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Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Health Benefits that Come With Stopping Alcohol

While the personal and social impacts of alcoholism are well-documented, even light or casual drinking carries a number of risks. For some people, drinking is more than just a recreational activity. Drinking can lead to addiction. Even if alcohol use does not rise to that level, it can still have a number of negative effects on the average person. 

    Moderate drinking is defined as one drink per day for women and two daily for men. Just eight drinks inside a seven-day period for women and 15 drinks per week for men is considered heavy drinking. 

    Alcohol consumers often underestimate the level of their own drinking. Keep in mind that a drink of alcohol is defined differently depending on the drink. 

    One serving of alcohol breaks down as the following: 
    • Twelve ounces of beer 
    • Eight ounces of malt liquor 
    • One shot of liquor, equivalent to one and a half ounces 
    • Five ounces of wine 
    Sobriety immediately affects the quality of daily life. The consequences of heavy drinking can extend well into the next day. A hangover causes nausea, vomiting, increased headaches, dizziness, and disorientation. Eliminating alcohol benefits your life now and far into the future. 

    Save Money

    No matter how much or how little you drink, alcohol is expensive. Even for those who drink at home, the cost of drinking increases each year. A bottle of wine shared between two people can cost as much as an entrĂ©e at a nice restaurant, and each person can count on just two glasses from the entire bottle. 

    Social drinking costs even more. In many places, a single beer or glass of wine can cost as much as an entire container at a liquor store. The decision to stop drinking directly impacts the pocketbook for the better. 

    Regret Nothing

    Alcohol is known culturally to lower inhibitions and remove social filters. For anyone who has dealt with regrets the day after a bender, giving up alcohol can reduce the need to apologize for bad behavior. No more drinking may also be the first step in repairing strained family relationships.

    Heavy alcohol use increases the risks of risky behavior in men and women. Drinking might lower sound judgment and leave you at greater risk for sexually transmitted diseases. Poor judgment may also lead to bad decisions that harm other people, like getting behind the wheel of a car while impaired. 

    Watch the Video

    Thin Your Waistline and Look Younger

    Alcohol consumption in any amount does no favors for the waistline. Even a small amount of beer or wine can carry hundreds of calories. Go for a mixed drink or a cocktail and the calorie count skyrockets. Giving up alcohol is an easy way to cut back on calories and begin losing weight.

    Alcohol increases the amount of estrogen in the body, which can lead to higher amounts of belly fat. Women especially may benefit from no longer drinking.

    There is nothing necessarily nutritious in alcohol, and drinking can prevent your body from absorbing the nutrients it needs. Alcohol has long been known as a source of empty calories. In fact, giving up alcohol means the body will better absorb zinc, folic acid, vitamin C, thiamine, and vitamin B12.

    As a depressant, a sluggish metabolism is one side effect of heavy drinking. Giving it up can not only drastically reduce caloric intake but it can increase the body’s ability to burn calories in general.

    Drinking will increase the effects of aging, and there is science behind it. Alcohol causes dehydration, which can dry out the skin causing a red, blotchy appearance. Fine lines and wrinkles flourish in dry skin condition. Drinking can leave the skin looking pale, sallow, and dull.

    Lower Cancer Risk

    Overwhelming evidence correlates alcohol consumption and the elevated risk of cancer. Even moderate drinking increases the risk of a variety of cancers for both men and women. For women, drinking just two drinks each day increases cancer risk by twenty percent. For men, three or more drinks each day increases the overall risk of dying of cancer by more than forty percent.

    According to the National Cancer Institute, alcohol consumption increases the risk of a list of cancers. Liver cancer has long been associated with heavy drinking. Drinking causes an increased risk of other cancers as well, including breast cancer and colorectal cancer. Breast cancer risk jumps with even light drinking. The heavier the individual drinking habit, the higher that risk increases.

    Alcohol consumption at any level increases the risk of esophageal cancer. Heavy drinking raises the risk by as much as five times the normal risk. Heavy drinkers are also at higher risk for cancers of the head and neck. Add tobacco use to heavy drinking and the risk increases even more.

    Benefit Your Overall Health

    No matter how prevalent the use of alcohol is in modern culture, the benefits of not drinking might be enough to give it up altogether. Abstaining from alcohol immediately boosts health. Long-term health benefits cannot be overstated.

    Cancer is not the only health risk of drinking alcohol. Long-term alcohol use is tied to the risks of dementia later in life. Alcohol use also increases the risks of diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart disease, stroke, and dozens of other diseases. 

    Alcohol impairs fertility and sexual health. Giving up alcohol actually improves many body functions including the immune system. Fertility can increase and sexual function can improve after you stop drinking. 

    Improve Your Mental Health

    Alcohol is a depressant and may increase the effects of depression. Brain function is negatively affected by drinking large amounts of alcohol. Suicide rates, mood swings, personality changes, and sleep patterns are also adversely affected by drinking. Total abstinence from alcohol can have an almost immediate positive effect on mental health and well-being. 

    Whether you are a social drinker or a regular all-night consumer, alcohol consumption is part of the social fabric. Early on we learn the risks of drinking and driving, but the negatives of giving up the booze altogether may outweigh the risks.

    To learn more about alcohol addiction and treatment options, please have a look at The Recovery Village.

    Author: Peter Lang

    Peter Lang is a freelance writer from Atlanta, Georgia. In recovery himself, he is passionate about helping others who struggle with alcohol and drug addiction.

    That's all for today!
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