Clinically Reviewed by Linda Whiteside, LPCC

Medically Reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson, MD

Why Quitting Drinking Can Be Essential to Your Health & Well-Being

Table of Contents

Alcohol is a substance that many people don’t think is as harmful as it is, so it often becomes a problem in the user’s life. It can start out simple enough with a beer or some wine with a nice dinner, or maybe a few at the local place with the folks from the office after work on Friday. Sometimes it can look like a frozen island drink at the neighborhood barbeque potluck because we’ve been told that when it’s in moderation it’s ok. 

But that’s not always how it stays. Some people end up developing a dependency on it after using it consistently for only a short time. This dependency creates not just a physical addiction, but a psychological one as well, and can start imposing significant negative effects on the user’s physical appearance, health, finances, relationships, and even their career and home.

Benefits of Quitting Drinking

Quitting drinking is one of the most healthy decisions you can make, and once the uncomfortable detox and withdrawal stage is over, the benefits to your health and physical appearance can be incredible. Many former drinkers report that once they removed alcohol from their life they were able to enjoy a level of physical health that in some cases they haven’t felt since their early 20s. There is also a remarkable boost in mental health and well-being once the alcohol is out of your blood.

The first physical benefit that most people will see after quitting drinking will be their “alcoholic face” beginning to clear up. The lack of quality collagen in the face from long-term dehydration makes the face sag, and when the individual stops drinking they can see the face tighten up again. The capillaries in the face and nose will begin to repair and recover, so the usual red nose and rosy cheeks that are common on heavy drinkers will reduce and eventually fade.

Alcohol is infamous for interfering in healthy wake-sleep cycles, and so those who are quitting drinking can look forward to better sleep that they have likely had since they started drinking. While using alcohol it is harder for the brain to fall asleep, and it also dramatically increases the chances of apnea and snoring since it relaxes all of the muscles in the throat.

Once the individual finishes quitting drinking, they will also see a much better overall nutritional state, since alcohol is a solvent that actually flushes away vital minerals and vitamins. Alcohol also slows the metabolism to a crawl, so it can also cause you to gain weight in some situations, especially when you may take in an extra 1,000 or even 2,000 calories in sugary, fruity drinks, or even shots of some liquors.

One of the most enjoyable benefits of quitting drinking is the recovery from the damage that drinking does to mental health and brain chemistry, particularly if mental illnesses are already a factor. With alcohol abuse having a relatively high comorbidity rate with mental issues like depression, bipolar, and anxiety.

Withdrawal Symptoms That Can Occur As a Result of Quitting Drinking

Quitting drinking and the alcohol withdrawal symptoms that go along with it can have a wide range of severity. The severity of the symptoms will often depend heavily on the physiology of the person quitting drinking, how long they have been drinking, how often they drink, and how much they generally drink during the course of a day.

If the individual has been dependent on alcohol and subsequently abusing it for a longer period they should expect a bit more severe and uncomfortable symptoms, that will last for a while longer than those who have only developed the beginnings of dependency or have only been drinking heavily for a short time. Individuals that are quitting drinking and have only been drinking heavily for a few months, for example, will have comparatively less serious withdrawal symptoms.

In the early stages of quitting drinking, the individual will begin to feel nausea, possible vomiting, and even anxiety, as soon as 6 hours from their last drink. Mild drinkers may also experience uncontrollable sweating, headache, and fever.

While the symptoms progress and become more severe, they will peak within 2-3 days then begin to subside. Heavy drinkers and long-time alcoholics will often have significant delirium at this point, even hallucinations, which will be terrifying for some. This part of the withdrawal will often last for a few days, and will also include symptoms of increased heart rate and blood pressure, as well as more fever and sweating. The greatest risk for recovering heavy, long-time drinkers when they are quitting drinking will come from the potential for seizures. 

What You Need to Do If You Are Considering Quitting Drinking

If you are considering quitting drinking, the first step should always be to reach out for help. This is of incredible importance if you have been drinking heavily or for a long time since the withdrawal symptoms and detox process can be not just uncomfortable, but potentially medically complicated. 

Reaching out for help is also necessary for you to begin to build your support network. This is the network of your friends and family who all support you during your recovery, and want you to succeed. They will be your cumulative emotional support during a challenging time.

Treatment Options When Quitting Drinking

When you are quitting drinking, there are a number of different treatment options that experienced treatment centers can offer. 

For individuals that may need more attention or intensive treatment, there are focused inpatient programs with counselors and other health professionals that will help you discover what is at the root of your addiction. In fact, going to an outpatient alcohol rehab Los Angeles or utilizing an inpatient rehab approach is proven to be the most effective way to ensure lifelong recovery. 

If you or a loved one is trying to quit drinking and is having a hard time kicking the addiction to the curb, the time to get help is now. Reach out to a premier rehab facility that can guide you on the path to serenity and happiness, apart from alcohol. You deserve the chance to start the life you’ve always wanted, right now.

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Written By: Linda Whiteside

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who has been providing mental health services for over 10 years.

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson

Went to medical school at The George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

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