Affects of alcohol: What happens to your body when you stop drinking
This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact a qualified medical professional before engaging in any physical activity, or making any changes to your diet, medication or lifestyle.
If you’re concerned about your drinking, or just feel like easing off after an alcohol-heavy holiday, a new year is a great time to adopt healthier habits. Dry January is a popular trend where people stop drinking alcohol for the entire month — but what does it actually do? Here’s what happens to your body when you stop drinking alcohol after developing a dependency on it.
The first 12 to 24 hours after your last drink
On the first day after you give up alcohol, you may start to notice early symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, which can include:
A feeling of dehydration
You’re also likely craving your usual drink while feeling depressed and lethargic. You may experience shaking, sweating and hand tremors as the day progresses, depending on how much you were drinking before. On the positive side, your blood sugar is beginning to normalize. You may also be feeling hopeful and excited about a life without alcohol. Drinking plenty of water and eating healthy foods will help you get through the first day.
24 to 48 hours after your last drink
Withdrawal symptoms may start to reach their peak after the first day. You may start experiencing the most severe and dangerous withdrawal symptoms. During this time, you may have high blood pressure, confusion, irritability, fever, irregular heart rate and moodiness. Although there can be a general correlation between the amount you used to drink and your withdrawal symptoms, it’s not always a direct line. Some people who have been heavy drinkers for years can quit with few or no withdrawal symptoms, while some light drinkers may experience more symptoms.
You may begin to notice the affects of quitting alcohol within just a few hours.
Some people experience hallucinations, seizures and delirium tremens (DTs). Because of the possibility of dangerous, life-threatening symptoms, you should not go through withdrawal alone. Fortunately, DTs are rare, occurring in only five per cent of withdrawal cases. However, they can be fatal, so you should talk to your doctor if you’ve been a heavy drinker and plan to quit.
During this period, you can try home remedies, such as using cayenne pepper on your food to reduce nausea. You can also soak basil sprigs and peppercorns in water for a healthy tonic with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may help you feel better.
48 to 72 hours after your last drink
If you’ve been having symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, they should start subsiding after 48 hours. Your blood pressure and body temperature will start to stabilize, and the worst is behind you. Some people will …….