Ending a relationship with alcohol can be a lifelong challenge that many individuals don’t fully understand. If you’ve regularly consumed alcohol for any period of time, quitting can lead to withdrawal symptoms that have adverse effects on the mind and body.
The Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline
The detox and withdrawal process will look different for everyone, but knowing a general timeline for each step of the way can be helpful whether it’s you or a loved one going through treatment. Symptoms can last from hours to months depending on the situation.
- The first 48 hours are some of the worst with withdrawal symptoms such as: tremors, vomiting, nausea, profuse sweating, anxiety and paranoia. Cravings for alcohol will be intense as our body looks for a solution to the pain and discomfort.
- For up to 72 hours the withdrawal symptoms will be at their most severe. Tremors turn into seizures, anxiety turns into high blood pressure/heart rate and delirious thoughts turn into full hallucinations. While this period is the most dangerous, it’s also when symptoms begin to subside.
- The first week after quitting alcohol will see symptoms wane in some while others may experience a subset of symptoms called delirium tremens, or DTs. DTs impacts heavy drinkers who have been abusing alcohol for a long period of time making medical supervision key to a safe detox.
- Two weeks in and sleep patterns will start to normalize. Individuals may also notice weight loss due to the removal of calories associated with drinking. Early stages of fatty liver disease can disappear in those without significant liver damage.
- After one to three months there should be little to no withdrawal symptoms felt. Skin should lose its clammy appearance and individuals will find themselves with more energy. Those who heavily abused alcohol may still have trouble with anxiety, insomnia and fatigue up to a year after quitting but for most the one-year mark signifies the end of alcohol withdrawal
How Quitting Improves Your Physical Health
Aside from removing the risks of alcohol poisoning and dangerous behavior while drunk, sobriety also comes with health benefits. Women who are pregnant can help promote a healthy and safe birth by staying sober during pregnancy and nursing as alcohol can lead to miscarriages and birth defects.
As your body begins healing from alcohol, your internal organs such as the liver will feel much less strain on them. The heart and cardiovascular system also start to repair themselves upon achieving sobriety leading to an overall healthier feeling. On top of this, the immune system is no longer being suppressed by alcohol which makes you less likely to get sick when seasonal illnesses are making their rounds.
For those with fatty liver disease stemming from alcohol consumption, the damage can still be minimized. Both fatty liver and hepatitis brought on by alcohol can be healed, although late stages of fatty liver disease can only be helped so much. Regardless of where your relationship with alcohol stands, it’s always the right time to start down the road to recovery.
Mental Health Benefits From Quitting
Having an addiction to alcohol means that cravings and impulses to drink override other responsibilities such as friends, family, work and school. This is the cornerstone of an addiction and even if someone understands the negative impacts of alcohol, they’ll keep drinking regardless.
Removing this pressure to constantly have access to alcohol is an immense weight off of the mind, but it doesn’t stop there. When you stop drinking your brain is better able to regulate emotions, leading to improved moods and reduced levels of stress and anxiety. Your sleep will also improve to give you more energy throughout the day to work towards your other goals.
Whether alcohol has been a constant struggle or you’ve recently started growing concerned about it, America’s Rehab Campus is here to help. Through proven treatment programs our team can help you get back on your feet with a sober head start. Don’t let alcohol rule your life and relationships any longer, contact us today for a free consultation to get started.