As one drinks more over time, these disturbances get worse and become more difficult to reverse. Even if you know that there are benefits to quitting alcohol, it does not mean that it’s easy to stop drinking—especially if you’ve been misusing alcohol for a long time. They can recommend treatment options that can help, including therapy and medications.

  • For most heavy drinkers, the first day of not drinking represents a sense of accomplishment and control over their own lives.
  • Research suggests that it can arise due to a sudden worsening in liver problems, which AUD can cause.
  • However, this figure is much higher if an individual does not receive medical care.

As well as having a detrimental health effect, AUD can create or worsen significant professional and personal challenges. People with AUD should consider seeking support for this condition. The most common barbiturate for alcohol withdrawal is phenobarbital. It is best to talk with a doctor if someone suspects they have an AUD. Although not immediately dangerous, like alcohol withdrawal, AUD is a serious condition. Through abstinence, however, studies have shown that a regeneration of brain function, metabolism and brain volume (including white matter) is possible.

What Happens When You Stop Drinking Alcohol

Pre-existing mental health conditions can sometimes lead people to turn to alcohol to cope with their symptoms. In other cases, long-term alcohol exposure can increase a person’s risk of developing a psychiatric illness. The mental health changes you experience when you stop drinking can include symptoms of withdrawal, difficulty sleeping, irritability, mood swings, and clearer thinking. While some of these changes can be uncomfortable for some time, they will eventually begin to improve the longer you abstain from alcohol use. It is important to note that recovery from alcohol addiction is a lifelong process, and the brain may continue to heal and recover for years after quitting.

Behavioral interventions, medications, and social support can all play a role in your alcohol recovery. Trouble sleeping is common after you stop drinking, especially early in recovery. But the longer you abstain from alcohol and work on your sleep hygiene, the more improvements in your sleep you’ll see over time. The American Society of Clinical Oncology adds that limiting or quitting alcohol while you’re having cancer treatment may help you avoid complications. This includes cancer recurrence or the development of secondary primary tumors (SPTs).

Severe Symptoms

It’s important that each person get involved in a recovery program that will support long-term sobriety. This could mean an emphasis on therapy for someone who is depressed, or inpatient treatment for someone with severe withdrawal symptoms. Regardless of how the addiction looks, someone typically has an alcohol addiction if they heavily rely on drinking and can’t stay sober for an extended period of time. Regular drinking can also affect overall mental health and well-being, in part because alcohol may worsen symptoms of certain mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. People who binge drink or drink heavily may notice more health effects sooner, but alcohol also poses some risks for people who drink in moderation.

“If you have cancer and you’re worried about it growing then you should stop,” he explained. For the wider population, he emphasized that when you stop drinking, you not only feel better but you also sleep better and your physical health improves. One downside of quitting for some though, he said, could be the social side of drinking what happens when you stop drinking alcohol and not wanting to feel left out. It’s true that some studies show potential benefits to your heart health when drinking some level of alcohol. Studies have found an association between light to moderate drinking and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Though this may be seen as a benefit, drinking also poses health risks.