When you stop drinking, immediate changes include improved sleep quality and mental clarity. As time progresses, you may notice significant improvements in physical health, such as better liver function and heart health. Long-term abstinence can also lead to weight loss, healthier skin, and reduced risk of alcohol-related diseases.
Every day, millions of people consume alcohol, often without realizing the toll it takes on their bodies and minds. While an occasional glass of wine or beer might seem harmless, regular or excessive drinking can lead to serious health complications and lifestyle challenges.
Have you ever considered the real cost of your drinking habit? It’s not just about money. It’s about sleepless nights, diminished productivity, strained relationships, and the relentless toll on your health. And what about the clouded mind, the compromised decisions, and the missed opportunities? These are the often-overlooked side effects of a lifestyle that includes regular alcohol consumption.
So, what happens when you stop drinking?
In this article, we explore the timeline of what happens when you stop drinking so you know what to expect. By showcasing the timeline of changes that occur within your body and mind, from immediate improvements in sleep and clarity to long-term physical and mental health benefits, we hope to inspire you to take the first step on your journey to recovery and better health.
What Happens When You Stop Drinking?
When you stop drinking, you can expect to experience a range of physical and emotional changes. These changes will occur gradually over time, as your body adjusts to life without alcohol.
Here’s what happens when you stop drinking for 12 months:
The first 24 hours
Your body begins to detoxify itself. Dehydration and withdrawal symptoms start to kick in, but on the bright side, your liver is already starting to repair itself.
Alcohol is being completely purged from your system. You may experience noticeable withdrawal symptoms, including restlessness and insomnia. However, your body is starting to recover its hydration levels.
Withdrawal symptoms may peak around this time. Despite this, your body is working hard to rebalance itself, which can result in improved mood and clearer thinking.
Improved sleep patterns begin to emerge. You may also start to notice a decrease in blood pressure and improved hydration levels, leading to better skin condition.
As the body continues to detox, energy levels start to increase. The liver is beginning to heal more significantly, reducing the risk of liver disease.
You may notice substantial improvements in your cognitive functions and memory. Also, your digestion should improve, and you might start losing weight due to a reduction in calories consumed.
By this time, your body has made significant progress. Liver function is greatly improved, and your cardiovascular system is starting to recover, reducing risk of heart disease. Mood levels should also be more stable.
Your brain chemistry should be near normal levels, improving mental clarity and memory. Significant weight loss may be noticeable, and the condition of your skin may have improved further.
By this stage, you should notice a considerable increase in energy levels. Your liver is far healthier, and if you were previously suffering from fatty liver disease, this may have been reversed. Sleep patterns should be normalized, and your risk of certain cancers is reduced.
After a full year without alcohol, the risk of heart disease has significantly decreased. The liver function should be largely recovered, and there’s a noticeable improvement in the immune system. Mental health should also be much improved, with decreased risk of anxiety and depression.
Remember, everyone’s journey will be different, but these are the general health improvements that many people can expect when they stop drinking alcohol. It’s always recommended to seek professional help when considering giving up alcohol, especially for heavy drinkers, as withdrawal can sometimes be dangerous.
Should I Stop Drinking?
If you’re considering giving up alcohol, there are many reasons to do so. Not only will you experience significant improvements in your physical and emotional health, but you’ll also have more control over your life. You’ll be able to focus on your goals and passions, without the interference of alcohol.
Here are some frequently asked questions that we get from people interested in what happens when you stop drinking:
What will happen to my social life if I stop drinking?
Quitting drinking can certainly bring about changes to your social life. You may find that you have more free time and energy to pursue new hobbies or activities, and you may meet new people who share your interests. However, you may also find that some of your current social circles are centered around alcohol and that you need to find new ways to socialize. Consider seeking out sober social events or finding new activities or hobbies that don’t involve alcohol. You may also want to talk to friends and family members about your decision to stop drinking and ask for their support.
Will I experience any withdrawal symptoms or other negative effects when I stop drinking?
The severity of withdrawal symptoms and other negative effects can vary depending on how much and how often you were drinking prior to quitting. Some people may experience mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, and headaches. In more severe cases, withdrawal can lead to seizures or delirium tremens (DTs), a potentially life-threatening condition. It’s important to seek medical advice before quitting drinking if you have been a heavy drinker for a long time.
What challenges will I be up against if I decide to stop drinking?
Some common challenges when trying to quit drinking include coping with alcohol cravings, managing withdrawal symptoms, dealing with social pressure to drink, and finding new ways to cope with stress and other triggers that may have led to drinking in the past. To overcome these challenges, develop a self-care routine that includes healthy habits like exercise, meditation, and good sleep hygiene. Find new ways to socialize that don’t involve alcohol, and be honest with your loved ones about your decision to quit drinking and how they can support you.
Take Your First Step Toward Sobriety
Struggling with alcohol addiction can be a daunting and isolating experience, causing harm to both your health and relationships.
If left unchecked, this issue can spiral out of control, creating irreversible damage to your life.
You don’t have to fight this battle alone. If you’re ready to take the first step toward sobriety, contact Verve Behavioral Health to discover the benefits of our Intensive Outpatient Program.
So, what happens when you stop drinking?
Giving up alcohol can be a challenging but rewarding journey. By understanding what to expect during the first 12 months of sobriety, you can prepare yourself for the physical and emotional changes that lie ahead. If you’re worried about your drinking habits, it’s important to seek help. There are many resources available to support you in your journey toward sobriety, including Verve Behavioral Health’s intensive outpatient program.
Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2020). Alcohol use disorder. Retrieved from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-use-disorders