How to Stop Drinking Alcohol: Home Remedies and Complementary Treatments

Ways to Ease Withdrawl and Support Recovery

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Home remedies used to stop drinking alcohol include herbs like kudzu and ashwagandha, lifestyle changes to reduce stress, and online counseling and support groups. 

However, if you are a daily or heavy drinker, quitting alcohol without medical supervision can be dangerous. People with alcohol use disorder (AUD) or alcoholism can experience severe withdrawal symptoms that can be deadly.

While it's unwise to rely only on alternative remedies for AUD, meditation, exercise, and herbs can help moderate drinkers transition to alcohol-free living.

This article discusses how to stop drinking alcohol by using home remedies. It explains how herbal remedies and lifestyle changes can relieve mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms and when to seek medical care for alcohol withdrawal.

Close up of an acupuncture procedure
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Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

AUD (formerly known as alcoholism) is a medical condition in which a person has an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite consequences. If you have tried unsuccessfully to quit drinking on your own, you may meet the criteria.

People with AUD who quit drinking abruptly may go into alcohol withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms start about 8 hours after your last drink, peak after 24 to 72 hours, and can linger for weeks or months, depending on the individual.

Mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms can often be managed at home and may include:

  • Anxiety 
  • Brain fog
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Nervousness or jitters
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Tremors or shakiness

Alcohol Withdrawal Can Be Deadly

Quitting alcohol abruptly can cause seizures and even death. If you are a heavy drinker, make sure you have supervision when you stop drinking in case there is a problem.

Seek emergency medical treatment if you experience any of the following within 24 to 72 hours of stopping drinking:

  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Seizure
  • Severe confusion

Herbal Remedies for Quitting Drinking

Herbal supplements may help to ease withdrawal symptoms, speed liver healing, and help to relieve alcohol cravings.

Kudzu Flower

Kudzu extract has shown some promise in helping people avoid binge drinking. Binge drinking is when someone has more than four or five drinks in two hours.

Kudzu may also help heavy drinkers cut the amount of alcohol they consume, even if they are not being treated for AUD.

Kudzu flower is the chief ingredient in Ge Hua Jie Cheng San TCM formula. That's the blend often used to treat intoxication and hangover.

It has several effects. One is that it raises your blood alcohol levels faster, which means you may feel intoxicated sooner.

In one study, people who binge drink took either kudzu extract or a placebo before a 90-minute session of drinking beer. A placebo is a treatment with no real medication in it.

The people who received a dose of kudzu extract drank significantly less beer than they usually did. They also drank less than people who had taken the placebo. They drank more slowly, too.

A study of heavy drinkers who were not in a treatment program found that taking kudzu had no effect on their alcohol cravings. But it did reduce the number of drinks they had each week by a third to a half.

It also cut the number of heavy drinking days and increased the number of days they didn't drink at all.


Ashwagandha is an herbal supplement made from the Withania somnifera plant. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine, which originated in India.

Ashwagandha is sometimes used for alcohol withdrawal and cravings. In studies with alcohol-addicted mice, ashwagandha seemed to relieve anxiety. More studies would be needed to see if it works the same way in humans.

Milk Thistle

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is an herb rich in the antioxidant silymarin. It is often touted as a means of restoring liver health and protecting against liver damage from too much alcohol.

Some research shows that milk thistle may help those looking to treat alcohol-related liver disease. It's important to note that more studies are needed to confirm that the herb enhances liver health.

St. John’s Wort

St. John’s wort is believed to help people stop drinking alcohol, but its effectiveness has not been fully studied. Older studies show St. John’s wort may help to reduce alcohol intake and relieve withdrawal symptoms in animals. However, more recent research and human studies are lacking.

St. John’s wort can help to relieve depression and mood swings that come with alcohol withdrawal and early recovery. Research shows the herb works as well as some depression medications.

St. John’s wort works to balance serotonin and dopamine, brain chemicals responsible for a feeling of well-being. 


Do drink alcohol or take sedatives while taking St. John’s wort. The herb can increase the effects of these drugs. It can also interact with other herbs and medications. Check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking St. John’s wort.

Meditation and Mindfulness

Mindfulness therapies have been used to keep people from relapsing. Relapse is when someone resumes drinking in unhealthy ways after a period of recovery.

These programs usually include meditation. They train you to be aware of your thoughts, feelings, and cravings rather than simply reacting to them.

Some studies report that mindfulness led to better outcomes than 12-step programs only.

Not all studies had the same results, however. A 2017 research review did not find that this therapy was more effective than other forms of relapse prevention.

Lifestyle Changes

Making changes to your daily routine can be helpful when quitting drinking. Replacing unhealthy habits with a healthier lifestyle can ease withdrawal symptoms and help keep cravings at bay.

