The decision to quit drinking is life-changing, especially when someone suffers from alcohol abuse or addiction. As with all addictive substances, the downside of quitting drinking is that you will likely experience withdrawal symptoms. Depending on your history of alcohol consumption, withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe. In the most severe cases of alcohol addiction, withdrawal symptoms can become life-threatening. If you are not dependent upon alcohol or other drugs, an alcohol moderation program can provide support in helping you learn to moderate your drinking.
While it is true that millions of Americans suffer from an alcohol use disorder (AUD), it is also true that certain people can learn how to control problem drinking without having to resort to total abstinence. To find out if an alcohol moderation program is right for you, reach out to Insight Recovery Centers by calling 703.592.6946.
A Look at the Alcohol Detox Timeline
Alcohol is ingrained in American culture. In good times and bad, Americans turn to alcohol. Following nicotine, alcohol is the most commonly abused substance in our nation. Being legal and socially acceptable in almost all situations has led to Americans developing an unhealthy relationship with alcohol that starts at an early age.
While many problem drinkers live in denial, many others recognize their problem and make repeated attempts to overcome it by trying to taper down their use or stopping “cold turkey.” The physical and psychological symptoms of withdrawal usually result in a quick return to drinking.
At Insight Recovery Centers, we understand the difficulties of trying to manage problem drinking without professional support. We also know that there are risks to quitting alcohol cold turkey, especially for individuals who have a physical dependency or addiction to alcohol. Following is a look at the general alcohol detox timeline:
- Six hours after the last drink (mild) – Most consider this a “hangover,” where symptoms include headaches, dehydration, sweating, increased heart rate, and anxiety.
- 12 to 48 hours after the last drink (moderate) – Mild symptoms continue, with the addition of more severe symptoms like abnormal breathing, increased blood pressure, confusion, or mild hypothermia. Those with severe addiction may experience seizures.
- 72 hours after the last drink (severe) – Moderate symptoms continue—the risk of seizures increases. Delirium Tremens (DTs), auditory or visual hallucinations, and disorientation are common.
Without professional intervention, some people can progress rapidly through these stages, posing threats to their health. The dangers of the alcohol detox process are exacerbated when individuals are addicted to other drugs or have co-occurring mental health disorders. At Insight Recovery Centers, we can help assess your level of drinking and determine which program best suits your needs.
What Is an Alcohol Moderation Program?
When it comes to alcohol consumption, it is essential to understand what moderation means. The standard of moderate drinking is one to two drinks per day for a healthy man and one drink per day for a healthy woman. A drink is considered 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor. There has been a long-held belief in addiction recovery that total abstinence is the only option for individuals with any form of alcohol use disorder. This belief is the cornerstone of 12-step programs and the majority of substance abuse treatment centers.
Research shows that most people with alcohol problems are not addicted and can benefit from a professionally guided alcohol moderation program to discover whether or not moderate drinking is a realistic and attainable goal. Participants in an alcohol moderation program begin with a 30 day period of abstinence where they learn:
- How to take stock of alcohol consumption and its effects
- Assessing the pros and cons of their drinking
- How to reduce risks and consequences of drinking
- How to cope with stress or difficult emotions without using alcohol as self-medication
- Healthy behaviors and activities to replace drinking
- Identifying and managing triggers
Considering Quitting Alcohol Cold Turkey? Learn More at Insight Recovery Centers
Alcohol moderation programs have been proven effective for individuals who have a problem with drinking but do not meet the criteria for a diagnosis of moderate or severe alcohol use disorder. To see if an alcohol moderation program is right for you, use our alcohol moderation assessment and reach out to us by calling 703.592.6946.