Can Alcoholics Stop Drinking Without Professional Help?

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Alcoholism is a disease that is chronic, progressive, and fatal if an alcoholic is left to their own devices. Stopping drinking without any sober support, structured treatment, or detoxification program is often almost impossible. On the other hand, this can quickly lead to a relapse right back into active daily drinking. While it’s possible to stop drinking without professional help, it’s definitely an uphill battle that is not easy in any way, shape, or form.

The good news is that no alcoholic or a loved one has to go through this process without guidance from experienced interventionists. Our team of dedicated mental health specialists is able to plan an intervention for problem drinkers and offer support to families in their time of need.

Can You Stop Drinking On Your Own?

Many alcoholics believe that they can simply stop drinking whenever they want, but the road to recovery is not always so clear-cut and simple. In the long term, cutting back on the amount of alcohol you drink is usually a very healthy thing to do. But it can be hard to cut back—let alone stop drinking entirely.

Any time you cut back on a habit-forming substance such as alcohol, your body goes through withdrawal symptoms. Not everyone can handle these uncomfortable detox symptoms and may require placement in a clinically supervised detoxification program for their safety and success in achieving long-term recovery.

Are Alcoholics Scared of Withdrawal Symptoms?

Many men and women that are addicted to drinking alcohol every day continue to do so because of the fear of alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol detox is often painful and can even lead to a type of seizure called delirium tremens (DTs). The most common alcohol withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Shaky hands
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating

These symptoms persist for the first 24 hours after you stop drinking, while in the 48-hour to 72-hour mark (2-3 days of discontinued alcohol abuse), recovering alcoholics will feel these common unpleasant alcohol detox symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Racing heart
  • High blood pressure
  • Fever
  • Heavy sweating

Unless you have a serious health condition or you’ve had severe withdrawals in the past, you probably won’t need more than a supportive environment to help you through, such as an alcohol detox program or alcoholism residential treatment program.

Getting Help for Alcohol Withdrawal

At New Jersey Addiction Interventions, our certified addiction interventionists can help you or a loved one in the quest to get clean and sober from alcohol dependence. Treating alcohol withdrawal is a short-term fix that doesn’t help the core problem. When you talk to your doctor about symptom relief, it’s a good idea to discuss treatment for alcohol abuse or dependence.

Medically Reviewed: December 10, 2022

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

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