Psychology

Which are Physical and Psychological changes after stopping alcohol consumption? 2021

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When you suddenly stop or cut down on drinking after chronic or prolonged use of alcohol, you might experience the physical and psychological symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

Depending on how long you have utilized alcohol and how much you typically drink, the severity of these symptoms can range from mild to severe.

One of the symptoms of an alcohol use disorder is desisting from the social activities and hobbies you once enjoyed to focus on drinking. A sober life means having more time to reinvent yourself and your passions and build a new, exciting alcohol-free life.

Causes

Alcohol is a depressant, which means that it decelerates your brain. When a person drinks intensively, often, or for prolonged periods, their brain compensates for alcohol’s depressant effects by releasing more stimulating chemicals (compared to when a person does not drink). Overproduction becomes the brain’s new normal.

It can happen physical and psychological changes after stopping alcohol consumption. When a person stops drinking, their brain is still producing additional chemicals, which can cause unpleasant alcohol withdrawal symptoms that are related to overexcitation. The brain will readapt, but until it does, a person in withdrawal might feel bad.

Potential Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

While stopping drinking is certainly a good thing, some people may encounter alcohol withdrawal symptoms when they first stop. When a person suddenly stops alcohol after a prolonged period of regular intake or misuse, the body can go into shock. In consequence, a person may encounter several physical and psychological symptoms for withdrawal.

Common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may include:

  • shakiness
  • anxiety
  • headaches
  • excess sweating
  • rapid heart rate
  • tremors
  • depression
  • trouble sleeping
  • upset stomach
  • irritability
  • fatigue

To stop the formation of symptoms such as these, as well as the development of more symptoms, it is requisite that you stop drinking as soon as possible. 

For individuals who are severely dependent on alcohol, excessive and even dangerous symptoms may be experienced. These symptoms may involve delirium tremens, which can cause seizures, confusion, hallucinations, and even death. People who are physically dependent on alcohol should join a medically overseen detox program when stopping alcohol to prevent potentially life-threatening symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms typically begin within a day of stopping drinking and can last up to a week. The most severe symptoms are usually experienced two to three days after stopping alcohol consumption. While certainly disturbing, withdrawal symptoms will pass and the positive profits of giving up alcohol will begin to be felt.

Physical Changes After Stopping Alcohol Consumption

Most people will begin to experience the physical profits of stopping alcohol shortly after desisting from the substance. Some people may slowly begin to experience the physical effects of stopping drinking. How long and how much a person was drinking before stopping will affect the level of physical benefits experienced.

Psychological changes after stopping alcohol consumption
Psychological changes after stopping alcohol consumption

Physical changes after stopping alcohol consumption may involve:

  • Stronger Immune System — Extreme alcohol consumption can reduce a person’s immune system and its ability to fight off infection and disease. Extra drinkers are more likely to contract diseases as pneumonia. Quitting alcohol can immediately heal the immune system and increase a person’s ability to fight disease.
  • Weight Gain or Loss — Most people experience gaining weight as a result of regular alcohol consumption. On the other hand, some individuals may lose weight from not prioritizing nutrition while actively drinking. When a person stops drinking, he or she may lose or gain weight depending on the individual’s previous habits when drinking.
  • Better Sleep —Although alcohol is depressant and can cause individuals to feel sleepy, it doesn’t do much in helping people stay asleep. Excessive alcohol consumption can ruin sleep and prevent a person from getting high-quality sleep. Stopping drinking can ensure an almost instant improvement in overall sleep quality.
  • Decreased Risk of Cancer — Regular alcohol consumption can injure antibodies that fight cancer. This can increase a person’s risk of some different cancers, including throat, breast, and liver cancer. Stopping drinking can widely reduce an individual’s chances of cancer.
  • Improved Digestion — Chronic alcohol consumption can cause harm to the pancreas and reduce the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. This can cause poor digestion and other health issues such as nausea, anorexia, and chronic diarrhea. Stopping drinking can heal digestion and increase the absorption of vitamins and nutrients.
  • Improved Cardiovascular Health — Heavy drinking can significantly affect the heart and cause harm to its muscles. People who drink chronically are at an increased risk of stroke, heart disease, and hypertension. Desisting from alcohol can decrease the risk of heart problems and strengthen the heart.

As the body heals from alcohol abuse, a person will experience gradually more physical benefits of desisting from the substance. Some physical changes may take longer than others to be felt. However, generally, stopping drinking can ensure some significant physical health benefits.

Psychological Changes After Stopping Alcohol Consumption

If you are looking for an answer to the question “which are psychological changes after stopping alcohol consumption?”, read carefully; 

Physical changes aren’t the only benefits that come with desisting from alcohol; many people will also experience some psychological changes after stopping alcohol consumption as well. Individuals will probably feel more mentally clearer and less foggy and also more emotionally stable after quitting drinking.

Psychological changes after stopping alcohol consumption
Psychological changes after stopping alcohol consumption

Other psychological changes after stopping alcohol consumption may involve:

  • Improved Memory — Regular alcohol consumption can impact the brain’s ability to store memories. This can cause forgetfulness that may conflict with daily life. When the person stops drinking, they will probably experience better memory recall.
  • Healthier Brain Function — Several parts of the brain can become harmed as a conclusion of chronic alcohol misuse. This damage can make way to several problems, including depression, trouble sleeping, and a reduction in brain cells. Stopping drinking can permit the brain to heal and will probably result in increased cognition and general brain function.
  • Reduced Depression and Anxiety — Most people who abuse or are addicted to alcohol experience mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. It will probably decrease the psychological symptoms after stopping alcohol consumption.

