There are many ways to stop heavy drinking. However, long-lasting results are best achieved through addiction treatment, followed by an aftercare plan.
Heavy Drinking Vs. Alcohol Use Disorder
The drinking levels defined by the NIAAA or the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, set clear guidelines that can be followed to identify if someone is engaging in problem drinking, and to what degree. This can help to separate heavy drinking vs. addiction.
The NIAAA defines binge drinking as drinking patterns that bring the BAC, blood alcohol content, to 0.08% in a short enough period of time that the liver can’t keep up. Heavy drinking is defined as excessive alcohol consumption by having more than 4 drinks in a day, or 14 in a week for men, or for women having more than 3 drinks in a day, or 7 in a week.
Signs and Symptoms of Heavy Drinking
Some of the drinking patterns that can be observed are those associated closely with alcohol use disorder.
Some of the signs and symptoms that someone is battling the effects of alcohol include:
- Wanting to stop drinking but being unable to stop on their own
- Spending significant time getting, using, or recovering from alcohol
- Continuing to drink despite negative consequences at home, work, or school
- Constant cravings for alcohol
- Continuing to drink despite health problems caused by drinking on a regular basis
What Are The Benefits of Stopping Drinking?
There are countless benefits that can come from stopping drinking, and while many people will experience some benefits, others may find that they get an entirely different range of perks. Many of the health improvements, however, will be seen, felt, and experienced by nearly everyone that quits drinking. Below are some of the benefits that you can expect to experience both in the short-term after quitting, and some of the long-term benefits as well.
One of the most immediate and crucial benefits of stopping drinking is that you will no longer be a potential danger to yourself or those around you. One of the common traits of many people struggling with alcohol abuse is that they engage in incredibly dangerous or risky behavior when drinking, like driving, and when you quit you immediately reduce your risk of an accident.
You will also begin immediately allowing your heart a chance to heal from the previous damage drinking did, such as blood pressure and heart rate stabilization. Your liver may begin to heal, which can reduce your risk of liver disease, and can help you to shed some of the weight you have likely gained while drinking.
Other immediate improvements include seeing immediate benefits in relationships that had previously been affected by your drinking or alcohol abuse. You should see improvement in personal, family, and professional relationships.
Some of the long-term benefits of stopping drinking are also related to your health since you are quitting the ingestion of a poison. This includes potentially lowering your risk of certain cancers of the mouth, throat, and liver. Since you don’t have alcohol suppressing your immune system any longer, you’ll probably also notice that you’re getting sick a lot less.
You will notice that your brain fog will clear after a while, and you’ll have improved concentration and focus. You’ll also begin to regain much of your critical thinking and judgment acumen back once your brain begins to heal.
How do I Stop Heavy Drinking?
There are many things you can do to cut down or even stop your drinking, but unless you have a solid plan in place that includes professional treatment for detox and management of your alcohol withdrawal symptoms, you may be setting yourself up for failure. Remember that treatment is the most effective way to stop for good.
If you just need a little extra encouragement, try these tips:
- Look at what alcohol has done to your body
- Look at your relationships since drinking
- Evaluate recent stress or trouble at work or school and ask if alcohol is likely to blame
The most effective way to quit heavy drinking is to want it, commit to it, and get professional treatment help. From there, you can continue sobriety with the help of organizations such as alcoholics anonymous, and various other support groups.
Withdrawing from Alcohol Safely
One of the crucial factors in a safe and effective detox and withdrawal stage is to have a clean and safe place to detox. Medical staff on hand in rehab facilities can ensure that you are safe and that any potential medical complications are handled expertly. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be uncomfortable and even painful at times, you don’t have to go through it alone when help is available.
Alcohol Abuse Treatment Options
If you or someone you love may be struggling with alcoholism, alcoholism treatment options are available. There is no better way to create an effective foundation for recovery than by working with experienced addiction professionals in a safe, comfortable treatment center. Stop heavy drinking once and for all.