-9969 and our team at Blueprints For Recovery in Arizona will help.

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