Alcohol is a socially accepted drug, and whether we are addicted to it or not, our body and mind feel the effects of this substance.
This is why in this article we will see the main benefits of giving up alcohol, Although there are more.
The effect of alcohol on the body
Before we get to know the benefits of quitting alcohol, let’s take a look at what alcohol is and how it works in our brains, then talk about alcohol addiction and the benefits of quitting smoking. / AT).
Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. Chemically, it is a metabolite of acetaldehyde; is a simple, lipid and water-soluble molecule, which acts by disrupting neuronal membranes.
More precisely, its mechanism of action consists of agonizing GABA-α and antagonizing glutamate. These two substances are neurotransmitters; GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the CNS and glutamate the main excitatory.
So alcohol is actually a drug; in fact, it is a socially accepted drug, and to be legal, many experts consider it to be one of the most dangerous drugs, especially for easy access that we have in it.
The benefits of stopping alcohol are numerous and taking them into account can help us stop consuming it, or at least reduce it.
Alcohol, like any medicine, it can produce different disorders. Drug addiction is dangerous, and according to figures from the DSM-5 (Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders), up to 4.6% of the population aged 12 to 17 suffers from an alcohol disorder. Addiction). This figure rises to 8.5% if we are in the adult population. Regarding the distribution by sex, 12.2% are men, against 4.9% women.
The development of an alcohol dependence (popularly called alcoholism) has a number of very harmful consequences for the person, in all spheres of his life and in his own body, with the added risk of complications related to it. alcoholism. like that, problems can occur in the stomach, esophagus, liver, pancreas, colon, breasts …
It is important to note that it is not necessary to be addicted to alcohol, or very frequent drinking on your own, to develop all of these types of problems, as the mere act of drinking is harmful to your health. health (logically, the more you drink, the worse).
8 benefits of quitting alcohol
What Are the Benefits of Stopping Drinking Alcohol? You will find several here.
Overcoming addiction to this substance is not an easy task, people who suffer from it well know, but if it is achieved, the benefits of giving up alcohol are numerous, physiologically, psychologically and socially (In this article, we will focus on the physiological and psychological benefits).
These benefits are also provided by simply stopping drinking, even though we have not been diagnosed with addiction. That is, how the health benefits apply to anyone who drinks alcohol to a greater or lesser extent and decides to stop doing so. They are as follows.
1. Improved mood
The first of the benefits of stopping alcohol is psychological improvement, especially mood. The person who has overcome an addiction can take up a freer path, where no substance dominates or controls your life and emotions.
In addition, alcoholics often exhibit irritability and mood swings, drunk or abstinent, which seriously affect their emotional health and that of those around them.
2. Prevention of stomach and / or liver disease
It is a fact that alcohol consumption, especially long term, carries a high risk of developing diseases of different types, the most common being those that affect the stomach and liver.
Thus, giving up this practice implies reducing the risk of developing this type of disease (eg: cirrhosis, hepatitis, stomach cancer, esophagitis, etc.). In the case of the liver, for example, it’s because when you stop drinking alcohol it has to process less fat, which is why it works better..
3. Improved immune system
People who frequently drink alcohol are at a higher risk of developing almost all types of illnesses, especially those caused by viruses or bacteria. This is due to the fact that the immune system is weakened because alcohol inhibits cytokines, Proteins that coordinate the response of the immune system.
Therefore, another benefit of quitting alcohol is increased immunization against different pathogens that can make us sick.
4. Improved sleep
Alcohol is a substance that can also affect our sleep patterns (circadian sleep-wake rhythms). This is why the stopping drinking will help us regulate these patterns and by extensionOur sleep will improve dramatically. So, for example, we will have more restful and less fragmented sleep.
5. Weight loss
Another benefit of giving up alcohol is that it helps you lose weight. This means either a health benefit or an aesthetic benefit (for some people).
Why do we lose weight when we stop drinking? For two reasons: because you avoid the intake of calories contained in alcohol, and because alcohol stimulates the other senses, increasing appetite on many occasions. Also, we often associate the glass of wine or the glass of beer with a lid.
6. Improves the appearance of the skin
The pancreas, liver and stomach aren’t the only organs that improve when you stop drinking alcohol: so do the skin (yes, the skin is an organ too!).
This is because by consuming alcohol, we eliminate more urine and the body becomes dehydrated. So, abandoning this practice, improves the hydration of our skin and therefore also its appearance. This way the skin looks brighter and healthier.
7. Prevention of certain types of cancer
On the other hand, experts such as Dra. Blai, as well as some studies, suggest that not drinking alcohol prevents certain types of cancer, such as cancer of the mouth, breast, and larynx.
8. Improvement of cognitive processes
The benefits of stopping alcohol also affect a person’s psyche, for example through cognitive processes such as memory and attention.
It is a fact that people who drink frequently (especially drug addicts) end up having more difficulty concentrating or remembering certain information (Also, they may seem slower when it comes to speaking or reasoning); that is, they have a less clear mind.
This is why stopping drinking alcohol will help you have a clearer mind, think faster, and memorize better.
- American Psychiatric Association -APA- (2014). DSM-5. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Madrid: Panamericana.
- Berrios, G. (1990). Organic disorders in psychiatry. In Fuentenebro, F. and Vázquez, C. Medical psychology, psychopathology and psychiatry. Inter-American McGraw-Hill, Madrid.
- Guzmán, RG and Ramírez, JA (2006). Alcohol consumption and public health. Journal of the Faculty of Medicine, UNAM.