12 Things That Happen When You Quit Drinking

Like other symptoms, the impact on mood depends on the amount and duration of your alcohol use. For light or moderate drinking, you might experience a more temporary, mild effect on mood. If you’ve been drinking heavily or for long periods, the impact will be more pronounced, and it will take longer for your neurotransmitter systems to restore their balance in your body. While not everyone who quits drinking will experience withdrawal, you are more likely to have symptoms if you have been drinking for a long time, if you drink heavily, and/or if you drink frequently. Even just one bout of drinking too much may weaken your body’s germ-fighting power for up to 24 hours. Over time, large amounts of alcohol blunt your immune system and your body’s ability to repair itself.

  1. As it is the first organ to “see” alcohol that has been drunk, it is not surprising that it is the most susceptible to alcohol’s effects.
  2. If your goal is to quit drinking, do you want to gradually reduce the amount of alcohol you consume over time or give up drinking all at once?
  3. Therefore, after you quit alcohol, you will likely be consuming fewer calories, which may help you reach a healthier weight.
  4. As the calories in alcohol can cause you to gain weight, giving up alcohol can also help you to reduce your blood pressure as a result of the weight you can potentially lose.

Alcohol impairs cognitive function, making it difficult to concentrate and think clearly. However, as the body detoxifies and sobriety takes hold, individuals often experience heightened mental acuity. This newfound clarity enables individuals to make better decisions, solve problems more effectively, and fully engage in the tasks at hand.

Health Benefits of Quitting Alcohol

Your risk of developing cancer will decrease, and your liver function will have greatly improved. The first day is always the hardest, but it’s also an important milestone. After 24 hours without alcohol, your body will start to detoxify and you may experience withdrawal symptoms.

You might have trouble falling asleep without a glass of wine before bed. You may also experience sugar cravings, as your body misses blood sugar spikes it would get from booze. “The effects are going to be different for different people, depending on how long they have been consuming alcohol,” says Shehzad Merwat, a gastroenterologist at UTHealth Houston. As research is starting to show, there are many benefits to cutting down on alcohol all year round—and efforts such as Dry January can play an important role in moderating drinking habits. Alcohol can cause psychological dependence, so if you’re finding it hard to manage the emotional element of quitting, reach out for help, says McMahon.


“These improvements can be observed not only in people who abstain from alcohol but in people who reduce heavy drinking,” Volpicelli says. The American Society of Clinical Oncology adds that limiting or quitting alcohol while you’re having cancer treatment may help you avoid complications. This includes cancer recurrence or the development of secondary primary tumors sobriety strategies (SPTs). When you quit drinking, you’ll probably notice that the colds, flu, and other illnesses you always seem to catch happen less often. When you do get sick, you’ll probably feel like you recover more easily when you’re sober. In addition to improving your mental well-being, it may lower your risk for some mental illness and contribute to better sleep.

We surveyed 2,136 American adults who either wanted to stop drinking alcohol or had already tried to (successfully or not). We asked them about their alcohol use, reasons for drinking, alcohol-related outcomes, health and more. A subset of the study’s respondents (47.1%) qualified as heavy alcohol users. Research shows that people who drink before age 15 are four times more likely to become addicted to alcohol later in life. Alcoholism is a complex genetic disease influenced by multiple genes, such as ADH1B, ALDH2, GABRA2, CHRM2, KCNJ6 and AUTS2. These genes can increase the risk of alcohol addiction and related diseases, including certain cancers.

Better Looking Skin and Hair

Trouble sleeping is common after you stop drinking, especially early in recovery. But the longer you abstain from alcohol and work on your sleep hygiene, the more improvements in your sleep you’ll see over time. Alcohol makes it harder for your body’s immune system to make enough white blood cells to fight off germs and don’t drink alcohol while taking these medications bacteria. People who have been drinking a lot of alcohol for a long time tend to get frequent infections like pneumonia and tuberculosis because their immune system has been worn down. When you stop drinking and start focusing on your health, you’ll likely start to feel better once your body is properly nourished.

Short-term benefits

Alcohol affects many parts of your body, and letting go of it altogether can make a big difference for your risk of multiple health conditions and overall wellness. Whether you’re sober curious, wanting to learn about the health benefits of sobriety, sober living homes oxford houses or looking join a challenge like Sober October, let’s dive into what happens when you stop drinking. The researchers found that giving up alcohol for a month helped the participants reduce their number of drinking days later in the year.

After you have made it through the difficulties of withdrawal, you should begin to see immediate benefits physically, emotionally and financially. If you have a more serious drinking problem, your doctor may recommend an initial spell of more intensive treatment, such as a stay at a residential facility. When you know you’re going to be in situations where alcohol is served, be prepared in advance to be clear in your resolve to politely decline the offer of a drink. Many people who give up alcohol report improvement in their overall ability to focus and say that they have more energy compared to when they drank. Researchers have found that alcohol disrupts normal immune system function, weakening the body’s ability to fight off infections.

Binge drinking can lead to consuming an extra 600 calories or more in a day. Excessive drinking can lead to the build-up of toxic, highly cancer-causing (carcinogenic) compounds that contribute to inflammation in your body, especially in your liver. It is worth mentioning that nutritional status improvement occurs when someone strop drinking, which is one big reason why people may see many of the above improvements with sobriety. One of the surprising side effects of giving up alcohol is that your skin may start to look better. This is because alcohol can cause dehydration, which can lead to dry, dull skin.

If you’re overweight and regularly drink alcohol, you should find that your weight falls noticeably if you stop drinking.4 And not drinking at all will make it easier to maintain a healthy weight. Alcohol dehydrates your body, including the skin, and this happens every time you drink. When you’re ready to stop, there are lots of benefits – from reducing your blood pressure and better sleep in the short-term, to many other important longer-term health benefits. Emotional distress is another significant factor that can prompt individuals to make the decision to quit alcohol. Alcohol abuse can exacerbate existing mental health issues or even contribute to the development of new ones.

Your doctor can recommend medications that can help with alcohol withdrawal symptoms and cravings during your recovery. Naltrexone is one type of medication that can help reduce alcohol cravings, making it easier for some people to stop drinking. This typically occurs after five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women. Your doctor may also prescribe medications that can reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Vivitrol (naltrexone), Campral (acamprosate), and Antabuse (disulfiram) have been FDA-approved to treat alcohol use disorder.

As a general rule, the severity of a person’s alcohol withdrawal symptoms is proportional to how much and how long they were drinking before they stopped. Even moderate drinkers can see benefits from quitting alcohol, as it can help support a healthy lifestyle, says McMahon. Before abstaining, the study participants were drinking around 13 drinks a day over 12 months, Vice reported. Beyond physical health benefits, quitting alcohol can positively change various aspects of life. Individuals in recovery often report improved relationships with family and friends, increased productivity, and an enhanced sense of self-worth and accomplishment.

But even one drink a day, considered moderate drinking, increases your risk for certain types of cancer. Other medicines, counseling, and psychosocial support can also help to abstain or reduce unhealthy drinking. The important point is that one must be aware of the bad consequences of drinking and take steps to stop or reduce excessive drinking.

The number decreased from an average of 4.3 days per week before taking part in Dry January to an average of 3.3 days per week afterward. If you are struggling with alcohol and are finding it hard to quit, you may want to think about getting support. We understand that embarking on recovery from alcohol addiction can be an emotionally difficult time.