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10 Health Benefits of Not Drinking Alcohol 

Quitting alcohol can feel impossible, especially if drinking is a daily habit and you’ve been drinking heavily for a long time. Those who wonder how alcohol affects the brain and the physical effects of alcohol will be interested in knowing that quitting alcohol has significant physical, mental, emotional, and financial benefits. It’s worth it to stop.

Understanding the benefits of not drinking alcohol and knowing what happens when you give up drinking can encourage those who have thought about putting down the bottle to stop for good. In addition, learning how to reduce alcohol consumption safely is an incentive for those considering alcoholism treatment

One of the signs and symptoms of alcohol use disorder is giving up the social activities and hobbies you once enjoyed to focus on drinking. A sober life means having more time to rediscover yourself and your passions and build a new, exciting alcohol-free life. The benefits of becoming a teetotaler are too numerous to list, and life without alcohol is a matter of mindset. Unlike many sober individuals who see alcohol as a naughty devil permanently perched on their shoulders, A teetotaler sees alcohol as a moot substance. It’s simply a waste of my time and vital energy.

Benefits of Not Drinking Alcohol
Quitting or cutting back on alcohol, combined with a healthy lifestyle, will greatly reduce your risk of developing a serious disease

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1. Quitting or cutting back on alcohol is better for our brains

It’s not surprising to learn that the classic symptoms of drunkenness – including slurred speech, poor memory, and slower reflexes – result from alcohol’s impact on the mind. Alcohol blocks the chemical signals (neurons) between brain cells. And this, in turn, triggers these common side effects. MRI brain scans show that long-term heavy drinking could shrink the frontal lobes of our brain and impair our thinking skills.

Alcohol-induced dementia, wet brain syndrome, alcoholic neuropathy, alcohol blackout, alcohol-induced psychosis, and alcohol headache are just to name a few terrifying effects of alcohol on the brain. Alcohol is a toxin that affects the brain in numerous ways, especially in chronic drinkers. One way alcohol affects the brain is through brain atrophy.

Reducing your alcohol consumption will profoundly affect your ability to make rational decisions and allow your brain to function in a normal, healthy way. The best treatment for alcohol-related brain disease is total abstinence. If the person is still addicted to alcohol, treatment for the addiction is the first step. This is just the start of the countdown for the benefits of not drinking alcohol.

2. Alcohol abuse is linked to Dementia

If one abuses alcohol throughout many years, this doesn’t only lead to liver cirrhosis but also triggers the symptoms of alcoholic dementia. This health condition usually results in improper neurological functioning and serious cognitive issues. Alcoholic dementia symptoms can appear to people of all ages, regardless of gender, height, or body type.

Alcohol-induced dementia treatment can be quite stressful for someone to undertake, but it is necessary to prevent more dangerous health problems and even death. If caught early enough, a person with the more general type of alcohol-related dementia can show much improvement. Quitting alcohol, and early alcoholism treatment is the key to successfully treating this alcohol-related brain disease. Ditching alcohol will lower your risk of alcohol-induced dementia and this is only one of the many awesome benefits of not drinking alcohol.

3. Not drinking alcohol can help you lose weight

Benefits of Not Drinking Alcohol
Taking the calories into account, it might seem obvious that cutting out alcohol and weight loss go hand-in-hand.

Alcohol does no good to our waistlines – being both high in calories and something that slows down the metabolism. Many diets that work fast to help people lose weight include ditching alcohol altogether. At seven calories per gram on average, alcohol contains almost twice the calories found in carbohydrates unless you’re opting for low-calorie versions such as low-calorie wine or low-calorie beer. The appearance effects of alcohol can be damaging to your self-esteem. Alcohol and self-esteem have a mutually destructive relationship. Alcohol can negatively impact one’s self-esteem and low self-esteem fuels alcohol abuse

Alcohol is very high in calories that don’t provide any nutritional value. Your body will always prioritize getting rid of empty calories first. And this means that lots of other important processes have to wait, including burning off fat. While your body is busy getting rid of the calories from all the alcohol you’ve drunk, any excess fat has nowhere to go but your waistline. Heavy alcohol consumption was a huge contributor to abdominal obesity. Quitting alcohol could help you lose belly fat. Just another one of the great benefits of not drinking alcohol.

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4. Alcohol prevents our body from absorbing more vitamins and minerals

Research by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that chronic drinkers showed evidence of malnutrition and bodies lacking in amino acids, proteins, and certain vitamins. The acidity in alcohol is bad for gut health, killing cells in our stomach lining and intestines that facilitate the body’s absorption of nutrients. It can also hinder the transfer of nutrients into our bloodstream.

Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to the depletion of essential vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to function healthily. Vitamins that are often reduced due to excessive alcohol consumption include vitamin C, calcium, zinc, and iron. With reduction leading to a number of issues including weakness of bones, chronic fatigue, anemia, dehydration, and mental health issues such as wet brain syndrome which is caused by Vitamin B1 deficiency. Let’s continue counting the benefits of not drinking alcohol.

5. Quitting alcohol improves your sleep quality

What are the benefits of stopping drinking alcohol? Considering that alcohol is a depressant, it may seem surprising, yet alcohol is known to interfere with fundamental aspects of sleep quality. Alcohol consumption can induce sleep disorders by disrupting the duration and sequence of sleep states and altering total sleep time and the time required to fall asleep (i.e., sleep latency).

One reason for poor sleep after drinking alcohol is that the production of adenosine (a chemical in the brain that acts as a sleep-inducer) increases while drinking, allowing you to go to sleep quickly. However, this chemical quickly subsides, making you more likely to wake up throughout the night.

Drinking before bed is also connected with more slow-wave sleep patterns called delta activity. However, alpha activity, which indicates wakefulness with eyes closed and often precedes sleep, is turned on simultaneously. Experiencing these two brain wave activities is thought to inhibit quality rest. Also, alcohol inhibits REM sleep, which is often considered the most mentally restorative sleep phase.

Alcohol and Insomnia are known correlated problems. Alcohol should not be used as a sleep aid, and regular use of alcohol as a sleep aid may result in alcohol dependence and abuse. The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep. Thus, a good night’s sleep is one of the many great benefits of not drinking alcohol.

6. You’ll be better hydrated

Alcohol also inhibits the kidneys’ production of the hormone vasopressin, which instructs them to re-absorb water instead of sending it straight to the bladder to be flushed out. It shows why it’s a good idea to drink water if you’re drinking alcohol. It might seem counterproductive if you’re already going to the toilet a lot, but it’ll help in the battle against dehydration. Alcohol headaches and dry mouth are just some of the physical effects of dehydration. 

Evidence suggests a strong connection between alcohol and aging. Alcohol accelerates skin aging because it dehydrates the entire body, and that includes your skin. Dehydration and tissue inflammation both take a toll. Heavy drinking can add years to your face when you have wrinkles, puffiness, dryness, red cheeks, and purple capillaries.  If you look at a woman who has been drinking for 20 or 30 years and a woman the same age who hasn’t at all, we see a massive difference in the skin—more wrinkles from that dehydration damage, which can make you look 10 years older.

7. Not drinking alcohol can reduce the amount of fat in your liver

Our liver bears the brunt of the work when it comes to breaking down alcohol. So it’s no real surprise that excessive drinking can lead to liver problems. Alcoholic cirrhosis is a very serious form of alcoholic liver damage that leads to scar tissue which prevents it from working properly. Alcoholic cirrhosis symptoms include fatigue, nausea, yellow skin, and in extreme cases coughing up blood.

This is often the result of long-term liver damage though, with the first stage of the liver disease being a buildup of fat from breaking down the alcohol. A healthy liver should contain a small amount of fat. Excessive alcohol intake can lead to alcohol-related fatty liver disease, but this is often reversible and can improve. Stopping alcohol for two weeks allows the liver time to recover, stop the inflammation and reduce the fatty deposits. One-month liver cleanse can lead to a 15% decrease in the amount of fat in your liver. Just another one of the huge health benefits of not drinking alcohol.

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8. Your skin will look clearer and more radiant

Alcohol has a reputation for wrecking even the best-kept skincare regime. If you’re dehydrated, you’ll likely get dry skin, which can lead to further skin problems. Also, if you regularly fall asleep before you take your makeup off, this can clog your pores and trigger conditions such as acne. Alcohol also increases your blood flow and causes your blood vessels to dilate. And this increased flow to the skin’s surface can make you look red and blotchy for days. 

One study found that heavy alcohol use was associated with upper facial lines, under-eye puffiness, and midface volume loss. There’s further bad news on the skin front, with drink speeding up the signs of aging. Alcohol breaks down the collagen in the skin, which keeps our skin firm and structured. In addition, the depletion of vitamins slows down cell renewal, giving our skin a grey appearance. Fewer wrinkles, firmer skin, and a healthier complexion are just some of the benefits of not drinking alcohol.

Start the healing process from alcohol and aging and all the other side effects of alcohol abuse. Knowing all the risks of alcohol and aging helps one understand and appreciate the benefits of not drinking alcohol. Try to keep a healthy balance, have fun, and take good care of yourself.

9. It significantly lowers your sugar intake

Vodka and cranberry cost us a massive seven and a half teaspoons of sugar. A rum and coke add up to seven teaspoons. Even a slimline G&T has plenty of hidden sugar, racking up a costly four teaspoons (that’s 36% of your daily intake). Suffice to say that alcohol is known for carrying too much sugar. The benefits of not drinking alcohol promise to prevent energy dips, rotting teeth, and weight gain. Plus, one study showed it greatly diminishes the risk of you developing alcohol-related diabetes too.

