Can We Quit Alcohol Suddenly? An Expert's Perspective

Heavy drinking can lead to serious health risks, and those who suddenly decrease or stop drinking altogether may experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can be dangerous and should be taken seriously as a warning sign that you are drinking too much. The amount, frequency, and duration of alcohol consumption all influence the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol is a depressant, meaning it suppresses the “fight or flight” response in the brain and nervous system. This is different from “harmful alcohol use”, which is a pattern of excessive drinking that causes harm to health, but without real dependence.

After the initial symptoms of alcohol withdrawal have passed, some people may experience long-term side effects. Research indicates that around half of people with an alcohol use disorder who suddenly stop drinking or reduce their alcohol consumption significantly will experience a series of symptoms known as alcohol withdrawal syndrome. To reduce the health risks of alcohol to a low level, the UK's chief medical officers (CMOs) recommend not drinking more than 14 units a week on a regular basis. When someone stops drinking abruptly, alcohol stops inhibiting neurotransmitters and the brain has difficulty adapting to the new chemical imbalance, causing the debilitating side effects of withdrawal. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the numbers of alcohol abuse have risen across the United States. Certain prescription medications can treat alcohol withdrawal and help patients focus on other aspects of recovery. In a medical detoxification program, which is usually the first step in a long-term treatment plan, patients are closely monitored under the supervision of health professionals to keep them safe and comfortable while controlling their alcohol withdrawal.

Many people are hesitant to stop drinking due to fear of experiencing uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Counselors investigate any underlying factors that may have influenced alcohol addiction and teach patients how to resolve various problems. This type of medication may be essential for people with severe alcohol dependence to avoid the risk of having seizures during withdrawal.

Sophia Streeby
Sophia Streeby

Addiction recovery expert from experience and training - I want to help others Quit drinking alcohol and find freedom from addiction daily.