Coping with alcohol withdrawal

Spectrum’s community substance misuse teams can help you safely reduce your alcohol intake and manage any complications, including reducing your risk of withdrawal symptoms.. Here is some simple advice which may help.

  • Work out how many units you normally drink a day. This is your staring point.
  • From your starting point, a sensible approach is to try to reduce by 2-5 units per day.
  • Remember, you are drinking to control withdrawal symptoms, not to get intoxicated.
  • Do not assume you have to have a drink straight away after waking up.  Try drinking nothing until you notice withdrawal symptoms.
  • Try to drink only when you start to feel yourself withdraw and then drink approximately 2 units at a time.  Wait 20-30 minutes for the alcohol to take effect and repeat this process each time you get withdrawal symptoms.
  • If you experience disturbed or disrupted sleep due to withdrawal symptoms, you could try a double dose before bed.
  • Remember, as you successfully reduce your daily alcohol intake, you should find your withdrawal symptoms become less severe.
  • Keep a daily record of what and when you drink and what withdrawal symptoms you get.  This will help you keep track of your progress and give you a guide to how much you should reduce the next day.
  • If you are having withdrawal symptoms which are making you feel unwell, you may have cut down too quickly.  If this is the case, you should discuss this with a health professional as soon as possible.