The Benefits of Giving up Alcohol
Whether you have a serious problem and need alcohol rehab or are just looking to improve your overall health, there are many benefits to giving up alcohol. While some people don’t drink at all, others indulge in a few drinks for special events and celebrations. Some people binge drink on the weekends and experience hangovers the next day. Others abuse alcohol to the point where giving it up is one of the hardest things they ever do. Either way, a lot of things happen in the body when you quit drinking.
A study conducted by the University of Sussex found that giving up alcohol for as little as one month leads to life improvements and long-lasting benefits. Not only did these findings suggest overall health benefits, but also that not drinking for a month reduced the average person’s number of drinking days over the following year. Here are just a few benefits you can reap from putting the bottle down.
You’ll Save Money
In the previously mentioned study, 88% of people reported that they saved money that would have otherwise been spent on alcohol. Depending on how much you drink and whether or not you have a serious problem with alcohol, the amount of money you will save varies. However, the money you do save can be put away for something you’ve been saving up for. Is your pocket feeling a little light lately? If you spend a lot of money on alcohol, giving it up might benefit your wallet.
Need to Lose Weight? Try Giving up Alcohol
A lot of drinks contain a lot of calories. Even someone who is a moderate drinker may drink between 300-800 calories per day. One study looked at people who gave up alcohol for 30 days and participants saw their blood glucose levels go down nearly 16% – significantly reducing their risk for obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.  Furthermore, the University of Sussex found that 58% of participants lost weight. If you need to cut back on sugar and calories to lose weight, consider giving up booze.
Your Sleep Quality Will Improve
A review looked at 27 sleep studies that all found that alcohol doesn’t improve sleep quality. However, some people feel as though they fall asleep faster after drinking. While you may fall asleep faster, the sleep you’re getting isn’t the quality sleep your body needs to function at its best. Alcohol disrupts REM sleep, the restorative stage of sleep. After drinking, you’ll probably feel drowsy, unable to concentrate, and tired. On the other hand, one benefit of giving up alcohol is that your sleep quality will improve and you’ll have more energy throughout the day.
Giving up Alcohol Will Help You Stay Hydrated
Dehydration is the primary factor responsible for headaches and hangover symptoms after a night of drinking. Furthermore, alcohol is a diuretic, which is why it makes you have to urinate and defecate more. Alcohol depletes the body of oxygen and causes dehydration which has further implications, such as dull and dry skin and dark circles under the eyes. Consequently, giving up alcohol and drinking more water will help you stay hydrated. When you’re hydrated, you can expect to see even more benefits, such as:
- Higher energy levels
- Better brain function
- Fewer headaches
- Reduce constipation
- Improved kidney function
- Promotes weight loss
- Clearer skin
You’ll Improve Your Heart Health
While moderate drinking has some benefits, like raising good cholesterol and preventing blood clots, excessive drinking is dangerous. Heavy alcohol abuse is linked to heart diseases, like cardiomyopathy, and increased blood pressure. Furthermore, alcohol abuse can lead to irregular heart rhythms and even interact with heart medications. If heart disease runs in your family or you’re worried about your blood pressure, giving up alcohol might be beneficial for your heart health.
Your Mood Will Stabilize and Improve
Alcohol use disorder affects people with mental health conditions at staggering rates. Alcohol abuse makes the symptoms of these conditions worse. Similarly, heavy drinking negatively affects the mental health and overall mood of otherwise healthy individuals. Drinking is linked to anxiety, depression, and stress, especially when someone is drinking to cope with negative emotions. Furthermore, alcohol disrupts brain functioning, affecting sleep, memory, and more factors that are linked to mood swings and mood disorders. If you’ve been battling depression or anxiety lately, giving up alcohol might benefit your mental health.
Improve Your Athletic Performance by Giving up Alcohol
First, poor sleep quality, dehydration, and alcohol in general negatively affect athletic performance. Excessive drinking even leads to poor motor skills, increased muscle recovery time, and problems with nutrition.  When athletes drink a lot, they may not be able to perform at their best and take longer to gain muscle and strength. In addition, many athletes find that they experience reduced stamina due to alcohol consumption. Whether you are are an athlete or someone who wants to get in better shape, giving up drinking is something to consider.
Reduce Your Risk of Cancer
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that “drinking alcohol raises the risk of some cancers…of the mouth and throat, larynx (voice box), esophagus, colon and rectum, liver, and breast (in women).” They suggest that the less you drink, the lower your risk of cancer becomes. In fact, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests that if you must drink, limit your drinking to one drink per day for women and two for men. If you have a family history of cancer or are in remission yourself, it’s best to stay away from drinking completely.
Need Help Giving Up Alcohol? Let us Help.
If you want to benefit from giving up alcohol but aren’t able to stop on your own, know that you’re not alone. In fact, millions of Americans suffer from alcohol use disorder. Fortunately, many have stayed sober with the help of alcohol rehab programs. If you’re ready to quit drinking, call us today.
Medically Reviewed: March 13, 2020
Medical Reviewer | CWC Recovery Staff
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.