Having a few glasses of wine from time to time is perfectly fine. However, when one drink turns into five, and then one night, a week turns into every night (and later every day), you might have a problem.
Honestly, alcohol consumption only seems fun. In reality, the physical and mental consequences of alcohol abuse range from fun and hilarious to humiliating and devastating. Of course, that depends on the amount of alcohol you’ve had.
We should never forget that alcohol alters our thought processes. It affects us on a cognitive level, effectively lowering our inhibitions and our capacity to make decisions. So you see why not drinking alcohol might be beneficial. But what exactly happens to our bodies after we say NO to alcoholic beverages?
Your Heart Gets Healthier, and Your Blood Pressure Stabilizes
The effects of alcohol can be devastating for your body. Alcohol increases the risk of heart failure and liver disease. Cutting back has some amazing short-term benefits (like a skin glow-up), and it also has long-term effects. A healthier heart is just one of them.
Our bodies metabolize alcohol thanks to a liver enzyme. When we drink in excess, that particular enzyme can’t do its job anymore, and our bodies redirect the metabolization. However, there are a few side-effects to this.
This new enzyme releases a lot of free radicals. Those, in turn, oxidize LDL, which is the bad cholesterol your doctor keeps going on and on about. Bad cholesterol causes arterial blockages. So when we stop drinking, we’re radically reducing the risk of dropping from a bad ticker. Cardiovascular blockages and failure are less likely to happen if we aren’t drinking heavily (or at all).
People who drink heavily also often have high blood pressure. Cutting back might not regulate it completely, but it will surely help.
Your Liver Heals
The liver is one of the most amazing organs humans have. It filters out toxins and regenerates itself. However, we do have to give it time for that. That’s why excessive alcohol consumption is dangerous — when you drink too much, you aren’t allowing your liver to do its thing and fix the fatty changes that alcohol causes. That’s how liver cirrhosis occurs.
You Might Lose Some Weight
All of us struggling to lose weight are quick to cut out carbs and sugar in order to get our dream figures. However, not many know that cutting out alcohol will actually prove extremely effective when it comes to weight loss.
Alcohol, especially sugary cocktails, has empty calories. It’s not nutritious, and our bodies can’t do much with it. That means that we’re ingesting calories without getting the satisfaction or energy from them. Alcohol also increases our appetites.
Therefore, when we cut back a bit or stop drinking altogether, we’ll quickly notice that some of our clothes fit way better than before.
You Might Improve Your Sexual Stamina
Have you ever gotten wasted and failed to get the good soldier to stand up for a salute? Well, then you already know that alcohol affects your sexual prowess and stamina in a bad way.
Now, some people think they get better at sex when they are a bit tipsy. And, sure, the logic behind that train of thought makes sense. Your inhibitions are lower, so you’re more adventurous in bed. However, if you go overboard and drink too much (or if you’re a regular heavy drinker), your sexual prowess probably isn’t anything to write home about.
Because it affects circulation, alcohol is counterproductive when it comes to getting and maintaining an erection. Of course, women also experience negative alcohol effects — their sex drive decreases, and their vaginas might become dry. All in all, it seems that alcohol and sex aren’t a good combination.
You’ll Sleep Better
When you pass out from alcohol and sleep for ten or 12 hours, you wake up feeling tired. In fact, you wake up feeling as if a train ran over you twice. That’s because alcohol-induced sleep isn’t restorative.
When we quit drinking, our bodies are able to manage a sleep schedule that’s actually healthy. We slip into the deep sleep phase (the regenerating and restorative part of the sleep cycle) more easily.
How to Deal With Alcohol Withdrawal
Alcohol withdrawal is a real issue for heavy drinkers who choose to quit cold-turkey. Depending on the person’s usual number of drinks a day, after they quit drinking, they might experience high blood pressure, tachycardia, headaches, sweating, vomiting, and even seizures and delirium tremens.
The first 72 hours of quitting are the most difficult. Mere hours after your last drink, your body will start working overtime to get the alcohol out of your system. You’ll crave carbs and sugar, and you’ll also be extremely dehydrated. Headaches, nausea, and vomiting are the staple symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
When quitting alcohol, it’s important that we stay ahead of our symptoms. Stay hydrated and resist the urge to cram your body full of bad carbs and sugar. Instead, maintain a light diet of healthy foods and drink plenty of water and tea.
A Few Parting Words
Although alcohol has social and health benefits, excessive consumption takes a toll on our bodies. Even young people who think they can heal pretty much any damage with a few hours of sleep, need to be aware of the devastating consequences their drinking can have on their health.
Your liver, heart, nervous and immune systems suffer immensely due to the effects of alcohol. So cutting back or completely cutting it out of our daily routines is an amazing idea. It’s not easy, but then, nothing in life ever is, is it?