Trusted Content

The Health Benefits Of Alcohol Abstinence

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

January 29, 2019

Quitting alcohol has become more and more appealing to many social drinkers who are seeking to make healthy life changes. For those who have suffered from addiction to alcohol, abstinence may not seem nearly as appealing. Abstaining from alcohol, however, can lead to several health benefits and help foster a positive attitude.

Your Brain On And Off Alcohol

Falling victim to alcohol addiction may leave you with a foggy memory, slower reaction time, serious depression, and a long road ahead. Drinking excessively can alter your ability to make decisions as well as your ability to concentrate. When you drink, the chemistry in your brain is altered. The alcohol affects your neurotransmitters, which send signals throughout your body. These signals are what give us quick response and reaction time.

Drinking alcohol alters your brain to the point that your reactions and responses are delayed. This is why you may find that your speech is slurred. Or why you are stumbling around after drinking a lot of alcohol. This is also why it is so dangerous to drink while driving. While you may feel completely normal behind the wheel, your brain is not functioning as it normally would, putting your life and others’ at great risk.

Many people begin drinking because of stresses or anxieties in their lives that they feel they are unable to deal with in any other way. Alcohol initially makes you feel happy because it releases dopamine into the “reward center” of your brain, which is why many people who suffer from alcoholism commonly drink while alone. But most people don’t know that alcohol is actually a depressant and eventually, after drinking a lot for a long time, the dopamine is no longer released and you are left a victim of addiction while no longer reaping that happy feeling that the alcohol once gave you. Because alcohol is a depressant, this can negatively affect your brain in the long run, causing more stress, anxiety, and sadness than you may have started with.

While alcohol can be extremely damaging to the brain, recovery is possible. Even if you have found yourself years deep in alcohol addiction, there is still hope for you to restore your brain, at least partially, if not fully. Everyone’s brain is different, so recovery time may depend on how long you have been drinking as well as your brain’s and body’s ability to restore itself.

Alcohol is extremely damaging on the brain, which means it may take longer for your brain to recover from this damage. However, when you quit drinking, your body will start working right away to get you back to your old self again. Over time, you will find that your memory may become stronger, your ability to make decisions will be stronger, your reaction time will likely increase, and you may no longer feel as depressed or stressed as you did when your brain was being altered by alcohol.

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Your Liver On And Off Alcohol

As soon as you start drinking, your liver goes into overdrive. Alcohol is not processed by the body the same way that other things are processed in the liver. When alcohol is consumed the liver focuses all of its energy on metabolizing it and puts all of its other duties on the back burner. Alcohol can take several days to get through your liver, depending on how much you’ve consumed. Eventually, you may find yourself with a fatty liver, liver scarring, or liver disease. The liver does not possess the nerves necessary to feel pain, so you may feel fine, but your liver may still be extremely damaged from alcohol abuse.

Liver scarring and liver disease can become threatening to your life if you continue to drink and do not seek treatment. The only way to know the health of your liver is to go to the doctor and have tests run. You may not experience any signs or symptoms that indicate your liver is in danger, but if you have been drinking excessively for a long period of time, getting your liver checked may be necessary.

Once you engage in alcohol abstinence, your liver will begin to repair itself. If you have a fatty liver, eventually the fat will go away and your liver will go back to a healthier state. If you’ve already reached the liver scarring phase, there is still hope that your liver will continue to function properly and heal if you stop consuming alcohol as soon as possible.

The liver is an extremely important organ in maintaining your health and adequate body function. Alcohol abstinence may reverse the damage that has been caused by years of excessive drinking.

Other Health Benefits of Alcohol Abstinence

Not only will alcohol abstinence significantly benefit your brain and your liver, but it will also decrease your risk of cancer and other diseases, like heart disease. Alcohol makes you more susceptible to disease; quitting alcohol will make your immune system stronger and more readily available to fight off illness and diseases.

You may also notice that your sleeping habits improve. Excessive drinking can often cause a rocky night’s sleep. When you quit drinking you may find yourself sleeping more soundly and a good night’s sleep is extremely important to anyone’s health.

Your complexion may change for the better as well. When your body is functioning normally and not focusing on processing the toxins from alcohol, your skin will show it. Alcohol dehydrates the body which will affect the way your skin looks. When you abstain from alcohol, your body can focus on hydration and make your skin look healthier.

You may lose weight. Alcohol increases your calorie intake with each drink. Alcohol is an empty calorie that fills your body with excess fat; your body struggles to find places to store it. If you abstain from alcohol, those excess calories will no longer be entering your body every day. Not only will you feel more energized from the lack of alcohol, but you may also experience some weight loss.

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If you or a loved one are suffering from alcohol addiction, you are not alone. We are here to get you the help you need and deserve. Giving up alcohol after a long relationship with it is not an easy process, but it is possible. With the right help and support you will be able to recover. is here to help you take the necessary steps to overcome addiction, so contact us today and start getting back to a healthy life.

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