Quitting alcohol may be one of the wisest decisions you ever make. Whether you simply stop drinking for health or personal reasons or you enter detox and treatment for an alcohol use disorder, a life of sobriety promises many benefits.
This Innovo Detox article is about what happens to your body after you quit drinking alcohol.
What You Should Know About Quitting Alcohol and Alcohol Detox
Depending on how much you drink, quitting alcohol may not be as easy as you imagine. We say this, not to discourage you, but to inform you about what to expect and advise you on how to prepare.
Many people who drink alcohol are surprised to hear that the medical community defines “moderate drinking” as no more than two drinks per day. Note that what constitutes “one drink” may also surprise you. A 12 oz. can of beer, 5 oz of wine, or 1.5 oz of 80-proof liquor all amount to one drink by this standard.
Alcohol Withdrawal and Side Effects
Even a person who only has 2 drinks a day may notice some side effects if they stop drinking abruptly. They probably won’t amount to more than perhaps a little insomnia, mild anxiety, or irritability. However, something who drinks significantly more than this may experience much more profound physical withdrawal symptoms.
Please note that physical withdrawal from alcohol can be dangerous and even potentially fatal in extreme incidences. Consult a doctor or other qualified medical professional about a medical detox from alcohol before abruptly ceasing alcohol consumption.
Physical Effects Of Quitting Alcohol
The human body has a remarkable capacity for healing. Once you are detoxed from alcohol, the body slowly begins to recover and rebalance itself. There are innumerable health benefits to alcohol detox. You may find you have some trouble sleeping and a bit of anxiety in the first few weeks to a month without alcohol.
If insomnia or anxiety are acute enough to disrupt your life, you might ask your doctor about a non-narcotic medication to treat these symptoms. Trazodone is a medication commonly prescribed for sleeplessness which is safe for people in recovery.
Anxiety symptoms may be treated with non-addictive medications like BuSpar (buspirone) or Vistaril (hydroxyzine). Any need for these medications will most likely be temporary though. Remember that ultimately the solution to your alcohol use disorder will not be found in a drug (or a drink) but in living a recovery lifestyle.
Timeline of Your Body After You Quit Drinking
After 2 weeks with no alcohol:
- Some general anxiety or worry may be present.
- You may have trouble sleeping (or find you sleep too much).
- Cravings for alcohol and thoughts of drinking may still be present
1-3 months after quitting alcohol:
- Natural sleep patterns return.
- Your liver (depending on your prior use) can begin to heal
- Some healthy weight loss (or gain).
- Any anxiety usually subsided and mood is more stable
- Skin and eyes are clearer and healthier looking.
- Your thinking will be clearer and your memory sharper.
1 year after quitting alcohol:
- Your liver should be healthier with enzyme levels closer to the norm.
- Sexual dysfunction attributed to alcohol use should be resolved.
- Your blood pressure should be a bit lower (if it was high before).
- Stomach and digestive issues due to alcoholism should be cleared up.
- Your immune system should be back to normal and you’ll get sick less often.
Psychological and Quality of Life Changes From Quitting Alcohol
Many of the most important improvements you will realize when you quit alcohol will transcend the category of physical health. Certainly, your body will be healthier when it no longer has to contend with poison flowing through it though. But, when most people stop drinking and embrace a recovery lifestyle they see improvements in almost all aspects of their lives.
The mental health and quality of life improvements may take a little longer to be fully realized than the physical health benefits, but they will come. When you’re no longer drinking you will experience emotions more completely. Most people find that when they are sober, they are more in touch with their feelings. They feel able to love more deeply, laugh more heartily, and experience real joy more freely.
Effects of quitting alcohol and entering recovery can include:
- A more optimistic attitude.
- Better performance at work or school.
- Clearer thinking and sharper memory.
- Experiencing love and joy more completely.
- Better, more authentic relationships with others.
Recovering From An Alcohol Use Disorder Takes Work
To get the most of these benefits though, it will take more than simply removing alcohol from your life. Embracing the recovery lifestyle is about more than simply being sober. It requires dedication to self-improvement and personal growth. This will include some deep introspection, inventory-taking, and perhaps, amends to others.
However, the recovery process has been proven effective. Millions of people have undergone a seemingly impossible transformation of mind, body, and soul by simply following some instructions. Notice we said simple, not easy. Recovery is not easy. But it is absolutely within reach for anyone with the willingness to try and stick with it.
What to know about recovery from alcoholism:
- No one recovers alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
- The more you put into it, the more rewards you will receive in return.
- Recovery is a lifelong process and a lifestyle. There is no finish line.
- Staying connected to the recovery community and helping others is essential.
- Committed recovery will bring about positive changes in almost every area of life.
Quit Drinking Alcohol With Innovo Detox
Finding the courage to admit yourself for alcohol detox and treatment will be one of the wisest decisions you ever make. You already know it. So what’s preventing you from making that call? If you have any questions about alcohol detox in PA or anywhere else in the country, Innovo Detox is here to help. One call to our confidential detox hotline is all it takes to get answers to your questions about alcohol abuse or detox from alcohol or any other substance.