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April 2021 | Cenikor Foundation

What Happens When You Quit Drinking Alcohol?

There may be nothing tougher to fight than the silent enemy of addiction. As you try to find a path to recovery so you can quit drinking alcohol, you may feel like you are going down dead-end roads. The cycles of alcohol withdrawal and detox is a serious biological event.

It has nothing to do with how much you want to be free of your addiction. Nor does it matter how often you drink, how much you drink, or where you drink. Another article about learning more about how or why you drink may not help you understand what happens to you when you quit drinking alcohol.

Please keep reading if you want to learn more about what happens during alcohol withdrawal and detoxification. That way, you’ll know what to expect and when the symptoms of withdrawal may happen to you. It’s a wise decision to learn what to expect as you go through alcohol withdrawal and detoxification.

When You Quit Drinking Alcohol

The best way to provide information about what happens when you quit drinking alcohol is to divide it up into stages. The first biological event your body goes through in alcohol withdrawal and detoxification is the level of the neurotransmitter GABA goes up. Alcohol blocks GABA function, so it’s free to provide you with an inebriated state.

When you stop drinking, your brain no longer has to block GABA functions. So, your brain begins to return to its normal state. The second biological event is the level of neurotransmitter glutamate goes down. It may be a slight amount, but it does go down.

Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter that stimulates brain cells, causing them to be more “excited.” Several other neurotransmitter levels can go up, including dopamine.

Alcohol Withdrawal

While several neurotransmitter levels can go up like what happens with dopamine sometimes, they can also go down slightly. This means some neurotransmitters like acetylcholine, norepinephrine, serotonin go down, but no one can agree on what that means. Some addiction experts state that excitatory neurotransmitters go up or down to meet and balance out the GABA activity.

The neurotransmitters go up or down because GABA activity is up or down, and they want to balance things out in your brain. There is a plateau stage of alcohol you reach in the withdrawal process. It’s one of the hardest phases to get through mentally and physically.

You will feel awful during the plateau phase of alcohol withdrawal. The stages start about 2-3 days after you had your last drink.

Withdrawal and Detox

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms start about 10-12 hours after you quit drinking alcohol. However, some people don’t start experiencing alcohol withdrawal and detox symptoms for 48 hours. The symptoms continue to get worse the longer you go without a drink.

A primary symptom of alcohol withdrawal is confused thinking, moodiness, poor memory, disorientation, disorganized thinking, and more. Alcohol is a powerful foe. Alcohol actively prevents your brain from making new neurons to replace the old ones that were lost during your alcohol use. Also, you will start to experience physical symptoms.

Some of the physical symptoms include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Headaches
  • Decreased appetite
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Trembling

Your mental state will fluctuate between depression and sadness. You might also feel nervous or anxious.  Alcohol depresses your brain’s pleasure pathways too.

Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

You will notice that alcohol withdrawal creates behavioral symptoms like anger or irritability. Since alcohol lowers your inhibitions, and in most cases, makes you feel better about yourself. You start losing that layer of positive behavioral self-thinking as you go through alcohol withdrawal.

By the time you reach the crash stage of alcohol withdrawal, you’ll feel so bad you want to crawl into a corner. You may want to give up physically, psychologically, and behaviorally. This symptom is due to your brain being starved for alcohol, and it’s letting you know it wants it back.

Alcohol Withdrawal and Brain Chemistry 

You’ll also have headaches and feel so depressed you may want to die. The good news is your GABA brain levels are returning to normal, and such your symptoms lessen in intensity. You may still suffer from nausea, but that’s not directly linked to withdrawal.

Rather it’s because your brain’s chemistry is trying to figure out what’s going on. The recovery stage of alcohol withdrawal is where your brain is returning to normal GABA and glutamate levels. Without the alcohol to suppress them, your brain feels better, and you feel better.

Alcohol Withdrawal and Spiritual Experience 

There are people who report they have an epiphany or spiritual experience when going through alcohol withdrawal. More than likely, this was due to the brain secreting more dopamine when you’re sick. Your brain secretes more dopamine when you are sick so you can start to feel better.

It’s the sickness that stimulates your brain to make more dopamine. That’s also when your brain wants alcohol so that it can make dopamine. Your experiences during this time can be turbulent or euphoric because of high levels of dopamine.

Your Next Step in Alcohol Withdrawal and Detoxification

There is a place you can that understands how difficult it can be for you to reach out for help when you want to quit drinking alcohol. Cenikor has compassionate advisors that help you from the first step to the last one. Cenikor is there for you if you have questions and will answer your treatment concerns.

