Alcohol is attributed to over 200 diseases and conditions, and although the saying goes, “everything is good in moderation,” abstaining from alcohol can radically change your life for the better.
The average American drinks around 1.35 alcoholic beverages per day, and although that may not sound like a lot, it equates to 9.5 drinks a week. What starts as casual drinking, can easily turn into a habit, especially with stress and peer pressure thrown into the mix.
Your daily average consumption could be creeping higher without realizing it as it becomes a habit to reach for another beer, or glass of wine.
Alcohol abstinence can help you regain control of your life. Quitting drinking altogether can be challenging, especially if you’ve become reliant on alcohol; however, you’ll reap the rewards with the numerous health benefits it brings.
In this article, we tell you all the reasons why you should stop drinking alcohol. Read on to find out all the ways quitting alcohol can change your life.
What Is Alcohol Use Disorder?
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a medical condition that’s characterized by the inability to control alcohol use. It’s when your consumption of alcohol begins to impact your life socially, occupationally, or your health.
AUD can encompass alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, alcohol addiction, and the general term, alcoholism. It’s divided into three categories: mild, moderate, and severe.
Alcohol abuse can have lasting impacts on your health. However, by abstaining from alcohol, you can combat most of these side effects and make positive changes to your life.
Negative Impacts of Heavy Drinking
Before we go into the benefits of quitting alcohol, it’s useful to understand the risks of heavy drinking. Heavy alcohol consumption can take a major toll on various aspects of your health. Some of the main negative impacts are listed below.
- Injuries, such as falls, burns, and motor vehicle crashes
- Increased violence
- Alcohol poisoning
- Risky sexual behaviors, including greater chances of having unprotected sex
- Problems with pregnancy
- Higher blood pressure can lead to heart or liver disease, strokes, and digestive problems
- Increases your risk of cancers
- Reduced effectiveness of the immune system
- Memory problems and lack of focus
- Increase in mental health problems such as depression and anxiety
- Life problems, including social and family problems and job-related issues
What Is a Standard Drink?
In the US, a standard drink contains 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol. This is equivalent to 14.0 grams or 1.2 tablespoons. Typically, this amount of pure alcohol is found in the following:
- 12 ounces of beer (with a 5% alcohol content)
- 8 ounces of malt liquor (with a 7% alcohol content)
- 5 ounces of wine (with 12% alcohol content)
- 1.5-ounces of 80-proof spirits or liquor (with 40% alcohol content)
What Is Excessive Drinking?
Excessive drinking differs from person to person, but also will vary depending on your body size. However, the guidelines are as follows for binge drinking and heavy drinking.
- Binge drinking for women equates to 4 or more drinks during a single occasion
- Binge drinking for men equates to 5 or more drinks during a single occasion
- Heavy drinking for women is equivalent to 8 or more drinks per week
- Heavy drinking for men equates to 15 or more drinks per week
The Benefits of Alcohol Abstinence
The positive news is that research shows that some of the damage caused by alcohol abuse is reversible. Damage caused to your liver, brain, gut, and cardiovascular system will slowly heal when you stop drinking, as well as improvements to your overall physical and mental health.
Improved Skin Condition
Alcohol can hurt your skin, causing broken capillaries on the face and nose, inflammation, and sagging skin due to reduces collagen levels.
When you stop drinking, your body adapts and gradually begins to restore your skin’s elasticity. Your skin will also look clearer, and any redness and yellowing around the eyes will slowly start to fade.
Alcohol interferes with your sleep-wake cycle, which makes it difficult to fall and stay asleep. Also, alcohol relaxes the muscles in your throat, which can make you more prone to sleep apnea and snoring.
By abstaining from alcohol, over time, you’ll notice an improvement in your sleep quality.
This is twofold. For a start, alcohol robs your body of nutrients by playing havoc with your metabolism. Secondly, alcohol is also filled with sugar, which is empty calories.
If you’re a binge drinker, you can easily consume over 600 calories hidden in alcoholic beverages in one night.
When you cut out alcohol, you’ll see improvements in your metabolism, as well as naturally cutting out excess calories helping you to maintain a healthy weight.
Better Mental Health
There’s a clear link between excessive alcohol consumption and mental illnesses including depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. This is because alcohol exacerbates mental illness.
When you quit drinking, you can help reduce these symptoms and as you achieve your sobriety goals, you will begin to notice an improvement in your mental health.
Alcohol has a direct impact on your immune system because it prevents your body from producing enough white blood cells, which are important for fending off germs.
When you stop drinking, you’ll decrease the chances of getting sick.
Lower Risk of Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases
Alcohol is a carcinogen, which means consuming it, especially in excess, can increase your risk of getting cancer.
People who drink heavily are about twice as likely to have cardiovascular relates illnesses, including heart issues.
Quitting alcohol will greatly reduce your chances of getting serious illnesses.
Better Memory and Thinking
The hippocampus is the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning. Drinking excessive alcohol can cause it to shrink.
After abstaining from alcohol, over time your brain will start to recover. You’ll also notice an improvement in your attention and memory skills.
Reach Out for Help Today
If you’re worried about alcohol abuse, then we’re here to help. If you’re looking to start your journey to sobriety, speak to one of our friendly and knowledgeable intake coordinators to discuss how we can help.
At Apex Recovery, we can provide the help and support you need and assist you with the difficult process of alcohol abstinence. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We don’t accept Medi-Cal at this time, but we do accept self-pay options.
Speak to a member of our team today, or send us a confidential email and we will get back to you shortly.