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What to Expect When You Stop Drinking Alcohol

probably heard, met or know of people in your personal or social life who don’t
drink. For whatever reason, they’ve decided to live an alcohol-free lifestyle,
and may have even discussed some of the benefits with you. If you’ve ever
considered cutting alcohol out of your routine, you may have wondered a few
questions about the process. What health benefits can you experience by not
drinking alcohol? How is your social life influenced without alcohol? What should
you expect when you stop drinking?

you’re thinking about going alcohol-free, there are lots of personal, health
and social benefits to consider in the process. Whether you want to stop
drinking for good, or just to have some time off, being prepared for the
changes is a great way to move forward. Here are some examples of what to
expect when you stop drinking.

important to recognize that depending on your drinking habits, giving up
alcohol might not be a very pretty sight in the beginning. Chances are, it’s
going to get worse before it gets better. For most people, the first 48 hours
after you stop drinking are the biggest detox hurdle. Depending on how much you
drank before, this can feel like an extreme hangover, and include symptoms such
as sweating, a rise in blood pressure, shakiness or tremors, insomnia, headache
and nausea (

If you
were a severely heavy drinker, you may even experience the onset of delirium
tremens between 48-72 hours.
The List states, “Delirium tremens is
sudden confusion that may be paired with hallucinations, shaking, irregular
heart rate and an increase in body temperature so high that it can sometimes
lead to seizures.” Whether you were a heavy drinker or not, chances are you’ll
experience some form of alcohol cravings. According to the
National Institute on
Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
, cravings are a normal experience when changing your
drinking behavior. However, once your body adjusts to the “new normal” without
alcohol, you can truly start to experience the benefits of living alcohol-free.

and foremost are the short term benefits you’ll experience when you stop
drinking. Oftentimes, the earliest benefit people notice is better sleep in the
night and higher energy levels throughout the day.
Drinkaware states, “Regular drinking
can affect the quality of your sleep making you feel tired and sluggish. This
is because drinking disrupts your sleep cycle.” While some people claim
drinking alcohol before bed helps them to fall asleep faster, it can actually
have harmful effects later on in the sleep cycle. As the night goes on, you
spend less time in deep sleep and more time in the Rapid Eye Movement (REM)
stage of sleep. REM is a less restful sleep stage, resulting in you feeling
more tired the next day. By going without alcohol—especially alcohol close to
bedtime—you can get better rest during the night and feel more energetic the
following morning.

As you
go longer without alcohol, you’ll notice your appearance start to change as
well. Chances are you’ll lose a few pounds and even clear up your skin’s
complexion. Alcohol has a sneaky way of creeping into your daily calories and
adding some inches on to the waistline. A study published in the
American Journal of Epidemiology found that, on average, men
consume an additional 433 calories on days they drink a “moderate” amount of
alcohol; women consume 300 calories. When you cut alcohol from your diet, you
help save on those extra calories. And don’t worry about adding food into make
up for it, chances are you’ll also eat less food overall. One study published
in the
American Journal of Nutritionstates alcohol is one of the biggest drivers of excess food intake.
Because alcohol heightens our senses, even mild intoxication can increase the
activity in the brain’s hypothalamus—which controls hunger and thirst—making
you more sensitive to the smell and taste of food, causing you to eat more.
Without alcohol, this sensation isn’t as drastic, resulting in less food
consumption and fewer pounds.

As you
go without alcohol, you may also notice your skin beginning to clear up.
Because alcohol is a diuretic, it causes you to urinate more. It also decreases
the body’s production of antidiuretic hormone, which helps the body reabsorb
water. These factors combine to dehydration within your body, and can affect
issues such as acne, dandruff, eczema and even rosacea. However, without
alcohol, your body is able to retain more water and stay hydrated longer,
literally clearing your skin from the inside out.

course, as you move on throughout life, going alcohol-free has significant
long-term benefits, as well. For instance, it greatly reduces your chances of
certain types of
cancer such as breast or mouth cancer. Giving up alcohol
can also reduce your risk of developing liver disease, which can lead to a
fatty liver. The fact is alcohol can have severely negative health risks, and
overtime, these add up to serious conditions. Giving up alcohol can improve your
health and help you live a longer, healthier life.

you stop drinking, you also improve your chances of building sustainable,
genuine relationships with your social circle. Alcohol can have harmful effects
on relationships, especially when it becomes a serious issue. By giving up
alcohol, you can feel confident that the relationships you build are positive,
impactful and intentional. Not to mention, you also save a significant amount
of money by not spending it on alcoholic beverages every week.

the transition to going alcohol-free might be a challenge, it can have serious
benefits both short-term and long-term. When you stop drinking, expect for
things to change, your health to improve and your life to expand with a new
awareness. Give a try and see how things change for the better around you.