Alcohol consumption is responsible for fatalities and monetary damage in the economy. You might be shocked to find out the benefits of not drinking alcohol and how it can improve your life. After years of misusing the substance, quitting will allow your body to start reversing the effects of excessive drinking, leading you to feel better overall.
One of the primary symptoms of alcohol use disorder is giving up the hobbies and social activities you once enjoyed to focus on drinking. By leading a sober life, you’ll have the time to start rediscovering yourself and your passions and building an exciting new life.
Health Risks of Drinking Heavily
Drinking heavily can cause a significant toll on your mental and physical health. It can also cause strained relationships and financial issues, which could cause long-term problems that you can’t resolve. The sooner you abstain from the alcohol, the sooner you can work on the damage heavy drinking has caused in your life. Some of the health risks include:
- Alcohol hepatitis
- Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat)
- Digestive issues
- Sexually transmitted disease (STD)
- High blood pressure
- Hearing loss
Some of the damage caused to your brain, cardiovascular system, liver, and gut from drinking will slowly heal once you stop drinking and enter recovery from an alcohol problem.
As the alcohol slowly leaves your system and you start establishing healthier habits, you will start feeling better. In some cases, better than you have in years, especially when you get past the initial discomfort you’ll experience because of alcohol withdrawal. Once you pass this stage, you’ll notice improvements in your mental and physical health.
Health Benefits of Alcohol Recovery
Fortunately, there are various benefits of recovery from alcohol use disorder that will help you establish a healthier lifestyle. Although it may not be seen immediately, the following will be noticed shortly after you abstain from drinking.
Have you heard the phrase “alcoholic face?” It refers to the adverse effects alcohol abuse has on your skin. Alcohol is dehydrating, and it can wreak havoc on your skin, including the following:
- Broken capillaries on your nose and face
- Jaundice (with chronic or long-term abuse
- Reduced collagen levels (resulting in loose or saggy skin)
Heavy alcohol abuse is also linked to the inflammatory disease psoriasis. After you stop drinking, you slowly restore elasticity to the skin, and the yellowing of the skin and redness around the eyes will slowly disappear.
Poor sleep and alcohol-abuse are tied together because alcohol interferes with your sleep-wake cycles. It causes you to have a more difficult time falling asleep and staying asleep through the night. Alcohol also causes you to relax the muscles in your throat, causing you to be more prone to snoring and sleep apnea.
Although you can’t expect your sleep cycles to return to normal immediately after abstaining from alcohol, the longer you stop drinking and learn better sleep habits, the more noticeable the improvements in your sleep quality.
Alcohol derails your metabolism and robs it of essential nutrients. In addition, alcohol is filled with empty calories andsugar. Even for someone who doesn’t drink in excess, one night of binge drinking can easily cause you to consume 600 calories or more in a night.
The National Institute on Alcoholism and Abuse (NIAAA) defines binge drinking as a pattern of alcohol consumption that causes blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dLi in about two hours. This usually occurs after four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men.
A significant portion of alcohol recovery is not just learning to quit drinking but learning how to foster a healthier lifestyle, including exercise and proper nutrition. Although everybody differs in their recovery, regaining a healthy weight should be a realistic goal for many of those who stay sober over the long-term.
Increased Mental Health
There is a high rate of comorbidity between mental illness and addiction, including anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia. An estimated 9.2 million adults in the United States experienced both a substance use disorder and mental illness in 2018. According to the National Survey on Drug Use (NSDUH), nearly 60 percent received no treatment.
Although scientists haven’t determined the link, we know that people turn to alcohol and illicit substances to self-medicate and numb their symptoms from mental illness. Unfortunately, alcohol exacerbates mental illness, so when you stop drinking, you’ll notice you feel better.
Alcohol interferes with the immune system and prevents it from producing white blood cells to fend off bacteria and germs, which is why long-term drinkers struggle with tuberculosis and pneumonia. Once you stop drinking, your body will fight off colds and illnesses you might have been unable to ward off due to drinking in the past.
Drinking causes a depletion of essential nutrients, and many of those with alcohol use disorder “drink” their meals and eat less than they need. Alcohol itself can also interfere with the nutrition process and affect storage, digestion, utilization, and excretion of nutrients. Many chronic drinkers become malnourished as a result. When you focus on a healthier life and stop drinking, your body can absorb these important nutrients.
Lower Cancer Risk
The more alcohol you consume, the greater your chances are of developing some types of cancer. Since alcohol is a carcinogen, it has significant impacts on your body and can cause the following:
- Liver cancer
- Breast cancer
- Rectal and colon cancer
- Oral cancer
- Laryngeal cancer
- Throat cancer
- Esophageal cancer
Reduced Cardiovascular Risk
If you stop drinking alcohol, your heart will surely be an organ that says thank you. Heavy drinkers are twice as likely to have a cardiovascular event within 24 hours and nearly six times more likely within a week than someone who doesn’t drink. Alcohol misuse is linked to the following heart problems:
- Heart failure
- Atrial fibrillation
- Hemorrhagic stroke
- Myocardial infarction
- Ischemic stroke
Conclusion of Benefits
The above-mentioned benefits are just the beginning. The longer you abstain from alcohol, the more positive health improvements you’ll begin to experience, including better changes in your relationships, job or schoolwork, overall health, finances, and much more.
Remember to have patience when you stop drinking. It’s going to be challenging at the start but will become easier over time. If you feel that you can’t do it alone, reach out for help from a professional facility to overcome your alcohol habits or dependence.