How to Stop Drinking Alcohol Naturally

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Drinking is associated with relaxation, feel-good moments, and a broader social scene. Most Americans drink in moderation without issue. Throughout a lifetime, 85.6% of US adults use alcohol at some point.

When drinking begins to threaten your overall wellness, it becomes a problem. Approximately 5% (14 million individuals) are diagnosed with alcohol use disorder (AUD). AUD is more than heavy alcohol use or binge drinking; it is a behavioral health condition affecting the health, familial, occupational, and social aspects of a person’s life.

Understanding why AUD develops and how to treat it is critical for successful, continued sobriety. While there are some steps you can take at home to limit alcohol use, addiction requires professional treatment in a healthcare setting.

If you or someone you love is dealing with chronic alcohol use, Guardian Recovery can help. Our dual-diagnosis treatment programs focus on your substance use and mental health concerns. From initial medical detox to aftercare planning, our knowledgeable, experienced staff members will navigate you through each step of your recovery. Contact us today to speak with a treatment advisor 24/7 who can give you more information about our comprehensive, individualized services.

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Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

AUD is a mental health disorder with genetic and environmental causes. Development of this condition is based on factors such as a family history of alcohol misuse, personal experiences with drinking, social pressure, and the presence of a co-existing psychiatric disorder.

The current version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) categorizes AUD as mild, moderate, or severe based on how many criteria an individual meets and how severely their daily functioning is impaired.

Signs & Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder Include:

  • Inability to limit how much or how often you drink.
  • Constantly thinking about how to get alcohol or when you will have your next drink.
  • Drinking interferes with your ability to complete your job duties, fulfill social obligations, or take care of yourself.
  • Engaging in risky behaviors when under the influence, such as driving.
  • Increasing alcohol intake over time to achieve the same effect (tolerance).
  • Needing to drink to function or avoid negative symptoms (dependence).
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms like nausea/vomiting, irritability, headaches, and uncontrollable shaking.
  • Being unable to cope with major and minor life stressors without using alcohol.

Are Home Remedies for Alcohol Detox Safe?

Home remedies for alcohol can be safe when initiated by a licensed healthcare provider.

Alcohol’s impact on the brain is well-studied. The central nervous system (CNS), consisting of the brain and spinal cord, is altered in numerous ways by drinking. Alcohol acts as a CNS depressant, reducing brain activity, leading to slow breathing, decreased blood pressure and heart rate, sleepiness, delayed reaction time, loss of coordination, and feelings of happiness and relaxation. However, any euphoric effects are short-lived.

Once your body has fully broken down and eliminated the alcohol in your system, the depressant effects wear off and give way to the excitatory brain activity responsible for anxiety and physical excitation. If your alcohol use is chronic, these effects are more common and intense. Not only does alcohol withdrawal reverse the calming, inhibitory sensation of drinking, but it produces symptoms that can mimic anxiety or be physically distressing and uncomfortable.

Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal Include:

  • Elevated blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Insomnia.
  • Agitation.
  • Paranoia.
  • Nausea.
  • Headache.
  • Seizures.
  • Hallucinations.

Home-based detox requires healthcare provider approval and oversight. Your clinician may prescribe necessary medications to prevent seizures or agitation, such as benzodiazepines (e.g., Ativan or Librium). Likewise, you may need a combination of vitamins and minerals like thiamine and magnesium to correct deficiencies associated with chronic alcohol use and withdrawal.

Even with physician monitoring, home detox is not safe for everyone.

The Following Are Contraindications to Home Alcohol Detox:

  • No stable housing or support network during initial stages of detox.
  • History of withdrawal seizures or delirium.
  • Co-occurring drug use.
  • At risk for suicide or self-harm.
  • Severe alcohol use.
  • Other moderate or severe medical conditions.

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What Should Treatment Be Like?

At-home alcohol treatment extends beyond the withdrawal and detox phase. Certain lifestyle modifications can ease symptoms of withdrawal and also prevent relapse.

