- The Benefits of When You Stop Drinking
- Article at a Glance:
- A Healthier Brain
- A Stronger Immune System
- A Healthier Liver
- A Stronger Heart
- Decreased Risk of Cancer
- Improved Digestion
- Improved Memory and Cognitive Function
- Your Health Is In Your Hands
- Finding Help to Quit Drinking
- What Happens When You Stop Drinking Alcohol?
- Why Do People Give Up Alcohol?
- Potential Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
- Physical Effects Of Quitting Alcohol
- Mental Effects Of Quitting Alcohol
- Treatment Programs For Overcoming Alcohol Abuse And Addiction
- 10 Mental and Physical Benefits of Quitting Drinking — The VJRC in Vegas
- 1. Increased Heart Health
- 2. Decreased Risk of Cancer
- 3. Your Body Will Feel Better
- 4. You May Lose Weight
- 5. No More Moral Hangovers
- 6. Increase in Rational Decision Making and Impulse Control
- 7. Develop a Clearer Picture of Your Mental Health
- 8. A More Stable Mood
- 9. Better Sleep
- 10. More Control Over Your Life
- The benefits of giving up alcohol for a month
- What happens when you stop drinking? A timeline
- Up to 24 hours after you stop drinking
- 12-72 hours after you stop drinking
- 48-72 hours after you stop drinking
- Between 3 and 7 days after you stop drinking
- Better sleep
- More hydrated
- Calories saved:
- Week two of giving up alcohol
- Week three of giving up alcohol
- Week four of giving up alcohol
- Benefits of not drinking alcohol
- Benefits of Quitting Drinking in the New Year
- Better Sleep
- Better Overall Health
- Better Mind
- Better Skin
- Improved Relationships with Loved Ones
- Money Saved
- Weight Lost
The Benefits of When You Stop Drinking
Many people realize that excessive alcohol consumption is a health hazard, but what are the positive effects that can result from ceasing alcohol use?
Some of these effects are immediate and others are long-term benefits to overall health. If someone is considering lowering their alcohol intake or quitting a drinking habit, there are seven overall health benefits that they can expect to see.
Article at a Glance:
- There are both immediate and long-term health benefits when you stop drinking alcohol.
- Your brain functions better and your immune system gets stronger when alcohol isn’t working against you.
- Your liver, heart, and digestion improve when you quit drinking alcohol.
- Your cancer risk decreases and your memory improves when you get sober.
- The Recovery Village can help you achieve your goal of quitting drinking and living a healthier life.
A Healthier Brain
Alcohol slows communication between neurons and neurotransmitters in the brain, which are the command pathways for all major functions of the body such as breathing, thinking, speaking and moving.
The cerebellum, cerebral cortex, brain tissue, and limbic system can each be severely damaged by alcohol consumption.
This damage can lead to multiple issues, such as decreased brain cells, depression, mood changes, poor sleep, and alcohol dependence.
A Stronger Immune System
Alcohol weakens the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight off illness and disease. Alcohol makes white blood cells less effective at fighting off bad bacteria.
Heavy drinkers are more susceptible to infectious diseases such as tuberculosis or pneumonia. However, even one instance of heavy drinking can expose the body to infection up to 24 hours after the drinking episode.
Stopping drinking can immediately improve the body’s ability to fight infections.
A Healthier Liver
The liver is responsible for breaking down alcohol, which dispenses of horrible toxins. Over time, alcohol use can cause the liver to become overloaded with toxins and a build-up of fat, which leads to steatosis, or “fatty liver,” which is an early sign of liver disease.
A fatty liver can lead to hepatitis, fibrosis, and cirrhosis. A study done by Merck Manuals shows that liver damage can be reversed under certain conditions, with even fatty liver showing complete resolvement within six weeks. Some effects, such as fibrosis and cirrhosis, cannot be reversed. Avoiding alcohol can improve overall liver health and improve the removal of toxins in the body.
A Stronger Heart
Drinking large amounts of alcohol regularly or even on a single occasion can damage the heart and weaken its muscles. This damage can lead to strokes, hypertension, heart arrhythmias, and heart disease. By avoiding heavy alcohol use, people can improve the health of their cardiovascular systems, and prevent alcohol-related heart damage, including heart attacks.
