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What Happens to Your Body When You Quit Drinking?

Feb 20, 2024

Deciding to stop drinking can bring significant changes, not only in how you live, but also in your body. The physical changes to your body when you quit drinking may be surprising and affect different parts of your health in ways you didn’t expect. In this blog post, we’ll explain a timeline of changes you can expect after your last drink is behind you.

If you’re considering quitting drinking, it’s good to know what changes your body might undergo, as alcohol can do some damage. In the first month, you can expect weight loss and better-looking skin as you cut back on alcohol. Around three to six months, your liver gets a boost, and internal inflammation decreases. As time goes on, from six months to a year, your heart health and immune system improve. After a year of sobriety, the risk of alcohol-related diseases significantly drops. But remember, withdrawal symptoms in the early days can be challenging, so seeking a medical detox and personalized treatment is crucial. If you decide to embark on this journey, Headwaters is here to guide you safely, offering a comprehensive approach and ongoing support for lasting sobriety.

Physical Changes to Your Body When You Quit Drinking

Notable changes occur when you enter the first month of abstinence. When alcohol consumption is reduced, it frequently correlates to weight loss. Better sleep and hydration also help to promote healthier-looking skin. When the body reaches the three- to six-month period, major changes occur. The liver starts to heal and repair itself, improving its overall performance. Concurrently, there is a reduction in internal inflammation, which benefits multiple organs.

Cardiovascular effects manifest between six months to a year, including improvements in heart health and blood pressure. Furthermore, there is an increased immune system, which strengthens the body’s defenses against disease. After a year sober, there are long-term gains in mental health, including less anxiety and improved cognitive performance. In addition, there is a significant decrease in the chance of illnesses linked to chronic alcohol use, such as liver disease and several types of cancer.

If you or a loved one need help, call our admissions team today at 561-270-1753.

Timeline of Alcohol’s Withdrawal Effects

It’s important to seek professional help to face the symptoms of withdrawal in the early days of sobriety as it helps you avoid medical emergencies and helps prevent taking another drink.

Day 1: Withdrawal symptoms one day after quitting drinking can vary, but they may include anxiety, irritability, sweating, nausea, and difficulty sleeping. Some individuals may experience an increased heart rate and tremors.

Day 3: Some people may experience worsening of their withdrawal symptoms three days after stopping alcohol. Increased anxiety, irritability, restlessness, sweating, and nausea are typical symptoms during this stage. Elevated blood pressure, tremors, and an accelerated heart rate are examples of physical symptoms that could worsen. Sleep disorders like insomnia could worsen. Seizures, disorientation, and hallucinations are possible in extreme situations.

Day 7: Withdrawal symptoms may start to go away seven days after stopping alcohol, although some people may continue to have effects. During this stage, persistent anger, anxiety, and mood swings are common symptoms. Physical symptoms like nausea, headaches, and trouble concentrating could still exist, but usually not as much as they were in the early stages. Sleep difficulties may persist, and certain people may experience ongoing insomnia.

Timeline of Positive Changes to Your Body

The timeline of physical changes to the body after you quit drinking can vary from person to person, depending on a variety of factors. Alcohol consumption level, overall health, genetics, mental health, age, and medical history are among the primary factors influencing alcohol withdrawal. Here’s a general overview of what to expect.

Immediate Effects (First Few Days to One Week):

  • Improved Hydration: Without alcohol’s dehydrating effects, the body starts to rehydrate.
  • Better Sleep: While sleep patterns may initially be disrupted, improvements are expected after the first few days.

First Month:

  • Weight Loss: Reduction in calorie intake from alcohol often leads to weight loss.
  • Improved Skin: Hydration and better sleep contribute to healthier-looking skin.

Three to Six Months:

  • Liver Repair: The liver starts to regenerate, improving its function.
  • Reduced Inflammation: Internal inflammation decreases, positively impacting organs.

Six Months to a Year:

  • Cardiovascular Benefits: Blood pressure and heart health often show improvement.
  • Enhanced Immune System: A stronger immune system is observed.

Beyond One Year:

  • Mental Health: Long-term improvements in mental well-being, reduced anxiety, and better cognitive function.
  • Lower Risk of Diseases: Reduced risk of liver disease, certain cancers, and other alcohol-related conditions.

Getting Help from Headwaters

Headwaters is committed to guiding you safely and effectively beyond drinking, fostering a transformative journey to lasting sobriety. With our comprehensive approach, we begin with medical detoxification, ensuring a secure foundation for your recovery. Our personalized programs address your unique needs, creating a tailored roadmap to sobriety. Recognizing the crucial role of family, we facilitate their support, fostering a healing environment. As you progress, we collaboratively devise a continuing care plan, offering sustained support post-treatment. At Headwaters, we understand the complexity of the recovery process and stand ready to empower you with the resources and care needed for a successful, enduring sobriety journey.

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Headwaters is a well-known care provider offering a range of addiction treatment programs for executives and their families targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 561-270-1753.

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