4 Best Ways To Stop Alcohol Craving
Managing alcohol cravings can be a regular struggle for people recovering from alcohol abuse. The 4 best ways to stop alcohol craving are:
1. Recognise Triggers and Avoid High-Risk Situations
The urge to drink can be initiated by external or internal triggers. By recognizing and avoiding them, one can successfully quit drinking, stop alcohol cravings and maintain long-term sobriety. These are excellent ways to stop alcohol cravings. Even getting involved in other activities can prove helpful to stop the urge to drink alcohol.
Sometimes the urge to drink can arise all of a sudden, without any reason. This urge is caused by internal triggers like a set of fleeting thoughts, a negative emotion such as frustration, a positive emotion like excitement, or a physical sensation like anxiety, tension or a headache. External triggers include places, people, things or times of the day related to drinking opportunities or behaviours, which can easily cause a relapse. High-risk situations are much more predictable, obvious and avoidable than internal triggers.
Studies have shown that alcohol cravings are greater in situations like being in a party, at a restaurant, in a pub and at home.1
One of the 4 best ways to stop alcohol craving is to avoid high-risk situations. Alcohol should not be bought or kept at home by an individual recovering from alcohol abuse. Social situations in which alcohol is served should be avoided. One should not even stop by bars if they seriously want to stop alcohol craving.
2. Communicating Effectively and Building Support Networks
By understanding alcoholism properly, family members can be more supportive of these individuals and help them avoid triggers, which lead to alcohol craving. People who are trying to quit drinking should talk to their partner, spouse, and other family members just after rehab and periodically thereafter. This helps the close ones understand the different aspects of recovery and related challenges. Building a support system is an excellent way to reduce and stop alcohol craving.
These individuals should remember that communicating effectively does not only mean expressing their views clearly and calmly but also involves listening to their family’s concerns. Ones recovering from alcohol addiction should surround themselves with positive influences and people who can help in building their confidence and self-esteem. Without support, it can be difficult for these people to make the life changes necessary for long-term abstinence from alcohol. The presence of a healthy social network is specifically vital during the early months of recovery from alcoholism. Regular attendance at support groups is also important for maintaining abstinence and giving up alcohol.
3. Consume A Nutritious Diet to Stop Alcohol Craving
Optimal nutrition and hydration play a key role in the healing process from alcohol addiction. A good and balanced diet helps to restore both physical and mental health and improve the chance of recovery from alcoholism as well. Macro and micronutrient deficiencies can result in anxiety, depression, and low energy, all of which are powerful triggers for a relapse to drinking.
Certain foods help in supporting brain chemistry, improving digestion, and promoting steady blood sugar throughout the day. Healthy digestion promotes optimal absorption of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, and thus helps in reducing alcohol cravings. Steady blood sugar regularizes the level of insulin and leptin, the hormones which are responsible for regulating hunger. Adequate intake of lean protein helps in optimizing the production of neurotransmitters, linked with reward and feelings of well-being, by the brain.
Hence, one of the 4 best ways to stop alcohol craving also includes maintaining nutritional health. Comprehensive nutrition education programs and individualized nutrition counseling have proven helpful in improving three-month sobriety success rates in people with alcohol abuse problems.2 So people who are in the recovery phase should consult a nutritionist who understands the specific needs of alcohol recovery and can help to create attainable meal plans and nutrition strategies.
Ones in their recovery phase from alcohol addiction should avoid making immediate major changes in their diet. They should rather make gradual dietary improvements for ensuring better adherence to the new nutrition regime and to effectively stop alcohol craving.
Water is the most important element for the body. Along with its other benefits, it can even help to reduce alcohol cravings.
Include foods that are low in fat and high in lean protein in their diet, to help in rebuilding muscles. Walnuts, peanut butter, and salmon are good options for such foods. Add plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to the diet as these contain all the necessary vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Bananas are excellent for curing hangovers as these are rich in potassium which naturally increases the levels of the neurotransmitters called dopamine and serotonin in the body which help to reduce recovery-related depression and anxiety from withdrawing from alcohol.
Supplements of vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, B, and C, and zinc, can also prove helpful if taken during and after recovery from alcoholism.
Since alcohol is converted to sugar in the body, the body tends to crave sugar when one stops drinking. So, it is important to avoid consuming processed, simple carbohydrates. One should instead opt for whole grains foods like whole-grain bread which contain complex carbohydrates that metabolize slowly and kill sugar cravings for longer. It is very important that people trying to quit alcohol addiction, have regular meals and snacks throughout the day. This is one of the best was to stop alcohol craving and remain healthy.
4. Exercising and Engaging in Healthy Activities
Getting involved in physical activity can be a good way of replacing self-destructive behaviors since exercise is known to stimulate the same neurotransmitters and circuits in the brain like many addictive substances. Like nutrition, even exercise should be started out slowly. This is likely to help the person stick to their exercise routine for longer.
An ideal fitness routine should include both cardiovascular exercise and strength training. One should start their fitness routine by walking, be it in a park, on a walking track or even at shopping malls. Alcoholics commonly tend to give up on activities they once found enjoyable. Recovery from alcohol addiction also focuses on rediscovering hobbies and activities from the individual’s past and developing new interests. This not only helps to alleviate boredom, which can trigger a relapse but also enables the person to pursue fulfilling, healthier alternatives to stop alcohol craving. Antiquing, cooking, arts and crafts, reading, team sports, or going to movies are some of the many ways in which people can enjoy their leisure time and meet new friends and also curb alcohol cravings in a healthy way. To spend time doing creative and enjoyable activities with family and friends is also one of the 4 best ways to stop alcohol craving.
It should be kept in mind that there is no universal best way of quitting drinking for the long term. While these are just the 4 best ways to stop alcohol craving, there may be other healthy ways to suit others. One would need to try out various ways and a combination of strategies to find the most suitable ways to stop alcohol craving.
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