Decreased Risk of Cancer
Alcohol harms antibodies that ward off tumor cells, which puts a person at a much higher risk for cancer than they normally would face.
According to the American Journal of Public Health, alcohol causes 3.5% of cancer deaths in America, or about 20,000 cancer-related deaths each year. They also state, “Reducing alcohol consumption is an important and underemphasized cancer prevention strategy.”
Drinking alcohol is associated with many cancers, such as head and neck cancer, esophageal cancer, breast cancer, liver, and colorectal cancer. Quitting drinking now can greatly decrease a person’s risk of developing these cancers.
Regular consumption of alcohol can damage the pancreas, which is vital to proper digestion.
Alcohol inhibits vitamin and nutrient absorption in the small intestines and can cause chronic diarrhea, nausea and anorexia in people who drink alcohol heavily.
The transport of toxins through intestinal walls is increased with alcohol consumption. All of these negative digestive effects can be improved when drinking is stopped.
Improved Memory and Cognitive Function
Moderate to heavy alcohol use is linked with brain shrinkage, especially the parts associated with cognition and learning. Memory impairments are seen with even a few drinks, and these lapses in memory are increased with the amount of alcohol consumed.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, abstaining from alcohol for several months or longer may allow for the partial correction of structural brain changes due to drinking, including the reversal of negative effects on thinking skills, problem-solving, memory and attention.
Your Health Is In Your Hands
The benefits of ceasing alcohol use, especially binge drinking, aren’t limited to these seven listed. While some damage may be irreversible, everyone’s body is different and can repair itself to a certain degree. The main goal in abstaining from alcohol is to prevent any further damage from occurring.
If you are trying to quit alcohol, keep these positive benefits in mind:
- Improved cognition and problem solving
- Increased mental focus and improved memory function
- Improved digestion and removal of harmful toxins
- Increased absorption of vitamins and minerals
- Weight loss due to less caloric intake
- Reduced sugar intake (as long as alcohol is not replaced with sugar-heavy foods)
- Reduced risk of heart disease and alcohol-related cancers
- Better immune system
- Improved heart function
If you are a heavy drinker, when you suddenly stop ingesting alcohol, the body at first can go into shock, causing alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
This withdrawal period occurs because the body has become dependent on the chemicals from alcohol, and over time has made adjustments to the processes of the body to accommodate the added alcohol intake.
It is not recommended to detox from alcohol at home, as alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be deadly.
Finding Help to Quit Drinking
Struggling with alcohol misuse can feel overwhelming and isolating. While your recovery is up to you, you’re not alone.
In a recent poll of people who wanted to stop drinking alcohol, more than half (64%) sought outside sources to help to stop their alcohol use, their doctor, a support group or getting professional substance use treatment at a rehab facility.
If you or a loved one is trying to quit drinking and would assistance, please contact us. We would be happy to go over the alcohol withdrawal timeline with you, as well as explore treatment options and programs available for chronic alcohol use, including online counseling and rehab.
- SourcesNational Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Alcohol’s Effects on the Body.” (n.d.) Accessed May 14, 2019.Orfanidis, Nicholas. “Alcoholic Liver Disease.” Merck Manual Consumer Version, November 2017. Accessed May 14, 2019.Nelson DE, et al. “Alcohol-Attributable Cancer Deaths and Years of Potential Life Lost In The United States.” American Journal of Public Health, March 2013. Accessed May 14, 2019.Bode C, Bode JC. “Alcohol’s Role in Gastrointestinal Tract Disorders.” Alcohol Health and Research World, 1997. Accessed May 14, 2019.Topiwala A, et al. “Moderate alcohol consumption as risk factor for adverse brain outcomes and cognitive decline: longitudinal cohort study.” BMJ, 2017. Accessed May 14, 2019.National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Alcohol’s Damaging Effects on the Brain.” October 2004. Accessed May 14, 2019.National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Hangovers.” March 2019. Accessed May 14, 2019.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes.
We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.
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What Happens When You Stop Drinking Alcohol?
Deciding to quit drinking alcohol can come with a number of benefits. Whether a person has noticed an unhealthy pattern of drinking, is completely dependent on alcohol, or simply wants to give up alcohol for health reasons, anyone can experience the positive changes in the mind and body that come when the drink is put down.