Treatment & Diet

In addition to vitamin supplementation, a proper, well-rounded diet is crucial for home-based care. You should eat smaller meals more frequently, including lean meat and dairy products high in protein. Fruits and vegetables provide many necessary vitamins, minerals, and fiber and can improve hydration, along with water.

On the other hand, avoid high-fat, high-sugar diets, which can intensify symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Avoiding caffeine will also mitigate some of the anxiety you may experience when you stop drinking.

Treatment & Wellness

Besides diet changes, holistic wellness is associated with alcohol cessation and ongoing sobriety. Meditative practices such as mindfulness encourage you to regulate stress and other maladaptive thought patterns that can lead to drinking. Studies suggest meditation significantly reduces triggers for alcohol use and lessens cravings.

Physical exercise is another vital factor in home-based recovery. Being active lowers stress hormone (cortisol) levels. It also activates endogenous opioids to decrease the pain associated with withdrawal and triggers an increase in feel-good brain chemicals (dopamine and serotonin).


Alcohol’s mood-elevating and anxiety-reducing properties make it an appealing means of self-medication for those with mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, to name a few. At-home detox measures may alleviate many of the physical symptoms of withdrawal. Still, professional therapy is imperative to treat the underlying psychological disorders that contribute to AUD in the first place.

Counseling and psychotherapy employ motivational interviewing (MI) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to address behavioral changes essential for sobriety. MI helps you identify your unique recovery path and address any apathy or ambivalence you may feel about making life changes. CBT provides the tools needed to correct negative thoughts that trigger drinking behaviors. Both therapeutic techniques improve self-esteem, resolve social conflicts relating to alcohol use, and promote sustained abstinence.

Habit-Forming Activities

When you first started drinking, you may have developed some habits associated with alcohol use. For instance, maybe you needed a drink or two to loosen up in social situations; perhaps you often had a glass of wine at the end of a long workday. A new habit takes an average of 66 days to form, so repeated exposure to alcohol leads to negative compulsive behavior.

Fortunately, the same brain mechanisms responsible for forming bad habits can also promote new, healthier routines. In combination with medication or therapy, creating new patterns can reduce alcohol cravings. So rather than drinking at a party to alleviate social anxiety, you may start a conversation with someone you know and trust before making new acquaintances. Instead of having drinks with dinner after work, consider practicing yoga or another form of meditation once you get home.

Relapse Prevention

Recovery from alcohol misuse is most difficult after leaving treatment and re-entering society. Approximately 40% to 60% of people in recovery will have a relapse within their first year. Although part of rehab aftercare focuses on avoiding the people, places, and situations that may trigger alcohol use, this is not always possible. Furthermore, the brain undergoes significant chemical and physical changes during periods of alcohol misuse, and such modifications can last well into the recovery phase.

Overcoming alcohol cravings and preventing relapse can involve both psychotherapy and medication management. Therapy focuses on trigger identification and avoidance, establishing self-efficacy, and destigmatizing relapse. On the other hand, medication management can correct pre-existing, underlying chemical imbalances or those caused by sustained alcohol use.

Medications Used to Prevent Relapse Include:

  • Naltrexone (Vivitrol)
  • Acamprosate (Campral)
  • Disulfiram (Antabuse)
  • Topiramate (Topamax)
  • Antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to treat co-morbid mood and anxiety disorders

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While alcohol use disorder can develop from factors out of your control, choosing to seek treatment is a critical step entirely within your power. Overcoming alcohol misuse requires the help of an experienced, compassionate care team. Guardian Recovery knows alcohol use affects everyone differently, so treatment must be tailored to your specific health needs. Our individualized approach allows us to focus on your entire health history and create a plan to help you meet your wellness goals.

Our admission process is straightforward. Once you reach out, we will provide a free, no-obligation health insurance benefit check and a complimentary addiction assessment. The entire process takes just 15 minutes at one of our local facilities. Contact us today for more information about how we can help you heal.


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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.


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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave


Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

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Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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