They can help you decide if it’s the safest way to start your recovery, and they can help you make a taper plan. This may work for many people, but in practice each individual will respond best to a different pace, and each doctor will have their own recommendations. The risk of tapering too slowly is that you won’t stick with it, while the risk of tapering too fast is severe withdrawal. If you experience dangerous signs such as high blood pressure, racing heart, or arrhythmias, slow your taper and seek assistance. A medical detox reduces the potential dangers of alcohol withdrawal by ensuring medical monitoring and assistance are present. It also increases the chances of success by completing the detox quickly instead of dragging it out for weeks like a taper can.

Tapering is also a strategy used by people with a substance or alcohol use disorder (AUD). However, improper tapering could lead to relapse, overdose, and severe health consequences. Tapering helps people stop using alcohol and other substances in small and manageable steps. This can help your body adjust, and it can be easier to manage than quitting cold turkey.

Long-Term Alcohol Use and Weaning

There are multiple health benefits you can experience when you start drinking less alcohol. The exact benefits will depend on how much alcohol you were drinking and on factors such as your genetics, overall health, and how your body responds. But drinking less is always a good choice for your body and health. This can sometimes cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, and these symptoms can make it hard to stick with your recovery plan. Take our short alcohol quiz to learn where you fall on the drinking spectrum and if you might benefit from quitting or cutting back on alcohol.

Tapering alcohol may be uncomfortable, and there may be subconscious triggers that stimulate the desire to drink alcohol. Stress is a common trigger that makes it hard to how to taper off alcohol modify your alcohol intake. Finding a different, more healthy way to unload stress may go a long way in helping someone succeed in cutting back on their alcohol use.

Effects of Tapering Off Alcohol

If you’re sweating, place a cold towel on your forehead or on the back of your neck. Prepare a playlist of your favorite songs or movies to pass the time. Alcohol withdrawal can cause many symptoms, some of which can be fatal. Even if you fail, there are still plenty of treatment options you can turn to. John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine.

how to taper off alcohol