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Benefits of No Alcohol: Timeline

Alcohol has always been one of the major social supplements in the cultural heritage of many nations. Starting from the ancient Greeks and Romans, the Vikings, the Gaelic tribes, the Germanic tribes, the Thracians, the Conquistadors, the Discoverers of the New World, and all the trading with alcohol that goes on even to this day. Most of the celebrations of major events include an additional glass or two. Going to the pub with your friends, opening a bottle of wine in a restaurant on a date with your beloved, having a glass of aged liquor with your family on occasions. But eventually, there comes a time when you don’t realize you’ve had enough and crave alcohol on a daily basis. This is the time we have to talk about saying “no”.

Overland IOP| #1 Intensive Outpatient Programs | Los Angeles CA say no to alcohol timeline

Why do we drink?

It is generally considered that alcohol helps us have a good time. The reason for that is the amount of dopamine that the body produces that makes us feel more alive.

The incentive-sensitization theory suggests that not only drinking frequently can produce dopamine, but the association with it does the trick, too. This means just being in a bar, seeing someone open a bottle of wine, etc.

The truth is that over time the amount of dopamine obtained from drinking fades away, but the amount from the cues stays the same. You drink more to get the same amount of dopamine and you “pay” for this by getting addicted to alcohol.

Benefits of No Alcohol Timeline

A person may experience a number of positive changes after quitting drinking alcohol. Below is a “benefits of not drinking alcohol timeline” that will give you a general perspective of how sobriety changes your body and mind over time.

2 to 12 hours after the last drink

People suffering from alcoholism may experience withdrawal symptoms like shaking, headache, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, sweating, and anxiety.

12 to 24 hours after the last drink

Withdrawal symptoms continue. Alcohol cravings reduced energy and feeling low or depressed are common. Sleep is likely to be disturbed. 

24 to 72 hours after the last drink

This is the danger period for the most severe withdrawal symptoms such as dangerously increases heart rate, increased blood pressure, and seizures. Hallucinations may occur after 48 hours of drinking.

3 to 7 days after the last drink

 Withdrawal symptoms usually recede and become more manageable at the three-day mark. In rare cases, the person’s symptoms may worsen and even develop into delirium tremens, a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. This is why heavy or chronic drinkers should only quit under the supervision of and with the help of intensive outpatient rehab.

1 week after the last drink

 While sleep patterns may improve at this point, you may begin to struggle with the mental side effects of alcohol abuse. Alcohol withdrawal can be physically demanding, leading to stress, anxiety, and even depression. You may also notice that you lack energy or display sudden mood swings, but this is normal. These emotions and reactions are signs of the body’s attempt to slowly relearn how to function without alcohol, both emotionally and chemically.

1 to 2 weeks after the last drink

It’s usually within this period that a medical detox comes to a close. Many people move onto substance-specific drug treatment programs in the facility where they detox so they can continue their recovery.

2 weeks after the last drink

 When a person stops drinking alcohol altogether, their caloric intake is reduced, which can cause weight loss. Those whose livers have become “fatty” or slightly damaged from long-term drinking may begin to see improvement.

3 to 4 weeks after the last drink

 Blood pressure may return to healthier levels, especially if drinking was the leading cause of a person’s high blood pressure.

1 month after the last drink

Your skin may start to look healthier. Alcohol’s effects on the skin include yellowing (jaundice), wrinkling, and dry patches. You may also see an improvement in your mental health, especially if quitting alcohol results in anxiety or depression. Additionally, you may experience a decrease in liver fat by 20%, as well as lower blood glucose levels and reduced levels of bad cholesterol.

3 months after the last drink

You may feel more energetic and be more active. Alcohol reduces energy not only because it’s a CNS depressant but also because it causes weight gain, affects your blood pressure, and affects your heart, making physical activity more difficult. You may also notice bouts of post-acute withdrawal syndrome, including symptoms like anxiety, mood swings, and depression. This is normal during the first year or so of recovery and usually becomes less frequent the longer you’re sober.

3 months after the last drink

A few people will find some degree of the sense of low energy, anxiety, sleeping troubles, and/or alcohol cravings present at the beginning of withdrawal continues for much longer than is usual. At the 12-month mark, almost everyone will leave these behind and begin to enjoy all the benefits of being drink-free.

Saying “No” to alcohol is the right thing

It is true that alcohol reduces negative emotions, but It also reduces positive emotions, as well. Objectively speaking – you numb your brain.

Contemplating your life’s decisions can get you thinking – Why on earth am I doing this in the first place?

There is always the social side of the coin, which is peer and beer pressure. Both are different names for practically the same thing, which is mostly directed at adolescent drinkers.

The social pressure of being in a queue and not knowing better most of the time leads to starting to drink to be pursued as “one of the gang”.

Time goes by and you start to wonder why you are even doing It. It doesn’t even bring you joy, just a rush of dopamine to get you through the night.

This is exactly the time to cut down on alcohol, and I mean cut down hard. Nothing good will come of it and your body will thank you for this decision.

The benefits of being sober

After cutting down on the amount of alcohol you consume you will see the results as quickly as the dawn breaks.

Mood swings, that you didn’t even know you had, will vanish and the feeling of a more productive attitude will rise. This productivity will definitely help you control your craving by giving you the will and energy to exercise more.

Dehydration, liver problems, and bladder problems are other factors that become an issue when drinking alcohol frequently. After cutting down you will feel better and think better.

Of Course, there is no denying that in small amounts some alcohol can be beneficial. Like a glass of wine every night with dinner, or high spirits when having a fever or feeling cold. Just don’t let it become a habit.

The fact is that you probably won’t become an alcoholic, just remember to listen to your loved ones and never be afraid to seek professional help.

In a nutshell, the benefits of saying “NO” to alcohol include:

  • Improved sleep
  • Improved mental health
  • Improved mood and energy
  • Increased hydration
  • Improved memory
  • Healthy weight loss
  • Better digestion and overall stomach health
  • Improved skin, including decreased redness, swelling, and dry patches
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Healthier liver
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At Overland Intensive Outpatient, our philosophy is to help treat mental health by uncovering the underlying causes and addressing the co-occurring disorders which could drive the individual to relapse. We understand that every person who enters our doors comes with unique needs and goals. Our experienced clinicians will work one-on-one with clients to develop a comprehensive treatment plan using evidence-based methods. Overland Intensive Outpatient is ready to provide both in-person and virtual care (telehealth services) to expand access to essential health services and meet the health needs of our patients.

If you need FREE help please contact the National Helpline about mental and/or substance use disorders, prevention, treatment, and recovery in English and Spanish.

Published: June 01, 2022

Last Updated: May 25, 2022


Natalia Golenkova

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