Germans drink almost eleven liters of pure alcohol per capita every year. But what happens in the body when you go without alcohol for a while? Just a few weeks of abstinence has amazing effects.
For many, a beer after work or a glass of wine is part of everyday life. For many people, drinking in company is simply part of it. If you refuse, you will not infrequently be looked at wrongly. But strictly avoiding alcohol for a while or keeping it low is a good idea first.
“Basically, there is no such thing as safe alcohol consumption. Even small amounts of alcohol increase the risk of cell damage to the liver. One thing is certain: the higher the consumption, the more harmful,” explains Georg Poppele, spokesman for the Working Group on Qualified Withdrawal in Internal Medicine of the German Association Internists. Cardiovascular and cancer diseases in particular can be the result.
Do without – but how long?
“Within two months, absolute abstinence can also cause detectable damage to the liver, such as alcohol-related inflammation or fatty liver,” says Poppele. And just two to four weeks of abstinence can help the immune system to recover.
|Time without alcohol||Effects|
|After a day||
up to two weeks
|After a month||
|After a year||
Alcohol consumption that is still acceptable in terms of health 12 grams of pure alcohol per day for women and 24 grams of pure alcohol for men are exceeded by around 13 percent of women and around 16 percent of men.
Calculate the alcohol content of a drink:
The amount of the drink in milliliters (ml)
The alcohol content in percent by volume (% by volume)
The specific gravity of alcohol. This value is 0.8 g / ml.
The formula for the calculation:
Alcohol content (in grams of pure alcohol) = amount of the drink (in ml) x (% by volume / 100) x 0.8
1 Glass of Beer (300 ml, 5 Vol.%):
300 ml x (5/100) x 0.8 = 12 g alcohol
Lose weight during the alcohol break
During alcohol consumption, certain areas of the brain that are responsible for appetite and feeling hungry are activated. We are only too happy to reach into the chip bowl or buy ourselves a kebab before going to bed. The salty snacks that can often be found in bars also make you thirsty again. Refraining from alcohol can also prevent food cravings.
Another reason why many people lose weight during the break is the fact that many drinks – especially sweet cocktails – contain a lot of sugar and are calorie bombs.
Sleep better without alcohol
It’s known to be easier to fall asleep with alcohol, but research has shown that sleep quality is poorer. The restless sleep means that you are not recovered the next morning. For the time being, doing without it can mean that you will fall asleep more difficult. You are used to the effects of the wine or beer in the evening. In return, your sleep will be better overall.
Better skin without alcohol
On the one hand, alcohol removes water from the body, this can make the skin look dry and pale. On the other hand, alcohol can make the face look puffy, for example. This is because a hormone is activated that absorbs water. By doing without, you give the skin a break. It can regulate the moisture balance and recover.
Curb the desire for alcohol
“It is fundamentally difficult to change one’s behavior,” says Michaela Goecke, head of the BZgA’s addiction prevention department. “If you have successfully done without for a while, you can reward yourself, for example with a visit to the cinema.” In order to get a grip on the desire for alcohol, little tricks help: If you take care of a little thing in such a situation or distract yourself, the desire for alcohol often passes quickly.
Alcohol is often a part of social gatherings. So should you stay at home during a drinking break? Social events should not be avoided as a matter of principle. “But you should make your position clear: in the form of a friendly but determined no to alcohol,” says Goecke. “It’s not rude not to drink alcohol.” There are also many non-alcoholic alternatives to the usual drinks.
Do not make up for alcohol twice after the break
However, caution is advised when the alcohol fast is over. “Anyone who proves their ability to abstain for a month and then drinks all the more and makes up for doing without is doing themselves a disservice,” warns Prof. Falk Kiefer. The medical director of the Clinic for Dependent Behavior and Addiction Medicine at the Central Institute for Mental Health in Mannheim advises instead to regularly refrain from alcohol on at least two days a week. This also helps the body in the long term.
Important NOTE: The information is in no way a substitute for professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized doctors. The contents of t-online cannot and must not be used to independently make diagnoses or start treatments.