Stopping drinking could be one of the best choices you ever make for your holistic and overall health. The reasons to stop drinking extend far beyond mere holistic benefits, however. They include improving your physical and mental health, leading a more fulfilling life, and not being dependent on any substances in order to feel happy and whole.
Below are a few professional tips to stop drinking and resources to consider if you or a loved one show drinking problem signs.
There are many reasons to stop drinking alcohol. Anyone who is concerned about their health and longevity or who fears they may be developing an alcohol use disorder all have good reason to stop. This can help their overall physical and mental health in the long run as well. Whatever your reason for giving up drinking, this guide is here to help.
The physical effects of drinking alcohol can be extensive. Alcohol has several effects on the body, including: 1
While many of these issues resolve on their own after stopping drinking, there is the potential for long-term damage. The liver, for instance, can suffer irreparable damage in people who have been drinking alcohol heavily for long periods of time.
In the short term, alcohol’s primary effect is depressing the central nervous system. This slows the body’s automatic life-preserving functions, such as respiration and heart rate.
Alcohol can also make people feel more sociable and may help manage pain. But this comes at a cost, and many people experience the telltale signs of a hangover several hours after drinking alcohol.
There are many long-term harmful effects of drinking alcohol. In the most severe cases, some people will experience cirrhosis of the liver, where the liver becomes too scarred from alcohol use to continue functioning.
Further, some people with a long-term alcohol use disorder may find that repeatedly drinking alcohol causes brain damage, leading to a disorder known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. 2
Quitting drinking takes more than simply making a choice. For many people, quitting drinking takes careful consideration of why they drink and where they drink, then changing these thoughts and behaviors to ensure abstinence in the future.
Why do you want to stop drinking alcohol? Set clear intentions from the start. Make a list of reasons to stop drinking, and when you have a temptation, return to your list of benefits of not drinking alcohol. Is a drink worth giving up for those reasons?
Ask yourself why you drink alcohol in the first place. Is it for social reasons? To help cope with mental illness? Or do you drink when you feel stressed? Finding the reasons you drink can help you understand how to stop drinking. 3
Setting a drinking goal is the next step. Try to stop drinking for a few days or cut down to only the weekends. As you progress, you can take further steps to quit drinking entirely.
Having alcohol in the house makes it easy to return to drinking. Get rid of all alcohol in your house when trying to stop drinking alcohol.
Drinking is an activity in itself for a lot of people, so finding new activities to take their place is often helpful. Exercising, reading, and exploring new hobbies are great ways to help cope with trying to quit drinking.
If you’re struggling to quit drinking on your own, reach out for professional support. One-on-one counseling or addiction treatment centers are great choices. Some addiction treatment centers can help by prescribing medication to stop drinking.
The benefits of quitting drinking are hard to understate. Most people will see both physical and mental health improvements. Some benefits include:
In addition, stopping drinking can save you money.
Some people may experience physical effects when they quit drinking. This is known as alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Drinking withdrawal symptoms can include:
If you or a loved one begin to experience the effects of withdrawal, you should reach out to a medical treatment center at once. Severe alcohol withdrawal can be deadly if attempted alone, but medical treatment can relieve these symptoms and keep you safe. 4
The alcohol withdrawal timeline typically starts with withdrawal symptoms anywhere from six to twelve hours after your last drink. These symptoms may increase in severity up to about seventy-two hours later. Multiple factors affect alcohol withdrawal, including your weight, age, and liver function, along with how much alcohol you generally consumed.
Sometimes, tips to stop drinking aren’t enough, but seeking professional treatment can show you how to stop drinking even if you are unsuccessful at quitting on your own. Addiction and mental health professionals work tirelessly to ensure that patients have the best chances of recovery by using evidence-based treatments to achieve this goal.
Alcoholism treatment has several components that make up a comprehensive program. These may include:
Treatment programs teach people how to stop drinking even when it seems difficult. They use evidence-based therapies and treatments proven to help people overcome the symptoms of an alcohol use disorder, manage their cravings, and learn the skills for a lifetime in recovery.
Genesis Recovery is San Diego’s premier alcohol addiction treatment center. If you or a loved one are looking for a program to help you quit drinking for good, there’s no better place to start your recovery.