By Bianca London for MailOnline. From the pounding headache to the feeling of regret, we all know that alcohol isn't good for our bodies. When nursing a hangover it's not unusual to vow to never allow alcohol to pass your lips again.
Yet weeks - perhaps even days - later, social drinkers find themselves in the same situation. But a new guide revealing what really happens to your body when you stop drinking may well discourage you from reaching for that chilled glass of white again. From flawless skin to new levels of energy, Dr Niall Campbell, an alcohol addiction expert at the Priory hospital in south-west London, reveals the timeline - and benefits - of ditching the booze.
The Beauty Benefits: Why Sobriety Makes You Look Great
A new guide revealing what really happens to your body when you stop drinking may well discourage you from reaching for that chilled glass of white again. The most immediate effect of excess alcohol is a hangover. You might suffer sweats or tremors, and in severe cases, a seizure. You will feel much more clear-headed, less depressed and you will have more money in your wallet. Alcohol is very bad for sleep, leading to a fitful night. You may think it gets you off to sleep but you are likely to wake up and want to go to the bathroom.
Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it encourages the body to lose extra fluid though sweat, making you dehydrated which means you will wake up wanting water. The good news is that if you give up alcohol, your sleep patterns are likely to improve within a week. Heavy drinking causes blood cells to become larger and that makes you more tired because they are unable to transport oxygen efficiently around the body.
Alcohol is an irritant to the stomach lining and causes symptoms like reflux where stomach acid burns your throat. Give up alcohol and this feeling will be a thing of the past. You will also start to notice weight loss within a fortnight. Drinking a large glass of wine ml with 13 per cent ABV can add calories to your dinner. So two large glasses will add roughly the equivalent of an extra ham and cheese sandwich with mayonnaise a day.
And we are talking empty calories, which means they contain no nutrition. If you stop drinking, and start eating healthily and exercising, you will lose weight. If you drink too much alcohol, this raises your blood pressure over time. The calories in alcohol also make you gain weight, which also increases your blood pressure. By quitting alcohol, your blood pressure will reduce. You will look visibly better.However, consuming too much alcohol not only makes you feel bad, it can affect your appearance too.
Since the skin is the largest organ in the body, without adequate water it cannot perform its normal barrier protective function or appear healthy and vibrant. Healthy looking skin needs a good balance of moisture, so drinking plenty of water helps keep your skin hydrated. Think of water as an internal moisturizer, which you should apply continuously throughout the day.
Alcohol can dehydrate your body, pulling moisture out of the skin, along with the vital nutrients your skin needs to keep it healthy. When skin becomes too dry, it is more likely to wrinkle, and can make you appear older than you actually are. When you drink alcohol the blood vessels just beneath the surface of your skin dilate, causing redness or flushing and worsening the appearance of spider veins.
For those who abuse alcohol, this effect can become permanent, giving a very uneven, unhealthy-looking complexion. There are several dermatologic conditions that can be aggravated by the consumption of alcohol including rosacea and psoriasis. Drinking alcohol can cause symptom flare-ups making these chronic diseases more difficult to treat. Minimizing your consumption of alcohol should be part of your regime for managing any pre-existing skin condition.
Overall, reducing the consumption of alcohol will result in better skin. This is evidenced by a recent case study from the UK site Daily Mailwhich involved a mother of two who normally drank five large glasses of wine weekly. She cut out alcohol completely for one month, which resulted in great improvement to her complexion.
You can see the overall change in her appearance in the images below. If you have consumed an excess amount of alcohol, you can attempt to counteract the ill-effects on your skin. Drink plenty of water to rehydrate your body both during and post alcohol consumption, which will in turn rehydrate your skin. Be sure to thoroughly cleanse your skin, and nourish it with a good quality moisturizer as well as daily sun screen.
Consumption of alcohol can also lead to other unhealthy habits like smoking and consumption of junk food, which can also have a negative impact on the appearance of the skin. Instead of turning to junk food the morning after the party, you should concentrate on eating nutritious food which will provide your skin with the essential nutrients it needs to look bright and healthy again. The best way to avoid damaging your skin in the long and short term is to maintain a minimal or moderate level on your alcohol consumption.Subscribe To Alcoholism.
