How to Quit Drinking or at Least Cut Back

Behavioral health treatment for alcohol problems is often (but not always) covered by insurance. In the United States, most states have low-cost or free rehabilitation programs for those who are uninsured. However, try not to have too many firm expectations, as symptoms can continue for multiple weeks in some people.

Keep a list of emergency phone numbers on hand that includes contact info for your doctor, the police, a nearby hospital, and someone you trust. And consider joining a support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Mental health and wellness tips, our latest guides, resources, and more. If you don’t already have a supportive network, you can make new connections by joining social media communities dedicated to alcohol-free living. This process temporarily restores homeostasis, or chemical balance, in an effort to counteract the impact of long-term alcohol use on the brain. If you tend to drink too much whenever there is any alcohol in the house, get rid of it altogether,  the NIAAA recommends.

Eat before and in between drinks.

Understanding your habits and your motivations to quit drinking can help you understand the change you’re making in your life and reinforce why it’s important. Dr. Streem suggests starting with the World Health Organization’s Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). It can be a particularly helpful way to help you get a clearer understanding of your drinking habits and your relationship with alcohol. It’s a 10-question screening test that gives you research-backed, personalized advice for quitting or reducing your intake of alcohol. Or maybe it’s a pregnancy that made you realize it’s time to stop drinking.

Or maybe you’re just looking to improve your health, wake up hangover-free and give your liver (and your heart) a break. McMahon says quitting alcohol might cause some sleep disturbances or insomnia initially, Alcohol Brain Fog: How to Heal Your Brain but sleep quality and quantity will improve with continued abstinence. “Proper sleep helps us maintain physical, mental and emotional health, so it’s an important consideration,” she says.

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