What Your Body Experiences When You Quit Drinking Alcohol

What Your Body Experiences When You Quit Drinking Alcohol
Published in Addiction

If you have a problem with alcohol addiction, the decision to stop drinking is a big one. The choice to quit drinking alcohol can have a tremendous impact on all areas of your life. This is especially so when it comes to the physical toll quitting alcohol can take on your body if you go through withdrawal. It’s important to know what to expect before undergoing alcohol abuse rehabilitation—and why you need to find a qualified program with the experienced staff to help you during that time.

The Physical Symptoms of Withdrawal

When you are drinking too much alcohol over an extended period of time such as weeks, months, or years, you can become dependent on it, even addicted—this can be considered alcohol use disorder. This pattern of habitual alcohol consumption can dramatically affect your body’s central nervous system, slowing down and impairing brain function. It can also weaken major organs such as the heart, liver, and pancreas, leaving you more susceptible to developing diseases such as high blood pressure, cirrhosis, and even some types of cancer. The decision to stop drinking can be beneficial for your health over the long term when it comes to these kinds of issues, but first your body may undergo some grueling withdrawal symptoms when you quit drinking alcohol before you can start to feel better.

When it comes to this early period after you stop drinking, the symptoms can range from the mild to the severe. They can also appear very quickly after you take your last drink, as soon as six to eight hours later. At first, you may feel nauseous, which can lead to vomiting. Your hands can start shaking and you may start to feel sweaty. You can also get headaches as the alcohol wears off and leaves your system. It can be difficult to get the rest you need, and you may find yourself unable to sleep through the night.

You may have difficulty sleeping, which can leave you feeling tired and irritable during the day. The overall experience can also breed a sense of depression or anxiety, which can amplify the physical symptoms and make you feel worse. The physical symptoms can get worse for up to three days after your last drink, but they may last longer than that at a lower intensity.

In some cases, withdrawal symptoms can be even more serious during the first couple of days after you stop using alcohol. They can include hallucinations and seizures. And then there is something called delirium tremens, or what’s commonly called DTs. The DTs are rare—an estimated 5 percent of people in withdrawal get them—but prolonged alcohol abuse for 10 or more years can increase your risk. During the first couple of days after your last drink, you could start experiencing extreme delusions and confusion about reality. Your blood pressure and heart rate could start racing; you may also feel feverish and sweaty. Whether you experience the DTs or other, more common physical issues, your body will go through a lot during the initial time period after you stop drinking alcohol.

How to Get Help

Because the physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be severe—and because they can be coupled with dangerous impairment of your mental state—it’s important to seek out alcohol abuse rehabilitation provided by an experienced, well-trained facility that provides you with a very comfortable atmosphere and attentive care. This will help ensure that your body can work through the physical rigors that can occur when you stop drinking alcohol.

At Sheer Recovery, we are experts in this kind of care during alcohol abuse rehabilitation. Our dual-diagnosis program for alcohol abuse treatment takes place in residential settings that offer executive-level amenities for a serene, peaceful atmosphere conducive to healing. These amenities can include hot tubs, swimming pools, and private and semi-private rooms with scenic ocean views.

If you are experiencing grueling physical issues after you stop drinking alcohol, Sheer Recovery also offers valuable clinical care. Our team of clinicians and medical professionals are licensed and certified, with more than 50 years of experience in this field. During this critical first phase of detox and stabilization upon quitting alcohol, you can receive around-the-clock staff support, which helps when you are dealing with intense symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

As part of the process, we also put together a toxicology report and conduct pharmacogenomic testing to see how your DNA may be affected by different treatment medications. With this information, our physician can meet with you and develop a detox plan customized for you. This can also include medication management if you have accompanying mental health issues.

Once you work through those initial physical symptoms after you stop drinking, you will be ready for the next steps in alcohol abuse rehabilitation—the counseling, meetings and self-care activities that can help prepare you for daily life outside our Sheer Recovery residences. While there can be many tough physical symptoms when you quit drinking alcohol, remember that they are just an important step on your journey towards recovery and sobriety—they will not last forever.

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