Quitting drinking is easier said than done. It doesn’t happen automatically, but with the necessary intrinsic motivation and following treatment, you can quit drinking. How can you efficiently stop drinking alcohol and what are the benefits of a healthy lifestyle without alcohol?
What does alcohol do to your body?
Alcohol enters your blood through your esophagus, stomach and small intestine. Along with your blood, it is distributed throughout your body. When the alcohol reaches your brain, you feel that you have been drinking. You feel “lighter” in the head and after a few glasses, most people become more cheerful and talkative. Their inhibitions fall away. You want to drink more and more, which slows down your reactions. Everything becomes harder and harder to grasp and you speak gibberish. If you drink 25 glasses or more daily, your risk of unconsciousness and cardiac arrest increases.
Quit drinking alcohol: the benefits
Stopping drinking alcohol produces many physical benefits. We list them for you:
- You sleep better and are therefore better rested and more cheerful.
- Your taste and sense of smell improve.
- You run less risk of various types of cancer: such as breast cancer, stomach cancer and colon cancer.
- You can concentrate better at work/school.
There are other medical benefits:
- You are less at risk of developing depression or anxiety disorder.
- You suffer less from heartburn or bad breath.
- Your liver is repairing itself. As a result, your liver is better able to break down other toxins.
- Your immune system improves. This makes you less likely to catch a cold and the flu.
- Your red blood cells become stronger. As a result, your body is better able to transport oxygen.
- Your body is better able to absorb nutrients (such as vitamins and minerals).
- You are less likely to fall (under the influence of alcohol) or have an accident.
It can take 3 to 7 days to physically kick off. The first 3 days are often the most intense. Below are the withdrawal symptoms:
- Trembling hands, sweating, nausea, fatigue, restlessness, increased blood pressure, muscle cramping, tension. This usually occurs during the first week. These symptoms diminish after a few days.
- Poor sleep. This usually occurs in the first week. The complaints may last longer. You can read more about this under ‘sleeping problems’.
- Anxious, depressed, listless. These symptoms may last longer.
- Losing consciousness briefly. This is called a seizure or insult and is not very common. It happens in the first week after stopping drinking.
- Lowered consciousness and seeing things that are not there. This is called delirium tremens and is not very common. It happens in the first week after stopping drinking
Most people who quit drinking have trouble sleeping at first. This gets better on its own, but sometimes it takes a few weeks. Alcohol has disturbed the natural sleep rhythm. The body needs time to restore this. These things can help if you sleep poorly:
- Accept that you will sleep poorly in the near future. Take it into account during the day. This way you have less tension because you necessarily want to sleep.
- Make sure you are in bed at night and not during the day. Don’t go to sleep during the day.
- Do something different in the evening than you are used to. Take a walk, for example. Afterward, drink a cup of warm milk with honey or aniseed.
- Relax your mind just before you go to bed. So don’t do anything difficult then.
- Learn a few relaxation exercises that you can do at night. Even if you don’t sleep, at least you’ll relax.
- Put a book next to your bed. Make sure it is a book that is easy to read and not exciting.
- If necessary, consult with your doctor about taking sleeping pills for a few days.
- You may want to drink again in order to sleep. Don’t. It’s not a long-term solution.
Quit drinking on your own or with help?
If you want to quit drinking because you notice that alcohol is causing problems in your life then you can try to stop drinking on your own.
If you do not succeed in stopping and/or reducing your drinking on your own then you may have an alcohol problem or addiction.
Recognizing addiction or an alcohol problem is often not easy but it is the first necessary step towards improvement. Only when you recognize your addiction / problem, then you can make the next step towards treatment or recovery. Hacienda Paradiso is the world’s very first eco-rehab. Situated in Malaga, Spain, Hacienda Paradiso works with clients to end the cycle of addiction and behavioural problems in a completely eco-friendly atmosphere.