Horizon Blog

What Happens to Your Body When You Quit Drinking?

July 29th, 2016

Freedom and adventure - woman happy, Grand CanyonWho among us wouldn’t like to sleep better, lose weight, have better skin, or have more money? Well, these are just a few of the benefits to giving up alcohol.

Whether you have an alcohol addiction or you’re just a social drinker, laying off alcohol can have a positive effect on your mind, your body, and your financial health.

Here’s what you can look forward to, in both the short- and long-term, if you give up drinking:

  1. Better Sleep. Recent research has shown that drinking in the evening or nighttime hours increases alpha wave patterns in the brain—which is a type of cerebral activity that usually occurs when you’re awake but resting. What does that mean for you? Disrupted sleep. Also, you may think that a couple of glasses of wine or other alcohol helps you fall asleep more quickly and deeply, but after that, it will mess with your sleep quality. Give up alcohol, and you’ll discover that you wake up feeling more refreshed and sharp, and you’ll then have better moods, concentration, and mental performance.
  2. Fewer Calories. Scientists have proved that drinking alcohol causes us to eat too much. It may be because alcohol heightens our senses, such as our sense of smell, which prompts us to eat more. And let’s face it, the calories in that beer, wine or cocktail themselves are empty calories (and empty carbs!). Cutting out the 200-500 calories per drink can help you lose weight without much effort. Plus, your metabolism will improve.  If there’s alcohol in your system, your body will use it for energy instead of getting it from fat.
  3. Clearer Skin. Believe it or not, quitting alcohol can help the appearance and texture of your skin. Within a few days, your skin will look and feel more hydrated. That’s because alcohol is a diuretic, which causes you to… well, urinate more. It also decreases your body’s production of a hormone that helps the body reabsorb water—both of which result in drier skin. You should also notice that redness in your cheeks and around your nose may start to fade, and if you have dandruff, eczema, or rosacea, you may also see and feel an improvement.
  4. More Money. It’s pretty basic. Drinking can be an expensive habit, especially if you like fine wine or good scotch. If you are honest with yourself and add up the amount that you spend on drinks, both at home and when you’re out (don’t forget tax and tip!), you may be shocked at the total. Let that be a motivator.
  5. Better Long-Term Health. Skipping alcohol means your risk for developing cancer falls. According to the National Cancer Institute, alcohol use has been linked to an increased risk for cancers of the mouth, liver, breast, colon, and rectum—and that risk increases the more you drink. If you’re worried that your risk of heart disease will rise if you quit, find other ways to fight that statistic.
  6. Better Short-Term Health. Giving up alcohol for just five weeks can lower your cholesterol and blood glucose levels and your liver fat. The longer you go without drinking, the more your health metrics will improve.

If you’re drinking daily, you may want to reconsider what you’re doing to your body. And of course, if you feel your drinking has gotten out of control and you need help, call Horizon Health Services at (716) 831-1800. We can help you get on the path to recovery.

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