Understanding The Benefits of Not Drinking Alcohol
As most people know, there are plenty of compelling reasons to abstain from drug use. Not many people would argue the fact that quitting cocaine or heroin completely is a good idea. Alcohol is a trickier issue. Although there are many health risks involved with alcohol use, it is a legal drug, and very much woven into the fabric of daily life.
It is interesting to note that while not everyone who consumes alcohol drinks alcoholically, or would be considered an alcoholic, many people consume a dangerous amount of alcohol every time they drink, and do not know it.
Alcohol causes both short and long term health issues, both physical and mental for those who consume it. This is a well-established fact. It gets confusing though, because there is often conflicting information regarding the risks and even possible benefits of alcohol. Over the years, the concepts of wine and beer as a health food have been introduced, for example.
Another issue that comes up for people who are considering not drinking is how ingrained alcohol is in our social lives. For many, the idea of abstaining from alcohol conjures up images of sitting at home on the weekends with nothing to do, or awkward social situations that are no longer fun. Alcohol is everywhere: Restaurants, work functions, Weddings, barbecues and birthday parties. It is easy to see why people equate alcohol with having fun, and this can make it difficult to give up.
What You Gain when You Don’t Drink
It may be helpful to know that there are very real benefits to be had, both physically and mentally, by abstaining from alcohol. Here are some of the physical benefits:
- A healthier heart. Drinking alcohol puts a burden on your cardiovascular system. Excessive drinking can cause irregular heartbeat, congestive heart failure and overall poor circulation.
- Lowered chance of stroke
- A healthy liver. Heavy or long-term alcohol consumption causes fatty deposits to develop in the liver. Even moderate drinking will affect your liver over time.
- Lowered risk of cancer. Alcohol is a known carcinogen. Women in particular who drink even moderately are at a higher risk for breast cancer.
- Stronger immune system.
- Less weight gain. Regular drinking can cause weight gain. Many people report that stopping drinking enabled them to shed pounds that they couldn’t get rid of before, even with diet and exercise.
The health risks of consuming alcohol are not limited to those who overindulge. Even moderate, regular consumption can have adverse effects on the body, and of course, those who drink addictively are even more at risk.
Other advantages of not drinking include improved sleep. Studies show that even one or two drinks can impair sleep, and if that happens on a regular basis, it can affect your health. Now, let’s move on to the brain and mental health.
How Long Will It Take to Experience the Benefits of Not Drinking Alcohol
The brain and body will require time to heal from the absence of alcohol from your body. Everyone is different and depending on how much alcohol has been consumed and how long you have been drinking will make the recovery process different and unique for each person. It is key to seek a medical and safe detox as there can be dangers when detoxing from alcohol, which includes seizures. Once you are completely detox which can take 7-14 days depending on your unique case, you will start to feel physically better. Your brain and body will take time and usually around 3 months you will start to feel significantly better and at the 6 month mark you will most likely be feeling the best you have physically and mentally in a long time! The key is proper treatment from professionals for your health and mental health during the process as this will help you remain sober from alcohol and avoid relapse.
What are the Benefits for the Mind?
Anyone who has ever had a drink or two knows that alcohol has a pronounced and almost immediate effect on the brain. The pleasant feeling that alcohol gives its users is generally what motivates people to keep drinking. But there is a downside to this as well. Alcohol affects brain chemistry, neurological function and if used excessively, actually shrinks the brain. By not drinking, you can expect better brain function in both the short and long term. Here are the advantages to skipping happy hour:
- Better short-term memory.
- Lower risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Better cognitive function.
- Lowered risk for depression.
Alcohol affects people emotionally, physically and financially. There is much to be gained by abstinence, and nothing to lose.
If you or a loved one is struggling from alcohol addiction and abuse, call to speak to a Treatment Specialist for a free confidential assessment and to review your treatment and detox options at 866-644-7911.