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  • 10 Benefits Of Alcohol Abstinence

    Published on August 2, 2021
    10 Benefits Of Alcohol Abstinence

    Many people view alcohol consumption as a normal part of life. However, even if you drink in moderation, alcohol can endanger your health and well-being. 

    If you become abstinent or alcohol-free, you’ll experience a host of benefits. Here are ten.

    1. Increased Hydration

    Alcohol is a diuretic. That means it causes diuresis, excessive production of urine. When you produce more urine than normal, and you don’t drink enough water to make up for the fluid loss,  you’ll become dehydrated. 

    When left untreated, dehydration can cause serious health problems, including seizures, heatstroke, and kidney failure.

    By abstaining from alcohol, you’ll help your body stay hydrated and healthy. 

    2. Healthier Liver

    Most people know that alcohol use can wreak havoc on your liver. In particular, it can destroy your liver cells, causing scar tissue to replace healthy liver tissue. This prevents your liver from functioning properly. 

    It also increases your risk of serious liver diseases, including alcoholic fatty liver disease, hepatitis, and cirrhosis of the liver. 

    Total abstinence from alcohol is the only way to protect yourself from alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD). If you have already had an ARLD, abstinence can prevent it from progressing. 

    3. Lower Risk Of Cancer

    Drinking alcohol can increase your risk of multiple types of cancer:

    • mouth and throat cancer
    • voice box (larynx) cancer
    • esophagus cancer
    • colon and rectum cancer
    • liver cancer
    • breast cancer (in women)

    This is because your body breaks down alcohol into acetaldehyde, a chemical that damages your DNA. Damaged DNA can lead to cancer cells and tumors. Thus, abstainers from alcohol face a much lower risk of cancer than people who drink. 

    4. Fewer Injuries

    One of the most common effects of alcohol is impaired judgment. With poor judgment, you’re more likely to engage in dangerous behaviors, such as fighting, self-injuring, or driving while drunk. These behaviors can cause injuries like:

    • traumatic brain injuries
    • burns
    • falls
    • drownings

    When you stay abstinent from alcohol, you’ll protect your judgment and lower your risk of injury.

    5. Stronger Immune System

    People who drink tend to experience more colds, flus, and other illnesses than people who don’t drink. That’s because alcohol intake weakens your immune system. 

    You’re more likely to experience this effect if you have a drinking problem (which means you drink so frequently that it causes issues in your life, such as job loss or damaged relationships). 

    However, even a moderate amount of alcohol can suppress your immune system and leave you more vulnerable to illness. 

    Boost your immunity by cutting alcohol out of your life. 

    6. Better Mental Health

    Many people drink alcohol to ease mental health challenges like stress, grief, and mental illness. While the drug may boost your mood at first, it ultimately worsens your mental health. 

    That’s because alcohol changes your brain chemistry. This can cause or intensify painful feelings such as depression, anxiety, anger, and aggression.

    To protect your mental health, find ways to boost your mood that don’t involve alcohol, like exercise or meditation. 

    7. Stronger Relationships

    As mentioned above, alcohol may cause anger and aggression. These emotions can jeopardize your relationships with friends and family members, especially if you drink on a regular basis. 

    In addition, individuals who regularly drink may develop alcohol use disorder. Also called alcohol addiction or alcohol dependence, this condition makes it difficult to think of anything besides alcohol. It often makes you neglect the people you care about.

    By giving up alcohol, you can save your relationships from unnecessary turmoil. 

    8. Lower Blood Pressure

    Alcohol can cause a long-term increase in blood pressure, especially if you regularly engage in binge drinking (having 4 or more drinks in about 2 hours for women and having 5 or more drinks in about 2 hours for men).

    People with high blood pressure face a variety of health risks, including heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Maintain a healthy blood pressure by choosing complete abstinence from alcohol. 

    9. Better Sex Life

    Although alcohol can increase your sex drive, it can also decrease your sexual performace. Women who drink may lack lubrication, while men may experience erectile dysfunction.

    Also, since alcohol impairs your judgment, it makes you more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors you’ll likely later regret, such as unprotected sex with multiple partners. 

    Enjoy a healthier, safer sex life by avoiding alcohol altogether. 

    10. Better Sleep

    Some people use alcohol as a sleep aid. While alcohol can indeed make you sleepy, it doesn’t promote healthy sleep. In fact, many people with alcohol problems experience insomnia and other sleep issues. 

    That’s because alcohol disrupts your circadian rhythm, an internal process that helps control your sleep-wake cycle. More specifically, the drug prevents you from getting enough deep sleep. You may frequently wake throughout the night and feel exhausted the next day. 

    To maximize your sleep quality, health care providers suggest staying away from alcohol.

    Alcohol addiction treatment programs offer recovery-focused services such as medical detox, medication-assisted treatment, and mental health counseling. If you or a loved one struggles with alcohol abuse, please reach out to an Ark Behavioral Health specialist.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Alcohol and Cancer
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Drinking too much alcohol can harm your health
    U.S. National Library of Medicine - Alcohol and the Immune System
    U.S. National Library of Medicine - Alcohol-induced hypertension: Mechanism and prevention
    U.S. National Library of Medicine - Women, alcohol, and sexuality

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