I've on and off had blotchy and dry skin, some days better than others, which I put down to alcoholism. I'm 23 days clean now and I thought my skin would clear up, but for some reason it's the same and if anything has got a bit worse! I've got a few spots whiteheadS around the side of my nose area and I've never had spots.
I'm guessing this is the toxins coming out and my body getting used to things. Anyone else had this? You understand? I seem to remember weird things happening for a few months after first drying out Keep it up, things will even out You almost have to dismantle yourself and scatter it all around and then put a blindfold on and put it back together so that you avoid old habits. Actually yes. After detox I had a lot of acne and break outs, which made recovery even more frustrating.
Not sure why my skin got worse after drinking, but it did. It's better now but for the 1st month or so I was having a lot of break outs. It's gotta have something to do with the toxins. Was paranoid that people maybe thought I was into doing drugs now or something I dont do drugs. Eat supplements by the handful to fight it I am in day 32 and having constant break-outs.
I ordered some Pro-Active for the first time and am eagerly awaiting my shipment. It definitely has alot to do with the toxins that were lying within finally surfacing.
12 Things That Happen When You Quit Drinking
That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you! I sure have. I had acne as a teenager but not since until I stopped. The last two weeks I have had acne on my face and chest. I have noticed just over the weekend it has seemed to heal and not resurface so hopefully the toxins are declining.
It didn't last, but for a few weeks my skin was very oily. I just unscientifically! I did.
I Quit Drinking for 30 Days—Here's What It Did to My Mind, Body, and Skin
Still do. I think it might have something to do with long term liver cleansing. Yes I broje out so badly. The doctor said it was my body getting all the toxic stuff in the drugs out.
It took about a month for mine to clear up.Subscribe To Women In Recovery. Dry Skin. My alcohol indulgence has caused nasty, dry, dehydrated skin. I dumped my last bottle of expensive wine today, and I'm going to struggle with my addiction again. Do any of you have skin problems caused by alcohol, and how do you treat it? Please share any tips and suggestions. Hi Zuzu, For about the first two weeks, I would find myself with a nagging headache on my way home from work every night.
I was so used to having a beer every night immediately after work, I alleviated it with expensive microbrewed sodas, and eventually iced tea and water. Good for you! Hi Zuzu, I expect that, once you stop drinking, your body will start to work on healing itself. Hopefully your skin will begin to improve too.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Marianne Williamson. Word Lab Champion! My skin was so dry when I first got sober, I peeled from head to toe, even the palms of my hand peeled!!!
I was SO thirsty, there wasn't enough water in the world to quench my thirst, fortunately, after a couple of weeks of sobriety, a LOT of water and some lotion, my skin began to get better, I feel your pain remember Perhaps you can take some of the money you spent on wine and buy yourself some scented moisturizers. I took some of my Christmas money and actually treated myself to a line of Victoria's Secret goodies. Ever since I've gotta Clean and Sober and being responsible, I've used any money I've gotten for gifts to pay bills or stock up on things like toilet paper, laundry soap, paper towels.
I got the entire line of shower gels, moisturizers, lotions, body butter and cologne. I also got a good loofah sic? After a nice hot shower, I take the time to pamper myself and layer the moisturizers on. No better reward for myself at the end of a long day and it helped my skin quite a bit. And as Surleyredhead said, lots and lots of water. When I first got clean it was in July and I couldn't understand why my skin was peeling away like a snake shedding it's skin.
It's not like I'd been in the sun, I had been isolating in my apt all summer. I looked at it as though I was even getting new skin to go along with the rest of the new me! Love ya, Judy. The best thing I ever used was a lotion for tanning beds, I had such dry skin that I itched all the time, tried everything.
It was horrible. Do any of you have redness in the face as well, and how have you dealt with that?There are plenty of reasons to quit drinking alcohol. Perhaps you can't party as hard as you once did, and the hangovers are getting worse. Maybe you've developed a beer belly. Possibly, there's a deeper issue at play and you don't want your drinking to get out of hand before it's a problem—unless it already is and you just don't realize it.
