Can I quit drinking safely?

Can I Quit Drinking Safely?

Some people drink a lot. They often ask can I quit drinking safely? Some people decide they should quit drinking, as they understand that excessive drinking is not healthy. For people who drink to excess, one of the most difficult things to do is to make the decision to quit.

However, before someone decides to just quit drinking, it is important for them to understand that for some people, this can be dangerous, even life-threatening.

How Do You Know if it’s Safe to Just Quit Drinking Alcohol?

Well, it depends.

Most people that drink too much are not physically dependent upon alcohol. Alcohol-dependent individuals must drink every day. When they stop drinking for even one day, they suffer symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

Common Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

  • hand tremors
  • anxiety
  • sweating
  • nervousness
  • a racing heart
  • body twitches
  • seizures

What Are The Risks Of Stopping Drinking Cold Turkey?

Sometimes, symptoms of alcohol withdrawal escalate, leading to “DTs”, or delirium tremens, a life-threatening syndrome that can cause cardiovascular and respiratory failure. Other symptoms of DTs might include confusion, fever, and hallucinations.

In addition, someone who stops drinking abruptly can also suffer seizures, with or without DTs.

If a person is able to stop drinking for 24 hours and they have no withdrawal symptoms such as hand tremors, feeling a lot of anxiety, sweating, nervousness, a racing heart, and body twitches, generally there is no danger of continuing not to drink and medical care with medication is not required.

However, if a person experiences the above-mentioned withdrawal symptoms while they are actively cutting down on their drinking, or within 24 hours of quitting drinking, then it is important to seek medical attention.

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How To Determine If You Are At A High-Risk Level For Alcohol Withdrawal?

People at high risk of medical complications coming off alcohol are:

  1. Those that have a history of DTs.
  2. Those with a history of seizures.
  3. Those people with a history of chronic, heavy, daily drinking (usually for weeks or months without a day off).
  4. Those that have to drink to start the day because of hand tremors or feeling ill.

It is difficult to quantify if there is a specific amount of alcohol consumed that places someone at risk for alcohol withdrawal syndrome and/ or DTs.

While some people can drink large amounts (say a case of beer a day), not everyone who drinks this much has alcohol withdrawal since the ability to withstand alcohol’s physical effects can vary from person to person.

As a general rule (no medical studies to confirm), if a person drinks 13 standard drinks a day for a month, then they have about a 50% chance of having major life-threatening withdrawals.

In instances where a person develops alcohol withdrawal, it is recommended that the person seeks medical attention to assess and advise treatment. Alcohol withdrawal can be lethal. When alcohol withdrawal is medically managed, however, the fatality rate is extremely low.

When we assess a patient with alcohol withdrawal, we check vital signs, a breathalyzer, obtain a brief history and physical and do an assessment called a “CIWA-Ar”, or Clinical Assessment for Alcohol Withdrawal, Revised. This 5-10 step assessment is simple and can predict if someone is at risk for a mild, moderate, or severe alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

When we identify a patient with alcohol withdrawal symptoms, we determine the severity of the withdrawal risk and then place the patient in a level of care appropriate for that particular patient. Most of the time, a patient can be treated with medication as an outpatient; rarely, the patient requires hospitalization.

FAQs About Quitting Alcohol

What happens when you stop drinking alcohol?

When you stop drinking, your body undergoes a detoxification process, which can lead to physical and emotional changes. These may include improved sleep, better digestion, weight loss, and increased energy levels. However, withdrawal symptoms may also occur, such as irritability, anxiety, and alcohol cravings.

How long after quitting alcohol can I expect to see improvements in my health?

Health improvements may begin as soon as a few hours after quitting alcohol, but noticeable changes typically occur within weeks to months. For example, blood pressure can start to normalize within a few days, while liver function may improve after a month of abstinence.

What can I expect after 3 months of no alcohol?

After 3 months without alcohol, you may experience better mental clarity, improved liver function, and reduced inflammation. You may also notice weight loss and a decrease in alcohol cravings.

What changes can I expect after 6 days of no alcohol?

After 6 days without alcohol, you may notice improved sleep quality, increased energy, and a decrease in blood pressure. You may also experience some physical withdrawal symptoms as your body detoxifies.

How can I wean off alcohol safely?

To wean off alcohol safely, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional, who can help you develop a personalized plan. Gradually reducing your alcohol intake over time can help minimize withdrawal symptoms and prevent severe alcohol withdrawal.

Can I quit drinking on my own?

While it is possible to quit drinking on your own, it is essential to consider your individual circumstances and the severity of your addiction. In some cases, professional help may be necessary, especially if you experience severe withdrawal symptoms.

What are the benefits of 10 days without alcohol?

After 10 days of no alcohol, you may experience improved sleep, increased energy levels, better digestion, and a decrease in blood pressure. Your liver function may also begin to improve.

What are some severe withdrawal symptoms I should be aware of?

Severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms can include delirium tremens, hallucinations, seizures, and extreme agitation. If you experience these or other severe symptoms, it is crucial to seek medical help immediately.

