Alcohol use disorder - quitting drinking; Alcohol abuse - quitting drinking; Quitting drinking; Quitting alcohol
Many people with drinking problems cannot tell when their drinking is out of control. You likely have a drinking problem when your body depends on alcohol to function and your drinking is causing problems with your health, social life, family, or job. Recognizing that you have a drinking problem is the first step toward being alcohol-free.
Talk with your doctor about your drinking. Your doctor can help you find the best treatment.
You may have tried to stop drinking many times in the past and feel you have no control over it. Or you may be thinking about stopping, but you're not sure if you're ready to start.
Change takes place in stages and over time. The first stage is being ready to change. Important stages that follow include:
Many people go back and forth through the stages of change several times before the change really lasts. Plan ahead for what you will do if you slip up. Try not to be discouraged.
To help you control your drinking:
After talking about your drinking with your doctor or an alcohol counselor, you will likely be referred to an alcohol support group or recovery program. These programs:
You can also seek help and support from:
You may be at risk for symptoms of alcohol withdrawal if you stop drinking suddenly. If you are at risk, you will likely need to be under medical care while you stop drinking. Discuss this with your doctor.
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. 5th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association, 2013.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Alcohol use disorder: a comparison between DSM-IV and DSM-5. November 2013. http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/dsmfactsheet/dsmfact.pdf. Accessed on May 11, 2014.
O'Connor PG. Alcohol abuse and dependence. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 32.
Sherin K, Seikel S. Alcohol use disorders. In: Rakel RE, Rakel DP, eds. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 49.
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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