In many cases, there is always a list of the dangers of drinking alcohol and struggling with an addiction to it. What about the benefits of quitting alcohol?
It’s a good idea for someone suffering from an addiction to understand the benefits of quitting alcohol as well as the dangers.
Alcohol consumption that has crossed the line to alcohol use disorder can create many problems. There are many risk factors commonly associated with alcohol abuse and alcoholism. People who have experienced some of the consequences commonly associated with alcohol use disorder may consider quitting.
What Happens to a Person’s Body When They Stop Drinking
When someone considers quitting alcohol, they worry about the side effects and withdrawal symptoms more than the benefits of quitting alcohol. Depending on the amount of time a person’s been drinking and the amount of consumption, the person can face withdrawal symptoms of varying difficulties.
People who have been abusing alcohol for an extended period of time may find that their withdrawal symptoms are more severe. However, it is important to remember that eliminating alcoholic beverages can be beneficial to health and wellness.
Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms include:
- Shaking hands
- Sweaty hands
- Delirium tremens (DTs)
- High blood pressure
- Racing heart
A patient might experience all of these symptoms or only a few of them. The withdrawal from alcohol can vary from one person to the next. In most cases, it is recommended that people struggling with alcohol dependence complete the withdrawal process under medical supervision.
Alcohol Withdrawal and Treatment
There is a common benefit of quitting timeline that someone who is considering giving up alcohol can expect. Here’s a look at that timeline:
- First six hours: It takes most people withdrawing from the effects of alcohol to start feeling the first mild to moderate effects.
- Hour six: If a person has abused alcohol for an extended period of time, they might experience seizures starting around the six-hour mark. Seizures normally abate in around 10 hours but can last a couple of days.
- Hours 18 to 24: The worst of the minor symptoms of alcohol withdrawal peak during this time period.
- 24-hour mark: Some patients might begin to experience hallucinations at this point that can last until hours 36 or 48.
- 36-hour mark: The moderate withdrawal symptoms should peek around this time.
- 48-hour mark: For patients with a longer history of alcohol addiction, they might begin to experience more severe symptoms and the DTs at this point. These symptoms can include:
- Altered consciousness
- Difficulty regulating their own body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate
- Day 4: Minor withdrawal symptoms cease
- Day 6: The more moderate withdrawal symptoms begin to abate
- One-week mark: If the patient experiences hallucinations, they should end around this point.
- Two-week mark: Any DTs should begin to end around this time
The withdrawal from alcohol can be trying for many patients. A person who wants to end their addiction to alcohol may try to make this change on their own. However, it’s always beneficial to choose an in-patient detox program.
Some of the withdrawal symptoms can create serious health issues for the patient, and medical staff can ensure the person’s safety. Also, in-patient treatment provides therapy services to give the person the tools that they need to avoid a relapse in the future.
What Are the Positive Effects of Giving Up Alcohol?
Alcohol use and abuse can negatively impact a person’s physical and mental health. Although the withdrawal symptoms might seem daunting, there are many amazing benefits to quitting alcohol. Here’s a look at a few of them:
Improvement in Memory and Thinking Ability
When a person struggles with heavy drinking or an addiction to alcohol for years and decades, the hippocampus, the portion of the brain dedicated to learning and the formation of memories, shrinks. As a person recovers from their addiction, the brain begins to repair this essential area, and the patient can see improvement in their memory and learning ability in several months to a year.
Reduces the Risks of Cardiovascular Issues
Someone who drinks large amounts of alcohol experiences an increased risk of heart issues. These issues can occur up to a week after the person’s last round of inebriation. Some of the most common heart issues associated with abusing alcohol include:
- Heart attack
- Congestive heart failure
- Irregular heartbeats
Quitting alcohol can help reduce the risks of a heart-related incident.
Improve the Look and Health of Skin
The skin is a person’s largest organ, and it can show the signs of an alcohol addiction clearly. Some of the ways that alcohol damages skin and a person sees improvement after they stop drinking are:
- Loss of collagen, causing the look premature aging
- Puffiness and inflammation
- Dry skin
- Jaundice appearance
- Broken capillaries, especially around the nose and face
After withdrawing from alcohol and going a few months without a drink, the person should begin to see improvements in their skin.
Improved Diet and Nutrition
When it comes to diet and nutrition, alcohol only adds two things: sugar and empty calories. A person who drinks alcohol and struggles with addiction for years may see changes in their metabolism. As the person stays sober, they may lose weight and find that metabolism begins to return to normal as they start filling their diet with more healthy calories and less sugar.
Better Sleep Patterns
When a person abuses alcohol, it interferes with their sleep-wake pattern. People who are struggling with alcohol addiction, will often have trouble falling asleep. Once asleep, people struggling with alcohol abuse have issues staying asleep.
Good sleep patterns are essential for a person’s overall health. Withdrawal may further cause issues with a person’s sleep habits but after a few months without alcohol, the person’s sleep patterns should normalize.
Reduced Risk of Certain Kinds of Cancer
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is a clear link between drinking alcohol and an increased risk for certain types of cancer. These types of cancers include:
- Breast cancer in women
- Larynx or voice box
- Rectum and colon
- Throat and mouth
When the CDC warns of the connection between alcohol and cancer, they aren’t referring to hard liquor only. This warning includes wine and beer as well.
While it might be challenging for a person to stop using alcohol, the benefits of quitting alcohol outweigh the challenges. Alcohol use disorder has a wide range of long term effects on the body. It is important that a person struggling with substance abuse seek the appropriate help.
At No Matter What Recovery, we’re always ready to help a patient take the first steps into their new sober lifestyle. Reach out to us today for more information.