Author: Alex Thompson

6 Things That Happen To Your Body When You Stop Drinking

what happens to your body when you stop drinking

Start by talking to your doctor about how much alcohol you’ve been using and your plan to quit. It’s important that you work with your doctor when you’re ready to stop drinking rather than trying to do it alone. One study found that around 70% of participants had sleep problems when they were admitted for alcohol treatment. That number dropped to 50% when the participants went home, and many reported that their sleep quality got better after treatment. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.2 million U.S. adults had both mental health disorders and a substance use disorder in 2018, yet nearly 60% did not get treatment. Quitting alcohol won’t just protect your physical health—it can also improve your mental well-being.

what happens to your body when you stop drinking

Your urge to drink may be so intense that you can’t think about anything else. Sunnyside provides a simple but structured approach to help you drink more mindfully. Discover more energy, restful sleep, and improved wellness with a plan designed to fit your life.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Over time, the nervous system can get worked up when there’s no alcohol in your system. Heidi Borst is a freelance journalist, healthcare content writer and certified nutrition coach with a love of all things health and wellness. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Geographic, Good Housekeeping, MSN, Yahoo and more. Based in Wilmington, North Carolina, Borst is a lifelong runner and general fitness enthusiast who is passionate about the physical and mental benefits of sleep and self-care. Alcohol can cause psychological dependence, so if you’re finding it hard to manage the emotional element of quitting, reach out for help, says McMahon. “By eliminating alcohol, your mood stabilizes and you may experience reduced sadness, alcohol-induced anxiety and overall emotional well-being,” says Andrews.

what happens to your body when you stop drinking

Dr. Belani is currently a member of the Society of General Internal Medicine and American Academy of HIV Medicine. “When you quit drinking, your immune system gets a much-needed boost,” says Andrews. Your body can allocate its resources more effectively to fight off infections, making you less prone to common colds, flu and other ailments, she says. That heightened immunity can mean fewer sick days, increased energy levels and an overall improved sense of well-being, adds Andrews. Many people with alcohol use disorder also have other mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.

In fact, alcohol use can make you more susceptible to pneumonia, for example, and predispose chronic drinkers to things like infections and even poor wound healing. But anything more than a drink or so a day has the opposite effect, especially if you abuse or are addicted to alcohol. However, when you stop drinking, your liver will begin to repair itself and the damage will start to reverse. By Sarah Bence, OTR/LSarah Bence, OTR/L, is an occupational therapist and freelance writer. She specializes in a variety of health topics including mental health, dementia, celiac disease, and endometriosis. Research shows people who have a supportive social network are more likely to remain alcohol-free after withdrawal.

Will I experience withdrawal symptoms if I stop drinking?

If you’ve stopped drinking and still can’t sleep, talk to your provider. There are many things that can affect your sleep—physically and mentally. “Quitting drinking can improve a person’s sleep, but there may still be a significant number of people who continue to have sleep problems even with continuous abstinence,” Volpicelli says. Alcohol makes it harder for your body’s immune system to make enough white blood cells to fight off germs and bacteria. People who have been drinking a lot of alcohol for a long time tend to get frequent infections like pneumonia and tuberculosis because their immune system has been worn down.

  1. It is potentially life-threatening, so it is essential to seek medical attention immediately if you experience such symptoms.
  2. When you first stop drinking, your body will begin to detoxify itself.
  3. Sunnyside provides a simple but structured approach to help you drink more mindfully.
  4. But anything more than a drink or so a day has the opposite effect, especially if you abuse or are addicted to alcohol.
  5. Excess alcohol consumption may cause weight gain, which means that cutting out alcohol could lead to weight loss for some people.
  6. People who are daily or heavy drinkers may need medical support to quit.

This process temporarily restores homeostasis, or chemical balance, in an effort to counteract the impact of long-term alcohol use on the brain. If you add in costs of drinking in social settings at restaurants, bars, and clubs, the amount might be more. Because the liver is a tolerant organ, he said positive changes can occur within weeks of going dry. Of course, we all want a simple, achievable number for how long we should abstain from alcohol in order for our bodies to fully heal from its effects. Another thing that will help your liver’s journey in recovery is good nutrition. There’s no miracle diet by any means, but the Mediterranean diet, for example, can help fill some of the nutritional gaps you may have due to alcohol use.

In severe cases of withdrawal when symptoms are not treated, a person may experience generalized tonic-clonic seizures, delirium tremens, and even death. While many think drinking alcohol before bed will help them nod off and stay asleep, it’s quite the opposite. While alcohol is high in calories, and wine, beer, and mixed drinks add sugar to one’s diet, Kumar said that simply cutting it out may not always help you lose weight. Dr. Dasgupta said for social and moderate drinkers, participating in a month break won’t make much difference to their bodies. However, for people who exceed recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, he said staying away from alcohol for a month can reap changes.

You might not have any issues after your short-term withdrawal goes away. But sometimes uncomfortable symptoms stick around for months or years. Sometimes called alcoholic hallucinosis, these can show up within 12 to 24 hours after you quit. Withdrawal happens because your brain gets used to the depressive effects of alcohol. These chemical changes affect how your nerve cells talk to each other.

How long until your liver detoxes from alcohol?

If you don’t already have a supportive network, you can make new connections by joining social media communities dedicated to alcohol-free living. If you or someone you know shows signs of delirium tremens, go to the emergency room immediately. For those with alcohol misuse and dependence, the conditions are connected to chronic sleep disturbance, lower slow-wave sleep, and more rapid eye movement. “Again, depends on what the baseline alcohol consumption is,” she said. “The benefits can vary from person to person depending on how much of a change from their baseline behavior this is,” Dr. Rekha B. Kumar, medical director of the American Board of Obesity Medicine, told Healthline.

If you drink heavily for weeks, months, or years, you may have unwanted physical and mental symptoms when you try to stop. If you want to level up your health, cutting back significantly on alcohol yields several physical and mental health perks. You might think that a regular glass of red wine or other alcoholic beverages might be good for your heart.

“Fatty liver is a common phenomenon in individuals who drink heavily and regularly, leading to cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease,” says Mary Wirtz, MS, RDN, CSSD. Steering clear of alcohol, however, gives the liver a chance to regenerate. “Cutting out and abstaining from alcohol can recover a substantial portion of liver function,” Wirtz says. “When we stop drinking, we can begin to repair some of the long-term effects of alcohol use.”

Alcohol can also affect digestion, storage, utilization, and excretion of nutrients. When you stop drinking, your skin gets more elastic and the redness and discoloration on your face will slowly fade. As alcohol is broken down and metabolized by your body, toxins get released.

A big part of alcohol recovery is taking steps to improve your lifestyle through changes like diet and exercise. If you’ve been trying to get to and maintain a weight that supports your health, quitting alcohol can help you meet that goal. In this article, we’ll talk about the health risks that come with drinking and the benefits of quitting alcohol. Even if you know that there are benefits to quitting alcohol, it does not mean that it’s easy to stop drinking—especially if you’ve been misusing alcohol for a long time. “You may notice an increase in mental clarity and memory, [since] alcohol use can impact concentration and memory,” he explains. Enjoying alcohol socially in reasonable amounts can boost your mood and help you bond with others.

If you’re a heavy drinker, you may need to wean off alcohol to let your body adjust. If you’re experiencing severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, be sure to talk to a healthcare provider. Lots of people with alcohol use disorder need professional help to quit drinking. Your doctor can recommend medications that can help with alcohol withdrawal symptoms and cravings during your recovery. Naltrexone is one type of medication that can help reduce alcohol cravings, making it easier for some people to stop drinking.