The Benefits of Giving Up Drinking
Slurred speech, short-term memory lapses, stomach distress, extreme fatigue – these ailments relate to the same cause. Although not exclusive to alcohol abuse, these symptoms are among the effects of heavy, habitual drinking on the body. How can addicted alcohol users rid themselves of these ills? Cleanse the system by giving up drinking. Does this really work? Let’s see what the experts say.
The Upside of Quitting Drinking
First, it’s important to note that, for those struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD), quitting is not a simple task. It likely requires formal treatment with strong supports. It can be done. Commitment to this goal with the right structure in place will get users to the other side. It’s a land of benefits – many benefits.
Just how many depends on the starting point. Those who drink heavily likely will notice greater changes when they give up drinking. Take the case of those who pass on alcohol for Dry January. Moderate drinkers may notice small differences. But excessive users who embrace sobriety for the month “can reap changes.”
The Benefits of Giving Up Drinking
What can you expect when you stop drinking? Dry January has served as a source of measuring how the body responds. The chief medical officer at American Addiction Centers offers insight. In fact, his Dry January comment is based on an even shorter burst of time. “Eliminating alcohol for just one week can result in improved mental acuity – the ability to problem solve, make better decisions, learn, concentrate and even be creative.”
Others have weighed in on this. “Here’s What Happens To Your Body After Just One Week of Dry January” agrees that reactions differ. Some refraining from alcohol may experience positive changes in their body right away. However, the president of the NIH – National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism – sums it up. “One week is a very short time period… You shouldn’t expect to feel completely different in your first week abstaining from alcohol.”
What are some of the longer term effects of sobriety?
- Improved sleep – although considered by some as a means to relax, alcohol actually interferes with sleep. It disrupts and shortens the REM Alcohol also may trigger sleep apnea. Cutting off alcohol consumption bolsters the quality of sleep.
- Better looking skin – going without alcohol puts people on the path to reversing the effects of “alcoholic face.” Over time, skin will regain elasticity. Discoloration around the eyes also will fade.
- Weight loss – alcohol contains empty calories and lots of sugar. It also negatively affects metabolism and causes inflammation. Giving up alcohol is a way to lose the bloat, improve digestion and watch the pounds disappear.
- Stronger immunity – alcohol decreases the production of white blood cells to ward off disease. When you stop the flow of alcohol into your system, you increase the body’s capacity to fight germs.
- Less moodiness – alcohol is a depressant. It may trigger anxiety and depression. Eliminating it promotes more peaceful sleep, as noted, and helps regulate your mood throughout the day.
- Enhanced nutrition – instead of consuming food, heavy drinkers fill up on alcohol. They do not get needed nutrients and incur digestive problems. Saying no to alcohol is the path to better eating habits and, in turn, health.
- Improved liver function – this vital organ regulates chemicals in the blood, helps metabolize substances and sweeps away waste, Heavy alcohol use may damage it. Quitting lets the liver heal, which it may be able to do on its own.
- Healthier heart – heavy alcohol use may increase blood pressure and the level of triglycerides in the blood. Going alcohol free cuts the risk of heart failure.