For some people, quitting alcohol may be simple, or at least it will not cause withdrawal symptoms. However, for individuals who have been abusing or dependent on alcohol for an extended period of time, a treatment program will ly be recommended. Vertava Health offers several programs that focus on helping people quit drinking and reclaim their lives in sobriety.
While the thought of giving up alcohol may seem daunting, the benefits a person can experience and the improvement in overall health and wellbeing are worth it for many.
Why Do People Give Up Alcohol?
For someone who rarely drinks, the idea of giving up alcohol may never cross their minds. However, for the millions of Americans who regularly consume – and abuse – alcohol, quitting the substance may be a short-term or long-term goal. Additionally, people who struggle with alcohol use disorders will also ly attempt to quit drinking in order to reclaim their lives from addiction.
Regardless of the reason why someone chooses to give up alcohol, the benefits can be felt by everyone. This is especially true for individuals who abuse or are addicted to the drug.
It’s no secret that regular alcohol consumption can cause a number of health problems and other negative side effects.
Quitting drinking is the best way to reverse many of these side effects and experience a healthy, meaningful life in sobriety.
If you are unsure whether quitting drinking is something you should consider, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I lie about or try to hide my alcohol consumption?
- Do I depend on alcohol in social settings?
- Have I lost friends or relationships due to my drinking?
- Have I experienced work or school problems as a result of my drinking?
- Have I had legal problems, such as DUIs, due to alcohol?
- Do I have a hard time controlling my drinking or often drink more than what I intended?
- Do I experience withdrawal symptoms, such as shaky hands, after a day/night of drinking?
- Have I tried and failed to give up drinking in the past?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, quitting alcohol may be a good decision. And, if you are currently experiencing alcohol addiction, giving up drinking may be necessary to prevent harmful consequences. However, even if you don’t relate to the above-mentioned questions, giving up alcohol can still provide a number of benefits that can change your life for the better.
Potential Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
While quitting drinking is certainly a good thing, some people may experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms when they first stop. When a person suddenly quits alcohol after an extended period of regular intake or abuse, the body can go into shock. As a result, a person may experience a number of physical and psychological symptoms fo withdrawal.
Common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may include:
- excess sweating
- rapid heart rate
- trouble sleeping
- upset stomach
For individuals who are severely dependent on alcohol, more extreme and even dangerous symptoms may be experienced.
These symptoms may include delirium tremens, which can cause seizures, confusion, hallucinations, and even death.
People who are physically dependent on alcohol should attend a medically supervised detox program when quitting alcohol to prevent potentially life-threatening symptoms.
Withdrawal symptoms typically begin within a day of quitting drinking and can last up to a week. The most severe symptoms are usually experienced two to three days after stopping alcohol. While certainly uncomfortable, withdrawal symptoms will pass and the positive benefits of giving up alcohol will begin to be felt.
Physical Effects Of Quitting Alcohol
Many people will begin to experience the physical benefits of quitting alcohol shortly after giving up the substance. Others may slowly begin to experience the physical effects of quitting drinking. How long and how much a person was drinking prior to quitting will influence the level of physical benefits experienced.
Physical effects of quitting alcohol may include:
- Stronger Immune System — Excessive alcohol consumption can decrease a person’s immune system and its ability to fight off infection and illness. In fact, heavy drinkers are more ly to contract diseases such as pneumonia. Quitting alcohol can immediately improve the immune system and increase a person’s ability to fight illness.
- Weight Gain Or Loss — Many people experience weight gain as a result of regular alcohol consumption. On the flip side, some individuals may lose weight from not prioritizing nutrition while actively drinking. When a person quits drinking, he or she may lose or gain weight depending on the individual’s previous habits when drinking.
- Better Sleep — While alcohol is depressant and can cause individuals to feel sleepy, it doesn’t do much in the way of helping people actually stay asleep. In fact, heavy alcohol consumption can disrupt sleep and prevent a person from getting high-quality sleep. Excessive drinking may also cause irregularities in breathing while sleeping. Quitting drinking can provide an almost immediate improvement in overall sleep quality.
- Decreased Risk Of Cancer — Regular alcohol consumption can harm antibodies that fight cancer. This can increase a person’s risk of a number of different cancers, including throat, breast, and liver cancer. Quitting drinking can greatly decrease an individual’s chances of cancer.
- Improved Digestion — Chronic alcohol consumption can cause damage to the pancreas and decrease the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. This can result in poor digestion and other health issues such as nausea, anorexia, and chronic diarrhea. Quitting drinking can improve digestion and increase the absorption of vitamins and nutrients.
- Improved Cardiovascular Health — Heavy drinking can significantly impact the heart and cause damage to its muscles. People who drink chronically are at an increased risk of stroke, heart disease, and hypertension. Giving up alcohol can reduce the risk of heart problems and strengthen the heart.
As the body heals from alcohol abuse, a person will experience more and more physical benefits of giving up the substance. Some physical effects may take longer than others to be felt. However, overall, quitting drinking can provide a number of significant physical health benefits.
Mental Effects Of Quitting Alcohol
Physical changes aren’t the only benefits that come with giving up alcohol; many people will also experience a number of psychological effects as well. Individuals will ly feel more mentally clearer and less foggy as well as more emotionally stable after quitting drinking.
Other mental effects of quitting alcohol may include:
- Improved Memory — Regular alcohol consumption can affect the brain’s ability to store memories. This can result in forgetfulness that may interfere with daily life. Once a person stops drinking, he or she will ly experience better memory retention.
- Healthier Brain Function — Several parts of the brain can become damaged as a result of chronic alcohol abuse. This damage can lead to a number of problems, including depression, trouble sleeping, and a decrease in brain cells. Quitting drinking can allow the brain to heal and will ly result in increased cognition and overall brain function.
- Reduced Depression And Anxiety — Many people who abuse or are addicted to alcohol experience mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. When a person quits drinking, he or she will ly have reduced symptoms of these conditions.
Additionally, quitting alcohol after struggling with alcohol abuse and addiction can be liberating. Individuals may feel more confident and sure of themselves and their decisions in life. Many people also experience improvements in social and work settings.
Treatment Programs For Overcoming Alcohol Abuse And Addiction
Some people may be able to quit alcohol on their own. Others, however, may need professional help to successfully give up drinking.
Additionally, individuals who are physically dependent on alcohol should not attempt to stop drinking on their own, as they may experience serious and even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
Vertava Health offers a number of treatment programs for individuals of every walk of life looking to overcome an addiction to alcohol.
To learn more about what happens when you stop drinking alcohol or to get more information on the alcohol addiction programs we offer, contact an Vertava Health’ treatment specialist today.
10 Mental and Physical Benefits of Quitting Drinking — The VJRC in Vegas
The benefits of quitting drinking are easy to overlook because alcohol can provide us with many immediate, short-term benefits. It can help you loosen up and speak to people you don’t know very well at a party, it can help you forget about problems you may be facing, and it can help you cope with life challenges that you have very little control over.
Unfortunately, those benefits are very short-lived. Alcohol can stay in your blood and affect your body longer than you think, especially if you develop alcohol dependence.
Whether you drink occasionally and want to give a dry January a try or you’re looking to make a more permanent change to your drinking habits, there are many physical and mental health benefits that you’ll enjoy when you put down that drink.
1. Increased Heart Health
Alcohol is very hard on your heart. You can easily feel the effects alcohol has on your heart when you lay down after an evening of drinking. For example, it’s not uncommon for it to feel your heart is thumping your chest.
Heavy drinkers are susceptible to heart problems. Those who consume more than 14 drinks per week are twice as ly to experience heart failure. Those who consume fewer drinks can still put themselves at a higher risk of heart disease.
Call us today to take your first step towards recovery.
The fewer alcoholic beverages you enjoy, the healthier your heart is ly to be.
2. Decreased Risk of Cancer
Not only can drinking increase your chances of experiencing heart problems, it can also increase the lihood of developing different types of cancers.
Most people understand that excessive drinking can cause liver damage, which also includes liver cancer, but additional areas where you face increased risk to develop cancer include:
- Voice box
Your risk of cancer increases the more you drink because the acetaldehyde your body creates after breaking down the alcohol can damage your DNA. Your DNA controls normal cell growth, but when damaged, it can allow cancerous cells to grow control. When you quit drinking, your DNA can be repaired, lessening your chances of developing cancer.
3. Your Body Will Feel Better
There are a lot of technical things that can be said about the benefits of quitting drinking in regards to your physical health, but at the end of the day, you’ll just feel better!
Alcohol is hard on the body.
In order to process it, your body has to go into overdrive, which means your liver is trying to metabolize it, your brain is trying to re-calibrate itself, and your heart pumps at an uncomfortable speed.
When your body doesn’t have to worry about the barrage of toxic chemicals, it can focus on other things. Those who quit drinking report a higher energy level, clarity of mind, an increased ability to focus, and other advantages.
4. You May Lose Weight
Gaining weight can be uncomfortable, but it can also be unhealthy in some circumstances, especially if the additional weight you’re carrying around is due to the alcohol you drink.
It is common for those who drink—and especially heavy drinkers—to gain weight. It also makes it much harder to lose weight.
It’s true that alcohol contains empty calories, which causes your body to store alcohol as sugar, which translates to an increased amount of fat on the body. It’s also easy to underestimate the calories you consume while drinking. Not to mention, with reduced inhibitions, you’re ly to eat more and make worse dietary choices.
5. No More Moral Hangovers
One of the biggest of benefits of quitting drinking is leaving behind hangovers. And while dealing with a hangover the next day is no walk in the park, most who drink don’t deal with only physical symptoms. It’s common for those who drink to experience moral hangovers as well. But what does that mean, exactly?
Many who drink do things they regret while under the influence of alcohol. When you stop drinking, there’s no more need to feel regret over spending so much money on your drink of choice, what you said to someone you love, or legal trouble related to your drinking.
6. Increase in Rational Decision Making and Impulse Control
Moral hangovers occur because there’s a steep decrease in decision making and impulse control while you’re drinking. Over time, these effects can be felt between drinks, even when you’re able to make decisions in some areas of your life, such as work.
Alcohol affects the frontal lobe, and the effects of alcohol can continue to impact your executive decision making abilities even after you first quit. However, over time, your frontal lobe will regenerate, and you’ll be able to make better decisions in all areas of your life.
7. Develop a Clearer Picture of Your Mental Health
There’s no doubt that alcohol can affect your mental health, but it’s a bit of a chicken-and-the-egg situation. For example, it can be difficult to figure out if you’re depressed so you drink, or you’ve become depressed due to excessive drinking.
The only way to know for sure is to live an alcohol-free life. Alcohol can cause feelings of depression and anxiety that may disappear on their own when you quit. If they don’t, or if your feelings get worse, it’s a good indication that you also have a mental illness.
8. A More Stable Mood
Whether you’re experiencing mental health issues or not, you’re ly to experience a change in mood. After a glass of wine, you may find that you’re more agreeable and open to a good time. After heavy drinking, you may experience negative changes to your mood. It isn’t uncommon for heavy drinkers to become:
- Angry very easily
- Overly affectionate
- Dangerously impulsive
Your mood can change on a dime, and it can affect important relationships, causing people to distance themselves from you when they know you’re drinking. A big benefit of quitting drinking is leaving all of that behind.
9. Better Sleep
It’s ironic that many people drink a glass of wine before bed to help them to sleep because it doesn’t help you sleep at all.
Drinking alcohol may help you fall asleep faster, but quality of sleep trumps quantity of sleep. Drinking increases delta activity and alpha activity simultaneously, which prevents restorative sleep. It blocks REM sleep—which is the most restorative type of sleep.
More than that, it can interrupt your circadian rhythm, aggravate breathing problems, and make you take more trips to the bathroom, which all leave you feeling even more tired when you wake up.
Restful sleep is much easier to come by when you haven’t been drinking alcohol.
10. More Control Over Your Life
Alcohol consumption can take over your life. Reducing or eliminating alcohol from your daily life can provide you with a sense of accomplishment. Without the exhaustion, hangovers, and guilt that come with drinking, you can focus on your goals and dreams.
If you think you have an alcohol problem, it’s important to consider a professional alcohol detox program, as the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be severe.
Call the Victorious Journey Recovery Center at 888-828-2623 or fill out our online form to speak with a member of our team.
We would be happy to tell you more about our alcohol detox program, our inpatient and residential programs, and exactly how we can help you reap the benefits of quitting drinking today.
Located in dynamic Las Vegas, Nevada, the Victorious Journey Recovery Center (VJRC) a 44-bed facility is run by a skilled multi-disciplinary team of medical and behavioral health professionals that includes nurses, counselors, and doctors, along with complementary and alternative medicine specialists to provide our clients with a transformational experience that encompasses mind, body, and spirit. Our approach is holistic and grounded in research and evidenced-based best practices that help people develop the awareness and skills required to achieve and sustain recovery.
