According to the World Health Organization, about 2.3 billion people drink alcohol.
Although the drug is popular, it poses serious short-term and long-term health risks. It can also damage your relationships and career. That’s why many people have chosen to stop drinking. Here are just seven of the many benefits you can expect from quitting alcohol.
1. Your Liver Gets Healthier
When you drink alcohol, most of it is broken down by your liver. Regular alcohol consumption forces your liver to work extra hard, which can damage or even destroy your liver cells. This increases your risk of liver problems such as:
- fatty liver disease (buildup of fat in the liver)
- hepatitis (inflammation of the liver)
- fibrosis (scarring of the liver)
- cirrhosis (late-stage fibrosis that causes severe, permanent scarring of the liver)
Once you quit drinking, your liver can start to heal. Depending on the state of your liver, it may regain full or partial functioning.
2. Your Heart Gets Stronger
Some people insist that having one glass of wine per day can benefit your heart. However, these claims have not been proven. In fact, drinking alcohol, especially in large amounts, raises your risk of heart problems such as:
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
- heart attack
Alcohol use can also cause alcoholic cardiomyopathy. This disease occurs when long-term alcohol use changes the shape of your heart, which can lead to heart failure.
You face a higher risk of this disease if you binge drink. Binge drinking occurs when you have at least 4 or 5 drinks in about 2 hours.
3. Your Risk Of Cancer Decreases
As a toxin, alcohol can damage your cells and increase your risk of getting six types of cancer:
- breast cancer
- colon and rectum cancer
- esophagus cancer
- liver cancer
- mouth and throat cancer
- voice box cancer
In 2020, almost 750,000 global cancer diagnoses were linked to alcohol intake. Typically, the more you drink, the higher your risk of cancer.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, having even just one drink or less per day may raise your risk of certain cancers.
4. Your Immune System Gets Stronger
Your immune system is responsible for protecting your body against germs and other harmful substances. Alcohol can disrupt communication in your immune system, which leaves you more vulnerable to a variety of viruses and bacteria.
You will then face a higher risk of numerous infectious diseases ranging from the common cold to pneumonia.
A weakened immune system can also cause your wounds to heal more slowly. Fortunately, when you quit drinking, it won’t take long after your last drink for your immune system to start growing strong again.
5. Your Mental Health Improves
Most people seek out alcohol because it makes them feel happy and relaxed. While the drug may boost your mood at first, it will worsen your mental health in the long run, especially if you drink on a regular basis.
Some of the most common mental health concerns associated with alcohol include anxiety, irritability, depression, and memory problems.
In addition, if you are physically dependent on alcohol and stop drinking without medical supervision, you may develop a severe form of alcohol withdrawal called delirium tremens (DTs).
This condition can cause serious mental health issues, including confusion, hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that aren’t there), and aggression.
By giving up alcohol, you can avoid these issues and strengthen your overall sense of well-being.
6. Your Sleep Improves
One of the most common side effects of alcohol use is insomnia (trouble falling or staying asleep). That’s because alcohol can prevent you from getting rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This type of sleep plays an essential role in emotions, memory, and brain development.
When you don’t get enough of it, you may struggle with low mood and poor concentration throughout the day.
When you stop drinking alcohol, you will likely find it much easier to sleep. Better sleep provides a host of health benefits, including:
- improved mood and self-esteem
- reduced stress
- improved concentration
- a lower risk of disease
7. You Save Money
In most cases, alcoholic beverages are not cheap. Going sober can save you a significant amount of money, especially if you used to drink a lot.
Indeed, some people spend thousands of dollars on alcohol per year, particularly if they struggle with alcohol abuse or alcohol addiction (also called alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependence).
Alcohol addiction is a serious health condition characterized by strong alcohol cravings and withdrawal symptoms. This disease can further harm your finances by hindering your job performance and impairing your judgment when it comes to spending money.
If you feel unable to control your drinking habits, please reach out to a Recovering Champions specialist. Our substance abuse and addiction treatment programs offer medical detox, therapy, support groups, and other evidence-based services to help you stay sober.