More than anything, Cenikor helps you turn the page on your old life. They can help you find the path towards a healthy future. Cenikor treats your whole person when you go through withdrawal and detoxification.

You want and need a program that helps you find the recovery tools you can use to fight alcohol addiction for the rest of your life. Cenikor optimizes your resilience while providing the compassionate treatment you deserve. Contact us today so your future has unlimited opportunities.


Strategies to Prevent Underage Drinking

Did you know that the average teen boy tries alcohol at age 11 and the average teen girl tries it at age 13? So if you have a teenager in the house, it’s very likely that they’ve already had their first sip of alcohol, and then some.

While this might cause some concern, you can’t control what your children do. After all, the more you forbid them from doing something, the more they’ll want to do it.

So if you want to prevent underage drinking, you might be stumped as to how you can do it effectively.

But rest assured that there are actual ways to keep your children from drinking without alienating them in the process. Read on for some good strategies you should use.

Be Open With Communication

If you think back to your own teenage years, you probably were confused and had a lot of questions about various things.

How did your own parents treat your inquisitive mind? If they constantly brushed you off, or worse yet, shut you down, then that might’ve driven a wedge between you and your parents. You probably felt like you couldn’t trust them with your feelings, so you never went to them for anything.

Most likely, you don’t want that to happen with you and your kids. The more they can trust you, the better the chance you have of catching underage drinking early on.

So the best thing you can do is be open with communication. Below are a few things to keep in mind.


Facilitate Conversations

It can be hard to communicate with a teen. So, you’ll want to try and ask open-ended questions instead of just “yes” or “no” ones.

For example, you can start off by asking your children if they’re interested in drinking. Whether they answer “yes” or “no,” don’t let the conversation end there.

Keep it going by asking them “why?” They might be surprised that you care to hear what they think. And you just might be surprised at what’s going on in their minds too!

Be Compassionate and Empathetic

All too often, parents brush off their children’s feelings as “just a phase” or “not that serious.” This can make teenagers feel belittled and as if they aren’t being heard and understood.

So no matter how trivial something might seem, always remember to be compassionate and empathetic. If your kids realize that you’re able to put yourself in their shoes, then they’ll trust you more and will be more willing to open up to you.

Be Honest

When it comes to preventing underage drinking, you might be tempted to use scare tactics. You might also want to only highlight the negatives of alcohol and avoid talking about the positives.

But teens are very good at picking up on things. If you’re all doom and gloom about alcohol, they’ll know something’s up. Adults love to drink, and most do so in moderation, after all, so something doesn’t add up here.

Be honest—yes, it’s fun, exciting, and sometimes relaxing to drink alcohol. But if you drink too much, you might end up making bad decisions and doing damage to your body, both mentally and physically. Not to mention, there’s the very real issue of addiction.

It might help to do some research and find out some underage drinking statistics so you can present them to your kids. That way, they know you’re not making things up.

It can also be useful to go over the consequences of underage drinking, especially the legal ones.

And if you have a family history of addiction, don’t hide this either. This makes your teens more susceptible to addiction, and they deserve to know about it. Together, you can discuss and figure out what this means for them.

Don’t Get Angry

You were a teenager once and you know just how many slipups you made in those years. So why should you expect your children to be perfect?

You should be clear about your expectations that they shouldn’t drink and that they shouldn’t hang around people who drink either. And you should also agree on the consequences if they don’t follow your expectations.

But if they do make a mistake, don’t get angry and yell at them. You can feel free to express that you’re disappointed but make that the extent of it and then carry out the agreed-upon consequences calmly.

Get Help if Needed

Maybe at the time of reading, you already suspect that your teen is drinking alcohol. This might have you worried, but don’t lose hope.

You’ll want to sit down with your child and ask them things such as how often do they drink, why they drink, and if they have trouble stopping. If they seem to have an alcohol dependence, you might want to send them to adolescent inpatient treatment.

These programs will help teens pave the road to healthy lifestyles. So the earlier you get intervention, the better.


Prevent Underage Drinking With Our Tips

You’ll probably recall that being a teenager wasn’t the easiest thing. Those years were tough, with changes in your body, new schools, and judgment from your peers. If you keep that in mind, then it can be easier to see why underage drinking is so appealing to your kids.

When you can show them that you understand and can put yourself in their shoes, your teens will be more receptive to what you have to say. By approaching them with the correct attitude and strategies, you’ll be able to keep them safe and increase the chances of them growing up happy and healthy.

If you feel that your teen can benefit from adolescent inpatient treatment, then get in touch with us today. We’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

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