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How To Relax Without Alcohol? What To Do Instead Of Drinking

How To Relax Without Alcohol? Benefits, Tips & How To Get Medication-Assisted Program For Alcoholism

Does Alcohol Help You Relax?

Alcohol directly affects the brain and, in turn, has a physiological effect on individuals who consume it. More specifically, alcohol stimulates the release of dopamine and endorphins. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that produces feelings of pleasure; endorphins are the body’s natural painkiller. Stimulating the brain’s reward centers, alcohol becomes rewarding on a physiological level. This physically encourages the use of alcohol. As alcohol may seem to have benefits, it is also important to learn how to relax without alcohol.

What does long-term alcohol use do to your brain? Long-term heavy alcohol use can lead to changes in the brain’s physiology. One scientifically proven change is a decrease in dopamine receptors. [1] This happens over time to accommodate the increase in the release of dopamine neurotransmitters and is the brain’s way of adapting to heavy alcohol use. Eventually, the physical dependence on alcohol develops, and the individual may try to stop drinking but fails due to alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Another reason they may fail to stop drinking is that one of the first withdrawal symptoms to develop is cravings. These are some of the exact qualifications for an alcohol use disorder.

It is important to understand why we drink and may continue to drink despite the negative consequences of drinking and how to relax without alcohol.

Reasons Why People Drink Alcohol:

  • To get drunk
  • To be more social
  • To escape a problem
  • To manage stress
  • An increase in power
  • For fun (enjoyment)
  • As a part of a ritual
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What Increases the Risk for AUD?

A person’s risk for developing alcohol use disorder (AUD) depends, in part, on how much, how often, and how quickly they consume alcohol. Alcohol misuse, which includes binge drinking* and heavy alcohol use,** over time increases the risk of AUD. Other factors also increase the risk of AUD, [2], such as:

  • Drinking at an early age. A recent national survey found that among people ages 26 and older, those who began drinking before age 15 were more than five times as likely to report having AUD in the past year as those who waited until age 21 or later to begin drinking. The risk for females in this group is higher than that of males.
  • Genetics and family history of alcohol problems. Genetics play a role, with a hereditability of approximately 60 percent; however, like other chronic health conditions, AUD risk is influenced by the interplay between a person’s genes and environment. Parents’ drinking patterns may also influence the likelihood that a child will one day develop AUD.
  • Mental health conditions and a history of trauma. A wide range of psychiatric conditions—including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder—is comorbid with AUD and is associated with an increased risk of AUD. People with a history of childhood trauma are also vulnerable to AUD.

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How To Feel Relaxed Without Alcohol?

How To Relax Without Alcohol?
How to relax without alcohol? Learn the top tips here because alcohol doesn’t have to be your only option for stress relief. 

How to relax without alcohol? Have you ever tried to stop drinking alcohol on your own? Have you tried it without the help of an alcohol treatment program? Maybe you tried to stop without attending support group meetings (such as AA)? Or did you try to stop truly alone without opening up to your friends or family? If you are here reading this article on how to relax without alcohol, then we can assume that you either have not tried yet or that you did try and were unsuccessful.

If you are among the latter, you have already met at least one alcohol use disorder (AUD) criterion. If you have an alcohol use disorder, getting help from a licensed and accredited treatment center is recommended. However, if you are highly motivated to try to stop drinking on your own, then here are a few tips that will help you along the way.

Ways To Relax Without Alcohol

Talk With Your Doctor

A physician can evaluate your current health status and identify potential risk factors for alcohol detox. They may also be able to prescribe medications or provide guidance for a successful detox process. How to relax without alcohol withdrawal? Quitting alcohol cold turkey can be dangerous, so always talk with your doctor before making any drastic changes.

Develop a Plan

How to relax without alcohol? Consider what you will do if x, y, and z happen. For instance,

  • What if you do relapse, or even if you have thoughts of relapsing? 
  • Will you be cutting back first? 
  • Who will you call if you need help? 
  • What are your short-term and long-term sobriety goals? 

These are just a few questions to ask yourself to stop drinking on your own and how to relax without alcohol.

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Consider Cutting Back

How to relax without alcohol? Every individual and their circumstances are different, and some people will be able to cut back successfully, whereas others won’t. Quitting all at once is always the ideal option for other types of addiction where withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening. However, starting by cutting back may be the safest option for some people who struggle with alcohol addiction. 

