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What Is Maintenance Drinking?

Person learning what maintenance drinking is

Understanding maintenance drinking is crucial for anyone who may be struggling with alcohol addiction or supporting someone who is. Alcohol dependence is a serious medical concern. Constant alcohol intake causes the brain to change to cope with the excess amount of chemicals introduced to the body. The brain adapts to maintain normal function in the presence of alcohol. Once the alcohol is removed, the brain perceives the loss as an abnormal state, and the body will struggle to function. This adaptation is why alcohol withdrawal may be a dangerous exercise that is safest undertaken through an alcohol addiction treatment program with medical professionals to support and monitor progress.

Our licensed medical staff at Ashwood Recovery, located in Boise, Idaho, can provide a safe environment for alcohol detox and recovery. We offer a wide variety of treatment programs that cater to each patient’s individual needs. We focus on long-term sobriety through various therapies that ensure holistic recovery. Contact our team online or call 888.341.3607 today to learn more about what maintenance drinkers are and if you or your loved one fit the criteria.

What Is Maintenance Drinking?

When someone has been dependent on alcohol for an extended time, withdrawal symptoms may be severe or even dangerous. Symptoms will start to be felt as early as six hours after the last drink. Here are some of the adverse effects of weaning off of alcohol:

  • Anxiety, mood changes, confusion
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Headaches, insomnia, fatigue
  • Sweating, shakes, numbness
  • Rapid abnormal breathing, increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Hallucinations, sensitivity to light or noise
  • Heart palpitations, seizures

To alleviate these symptoms, some people resort to maintenance drinking. Once they feel the onset of withdrawal symptoms, they take a drink of alcohol. While experts may use maintenance drinking to describe sustained alcohol dependency, it can also be used as a safe way to prepare for medically assisted alcohol detox.

How Can You Practice Maintenance Drinking Safely?

It is essential to differentiate safe maintenance drinking from alcohol addiction. The main goal of safe maintenance drinking is to prevent severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms and not to maintain a level of intoxication.

Here are some guidelines for safe maintenance drinking in preparation for alcohol detox:

  • At the onset of withdrawal symptoms, drink a small amount of alcohol.
  • Once withdrawal symptoms subside, stop drinking.
  • The amount of alcohol should be enough to allow the symptoms to subside, but not to the point of becoming drunk.
  • Only drink once withdrawal symptoms are felt.
  • Do not stock too much alcohol. Purchase only the amount needed for maintenance.
  • Refrain from driving or similar activities, even if the alcohol taken is minimal.

Maintenance drinking to alleviate withdrawal symptoms is only meant to transition someone into alcohol detox safely. It is not meant to be a long-term solution.

Why Is Alcohol Addiction Treatment Still Crucial for Maintenance Drinkers?

While maintenance drinking may provide temporary relief and a safer way to detox, it is not a long-term solution for alcohol addiction. Without proper treatment, the underlying issues that led to alcohol addiction will not be addressed. This can result in relapse or the development of other unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Alcohol addiction treatment offers personalized care and therapy options tailored to an individual’s specific needs. It addresses the root causes of addiction and equips individuals with the tools and support necessary for long-term sobriety.

Enroll in Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Ashwood Recovery

At Ashwood Recovery’s outpatient treatment center in Boise, Idaho, we offer a wide variety of alcohol addiction treatment programs that can cater to each patient’s addiction severity, budget, and time obligations. Patients can choose either a partial hospitalization program, an intensive outpatient program, or an outpatient program.

Once the hard work of detox is done, Ashwood Recovery offers outpatient rehab programs to address the physical and psychological aspects of addiction. Alcohol detox is difficult and potentially dangerous to do on one’s own. Enrolling in an alcohol addiction treatment program is the safest and best way to ensure success and maintain a sober lifestyle. Contact our team online or call 888.341.3607 today to start your safe recovery journey.