Alcohol is a significant part of American culture. We’re exposed to it from a very young age. Some of us make it a part of our social lives in our teenage years, maybe even sooner. We see ads for alcohol everywhere we go. We think we need to drink it in order to have fun or to look cool. Alcohol is glorified, and we drink it without knowing how dangerous it actually is.
We all know alcohol can affect the liver. And most of us know how terrible a hangover can be. But the dangers of alcohol go way beyond that. I know it because I lived them in my own flesh and bones. I became an alcoholic when I was a teenager, and it went on until my mid-twenties. This addiction almost cost me my life.
When I was 23 I got caught drunk driving and went to prison. I was actually lucky they caught me, because I know I could’ve caused an accident driving in that state. After that, I decided to check into a rehabilitation center. When I got there I realized how much damage I had caused my body and mind. I wasn’t even close to being healthy. It was hard, but I recovered from my addiction and my health became my number one priority. I have been sober for 9 years now, and today I would like to share with you 5 ways why you should stop drinking for your health.
I used to think alcohol improved my sleep. I always had trouble falling asleep, and alcohol made it somewhat easier. However, when I woke up in the morning I always felt tired, as though I hadn’t rested at all. This happens because alcohol disrupts your sleep cycle.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, alcohol produces both delta and alpha waves in your sleep. These two types of brain activity don’t usually happen at the same time. It can prevent restorative sleep, which is why you wake up feeling tired. It can also cause breathing problems that can wake you up during the night. Finally, it makes you want to go to the bathroom several times, interrupting your sleep pattern.
Quitting alcohol can have a positive impact on your appearance. Given that alcohol is a diuretic, it leads to dehydration. When you’re dehydrated your skin and eyes tend to look dull and lifeless. Reducing your alcohol intake can make your skin healthier and your eyes brighter.
Also, alcohol is full of empty calories. By empty calories, I mean those that have no nutritional value whatsoever. They tend to blow you up big time. Quitting alcohol can help you lose those extra pounds. Remember that you should also adopt new healthy habits such as eating healthy and exercising too.
Fewer Chances of Developing Diseases
Abusing alcohol leads to addiction, which is a disease like any other. Addiction, in turn, can contribute to many other mental and physical health problems. But, drinking alcohol even in moderate amounts can have a negative impact on your health.
Alcohol can cause many heart problems. These include cardiomyopathy, arrhythmias, stroke and high blood pressure. It can also lead to a variety of liver problems like alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis. Alcohol is linked to several types of cancer, including mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, and breast. It can cause pancreatitis and it weakens your immune system. By quitting alcohol, you decrease your chances of developing these health conditions.
According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), “Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions can change mood and behavior, and make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.”
If you’ve ever gotten drunk you know how alcohol affects the brain. Some of the effects are difficulty walking, blurred vision, slurred speech, and slowed reaction times. But the long-term effects of alcohol in your brain are more alarming. They can range from memory “slips” to permanent damage and debilitation. A sober brain is a healthy brain.
You may think that alcohol improves your mood because it makes you feel less inhibited and more outgoing. But, actually, it does the opposite. Alcohol is a depressant, which affects the balance of your brain’s chemical processes. That’s why you get that feeling of relaxation because it depresses the part of the brain associated with inhibition.
But, as you drink more, alcohol affects more parts of your brain. This can lead to stress, aggression, anxiety, and depression. Avoiding alcohol helps you stay in a balanced mood.
These are only 5 of the many benefits that come from quitting alcohol. Trust me, no matter how tempted I get to drink again, I think about my life now and I know I would never go back. There is no drink that tastes as good as healthy feels.
Now that you know some of the benefits of quitting alcohol, it’s time to give it a try. Depending on your consumption levels it can be easier or harder. There are many methods to treat alcohol addiction and abuse. The most important thing is to never forget that you’re doing for your health. Quitting alcohol means loving yourself and being kind to your body and mind.
Do you know any other health benefits of quitting alcohol? If you’d like to ask or suggest something, please leave a comment below.