Home Mental Health Guide 5 Effective strategies to deal with alcohol withdrawal

5 Effective strategies to deal with alcohol withdrawal

Dealing with the symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal has never been easy for anyone. Symptoms can range from being mildly annoying to severe and even life-threatening. However, with proper guidance and support of your loved ones, you can get rid of the cravings. Just remember that craving won’t kill you but drinking might. Here are some strategies which can help you in dealing with alcohol withdrawal.

Distraction

These methods may sound simple, but these are some of the most effective strategies for coping up with alcohol withdrawal symptoms. The goal of these methods is to move a person’s attention towards a more neutral external focus, away from uncomfortable feelings and negative internal thoughts. Whenever you feel like you are losing it, start concentrating on your surroundings and try to describe them to yourself in details. This helps a lot in diverting your mind from negative thoughts. Talking to someone can also be every effective in helping you get away from that loop in your head. Be it your friend, relatives, counsellor or even a total stranger, sharing always helps.

If there is no one to talk, then change the scenery completely, in other words, just get away from wherever you are at that moment. Go for a walk, a bike ride, a drive or anything else which can take you to some other place. You may find it amusing and odd that even household chores such as cleaning is a perfect diversion for your thoughts, especially when you are craving. Although it may sound childish, but even videogames have the capacity to take your mind off those negative thoughts. The best thing about video games is that they require enough concentration to divert your mind from all the other stuff. Also, you can play them alone so, you won’t have to depend upon others.

Imagery

Concentrating on few different types of imagery is another effective measure to counter the effects of alcohol withdrawal. For instance, you can command your craving to STOP by thinking of a big stop sign. In the meantime, try to refocus your concentration on a relaxing location of your choice, such as your favourite peaceful spot. Instead of thinking about those good times when you were drinking, try to divert your attention towards your lowest ebb when you felt ashamed and disgusted because of drinking. This habit will certainly discourage you from returning again to that point. If your cravings are a result of negative and depressing images, then try to imagine an optimistic view of the near future when you’ll be enjoying your time with your loved ones and that too without alcohol. If you have to be part of an upcoming event which will give you cravings, then try to rehearse the image in your mind of you dealing with the situation appropriately. It may happen that you are caught off-guard by your feeling during these events, so it’s better to run through the feelings you’ll have in advance.

Activity and relaxation

It has been observed in most of the cases that people who have had an addiction to drink for a long time do not have many hobbies left because the only activity they actually do for fun is drinking and then dealing with the hangover. So when you are thinking of quitting, then boredom turns out to be the biggest hurdle. The only way to deal with this problem is to try some new activities. Schedule such activities in every week, in other words, try to plan your week around those things which you enjoy. For instance, go to the movie with your friends on Tuesday, keep Thursday for swimming and plan a walk to the countryside with your partner on Saturday. You may find it awkward to plan your week in such a manner, but believe us, this is essential, especially in the early stages of withdrawal.

Next, try to learn some relaxation techniques as anger, stress, anxiety and frustration are amongst the biggest triggers for craving and these techniques will help you in dealing with such negative emotions. You have to learn some other methods if you have been using alcohol to relax for years. Yoga and meditation are very effective in such situations. However, like any new skill, even these relaxation techniques require some time before you get acquainted with them. But once you start practicing them regularly, you’ll be floating around on a cloud of calm.

Coping flashcards

Another effective measure to cope up with the withdrawal symptoms is to take the help of coping flashcards. Your ability to think rationally and remembering all the things which you are supposed to is greatly affected when you are in the grip of a strong craving. This is where coping flashcards can be very useful. Coping flashcards are nothing but small index cards on which you have written some important instructions for yourself. This can be of tremendous help even for those who suffer from anxiety. We are giving few examples of things which you can write on your coping flashcards-

· this craving will certainly pass if I just give it time

· what are the pros and cons of drinking right now?

· things are going well with my partner and drinking will only mess everything

· I’m not helpless, I can deal with this situation

Getting treatment

Unfortunately, not everyone can get rid of the withdrawal symptoms by following the measures discussed above. This holds true especially for those who are extremely alcohol dependent. However, there is a silver lining midst the dark clouds. If someone is really wishing to quit drinking, then all of these symptoms can be alleviated and even eliminated with the help of proper medical treatment. Medical treatment can be adopted even for those who are mildly dependent. For such people, doses of vitamins coupled with proper diet can can do the trick. However, for the severely dependent, medication is required, but only by a physician. Valium is one such medication which can help in alleviating withdrawal symptoms. Valium is substituted for alcohol and the dosage is reduced gradually until the patient is drug free.

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