Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on September 17, 2021.
Quitting or cutting back on your drinking can be an intimidating lifestyle change. You may enjoy alcohol's ability to relieve your inhibitions or soothe your nerves after a stressful day. However, the benefits of drinking are short-lived. Alcohol can impact your physical and mental health more than you realize. Regular drinking can also put you at risk of alcohol dependence.
Giving up alcohol offers many unexpected benefits. You may be pleasantly surprised at how much better you feel.
Whether you drink occasionally or your alcohol consumption has grown problematic, you might consider cutting back or quitting drinking. If you're ready to change your drinking habits, here are five physical, mental and health benefits of quitting drinking.
Alcohol is high in calories and has no nutritional value. Your body stores these beverages as sugar that converts to fat, leading to weight gain. Drinking can also lead to carbohydrate cravings when you're hungover. Quitting alcohol eliminates those excess calories and carb cravings. Many people lose weight in the early days of their sobriety.
While many people reach for a glass of wine before bed, alcohol does not improve sleep. In fact, drinking hinders your sleep. Alcohol triggers alpha activity in the brain, preventing you from entering a deep sleep cycle. Your body can't function optimally and you'll experience reduced energy levels upon waking up. People who quit drinking notice their sleep and energy levels improve greatly.
Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it promotes urine production. This process can lead to dehydration, causing your skin to lose its elasticity. Drinking can also cause tissue inflammation — that tell-tale flush in your skin. Inflammation can cause skin damage. Once you cut out alcohol, your skin rehydrates and rebuilds its collagen levels so you look and feel younger.
Heavy drinkers who substitute alcohol for food are less likely to pay attention to healthy eating. Without balanced meals or regularity, those struggling with chronic drinking don't receive enough protein, vitamins, fats and carbohydrates. This lack of nutrients can lead to low blood sugar or malnutrition. When you give up alcohol, you can improve your overall health and nutrition.
Many people drink to improve their mood. A glass of wine might make you feel more agreeable or put you at ease. However, heavy drinking is detrimental to your mood. Alcohol can cause people to become easily angered, overly affectionate, dangerously impulsive or even violent. Leaving those drastic mood swings behind is a major benefit for those who quit alcohol.
If you're ready to quit alcohol but find it hard to do so on your own, we're here for you. Diamond House Detox can help you move beyond problematic drinking so you can experience the benefits of an alcohol-free life. Learn more about our alcohol rehab program and contact us today to get started with your recovery.