More than 17 million people in the United States suffer from an alcohol use disorder, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that almost 40 million engage in risky, binge-drinking patterns.
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite negative health or social consequences. The term is now used to refer to conditions that people might call alcohol dependence, abuse, or addiction.
Long-term alcohol use—particularly when it comes to excessive or binge drinking—can result in an increased risk for a variety of serious physical, mental, and neurological problems. These adverse outcomes include dementia, stroke, cardiovascular problems, various cancers, liver diseases, as well as depression and anxiety, in addition to unintentional injuries such as motor vehicle crashes or falls.
Figures from the CDC show that around 95,000 deaths are attributed to alcohol-related causes every year in the country, making the substance the third-leading cause of preventable death.
The risk of harm increases with the amount of alcohol you drink. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults of legal drinking age should only drink in moderation if they do decide to consume alcohol.
This means limiting intake to two drinks or less per day for men and one drink or less per day for women, although the guidelines also note that even drinking within these amounts may still increase the overall risk of death from various causes. Research indicates that two in three adult drinkers in the U.S. report drinking above moderate levels at least once a month.
Given the potential harms of alcohol consumption, it is not surprising that many people want to quit altogether.
Recent trends indicate that Americans appear to be cutting back on alcohol. A Gallup survey from 2021 indicated that there had been a 5 percent decrease in the number of U.S. adults who reported drinking alcoholic beverages compared to 2019. The poll also showed that the people who do drink are consuming less on average than they have in the past.
A glass of wine may seem inviting but quitting alcohol cold turkey can have several benefits.
Sales of non-alcoholic beers are spiking and sober-friendly bars are popping up in various locations across the country. Even some celebrities have been getting in on the act. In 2020, Chrissy Teigen announced that she was going sober, for example.
But for people who would like to quit drinking, how can they go about stopping cold turkey?
How to Quit Drinking Cold Turkey
Going “cold turkey” is a phrase that means quitting all use of a substance abruptly rather than gradually tapering off. This method may be very difficult for someone with a serious AUD—and may lead to severe or even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, so may be inappropriate in some cases.
But people with more manageable levels of alcohol consumption may decide that this is an appropriate course of action for them to quit.
For people who feel like they are drinking too much but are not necessarily suffering from …….