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What Happens When You Stop Drinking Alcohol?

Sugar boosts levels of the “reward” chemical dopamine, which fuels feelings of pleasure, Dr. Raskin says. So maybe by now, you’re thinking about taking a break from drinking for a bit, what happens when you stop drinking alcohol but need to know exactly what that break can do for you. As you no doubt know—and maybe your liquor cabinet even bears this out—there has been no drinking like pandemic drinking.

  • Symptoms can range from headache, elevated blood pressure, heart palpitations, and nausea and vomiting to tremors, hallucination and in severe cases death.
  • Lauren is an award-winning registered dietitian, author of three books and all-around lover of good food.
  • Because alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous – and even kill you – make sure you have medical advice from your doctor or a rehab facility when you decide to stop drinking.
  • Whether you’re challenging yourself to a no-drink stint (hello, Dry January) or considering cutting back on alcohol in general, your body can experience some real changes when you stop drinking.
  • According to the World Health Organization, alcohol is responsible for 3 million deaths globally each year, which accounts for 5.3% of all deaths.
  • Maria Laura is a trained dietitian, almond butter lover and food enthusiast with over seven years of experience in nutrition counseling.

However, individuals who have been drinking heavily for long periods of time may still experience some symptoms of withdrawal and may even have hallucinations or delirium tremens (DTs) and seizures. New Horizon will help patients determine whether the pain and aches that they experience are alcohol withdrawal symptoms or whether there may be another condition causing this. The team of professionals at the center is able to provide treatment for alcohol addiction as well as other conditions. It is important to note that recovery from alcohol addiction is a lifelong process, and the brain may continue to heal and recover for years after quitting. However, the earlier an individual seeks treatment and stops drinking, the greater the likelihood of a successful recovery and improved brain function.


The good news is that by quitting alcohol, even those who have spent years throwing off the balance of their brains can begin to heal and restore the brain’s natural function. Now that you don’t have to deal with hangovers, and you no longer spend time drinking, you should have both more time and more capacity to exercise! We’re here 24/7 to help guide you or your loved on through rehab and recovery. If you or a loved one is ready to overcome an alcohol addiction, reach out today.

what happens when i stop drinking alcohol

Reach out to a treatment provider for free today for immediate assistance. But, opting for a mocktail may be a better choice if you are trying to manage your weight, feel more energized, or simply want to lead a healthier lifestyle. If you add in costs of drinking in social settings at restaurants, bars, and clubs, the amount might be more. On the other hand, if you drink in moderation, alcohol doesn’t affect LDL and instead increases good cholesterol (HDL).

Here’s What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Drinking for 30 Days

If you go to the hospital for another reason, tell the providers if you’ve been drinking heavily so they can monitor you for symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. In addition to the symptoms of anxiety, patients may experience pains and aches in their muscles when they stop drinking. These symptoms may range from feeling tired and having a lack of energy to experiencing tightness in the muscles or restless legs.

Why I quit drinking?

Drinking increases your chances of being involved in an accident, placing your life and that of others at risk. Alcohol takes a toll on your physical appearance. It can cause you to gain weight, damage your skin, weaken your hair, and make you appear older than you are. It can damage your relationships with others.

It’s important to remember that they are only temporary and will usually subside within a few days. For individuals with severe alcohol dependence, however, withdrawal symptoms can be more severe and may require medical attention. However, the nature and intensity of these effects can vary depending on how much and how frequently you drink. While occasional social drinking may not result in significant changes when you decide to quit, you may experience more significant effects if you have been drinking heavily for an extended time.

How Fast Does the Brain Recover After Quitting Alcohol?

Plus, the high levels of salt and sugar content in alcoholic beverages may trigger the hormone IGF-1, which causes an over-production of oil in your skin (hi, pimples!). Pair this with spiking insulin levels that cause inflammation and you’ve got yourself a recipe for acne. A booze hiatus can potentially improve acne for those who have it, as previously reported in WH. And if you work out, drinking on the reg can make matters worse for your health. Now, three years later, I live in New York, the city that never sleeps, and I’m constantly around alcohol.

Attempting to quit alcohol without medical supervision is only safe for those who are light to moderate drinkers, who are simply looking to develop a healthier relationship with alcohol. The developing adolescent brain is particularly vulnerable to alcohol-related harm. Alcohol is a powerful reinforcer in adolescents because the brain’s reward system is fully developed while the executive function system is not, and because there is a powerful social aspect to adolescent drinking. Specifically, prefrontal regions involved in executive functions and their connections to other brain regions are not fully developed in adolescents, which may make it harder for them to regulate the motivation to drink. Here, we outline a framework for understanding alcohol-induced changes in the brain, which can help you appreciate the challenges faced by many patients with AUD when they try to cut back or quit drinking.

Timeline for Quitting Alcohol: What To Expect When You Stop Drinking

Psychotherapy options such as cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) and motivation enhancement therapy (MET) can help change unhelpful thinking patterns, teach valuable coping skills, and improve the motivation to quit. Drinking alcohol can contribute to a variety of cognitive issues, including poor memory, slow reaction time, impaired impulse control, and poor concentration. Over time, drinking can also damage nerve cells and contribute to a loss of brain volume. “Furthermore, consistent use of alcohol to induce sleep only increases the need to use alcohol in the future to get to sleep,” he explains. While not everyone who quits drinking will experience withdrawal, you are more likely to have symptoms if you have been drinking for a long time, if you drink heavily, and/or if you drink frequently.

what happens when i stop drinking alcohol

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