Lifestyle changes you can make to feel better when you quit drinking include:

  • Eat better: Reach for foods with higher vitamin and mineral contents to help restore nutrients lost when drinking.
  • Exercise: Moving your body can help to improve your mood, relieve stress, and boost pain-relieving endorphins, all of which can help when you quit drinking.
  • Get enough sleep: Getting at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night can help your mind and body feel better when you quit drinking. However, insomnia is a common problem when you first quit drinking. If you are unable to sleep, talk to your healthcare provider.
  • Keep hydrated: Drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day may help reduce withdrawal symptoms and keep you feeling better.
  • Reduce stress: If you used alcohol to cope with stress, you will want to find new strategies. Exercise, meditation, yoga, journaling, creative outlets like music and art, or other hobbies can help lower stress naturally.
  • Stay away from alcohol: When trying to quit drinking, it can be wise to avoid people you drank with, places where alcohol is served, and activities you associate with drinking.

Online Support

If you are struggling to stop drinking alcohol on your own, you can find support online with peer-to-peer meetings, virtual therapy, and online outpatient treatment.

Support Groups

The online recovery community expanded dramatically during the COVID-19 lockdown. Support groups and meetings can be found 24 hours a day from the comfort of your home with a variety of recovery programs to choose from.

Recovery fellowships with online meetings that can help you quit drinking include:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): The original support group for people with a desire to stop drinking, AA uses a 12-step program to achieve abstinence from alcohol.
  • Celebrate Recovery: A Bible-based program of recovery that helps people with alcoholism, substance abuse, gambling, eating disorders, and other issues.
  • Green Recovery and Sobriety Support (GRASS): A cannabis-friendly recovery community that offers online support meetings for people in recovery from alcohol and other harmful substances and behaviors.
  • Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS): A network of non-religious peer-to-peer support groups for recovery from alcohol and other substance use disorders.
  • SMART Recovery: Peer support meetings that use a self-directed, analytic approach to harm reduction from alcohol and substance misuse disorders.


Behavioral health therapies are widely used for helping people stop drinking. Thanks to virtual healthcare, you can see a therapist from the comfort of your home.

Therapeutic methods that have been proven effective in helping people with alcohol use disorder include:

  • Brief interventions
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy 
  • Family counseling
  • Motivational enhancement therapy

Intensive Outpatient Treatment

If you are unable to quit drinking with support groups and therapy alone, you may benefit from intensive outpatient treatment. Many rehabs and treatment centers now offer virtual programs that treat alcohol use disorder.

Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) involve individual and group therapy and education to give you tools to help you stop drinking and stay stopped.

Consider seeking treatment for AUD if you experience the following:

  • A strong urge to drink
  • An inability to limit how much alcohol you drink
  • Cravings
  • Loss of control
  • Physical dependence, including nausea and sweating when you don't drink
  • Tolerance, or a need to drink more alcohol to feel the same effects

Without treatment, excessive alcohol use can lead to complications, such as:

Alcohol use disorder has also been linked to a higher risk of several cancers, including colon, breast, oral, liver, and throat cancers.

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.


Acupuncture uses tiny, sterile needles placed in targeted spots on your body. It's used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to help reduce alcohol cravings and ease withdrawal symptoms.

Some people also use it to treat the anxiety and depression that go along with alcohol addiction and withdrawal. Research on how best to use this treatment is ongoing.

A 2017 research review found that acupuncture helped with alcohol cravings and withdrawal.

In one of the studies in the review, researchers compared a real acupuncture treatment to a fake one. In the real treatment, researchers placed needles into zones linked to alcohol-related behaviors. In the sham treatment, they placed needles into other areas of the body.

The results? The alcohol-targeted acupuncture cut down on cravings and withdrawal symptoms better than the sham treatment. However, the effect was weak.

The National Acupuncture Detoxification Program (NADA) focuses on treating addiction. It includes ear acupuncture.

NADA specialists say acupuncture should be used along with medical care, counseling, and other kinds of support.


Home remedies and complementary therapies are often used to help people quit drinking.

Herbal supplements like Ashwagandha, kudzu, milk thistle, and St. John’s wort may reduce alcohol withdrawal symptoms and prevent cravings. 

Lifestyle changes, better nutrition, exercise, meditation, mindfulness, and relaxing hobbies can also help you feel better while living alcohol-free.

You can also find support for quitting drinking online. Multiple recovery fellowships offer support group meetings online throughout the day.

Online therapy and intensive outpatient treatment programs are widely available and can be accessed from the comfort and privacy of your home. 

Heavy drinkers who stop drinking alcohol abruptly can experience serious withdrawal symptoms that could be deadly. If you have a drinking problem, talk to your healthcare provider about how to quit safely.

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Cathy Wong
Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman's World, and Natural Health.