What does alcohol do to your body?

We all know the feeling of waking up after a long night out, tired, groggy, drained, and, usually, with a raging headache. Most times, however, the side effects of drinking will fade after a few hours, leaving us feeling like we can do it all again. Although we may be feeling better on the surface, the effects of alcohol on our body remain, especially when one continuously drinks in large quantities. Below, we answer some of the most common questions about alcohol’s effect on our body, looking at how a dependency on alcohol can lead to a weakened immune system, organ damage, and serious illness.

Does Alcohol Cause a Puffy Face?

Drinking alcohol often dehydrates your body, and makes areas, such as your face, retain water. When your body is dehydrated, it attempts to hold onto as much water as it can and this results in a puffy face and may cause bloating throughout your body.

How does alcohol affect my skin?

The effects of alcohol consumption on your skin come in two areas: dehydration and inflammation. In the short-run, drinking alcohol can result in puffiness, bloating, and increased redness. Prolonged alcohol consumption can result in more noticeable and lasting effects such as wrinkles and sagging, a result of dehydration and a subsequent loss of elasticity in the skin, acne and rosacea, results of inflammation. According to GP Dr. Clare Morrison, continuously drinking above the recommended amount will show in your skin, especially in your face with “alcohol consumption as the culprit.”

What are the first signs of liver damage from alcohol?

The liver is an organ found above the right side of your abdomen, just below the ribs. It is your liver that breaks down substances (such as alcohol), supports the digestion of fats, stores nutrients, and produces proteins for blood clotting. The consumption of alcohol directly impacts these processes and can result in long-term damage to the liver’s function.

It can be hard to tell what the early signs of liver damage are as there are few initial symptoms. Research from Healthline indicates, however, that certain symptoms may be tied to the development of liver damage. These include discomfort in the right side of your abdomen, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, a loss of appetite, and nausea and vomiting.

How Long Does it Take for Your Liver to Recover From Alcohol?

Even one evening of binge-drinking can damage your liver, with overconsumption resulting in the death of important liver cells. It is possible, however, to take steps to heal your liver and support its health. According to Dr. Kathy Jung, director of the NIAAA Division of Metabolism and Health Effects, and Dr. Hwan Y. Yoo, a liver specialist at The Centre for Liver and Hepatobiliary Diseases, you can help your body recover from a few days of heavy drinking by hydrating yourself, eating protein-focused meals, and fitting exercise into your daily routine. It is not possible to fully reverse the effects of long-term heavy drinking but you can help heal your liver by abstaining from drinking and allowing the liver cells to start regenerating.

Will Stopping Drinking Reduce Belly Fat?

When you decide to stop drinking, your body experiences a variety of changes, primarily positively impacting your health and wellbeing. Whether you are cutting alcohol out for achieving your weight loss goals or not, eliminating alcohol will likely bring your weight down. It may not be belly fat specifically but, by not drinking, you are decreasing your caloric intake. Additionally, studies from the National Library of Medicine indicate that consuming alcohol can halt fat burning processes for 12 to 36 hours depending on the dose and individual. While stopping drinking may not directly result in reduced belly fat, it will help regulate your metabolism and place you in a caloric deficit, aiding overall weight loss.

How Soon Will I Lose Weight After Quitting Alcohol?

Quitting alcohol, especially if you are drinking consistently, will likely result in weight loss. Boozy drinks are high in calories and drinking often goes hand in hand with decreased exercise and junk food cravings. Research from the Mayo Clinic and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has found that once you make the decision to quit alcohol, you may be able to lose up to a pound or two in the first week of not drinking. This level of weight loss is, however, contingent on other factors as well, such as genetics, typical levels of alcohol consumption, how much sleep you get, daily activity, and more. As you stick to not drinking alcohol, you will continue to see the effects of sobriety and will likely experience further weight loss if you also take on regular exercise routines and maintain a healthy diet.

Do you Retain Water When You Stop Drinking?

When drinking, alcohol, as a diuretic, forces your body to expel water at higher rates. This results in greater urges to use the loo and throws your water balance off. When you stop drinking, your body is able to regulate your water levels better and will retain more water, hydrating your body better. Not only will this increased retention make you feel better, but will also make you look better as your skin will take on a hydrated glow.

Do You Urinate More After Quitting Alcohol?

On the contrary, increased urination is a result of alcohol consumption. When you drink alcohol, your body’s regulation of antidiuretic hormones (ADH), the hormones responsible for telling you when to go to the bathroom. Sal Raichbach, Psy.D., LCSW, chief of clinical compliance at Ambrosia Treatment Centre, explains that “Alcohol causes ADH levels to drop, and as a result, the kidneys produce more urine and retain less water.” It is when you quit alcohol that your urination levels are able to revert to a more normal state.

What Happens if You Drink Alcohol Everyday for a Year?

Drinking every day for a year or more, as well as simply drinking everyday for a prolonged period of time will result in long-term damage to your stomach, gut, and liver. The NHS explains that when you drink consistently, and especially if you are doing so in large quantities, you are increasing your risk of cancer, liver disease, heart disease, and stroke. Chronic alcohol abuse will seriously impact many of the different organs in your body, leading to a variety of physical and mental health effects, articulates the Recovery Village, a rehab delivering comprehensive treatment services for substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders Physically, consistent alcohol abuse can lead to Arrhythmias, Cirrhosis (widespread fibrosis), Steatosis (fatty liver disease), Fibrosis (development of scar tissue), stroke, and a weakened immune system. Mentally, it can worsen pre-existing mental health conditions and lead to increased antisocial behaviours, anxiety, cravings, depression, irritability, panic, and sleep disorders.