By Elizabeth Ossip, LCSW, CAP, ICADC

Do you need to figure out how to quit drinking alcohol or have a loved one with a drinking problem you desperately want to help?

It is crucial to understand that simply relying on willpower alone may not be enough.  Peer support and professional clinical guidance may often be necessary to successfully stop drinking, especially if an individual exhibits any symptoms of problematic drinking.

Take the First Step to Quit Drinking

Suppose you’ve chosen now as the time to stop drinking; congratulations. While the journey to sobriety is not easy, the physical, psychological, and social benefits are profound. Once people move past the denial and self-deception to a place of truth and acceptance, they can truly begin to heal.

Of course, leaving alcohol behind permanently is easier said than done. But if you are wondering how to quit drinking alcohol for good, you should realize that you’re not alone. According to a 2015 National Institute of Health survey, 26.9 percent of people ages 18 and up said they engaged in binge drinking within the last 30 days. Even more troubling, a shocking 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes every year.

The good news is with professional help through our Florida alcohol rehabilitation program, you don’t have to be just another statistic. Alcohol-related deaths are largely preventable, provided that you take steps now to preserve your health. Read on to discover how to quit drinking alcohol and all the ways it can make your life better after embarking on the path to addiction recovery.

man struggling with how to quit drinking alcohol

Effects of Drinking Alcohol

Binge drinking refers to the consumption of a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, drinking five or more beverages on the same occasion as a male or four or more as a female qualifies as binge drinking.

Here are some of the many ways in which regular binge drinking affects both the body and the mind:

1. Effects on Weight

Struggling to lose those last few pounds? If so, the culprit might not be what’s on your dinner plate but what’s in your after-dinner glass.

Doctors and nutritionists agree that alcohol affects weight gain by slowing an individual’s metabolism. When you drink, your body breaks down alcohol first, so sugar and fat stick around longer. Additionally, the number of calories in alcohol can hinder weight loss.

Fortunately, you can reverse this trend when you figure out how to quit drinking alcohol. When you stop, weight loss is one of the first things you’ll notice, with recovering addicts noticing a particular improvement around the waist. This is important because abdominal fat affects the health of nearby organs. Because waist circumference is known to increase a patient’s risk of heart disease significantly, changing your drinking habits can positively affect overall wellness.

women wondering what to expect when you quit drinking alcohol

2. Effects on the Skin

Of course, it’s not just your waistline that will show improvements after you give up alcohol. If you’re wondering how to quit drinking alcohol and what to expect when you stop, consider the impact on your complexion. Overindulging in alcohol has a dehydrating effect on the skin, resulting in redness and textural inconsistencies. In the long run, alcoholics tend to look much older than their counterparts who do not binge drink.

On the other hand, stopping drinking gives your skin time to recover. Not only does properly hydrated skin look fresher and more youthful, but you will also have better cell turnover as your skin can absorb more Vitamin A. When you drink water and avoid alcohol, you can save money on both liquor and moisturizer.

3. Effects on Sleep

Those drinks you have to unwind at the end of the day might actually be keeping you awake at night. According to Jason Ellis, director of the Northumbria Centre for Sleep Research, 45 percent of people use alcohol to help themselves sleep but ultimately suffer from reduced sleep quality and quantity. Since alcohol limits REM sleep, which is crucial to learning and memory, heavy drinkers often suffer consequences beyond exhaustion.

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4. Effects on the Liver

It’s no secret that alcoholism has a serious effect on liver health. Over time, binge drinking can lead to alcoholic hepatitis, in which the liver becomes inflamed. While mild in the early stages, alcoholic hepatitis can eventually lead to cirrhosis, which is permanent.

Alcoholism also results in something called fatty liver. Caused by a buildup of fat in this crucial organ, fatty liver can cause symptoms ranging from a poor appetite to severe weight loss, abdominal pain, and fatigue. In the long run, fatty liver can lead to liver failure, jaundice, and even death. Believe it or not, this serious condition can result from drinking just a couple of glasses of wine a day for a period of mere weeks.

Luckily, it’s not too late for most binge drinkers to reverse their bad habits. Once you stop drinking, your liver will begin to shed built-up fat. In some cases, an alcohol-damaged liver can heal in just four to eight weeks.

On the other hand, if you persist in binge drinking, you could become one of the