For many people, alcohol is an enjoyable part of life when used in moderation. However, excessive drinking can quickly spiral out of control and lead to serious health, personal, and legal consequences. If your relationship with alcohol has become unhealthy, taking steps to cut back or quit drinking altogether may be necessary. If you’re wondering how to stop drinking alcohol, here are some tips that can help you get closer to sobriety.
When Does Drinking Become a Problem?
In today’s world, hanging out often involves having a drink, but it’s important to know when drinking might be becoming a problem. While having an alcoholic beverage now and then can be fun and social, it’s crucial to notice when it starts getting in the way of daily tasks, relationships, or overall happiness. If the desire for a drink starts causing issues, it’s a sign that things might be going too far.
The alcohol guidelines for American adults assert that if or when you’re drinking, you should drink no more than one drink if you’re a woman and two drinks if you’re a man. If you’re drinking more than that, it’s time to take a closer look at your drinking patterns and consider changing them or stopping altogether.
Figuring this out early on helps people make smart choices and get help if they need it. Recognizing when drinking becomes a worry isn’t just about how much you drink, but also about how it affects your life. It’s a personal journey of understanding that lets people keep a good and balanced connection with alcohol.
Signs Your Drinking May Have Become Unhealthy
In general, casual drinking means having a few drinks on occasion without letting alcohol take over your life. Drinking becomes problematic when it escalates out of control and causes harm. Signs of problem drinking include:
- Needing more alcohol to get the same effect (tolerance)
- Unsuccessful attempts to cut back on drinking
- Spending a lot of time obtaining, using, or recovering from alcohol
- Giving up activities you once enjoyed in order to drink
- Continued drinking despite physical, mental, or social harm
Many factors can contribute to unhealthy drinking, including genetics, trauma, mental health issues, peer pressure, and more. According to the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 14.5 million Americans ages 12 and older have an alcohol use disorder.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse?
A main sign of alcohol abuse is continued drinking despite negative consequences in your life. Sometimes functioning alcoholics have a hard time seeing that their drinking is problematic. Though people with alcohol use problems are still colloquially referred to as “alcoholics,” the clinical term is an alcohol use disorder. In order to meet the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for an alcohol use disorder you only need to meet two of the below criteria over the past year:
- You’ve tried to curb or quit drinking alcohol without success more than once.
- You need to drink more amounts of alcohol to get the same desired effects (alcohol tolerance).
- You’ve continued drinking though it’s impacted your relationships.
- You’ve been unable to fulfill responsibilities or obligations because you’ve been ill from drinking.
- You’ve drank more alcohol than you’ve intended or over a longer period of time than you wanted.
- You’ve continued to drink even though it’s impacted your physical or psychological health.
- You’ve spent increasing amounts of time drinking or recovering from alcohol use.
- You’ve had ruminating thoughts about using alcohol.
- You’ve experienced alcohol withdrawal symptoms when you’ve decreased alcohol intake.
- You’ve decreased or given up responsibilities or activities because of alcohol use.
- You’ve gotten into more than one unsafe situation while drinking or after drinking.
The severity of an alcohol use disorder (AUD) is determined by the number of criteria you meet. A mild AUD is 2-3 symptoms; a moderate AUD is 4-5 symptoms; and a severe AUD is at least six symptoms.
Get the help you need to begin your journey to recovery.
Signs and Symptoms That Someone Is Abusing alcohol
Physical signs: Slurred speech, lack of coordination, bloodshot eyes, smell of alcohol, blackouts or memory lapses, tremors, impaired concentration, frequent illness
Behavioral signs: Drinking alone, hiding alcohol, lashing out at loved ones, driving while intoxicated, legal issues, poor performance at work or school
Psychological signs: Depression, paranoia, mood swings, lack of motivation, difficulty processing emotions
Long-term health risks: Liver disease, ulcers, gastritis, malnutrition, cancer, brain damage, heart disease
If you recognize several or worsening signs of alcohol abuse, it may be time to re-evaluate your relationship with drinking. The sooner you act, the better the prognosis.
Tips for How to Stop Drinking: Home Remedies and More
Choosing not to drink might not sound like a thrilling idea for those on the brink of alcoholism. For individuals grappling with a substance use disorder, it might even seem downright impossible. However, kicking the habit is entirely achievable, and the positive effects on your body when you decide to stop drinking are extensive.
If you’re looking for the easy way to stop drinking, you won’t find one. That said, here are some helpful steps to drink less or quit alcohol completely:
- Dump out all alcohol in your home so it’s not conveniently available.
- Avoid bars and social occasions centered on drinking.
- Create a daily routine.
- Be aware of triggers that make you drink like stress or loneliness, and have backup coping plans.
- Pick up new hobbies to fill free time. Exercise, meditate, enjoy self-care, connect with sober friends, immerse yourself in work.
- Consider attending support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or SMART Recovery to build a sober network.
- Talk to your doctor about medication to stop drinking, curb cravings, and promote abstinence.
- Set goals like participating in a sober challenge month or commit to an alcohol-free trial period.
The Benefits of Alcohol Treatment
Getting professional treatment offers many advantages for overcoming alcohol addiction:
- Medically supervised detox provides safe withdrawal monitoring and symptom management. Detox lays the foundation for lasting sobriety.
- Individualized therapy helps identify root causes of addictive behaviors and build healthy coping tools.
- Group counseling provides social support and accountability during the vulnerable early stages of recovery.
- Aftercare programs help implement ongoing lifestyle changes needed to maintain long-term sobriety after rehab.
- Rehab equips you with a comprehensive “toolkit” for creating meaningful, positive change. It’s very challenging to stop entrenched drinking patterns alone. Treatment facilities offer the multi-level support needed to overcome addiction.
Alcohol Abuse Treatment at Aliya Health Group
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse, Aliya Health Group can help. Our drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers offer evidence-based therapies and programs that are tailored to your individual needs. Our approach treats the underlying causes fueling addictive behaviors, not just surface symptoms. We equip you with the tools needed for lifelong wellbeing and sobriety.
Our comprehensive program includes:
- Medically managed alcohol detox providing 24/7 medical supervision and high level of care
- Individual therapy modalities like CBT, dialectical behavior therapy, EMDR, and adventure therapy
- Group counseling focused on relapse prevention, life skills, 12-step principles, and more
- Luxury amenities to support whole-person healing like massage, acupuncture, yoga, personal training, and nutrition planning
- Aftercare and alumni services to reinforce gains made in treatment
Take the first step and call us today. Our experts provide free consultations to review treatment options and answer any questions. You deserve an amazing life free from alcohol dependence. We can help make that a reality.