What Happens When You Stop Drinking?

Text us
Picture outlining the positive changes that happen after quitting drinking

Alcohol abuse can have negative effects on one’s health and well-being. However, some people may believe they cannot stop heavy drinking because they have adapted to drinking excessively and for such a long time. It’s never too late to quit drinking and recover from its negative effects.

Whether you’re challenging yourself to a no-drink stint or considering cutting back on alcohol dependence, your body might undergo significant changes when you quit drinking. You can experience many positive changes in the body, mind, and general health by stopping drinking.

Better Sleep

Alcohol may make you relaxed at first, but when your liver does the vital work of metabolizing it from your system, it might keep you awake throughout the night. 

Alcohol can intensify brain activity, especially in the second half of its biphasic nature, disturbing sleep. It upsets the crucial, restorative REM sleep period and could cause breathing difficulties. You might also need to get up more frequently to use the restroom.

You’ll probably start experiencing significantly deeper, more peaceful sleep once you stop drinking.

Stronger Immune System

Did you know that drinking alcohol might weaken your immune system and increase your susceptibility to illness? 

This is because alcohol use affects immune system communication and the body’s defense against viruses and bacteria. Alcohol causes a gradual loss of the vitamins and minerals required for optimal health. 

Heavy alcohol consumption can increase the chances of pneumonia and predispose persistent drinkers to infections and impaired wound healing. Therefore, stopping drinking alcohol can ultimately make your immune system stronger.

Improved Skin

Alcohol has a drying impact on the skin, which becomes especially apparent on the face. Fortunately, most of the effects are reversible, and those who stop drinking usually feel their skin starting to shine again in about a week.

Increased Mental Clarity

Alcohol and excessive drinking can have long-lasting negative effects on the brain, including impaired memory and slowed reflexes. 

Over time, the brain can become used to alcohol’s effects, prompting it to work harder and produce unpleasant or deadly alcohol withdrawal symptoms such as tremors and heart palpitations. This can lead to burnout, resulting in a hazy state.

After abstaining from alcohol for at least one month, you may see significant improvement in mental clarity and memory, given that excessive alcohol consumption can impair attention and thinking.

Improved Relationships

Consuming alcohol in moderation may improve your mood and strengthen your relationships. However, drinking alone or too excess might alter how you interact with others, particularly friends and loved ones. Drinking less will help you respond more favorably to people and allow you to concentrate on your relationships, career, and health.

You will likely discover that you are better equipped to negotiate the social scene as opposed to just fleeing it. You will have more time without a hangover to improve as a spouse, father, friend, and employee.

Better Sex

Alcohol can help us become less inhibited, but consuming more than a few drinks daily, especially if you misuse or depend on it, may have the opposite effect. It “provokes desire, but takes away performance,” as Shakespeare once stated. 

Men may struggle to achieve and maintain an erection. Women’s desire for sex may decline. Reduce your alcohol consumption and see whether your romance improves.

Improved Digestion

Long-term drinking can alter the delicate lining of the intestines and cause inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, which can cause a number of chronic illnesses. 

People who stop drinking may endure a few days of stomach discomfort as their system adjusts to an anti-inflammatory diet, but these symptoms are usually fleeting. Drinkers who consume more alcohol may experience changes in how their bodies digest, store, use, and excrete nutrients. These can result in a variety of malnutrition conditions, including Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, folate inadequacy, vitamin A depletion, and pellagra. 

They should only stop drinking alcohol under medical supervision to prevent potentially serious side effects. Medically supervised detox would be strongly advised for them.

Improved Mood

Although we often go for a glass of wine or a hard martini to improve our mood, it is ironic that drinking can have both short-term and long-term detrimental impacts on our mood. 

Since alcohol saturates the brain with dopamine, which determines how we experience pleasure, the “rush” of this feel-good chemical can trigger an anxiety attack as soon as levels begin to decline. This can develop into a negative cycle of drinking, experiencing anxiety, and then drinking more to restore a sense of peace. Depressed mood, heightened anxiety, and even depression may result from alcohol usage.

There is a strong association between alcohol use disorder and other mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. When you stop drinking, your mental health improves as well.

Healthier Liver Function

It’s no secret that alcohol has a big impact on how healthy your liver is. Chronic and severe alcohol use disorder (AUD) can kill liver cells, which are essential for our systems’ ability to filter out hazardous chemicals. 

People who drink heavily often develop fatty livers, which can progress to cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease. But abstaining from alcohol provides the liver a chance to repair itself. A significant part of liver function can be restored by giving up and abstaining from alcohol. We can start to reverse some long-term consequences of alcohol usage when we quit drinking.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What to expect from your body when you stop drinking?

When you quit drinking, your body experiences withdrawal symptoms, which include perspiration, tremors, sleep disturbances, irregular heartbeat, nausea and vomiting, hallucinations, anxiety, restlessness, and even seizures in some cases. That’s why we always recommend alcohol treatment programs.

What happens after a week of not drinking?

After one week of abstinence from alcohol, you may have improved sleep. When a person consumes alcohol, they often fall into a deep slumber without experiencing rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Better sleep has countless benefits, such as enhanced mood, energy, metabolism, and other effects. 

Can your body heal if you stop drinking?

In under a week, the majority of people will no longer experience withdrawal symptoms. Their body will begin to regain normal function, and their quality of life will significantly improve. Some advantages in sleep begin as early as seven days, and these enhancements continue to grow in subsequent weeks.

How long does it take to feel good after you stop drinking?

Some symptoms, such as alterations in sleep habits, fatigue, and mood swings, may persist for weeks or even months. However, you will generally begin to feel better five to seven days after you stop drinking.

When can stopping drinking be a bad idea?

You can experience severe alcohol withdrawal if you suddenly stop drinking without medical supervision. Someone physiologically dependent on alcohol might have severe alcohol withdrawal that results in seizures or even in death if they attempt to quit drinking without taking the proper medicines (usually Librium or Valium).

The amount and duration of drinking will mostly determine how severe someone’s withdrawal is, but the risk of difficulties can also increase if a person has gone through several withdrawals in the past (even if they were abstinent and just briefly “relapsed”). This is a phenomenon known as “kindling.”

Indiana Center for Recovery Makes Quitting Comfortable

Stopping drinking is possible—and a brave step toward a better life. Your brain and body may be tested during the journey. But when done responsibly, giving up alcohol may help you become happier and healthier. You may heal your body while avoiding the risks of drinking.

If you are struggling with substance use disorder (SUD), get professional help from the best treatment center, like Indiana Center for Recovery. Our healthcare professional team is on board. Our alcohol addiction treatment program is specifically designed to help patients heal mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

For more information on how to avoid unpleasant alcohol withdrawal symptoms, contact our healthcare professionals at (844) 650-0064 today.

Leave a Comment