Once you decide to quit drinking there is a certain expectation that everything will fall into place and you’ll instantly feel better. How disappointing it is to most of us that this rarely occurs. Instead we go through this process of ups and downs that sometimes have us feeling worse. Today, Annie and Dr. Jaffee answer the question of how long does it take to start feeling better after you quit drinking.
There Is No Magic Number
We’d love to have concrete number for you on when can expect to start feeling better after you quit drinking. The truth is it can vary from person to person. There isn’t a large amount of research available either on recovery and knowing when you’ll start to feel better after you stop drinking. While I can’t speak for everyone it honestly took me at least six months to feel like myself again. My emotions, my sleep and my health all took time to level out again. The amount you drank, how healthy you were otherwise before you quit drinking and even environmental and emotional factors can call play a part in your recovery process.
Once you let alcohol go, there’s a time of adjustment psychologically. You’ve let go of your shield and need to work through those issues and stressors before you can move on. That can be a wild card in the answer to how how long does it take to start feeling better after you stop drinking.
All the reasons you drank are still there. You just numbed them with the alcohol. Now it’s time to figure out where the anxiety and depression came from and how you’re going to deal with it.
Your brain operates on a pleasure and rewards system. It isn’t designed to let things out so that stress and anxiety has been building even as you’ve been drinking. It’s like that junk closet we all hate to clear out. You’ve crammed so much in there that it can feel overwhelming to even open that door. The great thing is that much like that closet you’ll find that once you start sorting through the stuff you’ve stored, you realize that much of it has no value and you’ve been holding on to it needlessly.
Read About It
Learn more about the chemical processes alcohol influences by reading the book free today!
Let’s Get Physical
There’s also adjustments on a chemical level when you stop drinking. Alcohol touches many systems in the body and touches almost every neurotransmitter. Your brain almost goes into hyperdrive for awhile after you stop drinking and are no longer numbing it. So how long does it take to start feeling better after you stop drinking and stop numbing it? It can take up to a year to reach a baseline again and feel better!
You didn’t get this way over night.
Not only is your brain repairing itself, it’s also sending signals to your organs, your muscles and every area of your body to start working towards reestablishing the homeostasis you’ve long disrupted. Your body has had everything slowed down for so long – your thought process, reaction time, digestion, etc that it can’t fix everything all at once. It’s going to approach this systematically and logically.
So when can you start to feel better after you quit drinking?
You can start feeling better within days of quitting drinking but very rarely is it an overnight and instantaneous recovery. Think of it as a car accident that took your whole body through the wringer. You’re not going to walk out of the hospital tomorrow but you’ll notice small improvements each day. Journal those improvements so you can look back on them to see how far you’ve come and can revel in the fact that your body is in fact healing!