Set Goals

Consider what your goal is and why. Do you want to quit drinking altogether, or do you want to cut back on your drinking? Consider setting a quit date or limiting how many drinks you have per day. How to relax without alcohol? Maybe limit your drinking to certain days and decrease the number of days you drink as time goes on.

Goals can also be things you want to accomplish due to quitting or cutting back on drinking. For instance, saving a certain amount of money or learning a new skill. Goals are a great way to stay focused on your progress.

How To Relax Without Alcohol?
How to relax without alcohol? Taking time to enjoy hobbies remains a great way to relax and unwind.

Get Support

How you stop drinking on your own is… you don’t. Regardless of which route you try to stop drinking, support will always be a benefit. Support can come from friends and family, therapists, and support groups. Find people who understand what you are going through or are supportive in your journey to figure out how to quit drinking. Never underestimate the value of great support.

Life Without Alcohol Is Possible

Anyone who has seen other people go through alcohol withdrawal or experienced alcohol detox knows how difficult the process can be. However, the weeks, months, and years following those days can also be extremely rewarding. The benefits of giving up alcohol are endless and can affect every aspect of a user and their loved one’s life. This is a comprehensive list of various health, social, and financial benefits of acting on a choice to drink “no more alcohol”. 

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How Can We Help? Searched for “Tips of you can’t relax without alcohol?” or are you seeking a national inpatient rehab destination?

Alcohol rehab facilities can provide access to medical interventions if any number of withdrawal symptoms are present. Interventions that could be as simple as IV fluids could greatly impact the recovery process and even save your life. Inpatient detox and residential programs also provide 24/7 monitoring for quick response in life-threatening situations. Inpatient and outpatient detox programs may also provide access to various alternative therapies such as yoga, massage, acupuncture, and more. These evidence-based practices have been shown to ease and/or shorten alcohol detoxification.

Medically Assisted Alcohol Treatment Program

Alcoholism almost always co-occurs with alcohol dependence. When someone with alcohol dependence stops drinking, they will experience alcohol withdrawal as early as 5-6 hours following their last drink. These symptoms may get worse over the coming days. Someone with moderate to severe alcohol dependence will likely experience the peak of these symptoms about 2 to 3 days into detox, and the symptoms can last about five days. Medically assisted-detox treatment is one of the most effective ways to manage these symptoms. Here are some of the types of medications that may be prescribed during a medical detox program to someone in alcohol withdrawal:

  • Anti-anxiety medication such as Diazepam may be prescribed to manage increased anxiety.
  • Diazepam is also a sedative, another type of medication used during alcohol withdrawal. When symptoms get severe, sedatives can help the patient sleep while detox progresses.
  • How to relax without alcohol during therapy? Supplemental vitamins may be given to support proper nutrition.
  • IV fluids may be given to help counteract fluid loss from sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea during detox. Proper hydration is key to the withdrawal process.
How To Relax Without Alcohol?
How to relax without alcohol? Consider joining a support group if you struggle to incorporate different relaxation techniques into your routine instead of alcohol.

Medication-assisted treatment for alcohol is beneficial not only to alcohol treatment during detox but also at lower levels of care. One of the most commonly used medical treatments used during any type of outpatient treatment is disulfiram. Disulfiram is used for aversion therapy. This drug produces negative side effects such as chest pains, nausea and vomiting, sweating, and headaches. The only way someone on disulfiram can avoid these symptoms is by abstaining from alcohol.

Medications used in MAT are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and MAT programs are clinically driven and tailored to meet each patient’s needs. [3] Most alcohol treatment centers in America utilize medication as a part of their treatment program, which is considered a standard of care.

Alternative Alcohol Addiction Treatment

A holistic treatment program is an addiction rehab program that focuses on healing the mind and body. This does not mean excluding medication or therapy but pairing it with alternative addiction therapies. Alternative therapies are often types of therapies that can be accessed inside and outside of treatment, meaning they can easily be incorporated into their daily life following treatment. This works well because new, healthy behaviors can help replace old, risky behaviors.

Get help from one of the country’s best alcohol addiction treatment programs if you are struggling with alcoholism and don’t know how to relax without alcohol. Reach out to We Level Up for an individualized plan that may include a combination of the types of treatments discussed here.

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[1] Why is Alcohol Addictive? – Level Up Lake Worth
[2] Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder – National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
[3] Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration