Regardless of the amount of alcohol you consume, your body will undergo many changes when you quit drinking. Alcohol plays a significant role in many cases of accidents, trauma injuries, and even deaths from homicides, drowning, and burns. Drinking is involved in 4 out of 10 traffic crashes, fatal falls, and suicides. To be safer, it’s not a must that you go dry completely. Cutting the amount of alcohol you drink by just a third can minimize your sick days and injuries.
Perhaps, the most important thing about quitting drinking is the changes that your body goes through. Whether you drink once during a Friday night celebration or you are a binge drinker, there are many ways your body will change once you quit drinking. Here are some of the things that will happen to your body after you quit drinking.
Detox Won’t Be Easy
After you quit drinking, the first two days can be a major detox hurdle for you. Depending on the amount of alcohol you were consuming, detox can feel like a bad hangover or even worse. Some of the withdrawal symptoms you are likely to experience include increased blood pressure, sweating, tremors, insomnia, and shakiness. You can also have nausea and headache. These are signs that your body is detoxing from alcohol addiction. Luckily, professionals at an inpatient drug rehab listed at AddictionResource can help you deal with withdrawal symptoms.
Perhaps, you expected this when deciding to quit alcohol. Your body will notice that you are no longer drinking alcohol the way you used to. Thus, even if you reduce the amount of alcohol you consume, your body will notice. That’s because the body creates an equilibrium to adjust to the presence of alcohol in your system. When you quit drinking, this equilibrium is disrupted.
The day you stop drinking will most likely be full of alcohol cravings. And these cravings can last for weeks or months depending on the regularity and amount of alcohol you were drinking. Research shows that greater cravings are associated with alcohol relapse. Therefore, getting professional help with cravings can prevent relapse.
Delirium Tremens can occur
If you’ve been drinking heavily, you may experience delirium tremens. This is a confusion that happens suddenly and it can be combined with shaking, hallucinations, increased body temperature, and irregular heart rate. Some people even experience seizures. That’s why it’s advisable to detox from an inpatient rehab center where medical supervision is provided. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms combined with delirium tremens can cause death if no medical help is provided.
Withdrawal Symptoms will Eventually Subside
Withdrawal symptoms and hangovers are generally uncomfortable. In some cases, they are dangerous. However, some of them will subside after 72 hours without alcohol. The body starts establishing a new equilibrium after this time. This new equilibrium is free of alcohol and the effects it has on your body.
Detox Symptoms can Last Longer
The body can adjust after going without alcohol for a week. However, the effects that detox has on the body can last longer. For instance, some people have feelings of aggression and anger, depression, general anxiety, difficulty sleeping, decreased libido, and nightmares.
These effects can be attributed to the fact that alcohol consumption affects neurotransmitters like serotonin, which play a role in mood. Some people use alcohol to self-medicate. Emotions and experiences that may have been ignored when drinking can start rising after quitting. At this time, it’s advisable to get counseling individually or in a group. This will enable you to deal with these experiences and emotions.
You might go for weeks before sleep improves after you quit drinking. Research indicates that alcohol increases the brain wave patterns that are created when a person is awake. Brain activities are in delta waves when a person sleeps normally. Alcohol consumption leads to brain activity in alpha waves during sleep. Alpha waves occur in brain activity when a person is awake but resting. However, resting on a couch doesn’t amount to quality sleep. That’s why heavy drinkers feel fatigued and tired during the day.
Alcohol may seem to help you fall asleep deeply and quickly at first. However, overall sleep quality suffers. That’s why you feel tired the day that follows a night of heavy drinking. While your first days in an inpatient drug treatment facility may be characterized by difficulties trying to sleep, you will eventually start feeling more refreshed and even sleep better.
Your Body Weight Reduces
Once you stop drinking, you might even change your diet and increase your activity level. This will lead to a reduction in your body weight. Alcohol introduces more calories into your body. So, when you quit drinking, you reduce calorie intake and this can lower your body weight.
Improved Skin Health
Alcohol is generally diuretic. That means it leads to dehydration of the body. Alcohol decreases the overall production of the hormone responsible for water absorption and retention. That’s why most people drink a lot of water when nursing a hangover. Heavy drinking leads to dry and parched-looking skin, eczema, dandruff, and rosy red cheeks over time. When you quit drinking, you notice changes in the quality and look of your skin because the body doesn’t experience the diuretic effects of alcohol.
Normalcy in Blood Sugar Levels
One of the major reasons why people go to inpatient rehab facilities is to deal with the health effects of alcohol. For instance, alcohol processing by the body prevents the maintenance of the normal levels of blood sugar. It prevents the body from accessing the stored glucose while decreasing insulin effectiveness. This hormone is responsible for regulating the levels of blood glucose. Consequently, blood sugar levels can get out of control and eventually cause type II diabetes. Once you quit drinking the levels of blood sugar normalizes.
The risk of developing other illnesses like cancer, liver disease, brain damage, and immune-related health effects reduces. Your chances of conceiving also increase because alcohol is known to reduce fertility.
The Bottom Line
A moderate drinker may not have a hard time trying to quit on their own. But most heavy and regular drinkers need the help of inpatient drug rehab centers to quit. That’s because they face both external and internal triggers that prompt them to start drinking. But, regardless of your drinking level, you can quit and enjoy the healthy and beneficial changes that will happen in your body.