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What Happens When a Heavy Drinker Stops Drinking?

What happens when a heavy drinker stops drinking? Drinking heavily can lead to alcohol dependence and addiction. Deciding to cut alcohol out of your life can be empowering and life-changing. However, it is essential to understand the potential challenges heavy drinkers will encounter when they quit and create an action plan that will allow you to stop drinking safely. 

If you are nervous about quitting alcohol due to long-term heavy drinking, Recovery Ranch PA has you covered. Our alcohol addiction treatment program combines medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and mental health therapy to ensure your safety and comfort as you withdraw from the effects of heavy drinking. Call 717.969.9126 or contact our team online today to get started. 

What Happens When a Heavy Drinker Stops Consuming Alcohol? 

When a person drinks heavily, it can be not only challenging to quit but also dangerous to abruptly discontinue drinking alcohol. Here is what happens when heavy drinkers stop suddenly. 

Physical Side Effects 

When someone who drinks heavily stops consuming alcohol, their body undergoes various physical changes. These changes may include withdrawal symptoms such as: 

  • Heart palpitations 
  • Sweating 
  • Insomnia 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Tremors 

These symptoms can vary in severity depending on how long a person has been drinking heavily and how much they consume. In the most severe cases, a person can experience what is known as delirium tremens (DTs), which can be life-threatening. 

Psychological Symptoms 

Quitting alcohol suddenly after drinking heavily for an extended period can also lead to significant psychological changes. Heavy drinkers often rely on alcohol to cope with stress, anxiety, or depression. Alcohol interacts with brain neurotransmitters to produce positive feelings and an elevated mood, but in heavy doses, it can lead to blackouts or periods that a person cannot recall. 

When a heavy drinker stops drinking abruptly, those emotional or mental health symptoms they had been numbing with alcohol will start to resurface, and they can experience intense emotions and difficulty managing these feelings. 

Social Impact 

When a heavy drinker decides to quit drinking suddenly, they may find it challenging to navigate social situations where alcohol is prevalent. People who drink heavily are more likely to spend time with others with similar drinking behaviors and spend time at parties, bars, or other get-togethers where drinking is a focus. Quitting drinking can mean having to completely overhaul one’s social life and choosing activities that intentionally avoid venues where alcohol is available. 

How to Quit Drinking Safely 

Some people can decide to quit drinking and either cut off their consumption or gradually taper it without any complications. However, there are plenty of others who may face severe side effects if they suddenly stop drinking. Anyone who has been drinking heavily for years or cannot go a day without a drink should be especially cautious when discontinuing alcohol. The following suggestions can help you quit drinking safely: 

  • Seek professional help from an addiction treatment center – They can conduct an intake assessment that will determine the severity of your condition and the appropriate course of treatment to minimize withdrawal symptoms and adverse effects. 
  • Gradually reduce your alcohol consumption over time, which is known as tapering – This can allow your body to adjust to smaller amounts of alcohol and minimize withdrawal symptoms. However, this strategy does not work for everyone. Consult a medical professional for guidance before attempting to taper your alcohol consumption if you have a moderate to severe addiction. 
  • Attend therapy sessions and support group meetings – These may be part of your addiction treatment program, but you can also arrange for these on your own. Many support groups are available in person and online, so you can choose which works best for your needs.  

Medical supervision and a strong support system can help you get through alcohol withdrawal safely and more comfortably so you can achieve your recovery goals. 

Get Started on Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Recovery Ranch PA

Now that you understand what happens when heavy drinkers stop drinking suddenly, you likely realize the importance of getting professional help. Call Promises Recovery Ranch PA at 717.969.9126 or contact our team online today for the guidance and expertise you need to recover safely. 

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