Alcohol can provide immediate satisfaction. For many people, alcohol is an important part of socializing. Be it at a bar, a restaurant, or a gathering with friends; it’s not hard to find alcohol flowing.
It’s often seen as a way to loosen up and enjoy yourself when at a party. Alcohol can make your problems feel a little further away, giving you a way to cope when life feels out of control.
However, alcohol only provides short-lived benefits, and the effects that kick in the next day are much longer-lasting. The health benefits of quitting alcohol far outweigh developing alcohol dependence.
Here are seven major health benefits that could get you to quit alcohol.
1Improved Mental Health
Many people use alcohol to escape issues they may be having in their lives. Unfortunately, mixing alcohol with mental health issues may make those issues worse.
For others, alcohol may also be the reason you’re experiencing mental health issues. It’s a hard situation to discern because both are plausible and common.
The best way to know if alcohol contributes to your mental health issues like anxiety and depression is to live life without alcohol. Your mental health may improve, and you’d know the issues were due to alcohol.
However, if they don’t improve, you can seek help for those mental health issues.
2Increased Heart Health
Many people know that alcohol impacts the liver and can cause liver damage. But alcohol can also impact your heart. After drinking, you may feel that your heart is thumping hard like it’s coming out of your chest.
Drinking heavily can make you susceptible to heart problems such as heart failure. Even those who consume less can still be at risk of developing heart disease.
Cutting your alcohol consumption is much better for your heart health, making staying sober worth it for many people.
3Better Decision Making and Impulse Control
Drinking can impair your decision making and impulse control. This is especially true when your drunk, but with prolonged drinking, these effects can occur when you’re not under the influence of alcohol.
The decisions you make when you’re drunk can have repercussions when you’re sober. If you become more impulsive when drunk, you can do harm to yourself. You may also affect your finances or wellbeing after drinking.
This is because alcohol affects your brain, especially the frontal lobe, where executive decision making occurs. Even after you quit drinking, your frontal lobe will still feel the effects of alcohol.
With some time, your frontal lobe will regenerate. Your ability to make better decisions will return, one of the best reasons to get sober.
4Potential Weight Loss
Losing weight has many of its own health benefits. But if you’re actively trying to lose weight, your drinking habits might be a hindrance to your progress. Alcohol can make you gain weight that’s hard to lose.
Many people are familiar with the term beer belly, referencing how our bodies process alcohol. Alcohol contains empty calories, and your body stores them as sugar. That excess sugar creates stubborn fat in your body.
Similarly, since alcohol impairs your impulse control, many people tend to eat a lot of unhealthy food when they’re drunk. You may not realize how much you’re eating when you’re under the influence.
Drinking less will cut those empty calories from your diet and decrease the impulsive calories you eat while drunk.
5Decrease Cancer Risk
One of the best health benefits of getting sober is lowering your risk of cancer. Overuse of alcohol may not be associated with cancers the way that smoking is.
That may be because many people consider, as mentioned, liver damage the biggest risk. However, liver cancer is considered a part of liver damage. But excess drinking can also put you at risk for developing cancer.
Your mouth, throat, esophagus, voice box, breast, colon, and rectum are all at risk of developing cancer with excess alcohol use.
The more you drink, your body creates acetaldehyde after breaking down alcohol. This can damage your DNA, allowing cancerous cells to grow. Quitting drinking can let your DNA repair itself and lessen your risks of cancer.
It’s no secret that alcohol can change your mood. A few drinks may make you more friendly, more flirty, or more aggressive. Some people may like the way their personality comes out after they’ve been drinking.
However, with heavy drinking, you’re more likely to have negative mood changes. Heavy drinkers and binge drinkers may anger easily, become violent, or perform dangerously impulsive actions.
These mood changes may affect not only you but also your personal relationships. You may physically or emotionally harm those that are close to you.
Your loved ones may distance themselves when you are and aren’t drinking. Losing relationships is one reason many people seek help with alcohol dependency through an outpatient rehab program.
7Better Quality Sleep
You may find after a night of drinking that you go to sleep quickly. Even a glass of wine at dinner makes you feel ready for bed. This is because alcohol is a depressant so that you will fall asleep faster.
But the quality of your sleep when you drink alcohol is much lower. Alcohol increases both delta activity and alpha activity, which prevents your sleep from being restorative.
Alcohol blocks the most restorative sleep type, REM sleep. Excess drinks can interrupt your circadian rhythm. All of these together can make you wake up feeling more tired than when you went to sleep.
Cutting your alcohol consumption can have you waking up feeling more rested and ready for the day.
Major Health Benefits of Quitting Alcohol
There’s no problem with having a few drinks in a social situation or a glass of something with dinner. The problem arises when you misuse alcohol or become dependent on drinking it.
There are more health benefits of quitting alcohol than there are to develop alcohol dependency. If it feels like you need alcohol to function, then seeking help through counseling or rehabilitation can help.
Healthy alcohol consumption should be an added bonus, not something that takes over. Check out more health and wellness articles on our blog.