In addition to stopping alcohol after struggling with alcohol abuse and addiction can be emancipatory. Individuals may feel more sure of themselves and their decisions in life. Many people also experience improvements in social and work environments. Psychological changes after stopping alcohol consumption will make them feel good.

Delirium Tremens

A severe type of alcohol withdrawal is called delirium tremens (or DTs). It can happen anywhere from two to four days to up a week after taking your last drink. DTs might be more likely to occur if you are undernourished.

DT can be life-threatening: about one in 20 people who develop the situation die from it. If you or a loved one has DT symptoms, seek immediate emergency medical care.

The symptoms of DT involve:

  • Agitation
  • Confusion (which can be severe)
  • Dangerous changes in blood pressure
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Heart arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
  • Rapid changes in mood
  • Seizures
  • Sensitivity to touch, light, and/or sound
  • Tremors

The symptoms of DT may quickly worsen and can be deadly. A person with delirium tremens needs to be hospitalized until the symptoms can be controlled.


WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU STOP DRINKING: SIX HOURS TO TWO WEEKS AFTER QUITTING

What happens to your body when you stop drinking? When someone decides to stop drinking, the first 72 hours are critical, as they’re in the most painful part of the cure and heal process. As your body flushes all the alcohol from your system, you’ll experience the uncomfortable pangs of severe withdrawal — but the benefits of stopping drinking will soon make themselves known. You probably have experienced some level of distress when couldn’t drink and have tried to avoid this annoyance at all costs. But, if you stop drinking, no way around the physical and psychological disturbance can show up. Continuing to drink is only going to cause more problems throughout your life and may lead to death. 

Psychological changes after stopping alcohol consumption
Psychological changes after stopping alcohol consumption

WITHDRAWAL TIMELINE 

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can occur six hours after your last drink and continue for up to two weeks. Your history with alcohol and your general biology specifies how intense your withdrawal from alcohol will be. Generally, the more severe the alcohol use disorder, the more intense the withdrawal. In some cases, withdrawal symptoms can last for the past two weeks. 

  • Anxiety 
  • Depression
  • Aggression
  • Sleep problems
  • Sexual dysfunction

With the proper therapeutic care, these symptoms can be treated through a combination of therapy and medication (if deemed necessary).

POST-ACUTE WITHDRAWAL: TWO WEEKS+ AFTER QUITTING

While the most terrible stage of heal is the initial withdrawal stage, full detoxification can last up to two weeks in some situations. As your body is getting rid of the last ruins of alcohol, psychological symptoms can proceed rapidly — but so can the positive impacts. When this happens, it is known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome, or PAWS. 

THE GOOD

With the worst of the physical symptoms behind you in primary detox, your appearance is likely to heal significantly. For many people, the first one to two weeks without alcohol is a revolutionary time for a redefine relationships, defense mechanisms, and healthy habits.

Many individuals with alcohol misuse disorders know in theory how well it feels to claw back power through stopping drinking and maintaining a long period of sobriety, but this time is vital for really cementing positive reinforcement for abstinence.

THE TOUGH

As many people would expect, mixed in with the highs are periods of emotional lows. These impacts aren’t as physically urgent as the ones experienced in the first phases of withdrawal, but they can damage your newly sober psyche:

  • Anxiety & depression
  • Decreased energy & metabolism
  • Feelings of aggression or hostility
  • Declined sexual interest or function
  • Sleep disruption & nightmares

The worst part of these symptoms is the terrifying wishfulness for alcohol. Even after taking out all tracks of alcohol from your system, the brain will still want it to help turn back to the balance of chemicals it has gotten used to — but knowing the source of these symptoms is key to dealing with appetency properly.

YOUR BODY BACK oN TRACK: ONE MONTH+ AFTER QUITTING

While those who suffer from alcoholism are still kicking the negative symptoms of withdrawal and the unpleasantness of detox, their bodies are already getting back into gear. Though the long-dated impacts of alcohol can be disruptive, people who forego alcohol for as low as one month can already see the immediate benefits of stopping drinking.

To gauge the effect of alcohol — and its absence — on people’s health, a team at New Scientist decided to work with the Institute for Liver and Digestive Health at University College London Medical School to learn just what happens to your body when you stop drinking alcohol for one month. They expected to see some urgent benefits of stopping drinking, but their findings were even more path-breaking than expected:

·        LIVER FAT reducED AN AVERAGE OF 15%, WITH SOME PARTICIPANTS LOSING UP TO 20%.

Accumulation of fat in the liver is a precursor to liver damage — creating inflammation that can cause liver disease. A decrease this large means that an almost immediate benefit of stopping drinking can help your liver weaken, significantly decreasing your chances of developing cirrhosis or other chronic liver conditions.

·        BLOOD GLUCOSE LEVELS fell AN AVERAGE OF 16%.

This is incredibly important among the benefits of the quitting alcohol timeline since high levels of glucose excursive in the bloodstream are a sign of heightened blood sugar and can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Once those levels bring under control, the risk is decreased.

·        TOTAL BLOOD CHOLESTEROL reducED BY NEARLY 5%.

Heart disease, one of the first causes of death in the U.S., can be estimated partly by examining patients’ cholesterol levels. While an average reduction of 5% in blood cholesterol might not seem like much, it’s rather important when achieved as a result of cutting out alcohol.

Not only did the experiment show healthier physiology after quitting alcohol, but the patients experienced escalated performance in psychological areas as well:

  • Reported sleep quality improved by 10% after work.
  • Participants profited from a large 18% increase in an inability to concentrate.

While researchers and spectators alike estimated that stopping alcohol would have many health benefits, all were surprised at the sheer number and quality of positive results that were observed.

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Zeynab Hasanova

Zeynab Hasanova is a writer and freelance author in the BeautyFan. You can see her work at our website- thebeautyfan.com

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