One out of every eight American adults is considered an alcoholic. About 88,000 people die annually of a drinking-related cause (R). Alcoholism is one of the most common causes of fatalities (which are preventable) in the U.S. Drinking negatively affects a person’s mind and body.
Fortunately, your body can regenerate from the harm you’ve done to it by alcohol consumption. Sobriety leads to amazing changes. But to experience them, you should undergo detoxification, which is usually the most challenging part of recovery.
Detoxification and Alcohol Withdrawal Effects
The mere act of making a conscious decision to eschew alcohol is a significant step in the recovery process. And choosing to participate in a detox program greatly increases the chances of success. The quickest way to find this opportunity is to type “an outpatient rehab near me” in the searching line of your computer.
Undergoing detox in rehab has its benefits. Clients are medically supervised. They take medications to relieve the withdrawal symptoms and get support and care from medical staff.
People often think like that: “I’ll try on my own, maybe I don’t need to go into local outpatient alcohol treatment facility” Don’t underestimate the withdrawal phase. Let’s see what challenges you’ll face.
ACUTE WITHDRAWAL SYNDROME
The withdrawal symptoms will start as soon as 6 hours after your last drink (R). They include:
- Excessive sweating
- Raised body temperature
- Increased blood pressure, heart rate, and pulse
- Shaking or tremors
Of course, the severity and duration of this phase depend on how much and how long you’ve been drinking. It is said that the first 48 hours after quitting are the biggest detox hurdle. But if you manage to survive them, your body will thank you.
POST-ACUTE WITHDRAWAL SYNDROME (PAWS)
After most physical symptoms subside, some people feel the psychological effects of not drinking. The post-acute phase usually affects heavy drinkers and long-term drinkers. The symptoms may include (R):
- Lack of energy
- Feelings of aggression or hostility
- Increased anxiety and depression
- Insomnia or nightmares
- Decreased libido
The duration of this phase is different – in some cases, it lasts only a few weeks, in others – up to a year.
In addition to the withdrawal symptoms, a recovering alcoholic deals with cravings for alcohol. They can last weeks, months, or years depending on the amount and regularity of alcohol use before quitting.
Enrolling into an outpatient alcohol rehab near me is mandatory if your alcoholism is severe. In a medically-supervised facility, your transition into sober life will be smoother. Moreover, you’ll get treatment for any co-occurring conditions you may have.
The Benefits of Abstaining from Drinking Alcohol
It is said that it may get worse before it gets better. It’s true that soon you’ll start reaping the health benefits of your new sober life, whether with the help of outpatient treatment near me or without it. Here’s what you can expect.
After 1 Week
You’ll sleep better. Several studies found that though alcohol helps people fall asleep more quickly at first, the quality of sleep suffers, leaving them feeling tired the next day. Skipping alcohol, especially before bedtime, will lead to deeper and more restful shut-eye.
Blood sugar levels return to normal. When the body is processing alcohol, it fails to maintain proper blood sugar levels. Once alcohol is absent, blood sugar levels drop by 16%, which decreases the risk of type II diabetes.
After 2 Weeks
Digestion begins to improve. Alcohol increases the production of gastric acid. Simply put, the stomach “eats” itself slowly. That’s why people eat more when they drink.
After 3 Weeks
The teeth will be healthier. Drinking decreases the production of saliva that harms teeth. Quitting reduces the risk of having cavities and strengthens tooth enamel.
The senses of smell and taste improve as the receptors of taste and smell killed by alcohol start to repair themselves.
After 1 Month
Your skin looks better. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that water exits the body. It causes severe dehydration. Being dehydrated for a long time leads to dry-looking skin, rosy red cheeks, dandruff, and eczema. Once you kick the bottle, you’ll see a vast improvement in the quality of your skin.
The liver will feel better. The consumption of large volumes of booze, even a few times, makes the liver work extra hard to process it all. With time, it gets exhausted. But the liver is a regenerative organ. So, quitting will help make it healthier.
Besides, a small study conducted by British scientists found out that abstaining from alcohol for a month led to an average of 15% decrease in liver fat.
You may start dropping weight. A glass of beer has about 150 calories. A serving of wine has about 120. And a margarita has as many as 300 calories. Besides, alcohol boosts an appetite. So, when you refuse from it, you’ll stop overeating and avoid those alcohol calories. The number on your scale may start going down.
Your blood pressure normalizes. Alcohol contributes to high blood pressure. If your blood pressure is above a normal rate (which is 120/80), then you can bring those numbers down simply by crossing your bad habit out of your nutrition. This is a plus to your heart health.
After a Few Months or a Year
The risk of cancer will drop. Alcoholic beverages are known as carcinogens. Battling your addiction will make you less likely to develop alcohol-related types of cancer.
You’ll get sick less. Even a single episode of binge drinking can cause inflammation which is a common cause of many ailments. If you drop it, you’ll reduce and reverse inflammation and strengthen your immune system.
Fertility will increase. Too much drinking can cause reproductive problems. If you want to have kids, you’ll boost your chances by refusing from alcohol altogether.
Your brain performance will boost. Though brain cell recovery after quitting can continue for years, you still might notice improved memory, enhanced behavioral control, a more stable emotional state, and better problem-solving abilities.
If you want to experience all these improvements and avoid relapse, it’s best to go to an outpatient drug rehab near you. There, you’ll learn coping techniques and get guidance in leading an alcohol-free life. Addiction, in any form, can be a powerful force to reckon with. The benefits of removing alcohol from your life will present, over time, in many dimensions.
Your body, mind, and spirit will all find a weight removed and a renewed energy. There is nothing wrong with occasional and responsible alcohol use. Some studies even suggest that a glass of wine per day may help one live longer. It’s all a matter of knowing yourself, where you need to improve, and—as cliche` as it may sound—admitting if you have a problem.