The benefits of giving up alcohol for a month
If you're giving up alcohol for a month and are wondering what the benefits will be, Priory has outlined the positive changes you can expect to see over the weeks.
What happens when you stop drinking? A timeline
The timeline below gives the potential symptoms and experiences that someone who is dependent on alcohol might go through when they stop drinking.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s body will respond differently to giving up alcohol. Our timeline should only be used as a guide to establish what you might experience in the days and weeks after you stop drinking.
Up to 24 hours after you stop drinking
Withdrawal symptoms are ly to begin within the first 24 hours of stopping drinking. Depending on the individual, they might start from as little as two hours after their last drink.
Early symptoms will be mild. They may include anxiety, hand tremors and shakes, sweating and headaches. As time goes on, alcohol cravings will grow and a feeling of fatigue and depression could begin.
12-72 hours after you stop drinking
For some, more serious withdrawal symptoms will begin after 12-24 hours. In rare, more severe cases, you might develop delirium tremens (DTs). Symptoms could include seizures, hallucinations and a significant increase in heart rate and blood pressure. This is a dangerous period for anyone who has stopped drinking and is experiencing withdrawal.
48-72 hours after you stop drinking
For the majority, the symptoms of withdrawal will begin to subside at this point, allowing you to function more normally and manage your symptoms. Symptoms of DTs may continue for some, with a feeling of disorientation and delusions alongside other severe withdrawal symptoms heavy sweating and high blood pressure.
Between 3 and 7 days after you stop drinking
After a few days of giving up drinking, most people can expect their symptoms to stop. For the more severely affected, DTs and severe withdrawal symptoms may continue. For these people, medical supervision is recommended when giving up alcohol.
After one week away from alcohol, you may notice that you are sleeping better. When you drink, you typically fall straight into a deep sleep, missing the important rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. While you are supposed to have between six and seven cycles of REM sleep a night, you typically only have one or two when you’ve been drinking.
There are many benefits of better sleep. You will be more productive, where you can learn and problem solve better. Your ability to control your emotions and behaviour will also improve.
You’ll also have more opportunity to manage your food and drink intake. Sleep helps to balance the hormones that make you feel hungry or full. After drinking, your ghrelin levels (the hormone that makes you feel hungry) go up and leptin (the hormones that make you feel full) go down.
When you drink alcohol, you lose around four times as much liquid as what you actually drank.
Dehydration can cause headaches, as your organs take water from the brain due to their own water loss. Salt and potassium levels also reduce, which can impact nerve and proper muscle function while also causing headaches, fatigue and nausea.
Therefore, giving up alcohol can help you keep well hydrated, which is in turn beneficial for your brain. Your mood and concentration will be more stable, and the frequency of headaches is ly to decrease. You also won’t suffer from the effects of dehydration such as lack of motivation and increased fatigue, so will have more energy throughout the day.
If you were to give up drinking six 175 ml glasses of wine a week, you would save around 960 calories, which is the equivalent to three burgers or five and a half bags of crisps.
And if you were to stop consuming six pints of average strength lager a week, you would save 1080 calories, which is similar to six bags of crisps or five chocolate bars.
Week two of giving up alcohol
After two weeks off alcohol, you will continue to reap the benefits of better sleep and hydration.
As alcohol is an irritant to the stomach lining, after a fortnight you will also see a reduction in symptoms such as reflux where the stomach acid burns your throat.
After a fortnight, you are also ly to start losing weight as a result of giving up alcohol’s empty calories. If you were to stop drinking six 175ml glasses of wine per week, you would have saved 1920 calories at this point, and 2160 if you’d stopped drinking around six pints of lager.
Week three of giving up alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can cause your blood pressure to rise over time. After 3-4 weeks of not drinking, your blood pressure will start to reduce. Reducing your blood pressure can be crucial as it can help to lessen the risk of health problems occurring in the future.
As the calories in alcohol can cause you to gain weight, giving up alcohol can also help you to reduce your blood pressure as a result of the weight you can potentially lose.
By this point, if you’d previously been drinking six 175ml glasses of wine a week, you would have lost 2880 calories over three weeks.
And if you’d been drinking six pints of lager a week, you would have lost 3240 calories.
