Drinking usually starts with one drink to either wind down or for a myriad of other reasons. However, this pastime can turn into a serious problem fast, especially where alcohol is used to get you through life, as a way of avoiding dealing with life, or as a way of coping with the challenges of life. One of the signs of alcohol use disorder is giving up hobbies, social activities, and the things you love doing to have more time to drink. However, alcohol use disorder can be reversed, albeit with a lot of work and effort. The benefits of quitting alcohol are numerous, and we will look at the most notable ones below. (Source: quitalcohol.com)
One of the main health benefits of quitting alcohol is that your skin will start looking better. Alcohol causes dehydration, especially in people who have more than a few drinks regularly. Dehydration causes the skin to lose its elasticity, and this causes the skin to look dry and leathery. Other negative side effects of alcohol on your skin include inflammation, low collagen levels resulting in loose, saggy skin, broken capillaries, and jaundice where there is chronic, long-term alcohol misuse.
When you quit drinking, the redness and yellowing of the skin gradually fade away and your skin gets its elasticity back.
Get Better Sleep
Alcohol is a depressant, and this is why people who drink feel drowsy. This drowsiness occurs alongside reduced motor and mental functions, and this is why drinking under the influence is illegal. While some people report getting better sleep if they drink a little alcohol, alcohol should not be used to induce sleep.
Heavy drinking can lower the quality of sleep a drinker gets. This is because alcohol interrupts the REM cycle and causes disruptions during sleep. The result is a vicious cycle where one has a few drinks to fall asleep, they end up not getting enough sleep, and so they are tired the following day. They then use stimulants such as caffeine to stay awake and cannot fall asleep due to the stimulant in their system. Then they drink again to fall asleep, and the cycle continues.
When you quit alcohol, your body starts relearning how to fall asleep without relying on a depressant. Although there will be some adjustment period during recovery, you should see improvements in the quality of your sleep after a short while.
Alcohol can disrupt the absorption of nutrients into your body as well as derail your metabolism. This is the reason why a lot of heavy drinkers might eat the right foods but still end up malnourished.
Also, alcohol contains a lot of empty calories and sugars. The empty calories do not have any nutritional value. However, the body still stores them as sugars, which are later converted into fat.
Alcohol recovery often involves living a healthier life through exercise and proper nutrition. When you quit alcohol, you should find it easier to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.
Mental Health Benefits
There is a recognized link between alcohol and mental illnesses including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. Research has also proven that while we might not know the exact link between alcohol and mental illnesses, a lot of people who suffer from mental illnesses use alcohol to cope and self-medicate. This can make their mental illness worse and reducing alcohol intake or quitting altogether can help reduce these symptoms.
Excessive drinking can also lead to feelings of guilt, anxiety, and regret, especially in people who know they should not be drinking. This can weigh heavily on them and cause them to make poor decisions or turn to alcohol to deal with all these issues, which starts a vicious cycle.
Quitting alcohol does lead to increases in self-respect and self-confidence and can help with depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses.
Lower Risk of Cancer
Alcohol is carcinogenic and excessive drinking increases the risk of certain types of cancers including breast cancer, liver cancer, throat cancer, laryngeal cancer, colon cancer, and oral cancer.
Improved Financial Well-being
Heavy drinkers and those who have alcohol use disorder often spend a significant portion of the money they earn on alcohol. This could leave them with not enough money to take care of their needs, including having adequate living conditions or adequate food.
Many people who have quit alcohol say they have been able to set aside the money they would have used on alcohol for something significant. That may be getting better accommodations or setting money aside for a future financial endeavor.
Quitting alcohol has a myriad of mental and physical health benefits. However, it goes beyond that as there are other benefits such as financial ones and the ability to restore relationships that might have been affected by alcohol misuse. Or the fact that you won’t have the need to check all the interactions with the meds you’re taking, such as paracetamol and alcohol. Quitting alcohol can be very challenging, especially for those who have been drinking for a long time. Fortunately, there are a lot of resources where those who want to quit can get the help they need.