Whatever your circumstances are, you're here, and you're ready to kick the sauce. Let's breakdown what happens to your body once you quit drinking. The first 48 hours after you stop drinking may be the biggest detox hurdle. Depending how much you were drinking, this may feel like a hangover or it may be more than that.
Withdrawal symptoms can include sweating, a rise in blood pressure, shakiness or tremors, and insomnia as well as the usual hangover symptoms like headache and nausea.
You probably saw that one coming. If you've been drinking alcohol regularly, your body is going to take note when it's gone. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, cravings are to be expected when your drinking behavior changes. The equilibrium your body created to adjust to alcohol in your system will no longer exist.
That first day you go without a drink, especially if you've been drinking every day, is likely going to be filled with cravings for alcohol.
For some, cravings can last weeks, months, or years depending on the amount and regularity of alcohol use prior to quitting. If you are a heavy drinker, you may not be out of the woods after 48 hours. Between hours is generally when the onset of 'delirium tremens' occurs for some. Delirium tremens is sudden confusion that may be paired with hallucinations, shaking, irregular heart rate, and an increase in body temperature so high that it can sometimes lead to seizures.
If you are a heavy drinker, it is important to detox from alcohol under the supervision of a medical professional as the withdrawal from quitting cold turkey can lead to death. While hangover and withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable, and at times dangerous, the good news is that after peaking at around 72 hours after the last drinkthe last of these symptoms will generally start to subside.
At this stage your body begins to create a new equilibrium that does not include alcohol and its effects. While your body will have adjusted after a week of not drinking, there may be psychological effects of detox that last longer. Some people report feelings of anger and aggression, general anxiety and depression, nightmares and difficulty sleeping, and even decreased libido. This is in part because alcohol use affects neurotransmitters that are implicated in moodsuch as serotonin.
There may also be underlying issues for which alcohol has been used to self-medicate. Often the experiences and emotions that were being ignored during alcohol use rise to the surface after you stop drinking. During this time it can be helpful to seek out counseling, either individual or in a group, to handle these emotions and experiences. It may take a week or two, but after you quit drinking you'll ultimately sleep better. According to research, drinking increases brain wave patterns that usually happen when you're awake.
In normal deep sleep, the brain activity is in delta waves. Consuming alcohol causes brain activity during sleep to happen in alpha waves. Alpha waves are generally only seen in brain activity when we're awake, but resting. We all know that resting on the couch isn't the same thing as getting a good night's sleep, so it's no wonder that people who drink regularly often feel tired and fatigued during the day. You may be thinking, "But I always fall asleep faster when I drink!
A review of several studies found that even if alcohol helps you fall asleep more quickly and deeply at first, the quality of your sleep suffers overallleaving you feeling tired the next day. So while you may have a hard time falling asleep at first when you stop drinking, you'll be more refreshed the next day. If you stop drinking and change nothing else about your diet or level of activity, you're likely to lose weight.
It's partially the simple concept of calorie counting—alcohol, especially beer, contains a lot of calories. A single IPA may have as many as calories; and a margarita could have roughly If you suddenly drop hundreds of calories a day, the pounds will drop off over time.As hard as it is to believe, the new year is right around the corner — with it, all the resolutions we hope to keep moving forward.
And among the most time-honored annual promises we make to ourselves annually is to quit drinking for good. The reasons range from personal "I've become a bit of a lush" to practical "I spent the equivalent of a car payment on wine last month"but the sentiment is the same: many of us want to greatly reduce the amount of alcohol we consume in our daily lives.
The good news is that even a temporary halt to your alcohol imbibing will net your body some seriously worthwhile benefits. There's more good news where that came from, too. Despite the fact that so many of us feel like our drinking habits fall under the umbrella of too-much-bordering-on-an-addiction, we're likely being a bit too hard on ourselves — a recent study in Preventing Chronic Disease showed that most Americans who actually drink "excessively" eight or more drinks each week for women are not alcoholics.