Week four of giving up alcohol
Giving up alcohol will have a positive impact on your skin due to you having better levels of hydration. As more water will have been absorbed rather than wasted, you are ly to have more hydrated-looking skin, as well as reduced dandruff and eczema.
Removing alcohol from your diet for four weeks can also help to improve your liver function as your liver will start to shed excess fat. If your liver function is not too badly affected by alcohol, it can recover within 4-8 weeks.
With the liver playing a part in over 500 vital processes, you also give your body a better chance of removing contaminants, converting food nutrients, storing minerals and vitamins.
Benefits of not drinking alcohol
Giving up drinking has a wide range of great benefits to our physical and mental health, some of which are named above. Here’s an extensive list of the benefits of not drinking in the long-term:
- Your quality of sleep will increase. The two most important cycles of sleep – rapid eye movement (REM) and slow wave sleep — will be less disrupted, leaving you feeling brighter and more alert each morning
- Your mood and levels of concentration will improve. This stems from having more energy and less fatigue, helping you be more productive at work or at home
- You’ll be better hydrated, leading to a whole host of benefits. Headaches and having a dry mouth will decrease, skin will feel more radiant, and dark circles around your eyes will lessen
- Your memory will begin to improve. Alcohol is proven to hinder the part of your brain that deals with memory (the hippocampus)
- You’ll find it easier to lose weight. Alcohol slows your metabolism, making it harder for your body to process fats and sugar. Alcohol also has a high calorie count (approximately 160 calories for a medium glass of red wine, 210 or more in a pint of beer) and many of the mixers we enjoy with spirits, vodka or gin, are high in sugar. You’ll also be less ly to have late night, fast food binges than you would after you’ve been drinking alcohol
- Your stomach will feel better. Symptoms such as indigestion and acid reflux can be caused by alcohol irritating your digestive system. You’ll also be better able to absorb nutrients and store vitamins and minerals
- Your skin health will improve. Alcohol can cause red and blotchy or puffy skin. Alcohol-free skin is better hydrated, removing these problems and reducing dry patches that can inflame conditions eczema
- You’ll reduce your blood pressure. High blood pressure is linked to alcohol consumption, and this is known to be one of the main causes of heart disease
- Your liver will be healthier. Over time, your liver fat levels will reduce. Good liver health also contributes to the quality of our skin
Across the month, your body is ly to have benefitted greatly from giving up alcohol. Better hydration and improved sleep will have increased your productivity and daily wellbeing.
Your liver, stomach and skin will also have benefitted from not dealing with alcohol.
You will also have reduced your calorie intake by 3840 for the month, if you used to drink six glasses of 175ml wine a week, or 4320 calories over the month if you used to drink six pints of lager a week.
If you are struggling with alcohol and are finding it hard to quit, you may want to think about getting support. We understand that embarking on recovery from alcohol addiction can be an emotionally difficult time.
Benefits of Quitting Drinking in the New Year
With the New Year upon us, you may have taken time to evaluate your goals.
What’s worth doing, and what isn’t? What will bring you the best year possible? Often, people work towards goals such as improving their health, strengthening relationships with loved ones, and obtaining financial security.
Do you know what goal you can work on while simultaneously improving almost all aspects of your life? That’s right: quitting drinking.
What happens when you stop drinking? Below, you will find several impactful physical and mental reasons you might want to consider giving up alcohol in the new year.
When you quit drinking alcohol, you’re ly to enjoy more restorative sleep. Having more than a couple of drinks can dramatically disturb your sleep by causing negative effects, :
- Preventing REM (rapid eye movement) sleep – Dreams occur in REM sleep, and it’s when you consolidate memories.
- Disrupting breathing by promoting snoring
- Causing frequent bathroom trips at night
When you quit alcohol, the before-mentioned issues are ly to clear us. And as a result of more restful sleep, you may feel more energized, mentally sharp, and motivated. Plus, sleep is essential for physical health. Getting enough sleep supports heart and brain health.
Better Overall Health
One of the most important benefits of quitting drinking is a healthier body. Drinking alcohol puts a strain on most of your vital organs. Liver disease is one of the biggest risk factors for alcoholics.
Those who drink heavily and excessively are at risk of several health conditions, such as liver cirrhosis, heart disease, and several types of cancers. All of this sounds painful, but, more importantly, it’s dangerous.
