How Quickly Can My Friend Stop Drinking Without Risk?

by John
(Sweden)

My friend is 56 years old, and he has been drinking six pints of beer (almost like a medication regimen) every day since his mother died. He was thirteen at the time, so it's 43 years of drinking... He's developed a slight liver problem, so now he says he's going to quit drinking. I am worrying there might be delirium tremens, seizures and the like if he stops cold turkey. Shouldn't he taper down instead? Would cutting out one beer per day per week (then it would take six weeks to take him to zero beers a day) be a reasonably safe option? He's the most stubborn man I've ever met and he has made up his mind to stop drinking without seeing a doctor etc...I worry he will go cold turkey and develop serious problems as a result...I may be able to convince him to taper down, but I won't be able to get him to join an organized program...


Reply

Although you stated that your friend is not willing to go and see a doctor, I am afraid this is what he should do, if he wishes to stop drinking without risk to himself. When his slight liver problem was diagnosed the doctor responsible must have made some kind of recommendation or given advice to your friend about his drinking, he should heed this.

Quitting drinking, even tapering down, can be risky and should never be attempted without medical supervision.

All the best.

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