10. Ditching alcohol can lead to a better sex life

More often than not, we don’t fully recognize how alcohol is affecting our lives until we start cutting it out. Recovery is an incredible process, it brings an abundance of benefits of not drinking alcohol. When alcohol is first consumed, testosterone and dopamine levels rise, initially increasing sexual desire. However, this boost is only temporary. Over time, drinking alcohol can cause a decrease in testosterone, serotonin, and dopamine, which in turn can lead to depression, anxiety, and overall decreased sexual desire. With long-term sobriety, the body will re-stabilize hormone levels, allowing sex, and life in general, to be more fully enjoyed.

While alcohol consumption may cause a temporary increase in sexual desire, it’s not uncommon for the body’s sex organs to respond negatively to alcohol. When it comes to alcohol and sex drive, many people experience physical sexual dysfunction. For people with penises, alcohol consumption can impact their ability to get and maintain an erection, a phenomenon referred to as alcohol-induced erectile dysfunction. For those that do achieve an erection, it’s also common for excessive drinking to result in delayed ejaculation.

For people with vaginas, alcohol consumption may impact normal vaginal secretions during sexual activity, causing vaginal dryness leading to an unpleasant sexual encounter. In addition, excessive drinking may impact the body’s response to sexual arousal, making it more difficult for vaginas to self-lubricate and resulting in vaginal dryness, unwanted friction, or discomfort during sexual intercourse. The benefits of not drinking alcohol can boost both sexual activities in the bedroom and your relationship – a win-win situation.

Benefits of Not Drinking Alcohol
Alcohol use disorder can also have a significant impact on loved ones, including our romantic relationships. Healing is possible with open communication, engagement with resources like online alcohol support groups for people in recovery and friends and family, and a sense of mutual compassion.

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Benefits of Not Drinking Alcohol Timeline

A person may experience a number of positive changes after quitting alcohol. Below is a “benefits of not drinking alcohol timeline” that will give you a general perspective of how sobriety changes your body over time.

Two to 12 hours after the last drink: People suffering from alcoholism may experience withdrawal symptoms like shaking, alcohol headache, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, and sweating.

12 to 24 hours after the last drink: Withdrawal symptoms may continue, leading to alcohol cravings, reduced energy, depression, and difficulty sleeping.

24 to 72 hours after the last drink: Hallucinations may occur after 48 hours without drinking, as well as increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and seizures.

3 to 7 days after the last drink: Withdrawal symptoms usually recede and become more manageable at the three-day mark. In rare cases, the person’s symptoms may worsen and even develop into delirium tremens, a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. This is why heavy or chronic drinkers should only quit under the supervision of and with the help of inpatient rehab.

1 week after the last drink: While sleep patterns may improve at this point, you may begin to struggle with the mental side effects of alcohol abuse. Alcohol withdrawal can be physically demanding, leading to stress, anxiety, and even depression. 

1 to 2 weeks after the last drink: It’s usually within this period that a medical detox comes to a close. Many people move onto substance-specific drug treatment programs in the facility where they detox so they can continue their recovery.

2 weeks after the last drink: When a person stops drinking alcohol altogether, their caloric intake is reduced, which can cause weight loss. Those whose livers have become “fatty” or slightly damaged from long-term drinking may begin to see improvement.

3 to 4 weeks after the last drink: Blood pressure may return to healthier levels, especially if drinking was the leading cause of a person’s high blood pressure.

1 month after the last drink: What are the benefits of not drinking alcohol for a month? Your skin may start to look healthier. Alcohol’s effects on the skin include yellowing (jaundice), wrinkling, and dry patches. You may also see an improvement in your mental health, especially if quitting alcohol results in anxiety or depression. Additionally, you may experience a decrease in liver fat by 20%, as well as lower blood glucose levels and reduced levels of bad cholesterol.

3 months or longer after the last drink: You may feel more energetic and be more active. Alcohol reduces energy because it’s a CNS depressant and because it causes weight gain, affects your blood pressure, and affects your heart, making physical activity more difficult. You may also notice bouts of post-acute withdrawal syndrome, including symptoms like anxiety, mood swings, and depression. This is normal during the first year or so of recovery and usually becomes less frequent the longer you’re sober.

Even after two weeks of not drinking alcohol, your body will significantly improve. If you struggled with heavy drinking for a long time, it might take a little longer for you to recover, but the benefits of not drinking alcohol are going to be worth it. If you’re battling with alcoholism and are finding it difficult to quit, reach out to We Level Up NJ and speak with our alcohol addiction specialist about treatment options.

Benefits of Not Drinking Alcohol
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Sources:

[1] NIAAA – https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa16.htm