A slow wean from alcohol can work for some alcoholics, but most people struggle with this approach to stopping drinking. Tapering off can help avoid withdrawals, but it can also make it much harder to stick to this type of regime. A much better option is choosing a supervised detox as this means being able to stop drinking immediately – there will also be treatments available to ease withdrawal symptoms. Here are five reasons why tapering off does not work for most alcoholics:
1. It Requires Strong Will-Power Over a Long Period of Time
It may take weeks to taper off alcohol safely and, during this time, it will require willpower to stick to the reducing schedule. All it takes is one bad day during this time to be right back in the middle of a binge. There will always be excuses to cheat while tapering off; it may appear harmless at the time but it can lead back at square one.
2. It Will Delay Rehab Treatment
Entering a rehab programme while still drinking is not an option. This means that although one may be drinking less than before, it will not really have started the recovery from addiction. Stopping the physical addiction is actually the easy part; removing the driving force behind the behaviour is the hard part, but the help needed for this is available in rehab.
3. Squandering Your Chance for a Better Life
The fact that one wants to taper off alcohol demonstrates a motivation to change. It is vital to treat this motivation as a precious resource, meaning trying to get the most out of it. The problem is that spending weeks tapering off could easily lead to lost motivation during this time, and there is no guarantee that this motivation would return. It could be argued that choosing a supervised detox followed by rehab would be making the most of this precious opportunity.
4. Behaviour May Deteriorate While Tapering Off
Tapering off alcohol is a challenging process for an alcoholic, one likely to affect mood and behaviour. Some may end up saying and doing things later regretted because of fears and discomfort. This not only means suffering, but it will also mean discomfort for those around the alcoholic. One benefit of getting help to detox from alcohol is being supported all the way.
5. Deciding on an Effective Tapering off Schedule is Complicated
There is advice about tapering off alcohol online, but it is actually a complicated procedure. The problem is that each person is unique, and the way each body reacts to alcohol is unique as well. Tapering off too quickly could mean ending up suffering severe withdrawal symptoms but, conversely, going too slowly could mean losing motivation before much progress has been made. Of course, tapering off with the help of a doctor will increase the chances of success. Going it alone can be risky, though.
Those unsure about their needs in regards to coming off alcohol should speak to a doctor. If there is any risk of experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms, supervised detox will usually be required.