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Am I experiencing alcohol withdrawl?

(13 Posts)
tribpot Thu 17-Jan-13 21:00:22

A friend of mine is wanting to cut down like you, Gravity1. She realised her drinking was gradually creeping up to an every day habit, and whilst she wasn't massively over the weekly units she didn't like the fact it was routine to drink (rather than not drink).

She's having a month off completely, followed by Lent which she is observing in the traditional way (which involves Sundays off apparently!) and then following some simple rules to keep her drinking at a level where she's happy.

Her main thing is not to drink at home, where it's too easy to let the units slide up. Admittedly as she is young, free and single it's more possible for her to have a 'no drinking at home' rule without this translating into 'no drinking'. But she intends to drink only when out with friends (a couple of times of month), alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks, and then one Sunday a month have an indulgent glass or two of wine with a good book, either at home as a special treat or in a local pub with a nice atmosphere.

She's using the horrifically coloured but otherwise excellent Change4Life drinks tracker (we think the blinding yellow is designed to deter you from getting a hangover as it's too awful trying to enter the units in when you've had too much to drink).

One of the things she's discovered is how difficult it can be to talk about being unhappy with how much you're drinking without everyone immediately assuming you're a raging alcoholic. (I can be quite open about my drinking problems for the same reason!) So do keep posting, it's good to get feedback and encouragement.

PolterGoose Thu 17-Jan-13 19:55:45

Well done Gravity. Halving your units and spreading them over 4 days should place you more or less within the recommended safe limit guidelines (14-21 units a week for women, not all at once!). It is also worth checking the strength of your wine and buying ones with less alcohol. And don't stockpile. Buy one bottle at a time.

Something to consider is that IIRC it takes approximately an hour for a unit of alcohol to get fully in your bloodstream, so, if you start drinking at 8, then consume 5 units of alcohol by 11 and then go to bed, you are effectively wasting the last 2 units you drank...

Gravity1 Thu 17-Jan-13 19:36:34

Thanks for all the comments. I have felt much less head-achey today and less tired too so hopefully I'm not physically dependent. Maybe it was a bit of a detox thing! I certainly haven't had sweats or tremors. Having these 4 days off has been en-lightening because actually I really thought I was dependent.

Its been an interesting week. Last Friday I did an on-line questionnaire I found mentioned on MN called 'Drinkers Check Up' and it said I wasn't dependent, to my surprise. Tho I was high risk for various reasons. I also read an article somewhere else that said that the liver needs 3 consecutive days off booze a week to recover. That feels do-able to me. I don't want to give up, I really enjoy drinking, but I do really need to moderate so 3 days off in a row is perfect. I halve my drinking just by doing that. And I can still enjoy a drink later in the week.

That said, I'm giving a lot of thought to other ways of dealing with stress, since this can be a major trigger for opening a bottle! But I am now feeling in control of my drinking for the first time in probably 20 years...!

PolterGoose Thu 17-Jan-13 08:33:13

I agree with Snorbs

Snorbs Thu 17-Jan-13 07:27:49

If the OP was physically reliant on alcohol (which is very unlikely at 40 units a week) then if she was going to develop delirium tremens she would have done so already.

tribpot Thu 17-Jan-13 07:12:23

I stand by advice but then as I hope I have made clear I went cold turkey from a much higher level of alcohol consumption, under advice from my GP. This may not be for everyone and of course OP should take medical advice over the comments of a bunch of strangers on t'internet.

The NICE guidelines are here and if the OP wishes to take the SADQ test mentioned this site carries it. If the OP is worried about going to her GP she could call Alcohol Concern's advice line on 0800 917 8282.

sashh Thu 17-Jan-13 04:48:55

I have sent you a PM.

For people saying to keep going cold turkey, sorry but that advice is dangerous.

If someone is physically reliant on alcohol sudden withdrawl is dangerous. None of us know if the OP is physically dependent and that should be assessed by an expert.

greyvix Thu 17-Jan-13 00:15:20

I have also cut out the drink for 10 days and feel rotten- tired and headachy.
Mine is accidental; I gave up drinking in the week, then was ill at the weekend.
I wonder how long it takes to detox totally.
Good luck, Gravity.

gussiegrips Wed 16-Jan-13 21:47:10

Good for you for dropping the units.

Impressive!

tribpot Wed 16-Jan-13 21:32:10

It could be - or it could be a seasonal fluy type thing. Either way, booze will not make you feel better, so stick to warm drinks to help you sleep (this is my fave).

If you can take some time off work that may help as you can then sleep in the day if you need to. Stick with it and let your body detox properly. Once you're feeling better you'll be better able to make some sensible decisions about what you want to do about alcohol in the future.

You've been drinking about 40-odd units a week. That's a lot less than me, back in the day, but obviously a fair chunk more than is recommended.

PolterGoose Wed 16-Jan-13 21:15:12

It might be. Take a good multi-vitamin, alcohol can severely affect the body's take up of B vitamins, and drink sugary fluids. You'll feel better soon thanks

JennyPiccolo Wed 16-Jan-13 20:13:25

Sounds like it might be. Try to stay off it for a while. If you're struggling, speak to your gp. That's quite a lot of booze to be having every night or so. Chances are it's just a bad habit you need to break.

Gravity1 Wed 16-Jan-13 19:19:26

I have been drinking quite a lot for quite a while (2 thirds of a bottle of wine every night.) Over the years I have had the odd night or even 2 off a week to try to keep levels down. Not always tho. Anyway, have not had a drink for 4 days and since yesterday I have had a stonking headache that painkillers don't shift, I'm not sleeping well, and feel worn out. Apparently I look pale too. Could this be some kind of withdrawl? shock

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