Alcohol has negatively impacted your life in so many ways that you’re finally ready to go sober. You may be prepared to live a healthier lifestyle, you may be wondering what to expect when you finally do put down the bottle. Here are some things you can expect to happen to your body when you stop drinking.
A Rough 48-72 Hours
The first 48 to 72 hours after you stop drinking are often considered the most difficult. You can expect the typical hangover symptoms, as well as symptoms of withdrawal, which include tremors/shakiness, insomnia, sweating, nausea, headaches, and raised blood pressure. These symptoms typically subside within 48 hours; however, if you have been drinking heavily for many years, it’s more likely that you will experience these symptoms for longer. In addition, some people experience “delirium tremens,” a state of confusion that can be characterized by hallucinations, irregular heart rate, and in some cases, seizures. This is why it is important to detox under the supervision of a medical professional, such as those on staff at our alcohol treatment center in Denver.
Physical Symptoms Subside…
Clearly, going through withdrawal is quite uncomfortable. Fortunately, they don’t last forever. Generally, you can expect symptoms to begin to subside after 72 hours. This is when your body begins to adjust to functioning without alcohol again. If you can get over the hump of the first three days to a week, you begin to feel much better physically.
…But Psychological Symptoms Last Longer
Though your physical body adjusts to not drinking, it can be much harder for your mind is get on board. Some people experience anxiety and depression, anger and aggression, insomnia, and decreased libido. This is because alcohol alters your brain chemistry, making your body dependent on it to produce the neurotransmitters related to mood. It’s also typical to feel the effects of traumatic experiences and difficult emotions come to a head once you’re no longer numbing yourself with alcohol. This is why counseling is an integral part of our alcohol treatment program.
When you have been drinking on a daily basis, your body comes to expect alcohol. This means that when you stop drinking, cravings inevitably kick in. This can be especially significant when you’re in situations when you normally drink — for example, if you usually have beers while watching the game, your cravings will likely be more severe. How long these cravings will last varies from person to person — for some, they only last for a few days, and for others, they can last for years after quitting drinking. This is why we use FDA-approved medications to help you quit drinking; these medications are designed to stop alcohol cravings temporarily, which aids you on your road to stop the desire to drink for good.
In the past, you may have used alcohol to fall asleep. While it may have made it easier for you to fall asleep, alcohol impacts the quality of your sleep, which is likely why you feel tired during the day. Once you quit drinking, you may have trouble falling asleep, but once you do, the sleep you get is much deeper, so you will feel more refreshed during the day.
Your Skin Gets Better
You may have noticed that your face has gotten redder, puffier, and duller from alcohol use. Alcohol is extremely dehydrating. Over time, chronic dehydration dries out your skin, leaving your skin vulnerable to skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, and eczema. When you quit alcohol, the puffiness goes down, your skin tone evens out, and you look overall younger.
Your Health Will Improve
It’s probably not news to you that alcohol is detrimental to your health, but you may not realize how many facets of health are improved when you go sober. First, alcohol affects the efficiency of your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels, which can lead to type II diabetes. Quitting alcohol normalizes your blood sugar levels. In addition, drinking heavily is correlated with an increased risk in several types of cancer, including mouth, breast, liver, and colon. You also become significantly less likely to develop liver disease when you stop drinking. Finally, drinking alcohol is associated with an increased susceptibility to respiratory disorders such as pneumonia, which is likely because alcohol puts undue pressure on the immune system. Quitting drinking may make it easier for your body to fight off infection.
It’s not easy to go sober, but with the right support, it’s possible to quit drinking forever. If you’re ready for alcohol to release its grip on your life, contact our alcohol treatment center in Denver for a free consultation.