What Happens the Day You Stop Drinking Alcohol?




Drinking alcohol can have many impacts on our lives, but among the most prevalent areas is our physical, emotional, and psychological health. With continued use, it can even change the way our brains function and process information – changing how we behave and react.

These effects are often reversible when one abstains from drinking alcohol, however.

Below is an outline of what you may experience as you quit alcohol and start upon your happier, and healthier life.


The Day You Stop Drinking

After your first 12-24 hours without alcohol, you may begin to start feeling the beginnings of withdrawal. (NOTE: alcohol withdrawal can be fatal, please consult with a physician). Some common symptoms include: anxiety, insomnia, nausea, and abdominal pain. Also, because alcohol has a diuretic effect on the body, you may be feeling more dehydrated than you would normally.

To help you out during the first day, make sure to drink plenty of water and eat plenty of healthy food. Good nutrition is always a must, but could potentially help you more these next few hours. One positive during this time frame is that your blood sugar begins to normalize, starting your body’s detox process.

24-48 Hours After the Day You Stop Drinking

This time frame may be the most climactic in terms of withdrawal symptom onset. Some common symptoms you may experience include: high blood pressure, increased body temperature, breathing abnormalities, irregular heart rate, sweating, confusion, irritability, and mood disturbances.

Some less common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can also occur. The term for this grouping of symptoms is delirium tremens (DTs). Delirium tremens (DTs) only occurs in 3-5% of those experiencing alcohol withdrawal, but the symptoms are worth mentioning. The symptoms of DTs include: hallucinations, fever, agitation, severe confusion, and seizures. These symptoms may occur without warning. Without medical treatment, DTs can be fatal. If you used frequently, regularly, and in high quantities, you should complete your detox under the watch of a medical professional to ensure early treatment if you do have any of these symptoms.

Do not fret – after the 48-hour mark, the biggest alcohol detox hurdle is over! Blood pressure and body temperature should both begin to normalize, and things should be looking up from here.

72 Hours After the Day You Stop Drinking

Depending on how much you used, you may start to feel better. By now you might be feeling back to your normal self physically and mentally. Generally speaking, you might be done feeling the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, or at least beginning to notice them going away. If you used constantly and never allowed your body time without alcohol, then you probably are still experiencing symptoms at full force. Food cravings related to alcohol  (primarily cravings for carbohydrate rich foods) may also begin to subside.

5-7 Days After the Day You Stop Drinking

If you used frequently, regularly, and in high quantities, symptoms should start becoming less intense and you should start feeling generally better. Also, you begin to get deeper, more restful sleep than you did while you were using, increasing your energy and awareness. You begin to feel more hydrated, and as a result your skin starts looking fresher, and skin conditions like dandruff, rosacea, and eczema, if you have them, begin to improve. You may also notice intense cravings for sugar as a result of no longer consuming the high quantities of sugar in alcohol.

One Month After the Day You Stop Drinking

One month without alcohol will start to have positive impacts on your liver. Liver fat can reduce, on average by 15%, allowing for improved function and a better ability to filter out toxins. This mean the liver is back to being able to do its job!

The fat doesn’t just start coming off of your liver, as you may also begin to notice a decrease in belly fat. Alcohol contains many empty calories and increases appetite – one month without may start showing results on the waistline. The biggest improvement for your skin health generally occurs around the four-week mark as well.

Away from vanity, some positive changes for your mental health should also be made around this time. If you haven’t already, you should begin to seek out support for your recovery efforts. Whether it be a group, a therapist who specializes in addiction, or another addiction related professional, support during this time will help prevent a relapse. On average, the first six months of sobriety are the most difficult and have the highest rate of relapse. Getting support early on will help decrease that likelihood for you.

One Year After the Day You Stop Drinking

After a year without alcohol, your liver should be fully restored to peak functioning. Also, many people lose a significant amount of belly fat by this point; thirteen pounds on average. Finally, your risk lowers drastically for mouth, liver, and breast cancer.

One year down, one day at a time to go.


Summit Hill Wellness is here to give you the support you need to get to day one… two… 365… and beyond.


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