An expert has revealed what happens to your body after you quit drinking.
The ECHO previously reported on the illnesses you can get from drinking alcohol from short-term to long-term issues. From the dreaded hangover and alcohol poisoning to heart disease and liver disease, the NHS warns against regularly drinking more than 14 units a week.
According to the NHS, there are also dangers around drinking too quickly on any single occasion which can increase your risk of accidents as well as misjudging risky situations. To reduce health risks, you are advised to limit how much you drink and drink slowly as well as drinking with food.
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Martin Preston, Founder and Chief Executive at Delamere has shared his insights into the effects of quitting drinking alcohol and the changes it can have on both your physical and mental wellbeing.
What are the benefits of giving up alcohol?
Cutting out alcohol can aid in weight loss due to the cutting down on a significant number of calories. But Martin says it is important to remember to keep a balanced and healthy diet even as you experience weight loss because a thinning body does not always equate to perfect health.
There are the same amount of calories in six pints of lager as there are in five large chocolate bars, so quitting drinking can be a great first step if you are trying to lose weight.
Quitting alcohol can also make you stay better hydrated as drinking six glasses of wine is the equivalent to losing 20-24 glasses of water. This in turn will give you more energy and will make you less susceptible to things like migraines and headaches.
Your routine may also be improved as a result of removing alcohol from your life such as sleeping patterns, increased creativity and making better decisions as well as better eating habits. But as well as physical benefits, giving up alcohol can also save you a lot of money.
According to Martin, it is thought that the average UK household spends approximately £17.60 on alcoholic drinks per week, which adds up to £915 per year.
What happens to you when you quit drinking?
In terms of how long it takes to feel better, there are many stages of the recovery journey which also includes emotional milestones. Martin advises that recovery is "not a linear path", and there will be many moments of feeling low or utterly exhausted along the way before you feel better, but with the right help, every person has the capacity to overcome alcohol dependency and move forward.
Delamere outlines the kind of recovery timeline that you can expect to experience if you are quitting drinking from the position of having an alcohol dependency. This however, is only a broad estimate and that each person’s experience will vary depending on their circumstances.
Martin said: "Within the first two to 12 hours, you may experience an onset of withdrawal symptoms, which can include excessive sweating and hand tremors, as well as feelings of anxiety and restlessness. By the time you have gone 24 hours without drinking, withdrawal symptoms are likely to have completely kicked in.
"On top of the earlier symptoms, you may experience feelings of depression and a general sense of lethargy. You may have started to crave alcohol and you may experience disturbances in your sleep.
"The first three days of quitting drinking are often the hardest, and within the first 72 hours, your withdrawal symptoms are likely to be at their most severe. These symptoms can become even more intense as they include things like a dangerously raised heart rate, increased blood pressure and even seizures.
"After three to seven days, withdrawal symptoms will have ceased for most people. At the very least, withdrawal symptoms should have begun to recede and become more manageable."
In rare cases, symptoms may worsen after this time period and develop into delirium tremens (DTs) which is considered a medical emergency. For this reason and more, dependent drinkers must be kept under medical supervision when they do quit drinking.
After one week:
However, after one week has passed, you will see an improvement to your sleeping pattern and at the two-week mark, the clinical detox period comes to a close. By this time, you may have started to notice weight loss as a result of removing alcohol calories and those whose livers have not been severely damaged by alcohol can begin to show signs of recovery around this time too.
Martin added: "Once a month has passed, you may also find that your blood pressure has returned to healthier levels, while you may also have more energy and better overall health. One whole year after quitting drinking, the vast majority of people will have left behind any feelings of low energy, sleeping problems or alcohol cravings and can enjoy all the benefits of leading a drink-free life."