Young man with headache sickness alcohol

Winter and spring bugs make it feel like we are always sick, but could alcohol worsen your bouts of sickness?

Despite many traditions and ideas about alcohol helping with illnesses, there are plenty of reasons to stop drinking for your health. 

Why do I get sick when I stop drinking?

One of the oddest experiences heavy drinkers can have is rather than feeling healthier and less sick when they stop drinking. It temporarily gets worse. Being ill and symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, exhaustion, anxiety, and sweating are signs that your body has become so used to alcohol that it depends on it. 

The more you drink, the more it changes your body. Not just temporarily when you are drinking but long-term. This can be anything from compensating for real relaxation and happiness to drinking alcohol instead of having nutritious food.

Drinking too much often means neglecting our bodies. We eat less healthy food. Sleep isn’t as good quality, not to mention the stress on our liver and brain. Alcohol changes the balance of your brain chemistry and causes temporary and long-term damage to the liver. 

If you need help cutting down or stopping drinking, Desistal can help with cravings and improve your mood and health.

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Does Alcohol Help a Cold?

One of the most common ‘old wives’ tales’ about alcohol and feeling sick is that a small amount of alcohol helps a cold. 

This idea developed before modern cold medicine; the only painkiller readily available was alcohol. A drink may temporarily ease the symptoms of a cold and gives the impression it is making you better. 

Unfortunately, despite the temporary relief, you are far better off taking cold medicines such as paracetamol and decongestants than drinking. Alcohol causes dehydration, consumes energy to process the toxic elements it contains and makes headaches and nausea worse. 

Alcohol makes everything better until it makes everything worse.

Caroline Knapp

Why can’t I drink alcohol anymore without feeling sick?

There are many reasons why someone who previously could drink heavily may be experiencing more and more symptoms and problems. 

  • Age – the older we are, the harder it is for our body to repair the damage. NAD levels in our body drop, and we cannot metabolize alcohol as well as when we are younger.
  • Increased tolerance – the more we drink, the less it affects us. People often keep drinking increasing amounts to get the same feeling. This means the amount of alcohol can become more than your stomach and immune system can cope with.
  • Allergy or intolerance to alcohol – contrary to what many believe, we can develop allergies and intolerances to ethanol. These can make you feel extremely ill immediately after or the next day.
  • Binge drinking – is one of the toughest ways of drinking on your body binging means drinking large amounts between bouts of sobriety or moderate drinking. This leaves your body unprepared, resulting in sickness and discomfort.
  • Withdrawal – heavy drinkers may experience withdrawal symptoms the next day when they stop drinking. This is more than a hangover symptom and includes: insomnia, shaking, vomiting, fever, chronic fatigue, and low mood.
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What can I do about alcohol and sickness?

Stop drinking when you are sick

The first and most important is to stop drinking when you are sick. Medical advice is that consuming any alcohol while unwell is likely to make your condition worse. 

On top of this, being unable to stop drinking even though it is making you sick is a sign you are becoming dependent on alcohol. 

Stop or cut down on drinking in general

If most people knew the extent of what alcohol does to our bodies, they would think twice before picking up a glass. 

If you find you are getting sick often or feeling generally unwell, drinking alcohol could be to blame. The process of getting alcohol out of your body uses up vital energy and vitamins you need to feel well and fight off sickness and infections. 

Focusing on your health and general well-being with a good diet, vitamins, and exercise can boost your immune system.

Getting sick when you stop drinking?

Your body may also be withdrawing from alcohol if you are binging and stopping regularly. 

Supplements and vitamins for recovering alcoholics can help those drinking too much, even if they aren’t suffering from an addiction. 

Replacing vital components in your system can alleviate symptoms and help your body to fight sickness. 

The most important factor in recovering from illnesses caused by this problem is to cut down on or stop drinking alcohol. If you don’t moderate your alcohol intake, you will continue to struggle with sickness due to a weak immune system and low energy. 

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