The long-term abuse of alcohol can lead to many physical and psychological problems. Alcohol can affect the levels of particular neurotransmitters in the brain, impacting how the body and mind communicate and changing your moods and thought processes. Whether you have an alcohol problem or you’re just asking for a friend, we’re sharing the benefits of not drinking alcohol timeline that will best illustrate the positive effects on the body when you stop drinking.
Alcohol is known as a central nervous system depressant. After you drink alcohol, it’s absorbed into the bloodstream via the stomach (20%) and small intestine (80%). Alcohol’s side effects kick in within 5 to 10 minutes after drinking. These side effects usually peak after 30 to 90 minutes and are carried throughout the rest of the body. As a CNS depressant, alcohol stimulates the mind in short doses and produces a calming effect in large doses. How alcohol affects the brain starts at the cerebral cortex, which processes information from your senses, plays a role in thinking and consciousness (along with the basal ganglia), and initiates most voluntary muscle movements.
When you drink alcohol, it depresses or relaxes the parts of the brain that inhibit certain behaviors or reactions, increasing talkativeness, sociability, and self-confidence. Alcohol also slows down the brain’s ability to process information we absorb through our senses, causing difficulties seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting. The threshold for pain is also increased. The most common and well-known side effect of alcohol is impaired judgment or inhibited thought processes. When a person drinks too much, they may have difficulties thinking clearly and making sound decisions, which can lead to all sorts of dangers and injuries.
When a person who frequently drinks heavily is unable to control their habit despite the repercussions, then they have an alcohol use disorder. Alcohol is addictive because it’s able to affect the release of certain neurotransmitters like dopamine and produce a relaxing and pleasure “buzz” or high. A person who has developed a chronic drinking problem should receive alcohol treatment to avoid complications when managing withdrawal symptoms and to aid in their recovery.
A person may experience a number of positive changes after quitting alcohol. Below is a “benefits of not drinking alcohol timeline” that will give you a general perspective of how sobriety changes your body over time.
Simply put, the benefits of giving up alcohol include: