Some symptoms, such as changes in sleep patterns, fatigue, and mood swings, can last for weeks or even months. However, you'll likely start to feel healthier five days to a week after you stop drinking. While the most infamous phase of recovery is the initial stage of withdrawal, full detoxification can take up to two weeks in some cases. As the body gets rid of the last traces of alcohol, psychological symptoms can progress rapidly, but so can positive effects.
A person who is becoming more health-conscious or starting to develop health problems will often see the benefits of stopping drinking. For dependent drinkers, 48 to 72 hours is when withdrawal symptoms decrease or become more controllable. Anyone who successfully stops drinking for an entire month is more likely to abstain from alcohol for 6 months. Within 3 weeks of not drinking, most drinkers have successfully reduced their risk of heart disease, such as stroke, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
While some people who are psychologically dependent on alcohol do not experience withdrawal symptoms, most alcoholics experience withdrawal symptoms within 24 hours of stopping drinking. It's not uncommon for an alcoholic who swore never to drink in the morning to reluctantly start taking one or two shots to relieve withdrawal symptoms before work. As the age at which my brother died changed, I too had decided that drinking was no longer on the cards. To measure the impact of alcohol and its absence on people's health, a New Scientist team decided to work with the Institute for Liver and Digestive System Health at the University of London School of Medicine to find out what happens to your body when you stop drinking alcohol for a month.
If you didn't drink to the point of severe liver damage, but your liver started to turn fatty, then it's possible that it has already cleared up and is working close to adequate efficiency by the time the first month of sobriety arrives and disappears. However, during this period you may also begin to develop important benefits of quitting alcohol, such as healthier liver function and longer, more restful sleep. Many people don't realize that these unfortunate side effects are actually a symptom of the brain's healing and rebalancing of its natural chemistry, and allow these negative feelings to drive them back to drinking. Some of the early withdrawal symptoms will appear as soon as six hours after the last drink and will increase in intensity as withdrawal progresses.
This timeline is a broad estimate of what and when will happen after a dependent drinker drinks their last alcoholic beverage.