Over time, drinking can cause organs such as the liver, kidneys, and heart to shut down.
By quitting drinking, you’re stopping the damage that drinking in excess has on your body. Once you stop drinking, your liver gets a much-needed rest from having to process alcohol, which is a poison to it.
Giving up alcohol helps your memory to sharpen and your mind to become clearer. Alcohol depletes essential vitamins, such as vitamins B6 and A, which are essential for brain health, among other things. When you stop drinking alcohol, you also stop depleting these vitamins.
Plus, most people who drink excessively can note times their memory has “blacked out.” This happens because alcohol impairs the parts of the brain that are responsible for forming memories. Once a person quits drinking, these “blackouts” also go away!
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A huge benefit to giving up alcohol is better skin. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it dehydrates your body. Your skin needs water to look and feel its best. When you quit drinking, you are able to rehydrate your body, and it shows in the appearance of your skin.
Many people who drink in excess also engage in binge eating when intoxicated. Foods that you binge on don’t tend to lead to healthy eating, so avoiding binges is another benefit to your skin and your overall health.
Improved Relationships with Loved Ones
Research has shown that, in general, drinking can have a detrimental effect on relationships.
For instance, if drinking in excess happens frequently, friends and family often shoulder responsibilities taking care of you when you’re sick or if you get in trouble.
Plus, not everyone is on their best behavior while drinking. You may become angry or impulsive, which might have resulted in some friends or family pulling away over time.
When you stop drinking alcohol, you’re ly to see your relationships improve, and you’ll have the chance to build them even stronger.
Instead of spending money on alcohol at home and whenever you go out, think of the money you’ll save! Here’s an example: Let’s say you only have one or two drinks when you go out. Each drink costs $10. If you went out once a week for a month, you would be spending at least $40 a month on drinks.
With those figures, quitting drinking saves you at least $480 per year, and that doesn’t include money you spend to stock your fridge with alcoholic drinks.
Wouldn’t it feel great to see these coins added to your bank account? You could pay towards living expenses; student loans; or a fun vacation to the Caribbean, Mexico, or Europe.
If you find it hard to believe how much you’ll save, try quitting drinking for just one month and see the effect it has on your bank account.
Drinking alcohol often leads to weight gain. On the flip side, giving up alcohol may help you lose extra weight you may be carrying. Excessive alcohol intake has been proven to be linked with weight gain. Most alcoholic beverages have a high calorie count due to ingredients such as processed sugars.
Even alcoholic beverages without added sugar can still cause weight gain. Alcoholic beverages are often referred to as “empty calories.” That’s because alcohol itself is high in calories, and it promotes hunger.
Did you know consuming alcohol before or after meals can cause you to eat more calories? Over time, excessive alcohol consumption, as well as the overeating it can trigger, can ultimately lead to gaining more weight in the new year.
Although there are many benefits to quitting drinking, you may experience some withdrawal effects right after cutting it out. These symptoms can last for a couple of days or up to a few weeks. Common withdrawal symptoms include:
- Depression, anxiety, and irritability
- Change of appetite
- Rapid heart rate
- Alcohol cravings
For some, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be life threatening. It can lead to seizures and a condition called delirium tremens (DTs). If DTs happen, it’s usually a couple days after your last drink. It can dangerously affect body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure and cause confusion and loss of consciousness.
Because of the possibility of symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, it might be necessary to detox from alcohol under medical supervision. In medical detox you’ll have 24/7 care and support to keep you safe and comfortable as you start your alcohol recovery journey.
Whether you drink in moderation or engage in binge drinking or heavy drinking, quitting alcohol can truly change your quality of life. The benefits are long-lasting and advantageous. Your brain, body, and those around you will notice the improvements. To learn more about alcohol addiction, as well as addiction treatment, click here.
The National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) is a nonprofit professional society designed to offer support to organizations across the continuum of care. Since 1978, it has extended resources, advocacy and thought leadership to its members.
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NALGAP is The Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Addiction Professionals and Their Allies is a membership organization founded in 1979 and dedicated to the prevention and treatment of alcoholism, substance abuse, and other addictions in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer communities.
NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, represents the professional interests of more than 100,000 addiction counselors, educators and other addiction-focused health care professionals in the United States, Canada and abroad.