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As much damage as alcohol inflicts on our mental and physical health, the amazing resilience of the body is on full display soon after someone stops their drinking habit. Since alcoholism can sneak up on a person, swooping in from behind and overtaking our ability to control consumption, the effects of alcohol abuse may not be visible initially. Only after prolonged, chronic alcohol abuse does the collateral damage begin to be noticeable.
The good news is that this damage is highly reversible when the individual becomes sober. Over the ensuing months, several positive developments will begin to take place as health and wellness is slowly restored. These include brain health, physical appearance, cognitive function, loss of weight, and increased energy levels.
Understanding Damage Done By Alcohol and How the Body Heals After Quitting Alcohol
To understand how the body heals after quitting alcohol it helps to understand just now alcohol harms our health. Alcohol abuse impacts all facets of our health and wellbeing, including:
- Causes weight gain, belly fat
- Increases risk of liver disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, pancreatitis and stroke
- Can lead to dementia
- Can cause severe cognitive disorder called “wet brain”
- Causes dry, ruddy skin
- Disrupts sleep
- Causes nutritional deficiency
- Causes fatty liver
- Causes digestive problems
It is quite amazing how the body heals after quitting alcohol. Within weeks the body begins to reverse much of the damage and begins restoring health in a variety of ways. These include:
- Reversing liver damage
- Absorbing nutrients and replenishing deficiencies
- Metabolism is restored, which can result in weight loss
- Reduced alcohol-related calories results in weight loss and reduced belly fat
- Improved immune system
- Blood pressure normalized
- Skin-tone improves
- Increased energy
- Improved cognitive functioning
How Quitting Drinking Helps Brain Health
Chronic alcohol abuse takes a significant toll on brain health by damaging neurons. It can cause brain shrinkage, impairs memory, decision-making, concentration, and impair the ability to make sound judgments. However, one of the most impressive facts about how the body heals after quitting alcohol is its ability to restore brain functioning.
Starting in a few short weeks, with continuing improvements as recovery progresses, the brain structures that were impacted by alcoholism begin to recover with an increase in the volume of the hippocampus. In addition to restoring the brain tissue volume, cognitive functioning will also improve, including memory functions. By the five-year sobriety mark most damage that was done to the brain will be reversed.
Starting the Healing Process: Detox
The ticket to renewing health and wellbeing begins with the detox program. This first step in recovery is designed for the unpredictable health complications that can be experienced during an alcohol detox. Trained detox professionals monitor the progress of withdrawal symptoms and vital signs, and provide medications and emotional support throughout the process that help alleviate discomfort.
Alcohol detox is usually completed within one week and progresses through phases, the early phase, the peak phase, and the subsiding phase. Withdrawal symptoms begin 6-12 hours after the last alcoholic drink, and then peak on days 3-4 before beginning to subside. Withdrawal symptoms vary in intensity based on the length and severity of the heavy alcohol consumption. Symptoms may include:
- Hand tremors
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid heart rate
- Elevated blood pressure
- Mental disorientation
The delirium tremens (DTs) is a life-threatening complication that can suddenly occur on days 3-4. This is considered an emergency as extreme mental confusion, fever, reduced respiratory functioning, shaking, hallucinations, delirium, and seizures can occur.
Comprehensive Treatment for Alcoholism Following Detox
The road to restoring health does not end with the completion of a detox program, however. The alcoholic in recovery will need and extended period of treatment to acquire new behaviors and recovery skills in order to remain sober. Rehab is available in either an outpatient format, which is appropriate for mild to moderate alcohol use disorder, or a residential format, which is appropriate for moderate to severe alcoholism.
While in the treatment phase of recovery the individual will engage in a variety of treatment activities and therapies that approach all angles of alcoholism recovery, such as:
- Psychotherapy helps by examining underlying emotional issues or past traumas that may be a contributing factor.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy guides individuals toward adopting new thought and behavior patterns that replace the disordered patterns that have culminated in alcohol abuse.
- Group therapy offers opportunities to share with others in recovery, which can become an essential source of peer support.
- Family-based therapy helps family members process their frustrations, hurt feelings, and fears around how the disease of alcoholism has impacted them.
- Medication management using naltrexone can help recovering alcoholics manage cravings.
- Relapse prevention planning forces the individual to examine triggers and stressors that might disrupt recovery and lead to relapse.
- 12-step meetings, or non 12-step programming, that provide group support and opportunities for making new friends.
- Holistic therapies, such as yoga classes, massage therapy, acupuncture, equine therapy, mindfulness training, and art therapy can enhance the effects of traditional therapy as well as reduce stress.
- Nutritional counseling and exercise are incorporated into the program to help individuals create new healthy habits that will promote physical and emotional healing.
Executive 7 Day Detox Can Help Launch Alcohol Addiction Recovery
Executive 7 Day Detox provides a detoxification program for individuals ready to begin their recovery journey. Expelling the toxins associated with alcohol while in this deluxe, supportive setting, every effort will be made to minimize discomfort during the detox process. With knowledge about how the body heals after quitting alcohol, Executive 7 Day Detox provides clients with nutritious meals and a relaxing and healing environment that will jump start the body’s return to health and wellness.
Following detox, there are both inpatient and outpatient rehab options available for the treatment that will mesh with a busy professional work schedule. To learn more about our program, please contact Executive 7 Day Detox today at (800) 381-0827.