How does quitting alcohol affect blood pressure?

Quitting alcohol can help lower blood pressure in many individuals. Alcohol can cause a temporary increase in blood pressure, so abstaining can lead to a decrease in blood pressure levels over time.

What are some common physical withdrawal symptoms from alcohol?

Physical alcohol withdrawal symptoms can include shaking, sweating, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and an increased heart rate. In severe cases, withdrawal symptoms may include seizures and hallucinations.

How can I manage alcohol cravings during withdrawal?

Managing alcohol cravings during withdrawal can involve a combination of strategies, such as distraction techniques, medication, support from friends and family, engaging in healthy activities, and seeking professional help if necessary.

What specific strategies can be used to cope with the psychological challenges of quitting alcohol, such as dealing with triggers and social pressures?

Overcoming psychological challenges when quitting alcohol relies on identifying triggers, employing mindfulness and cognitive-behavioral strategies, and leveraging a strong support network and professional therapy to navigate cravings, emotional responses, and social pressures effectively.

Are there any alternative therapies or support systems, aside from medical intervention and support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, that can aid in the recovery process?

Incorporating holistic practices like yoga, meditation, and acupuncture, alongside engaging with online support communities, offers stress reduction, mental health improvement, and a sense of belonging for individuals recovering from alcohol dependence, providing accessible and anonymous alternatives to traditional face-to-face support groups.

How does someone go back into social settings or relationships where alcohol is present after deciding to quit?

Reintegrating into social settings with alcohol after quitting involves communicating needs and boundaries, planning with non-alcoholic options, engaging in sober-supportive activities, and building friendships, which, over time, enhances comfort in sobriety and enriches social interactions and relationships.

Final thoughts On Quitting Alcohol Consumption Abruptly

If you have an alcohol use disorder and wish to stop drinking, it’s a commendable step in the right direction. Integrating behavioral healthcare with the detoxification process can increase the chances of successful, long-term sobriety, as it addresses the roots of alcohol addiction and equips individuals with strategies to maintain their new lifestyle. It’s not just about “quitting alcohol”; it’s about constructing a new, healthier context for one’s life.

When you decide to stop drinking alcohol, your body experiences a series of changes that can occur over different time frames, ranging from the first 24 hours sober to 8 months or longer without alcohol. This process is often referred to as alcohol withdrawal, and it can involve both physical and psychological symptoms. Here is a general timeline:

  1. 24 hours sober: Within the first 24 hours of being sober, you might start to experience withdrawal symptoms. These can include anxiety, insomnia, nausea, or abdominal pain. While this might be a difficult time, these initial symptoms are usually the body’s way of adjusting to the absence of alcohol.
  2. 8 days no alcohol: After a week or so of no drinking, physical symptoms might start to subside, but psychological symptoms like mood swings and cravings might still persist. However, it’s important to note that these experiences can vary greatly from person to person. Some may see improvements in high blood pressure, sleep patterns, and general physical health.
  3. 24 days sober from alcohol: After three weeks to a month of not drinking, your body continues to heal. Liver function begins to improve, energy levels might increase, and you could also experience a clearer complexion as the body detoxifies. Psychological symptoms, such as anxiety or depression, might start to lessen, although occasional cravings may still be present.
  4. 8 months no alcohol: With prolonged abstinence, the changes become even more significant. There’s often a noticeable improvement in overall mental health, with fewer mood swings and lower levels of anxiety or depression. Many individuals report a drastic improvement in their quality of life. Prolonged abstinence can also help manage high blood pressure, as chronic alcohol abuse is a known risk factor for developing hypertension.

While this timeline might make the process seem straightforward, it’s important to remember that quitting drinking, especially for those with a heavy or prolonged use history, should ideally be done under medical supervision due to the risk of severe withdrawal symptoms, like delirium tremens (DTs), which can be life-threatening.

For those asking “how to quit drinking without rehab” or “how to stop drinking beer everyday”, it’s recommended to seek support through methods such as counseling, support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, or through medical professionals who can provide guidance and resources. In some cases, medications may be prescribed to help manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings. Lifestyle changes, such as developing new hobbies, maintaining a healthy diet, and getting regular exercise, can also be beneficial.

The journey to sobriety is personal and unique to each individual, but the health benefits that come with quitting drinking are undeniable. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making major changes to your alcohol consumption. The Ridge Ohio specializes in alcohol rehab and inpatient care facility; we are always happy to help and answer any questions that you may have.




  1. HAMS: Harm Reduction for Alcohol -The Odds Of Going Through Alcohol Withdrawal Information Collected 2/1/2023
  2. CIWA-Ar for Alcohol Withdrawal
    The CIWA-Ar objectifies severity of alcohol withdrawal.. Edward M. Sellers Information Collected 2/1/2023
  3. Sullivan JT, Sykora K, Schneiderman J, Naranjo CA, Sellers EM. Assessment of alcohol withdrawal: the revised clinical institute withdrawal assessment for alcohol scale (CIWA-Ar). Br J Addict. 1989 Nov;84(11):1353-7. PubMed PMID: 2597811.