Discover ten health benefits to quitting drinking. You can also improve your overall health by reducing alcohol consumption.
Alcohol is an important part of our culture. The social pressure to drink alcohol is at an all-time-high. From phrases such as “it’s five o’clock someplace” to cocktail events related to work, it feels like the pressure has never been higher. It’s easy to believe that a few drinks are not a problem or that drinking to maintain your social or workplace role is necessary.
There are many health benefits to quitting drinking. Media campaigns have been launched by health experts to encourage us not to drink. Dry January is one of the most popular campaigns.
Alcohol Change UK launched the Dry January campaign in 2012. Participants commit to abstaining from alcohol for 31 days. In 2013, only 4,000 people pledged to abstain from alcohol. By 2021, the number of participants will reach over 6.5 millions. Some participants, including celebrities, have spoken out about the benefits that come with taking a one-month break from Fort Worth recovery . Many participants have continued to abstain from alcohol long after the month was over.
The body is made up of a web of organs and systems that are designed to work together. To be healthy, all of your systems and organs must function at their best. Alcohol can cause problems in many areas of the body when it damages one area. The reverse is also true. If you remove alcohol from one part, the other parts often improve.
- Improved Mental Health
In our culture, alcohol is seen as a way to relieve stress and anxiety. You may initially feel relaxed, but over time you will develop a greater tolerance. The same effect is achieved by drinking more alcohol. Alcohol is often used to treat chronic mental conditions like depression and anxiety. Alcohol consumption can interfere with treatments for mental health conditions. This makes it harder to manage symptoms.
According to a recent study conducted by the University of Hong Kong, women’s mental health improved when they quit drinking. You can look back at the reasons why you started drinking and develop better ways to deal with stress. You may find that you’re calmer, less irritable and more able to deal with family conflicts or mental health problems after you stop drinking.
- Better Sleep
It may seem that drinking alcohol before going to bed will help you sleep. Alcohol tends to make you drowsy. According to the Sleep Foundation it is common for someone drinking alcohol to initially feel drowsy, but become fully awake after a few minutes. Alcohol rehab Fort Worth, the most important part of sleep. You may feel groggy if your sleep cycle is disturbed. Sleep problems can be a problem for daily drinkers. Over time, this poor sleep quality can lead to physical and mental health issues. When you decide to stop drinking, you will notice that you sleep better.
- Healthier Weight
There is some truth in the jokes about “beer bellies.” Alcoholic drinks often contain high levels of empty calorie. This extra calorie will be burnt first, which delays the process of losing excess fat. Malnutrition is also associated to alcohol use because frequent drinkers lack essential nutrients.
You may notice a weight loss as soon as you stop drinking alcohol. This is because you are not consuming calories from alcohol or the fats associated with drinking. Alcohol can interfere with your metabolism. Eliminating it from your diet will help you lose weight faster.
- A Healthier Brain
Alcohol has a number of effects on our brain. Neurotransmitters and neurons are the control pathways of all major bodily functions such as breathing and speaking. Alcohol can slow down this communication. damages the prefrontal cortex, which can also affect your memory retrieval. This damage can cause multiple issues such as decreased brain cell numbers, depression, mood swings, poor sleep, and alcohol dependency.
Some alcohol-related damage to the brain is not curable, but small areas of the brain may heal after someone stops drinking. Dopamine is released by the brain when we drink alcohol or take other drugs. This chemical makes us feel happy. We often associate drinking with enjoyment because of this. After you stop drinking alcohol, your body may adjust to a lower dopamine level. This can lead to an increase in cravings. This lower level can also indicate underlying mental issues like depression or anxiety. It is particularly true if alcohol has been used to avoid or manage uncomfortable emotions. Although it can take a while for the dopamine to recover, you may notice a more stable mood and an improved ability in managing emotions.
- A Stronger Immune System
Alcohol can weaken the immune system and make it difficult for the body’s white blood cells to be produced to fight bacteria and other illnesses. Heavy drinkers are at greater risk of developing infectious diseases like tuberculosis and pneumonia. Even one drinking episode can cause the body to be infected up to 24-hour later.
The immune system was designed to bounce back. The body will begin producing more white blood cells as soon as a person quits drinking. The body can then fight all kinds of illnesses including colds, flu, and infections.
- A Healthier Liver
The liver weighs 3.3 pounds and is considered to be the most active organ in the body. One of its many functions is to filter harmful particles out of the bloodstream. Alcohol and its toxins, as well as bacteria, fungi, food additives, and alcohol itself, are all included. Alcohol use over time can cause liver toxicity and fat accumulation, leading to Steatosis or “fatty liver”.
A study by Merck manuals found that liver damage could begin to heal as soon as 24 hours following a person’s stop drinking. In some cases, the damage may be fully healed in six weeks. The degree to which the damage can be reversed is dependent on many factors. The extent of the damage and other factors, such as obesity, are important to consider. The liver damage may be permanent but you can prevent further liver damage by not drinking alcohol.
- A Stronger Heart
Regularly drinking large amounts of alcohol or even a small amount on one occasion can weaken the muscles in your heart. This can cause strokes, hypertension and heart arrhythmias. You are more likely to suffer a cardiac event if you drink alcohol heavily. Heavy drinkers have twice the risk of having a cardiovascular incident within 24 hours and six times higher chances within a week compared to non-drinkers.
Recent evidence raises doubts about the validity of this claim. We now know the risks of alcohol consumption are serious, and that the best way for you to reduce them is to quit drinking. You can prevent heart attacks and improve your cardiovascular system by avoiding excessive alcohol consumption.
- Reduced Cancer Risk
Alcohol consumption increases your risk of certain types of Cancer such as head and neck, breast, liver and colorectal. Many experts have speculated on the reasons for this, but most believe that alcohol damages antibodies that protect us from cancer cells.
According to the American Journal of Public Health, alcohol is responsible for 3.5% of all cancer deaths in America. This amounts to about 20,000 cancer related deaths per year. They recommend that people reduce their alcohol intake as a way of preventing cancer. It may take the body years to lower a person’s cancer risk but it’s still important to stop drinking alcohol.
- Improved Digestion
Alcohol consumption is strongly linked to digestive health. Alcohol can inhibit vitamin and nutrition absorption and cause chronic diarrhea and nausea in those who consume alcohol excessively. Alcohol can cause stomach inflammation which may result in heartburn or acid reflux.
Once alcohol is stopped, your stomach can quickly heal. You may notice an improvement in your digestive health within a few short weeks. This includes a decrease in acid reflux and heartburn, as well as a reduction of stomach ulcers.
- Memory and cognitive function improved
Alcohol consumption, especially moderate to heavy drinking, is associated with shrinkage of the brain. Alcohol can make it hard for the brain’s short-term memories to be transferred to long-term. Memory impairments can be seen after a few drinks and increase as alcohol consumption increases.
According to the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse heavy drinkers may need to wait several months to see a partial correction in structural brain changes caused by drinking. The addition of alcohol to the brain may cause cognitive symptoms. However, by removing this additional impact on the brain, people can find relief.
You are in control of your health
These ten benefits are not the only ones that you can reap from quitting alcohol, and especially binge-drinking. Although some damage is irreversible in certain cases, the body can still repair itself up to a certain extent. Abstaining alcohol will help prevent further damage.
If you’re a heavy alcohol drinker, your body may initially go into shock if you suddenly stop drinking alcohol. This can cause alcohol withdrawal symptoms. The body is adjusting its processes in order to cope with the increased alcohol consumption. This withdrawal period happens because it has become dependent on alcohol’s chemicals. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are dangerous for heavy drinkers, so it is not recommended that you detox at home.
Find Help to Quit Alcoholism
Please contact us if you or someone close to you is struggling with alcohol abuse and needs help. We are happy to discuss alcohol withdrawal with you as well as treatment options and programs for chronic alcohol abuse.