How Alcohol Affects Your Body Timeline: The Health Benefits of Quitting Alcohol

Dara Laine Murray
8 min readJan 23

Spoiler alert: You’re about to read about some of the ways alcohol affects your body and why it’s probably best for you to quit drinking.

There are so many studies showing how bad it is for you that it’s hard to ignore once you see the light. There’s a good chance that this article will make you question whether or not you should quit drinking altogether (and I hope it does!).

How Alcohol Affects Your Body Timeline: The Health Benefits of Quitting Alcohol
Photo by Jarritos Mexican Soda on Unsplash

If you’re going to quit alcohol, you should know what to expect.

Alcoholism (or alcohol use disorder) is an illness, a chronic condition, and a progressive disease. It’s also a relapsing disease, and a chronic relapsing one at that—one in which your brain chemistry will try to trick you into drinking again and again over time.

For example, when people think about cutting back on caffeine, they tend to see it as an easy decision. But for those who have suffered from the persistent temptation of alcohol (or other drugs), the decision isn’t nearly so clear-cut or simple.

Alcohol detox can be uncomfortable and even dangerous, which is why it’s important to know what can happen if you quit drinking and how long it will take your body to detox.

Quitting alcohol is a big deal. It can be uncomfortable, even dangerous. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, headaches, and tremors.

Many people who have been drinking for years, especially those who have been drinking heavily, may experience some serious withdrawal symptoms when they quit drinking. Some of the symptoms, like seizures, are life-threatening.

Alcohol detox symptoms can include:

  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tremors or shaking in hands or legs
  • Insomnia or inability to sleep
  • Depression and feelings of worthlessness
  • Fever and chills
  • Sweating, especially at night
Dara Laine Murray

Multi-passionate sobriety writer on Medium. Day job: Director of Research at a nonprofit. Stories = sober + stats. Editor: