5 Ways Quitting Drinking Affects Your Brain
Alcohol can cause problems in relationships, such as conflicts, communication problems, and trust issues. So, giving up alcohol may help you to improve your relationships with friends and family. You might notice this effect more if you were drinking to manage your mood, such as drinking to temporarily relieve negative emotions or boost positive ones. One of the most common side effects of giving up alcohol is insomnia.This is because alcohol acts as a sedative, so when it’s no longer in your system, you may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
To confirm this speculation, however, the team would need to conduct a long-term study of moderate drinkers, the authors noted in their report. Given how many variables there are, it is hard to define an “average” drinker. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes “drinking in moderation” as having no more than one drink a day if you’re a woman or two drinks a day if you’re a man, on the days that you drink alcohol. Two-thirds of adult drinkers, however, say they exceed these levels at least once a month, a 2014 study found. Alcohol abuse and addiction doesn’t just affect the person drinking—it affects their families and loved ones, too. Watching a family member struggle with a drinking problem can be as heartbreakingly painful as it is frustrating.
Improved energy levels and better sleep
If you’re overweight and regularly drink alcohol, you should find that your weight falls noticeably if you stop drinking.4 And not drinking at all will make it easier to maintain a healthy weight. Reminding yourself of the many health benefits of sobriety can help you stay focused, end your drinking, and stay sober. For younger people, the risks due to accidents, injury, and violence far outweigh any https://ecosoberhouse.com/ possible benefit from alcohol use. For other people, the possible benefits gained from drinking could be accomplished by getting more exercise, not smoking, and eating a healthier diet. Drinking too much alcohol can cause many problems and unwanted effects on your health and well-being. But some people might think they can’t stop drinking because they’re used to drinking too much or for too long.
When you stop drinking and start focusing on your health, you’ll likely start to feel better once your body is properly nourished. Quitting alcohol has a number of important mental health benefits. In addition to improving your mental well-being, it may lower your risk for some mental illness and contribute to better sleep. Cognitive, emotional, and sleep disturbances can occur at even moderate levels of drinking.
‘I’m a Doctor—Here’s How Your Body Changes After a Month Without Alcohol’
This may be more pronounced if you often use alcohol as a way to manage existing sleep problems. Unfortunately, while alcohol may make it seem like you are falling asleep quicker, it can also lead to worse sleep quality. John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. For over 20 years Dr. what happens when you stop drinking alcohol Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Alcohol’s two main breakdown products are acetaldehyde and ethanoic acid. Those byproducts are toxic to all tissues of the human body; however, we are able to metabolize a small amount of them.
- For individuals with severe alcohol dependence, however, withdrawal symptoms can be more severe and may require medical attention.
- This may be more pronounced if you often use alcohol as a way to manage existing sleep problems.
- So along with feeling bad, you are putting yourself at further risk of a cardiac event or a stroke, particularly as you get older.
- Withdrawal symptoms should also have noticeably subsided at this point, freeing you to relish in the improvement in mental clarity and sharpness.
Studies have also connected alcohol use to an increased risk of stroke, especially for people under the age of 45 years old. According to Volpicelli, the cognitive changes people can have from drinking—like memory trouble, slowed reaction time, difficulty controlling behavior, and poor concentration—get worse over time. There are certain brain chemicals called excitatory neurotransmitters that will stop doing their job when you drink, which can make you feel sleepy and sedated. Stay close to supportive family members or friends, or have an “accountability buddy,” who is aware of what you’re doing and can come assist you or call for medical help if needed. Keep a list of important phone numbers on hand, because you might not be thinking clearly during withdrawal.
What happens to your body when you stop drinking alcohol?
Support can come from family members, friends, counselors, other recovering alcoholics, your healthcare providers, and people from your faith community. Distance yourself from people who don’t support your efforts to stop drinking or respect the limits you’ve set. Take our free, 5-minute alcohol misuse self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with alcohol misuse.