So should you cut back if you're hitting that threshold? If you feel like that's something you want to do, sure. But doing so doesn't mean you are alcohol dependent or that you will suffer withdrawal should you decide to go sans alcohol for any period of time.
If you do opt to cut alcohol out of your life — whether it be a week, a month, or for good — you won't just notice a surplus in your bank account. Your body will undergo the following positive changes as well.
Because alcohol is a diuretic, it makes you urinate more. In turn, urinating more can lead to dehydration — particularly since alcohol can keep your body from reabsorbing water. If your body is less hydrated so is your skinand skin shows it. Yours might feel dry or stretched. Once your system is clear of alcohol, you should see a marked difference in your skin.
Not only will your complexion clear up and even out, but the hydration in your skin will lend a more youthful look. According to Cancer. The thought here is that carcinogens found in alcohol are to blame — the National Toxicology Program of the US Department of Health and Human Services lists alcoholic beverages as a known human carcinogen.
Increased alcohol consumption equates to a higher risk of cancer, whereby eliminating alcohol consumption could greatly decrease your risk for cancers of the breast, colon, mouth and more.
Giving up alcohol ups the odds that you will get a full night of deep sleep. Plus, you won't wake up with a hangover so, winning. Although we wish it wasn't so, drinking alcohol diminishes your mental acuity. Well, my friend, you are inhibiting your hippocampus — that part of your brain which creates memories — thereby essentially rendering yourself incapable of or much less capable of learning and storing new information.
Clearly, this does not bode well for team trivia night at your favorite bar. There's a reason diabetics must exercise extreme caution when imbibing alcohol, and that is because alcohol consumption can cause blood sugar levels to rise or fall.
What REALLY happens to your body when you stop drinking alcohol
For some people living with diabetes, sharp drops caused by alcohol can lead to dangerously low glucose levels. Surges in the opposite direction can create consistently high blood sugar levels, which can make you more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. When you quit drinking, your blood glucose levels even out — in regards to beneficial dropping, an average reduction in blood glucose of 16 percent is reported. A study by New Scientist in conjunction with the Institute for Liver and Digestive Health at University College London Medical School found that liver fat decreased by an average of 15 percent when participants gave up alcohol.
And since the accumulation of fat in the liver is a sign of early liver damage, this is definitely an organ you want to take care of. If you've been strength-training but feel as though your muscle tone doesn't reflect your efforts, drinking may be to blame.
Research shows that alcohol consumption can actually interfere with muscle growth. It also puts a damper on your post-workout recovery process, slowing it down and making it less likely you'll hit the gym as often or with as much intensity as needed to define muscle tone.
Images: littlevisuals.Maybe your nightly glass of vino has turned into two or three. Or you're overdoing it on the beer and have the paunch to prove it. Whether you want to clean up your diet or you're trying to nip a potential issue in the bud, giving up alcohol can be tough—but the benefits make it worth the effort, says Damon Raskin, MD, a Los Angeles—based physician who is board certified in addiction medicine.
By the way, that limit is generally defined as a drink a day for women and two for men. Also, if your drinking seems to be affecting your work or personal relationships—regardless of how much hooch you're knocking back—it's time to consider taking it easy, he adds.
Here's what you can expect to happen, both short- and long-term, if you give up alcohol:. You'll sleep more soundly. The result? Disrupted sleep. Another review of 27 studies found that while alcohol may help people fall asleep more quickly and deeply at first, it seriously screws with sleep quality after that initial restful period.
You may toss and turn a bit at first, but give up alcohol and the sleep you get will likely leave you feeling more refreshed and sharp the next day. The byproducts of better sleep : improved mood, concentration, and mental performance, Raskin says. You may feel new sugar cravings. Sugar boosts levels of the "reward" chemical dopamine, which fuels feelings of pleasure, Raskin says.
Alcohol does the same thing. So it's very possible that when you give up one substance that causes happy-making chemicals to float around your brain, you'll be more likely to reach for the other. Check out these 25 sugar-free ways to beat a craving. Pounds will start to fall off. Alcohol has a sneaky way of increasing your daily calorie intake without you realizing it. One study found men consume an additional calories on those days they drink a "moderate" amount of alcohol.