Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal: Timeline and Signs of Danger

Many of my clients with depression often have an underlying alcohol problem, which they don’t initially disclose but emerges as time goes on. If you think you might have alcohol use disorder (AUD) and decide to stop drinking completely, don’t go it alone. When a person who drinks heavily stops abruptly, that rush of dopamine is also reduced.

What Does Alcohol Do to Your Brain?

But maybe you’re unsure about quitting completely and don’t want to hold yourself to that goal. Knowing why you drink is essential, says Cyndi Turner, LCSW, LSATP, MAC, a Virginia therapist specializing in addiction treatment and alcohol moderation. Maybe you don’t think you depend on alcohol exactly, but you still wonder whether you might be drinking too much. The CDC considers a standard drink as 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol—or roughly 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 8 ounces of malt liquor.

Long-Term Benefits of Quitting Alcohol

Alcohol dependence can make it harder to think or remember things. Over time, heavy drinking can cloud your perception of distances and volumes, or slow and impair your motor skills. It can even make it harder for you to read other people’s emotions. But if you quit, your brain seems to be able to regain some of these abilities. If you answer yes to even one or two of these questions, Lin recommends speaking to your primary care physician or seeing an addiction specialist.

What does drinking alcohol do to your body?

what happens when i stop drinking alcohol

“While you may fall asleep quickly with alcohol, your actual sleep quality is far worse,” he says. “When you stop drinking, you may find it harder to fall asleep at night, but you’ll feel much more rested and energized.” “The crazy thing is, if you’re feeling withdrawal symptoms, this means you’re doing something right,” says Leon. He adds that anybody with a physical addiction may need to seek medical assistance when stopping. It may make you feel drowsy and fall asleep quickly—but later in the night it messes with your sleep patterns as it works through your system.

  • Individuals experiencing mild symptoms could receive home treatment with the help of close friends and family members.
  • So when you stay away from alcohol, the number on your scale may well start moving down.
  • Chronic and excessive alcohol consumption can destroy liver cells, which are necessary for filtering out harmful substances in our body (the liver is our built-in detoxifier).
  • That said, If you’ve been drinking excessively, then stopping drinking cold turkey can lead to withdrawal symptoms.
  • It’s important to note that the timeline for experiencing these effects can vary among individuals.
  • Alcohol has quite deleterious effects, as ethanol, an organic compound in alcohol, is a toxin to our body, Scheller explains.

Medical supervision, behavioral health treatment, and mutual-aid groups can help you through alcohol withdrawal and stay stopped. New research suggests the risks of even moderate or light drinking may outweigh the benefits. In June, the World Health Organization said that no level of alcohol consumption is safe for our health. And a new study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that binge drinking among adults ages 35 to 50 has reached historic levels.

what happens when i stop drinking alcohol

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