After spending a lifetime, or even just a few years, abusing alcohol, weaning yourself off of it can have a big impact on your body. Counselors often talk about the psychological and emotional effects of quitting alcohol, but the physical benefits can be surprising and long lasting. As with quitting any chemical substance, getting sober can change you in a number of ways.
A Loss of Liver Fat
After just one month of alcohol abstinence, liver fat decreases by 15% to 20% in most individuals. Liver fat is one of the first signs that liver damage is imminent, causing inflammation that can lead to severe problems down the road. By reducing liver fat, subjects significantly reduce the risks of developing chronic liver diseases, including cirrhosis.
Healthier Blood Glucose Levels for Diabetics
Another one of the major bodily effects that abstinence has on the body is a drop in blood glucose levels. A University College London Medical School study found that glucose levels dropped by an average of 16% within one month of quitting drinking for most subjects. As glucose levels and the body’s blood sugar rates are decreased, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is also reduced.
Reduced Risk of Death
The simple truth is increased alcohol consumption equals a greater chance of an early death. While the destructive effects of alcohol on the body are definitely one way this occurs, the other is in the form of driving while intoxicated. By opting to have a Low Cost Interlock device installed and/or using willpower to avoid alcohol altogether, folks who would otherwise put themselves and others at risk by driving drunk will be unable to do so. Over time, given enough people, countless lives are spared as a result.
Cholesterol Levels Dropped
Cholesterol is one of the primary indicators of heart health and too much of the bad cholesterol can lead to heart disease. The good news is that by eliminating drinking, individuals can lower their cholesterol by 5% or more. While that may not seem like much, in many cases, it can mean the difference between a healthy heart and a serious cardiac incident.
Abstinence Shores Up Our Defenses
There are many more effects on the body that result from giving up alcoholic beverages. Among the most common, recovering drinkers sleep better, have more energy, and experience a greater clarity of thought. Many former drinkers reported that, even when sober, they had a brain fog that affected their thoughts. After just one month of sober living, that brain fog was no longer experienced.
Individuals also reported having clearer skin, once they had quit drinking. This may be because alcoholic beverages promote dehydration and, once drinkers had been sober for a month or more, their bodies were more hydrated. Additionally, the digestive system functions better in sober individuals, as the body is able to absorb more vitamins and nutrients from food.
Studies found that individuals who have quit drinking permanently also experienced weight loss and better weight management overall. This is because alcoholic beverages contain large quantities of sugar and large calorie counts. Once these two factors are eliminated from one’s diet, the body has less fat to process.
It was also found that those who quit drinking lowered their risk of developing several forms of cancer, especially breast cancer. Alcoholic beverages inhibit the functioning of the immune system, so, once someone quits drinking, their immune system returns to its former strength. This means the body can better defend against tumors as they invade the body.
For many people, alcoholism poses a serious threat to their lives, destroying their health and their social relationships. Not only does recovery help mend those factors, but it has now been found that it also improves the body’s general health. By quitting drinking, individuals can reduce their risks of developing a number of serious diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and liver disease.