Getting sober may not be easy, but it could be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. The negative effects of alcohol on your body, mind, and spirit are well documented, and when you stop drinking, your life improves in ways you may never have considered. From your appearance to your emotions to your physical health, here are some of the most common changes you may experience after you give up alcohol.
You lose weight
Alcoholic drinks are laden with hidden calories. According to the National Institute of Health, a single 12-ounce beer averages 153 calories, while a glass of wine has 125. It’s easy to over consume when you’re drinking alcohol, since it’s filled with “empty” calories that leave you feeling hungry. And when you drink, you’re also more likely to make poor eating choices and less likely to exercise.
You sleep better
While a few drinks might help you fall asleep faster, the quality of your sleep is usually poor. Alcohol can inhibit restful REM sleep, exacerbate breathing problems such as sleep apnea or snoring, and cause you to wake up frequently to use the bathroom. When you stop drinking, you’ll find yourself getting much deeper, more revitalizing sleep.
Your brain function improves
Drinking alcohol can have a devastating impact on the brain, affecting your cognition, memory, and problem-solving abilities. While some of the effects can linger long after you quit drinking, your brain will constantly work to rebuild neural pathways, allowing you to think more clearly, concentrate better, and be more productive.
You have fewer mood swings
People often have a few drinks to “loosen up” and escape from their problems for a little while. But as the alcohol wears off, so do the positive feelings, and you may find yourself being forcefully confronted by the very thoughts you were trying to avoid. As a depressant, alcohol harms your ability to regulate your emotions and increases your risk of developing depression, anxiety, or a serious mood disorder. Abstaining can help you recalibrate your emotions, face your insecurities, and improve your overall mental health.
Your risk of developing serious diseases declines
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol consumption is associated with increased risk of many chronic diseases. Alcoholic liver disease, including cirrhosis and hepatitis, is directly attributable to excessive alcohol intake, and alcohol is also linked to the development of certain cancers and neurological diseases, like dementia. Studies have also shown alcohol can aggravate symptoms of existing conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
You go through withdrawal
If you’ve been drinking a lot for a long time, you’ve likely developed an alcohol dependency. This means that when you abruptly stop drinking, you’ll experience the symptoms of withdrawal as your body gets used to the lack of alcohol. Symptoms of withdrawal include headache, nausea, vomiting, tremors, sweating, insomnia, and anxiety, and can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. In severe cases of withdrawal, you may be at risk for seizures or hallucinations; medically supervised detox can help alleviate your discomfort and keep you safe.
You need emotional support
Giving up alcohol can be difficult, especially if you’ve been drinking for a long time. For those struggling with alcohol addiction, relapse is common. To help you quit drinking for good, it can be helpful to attend a support group, a 12-step program, or a rehabilitation center. Connecting with others who understand what you’re going through and getting support from medical professionals can help ease the transition so you can remain committed to your sobriety.
Alvarado Parkway Institute can help you quit drinking for good
If you’re ready to live a happier, healthier life, Alvarado Parkway Institute can offer the support you need to get sober. Whether you prefer the round-the-clock care provided by our inpatient treatment center, or the flexibility and freedom of our outpatient drug rehab clinic, we have a program to meet your individual needs.
You have the power to get sober. Alvarado Parkway Institute can help. Call us at (619) 485-1432 to find out how.