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7 Benefits of Taking a Break from Alcohol

By Alain Green, FNP-C March 30, 2023 Posted in: Wellness

You’ve probably heard of Dry January and Sober October. These month-long breaks from drinking are becoming increasingly popular. In fact, more than a third (35%) of US adults of legal drinking age participated in Dry January in 2022. That’s according to CGA, a company that researches food and drink. 

You don’t have to wait for a particular month or commit to 31 days to take a break from alcohol. Even one sober day a week is better than none. Here’s seven reasons to consider a hiatus from what can be an unhealthy habit. 

A Healthy Liver

  1. Your liver will thank you. Drinking alcohol adds extra toxins that your body must filter out - and that work happens in the liver. Regular and/or excessive drinking can take a toll and cause liver cirrhosis over time. A break lets the liver recover. 

A Rest for Your Heart

  1. Your heart will sigh with relief. Excessive drinking can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure or stroke, and contribute to cardiomyopathy - also known as heart failure. 

A Lessened Cancer Risk

  1. Stop pouring onto your cancer risk. According to the American Cancer Society, even small amounts of alcohol can increase risk of breast cancer. Other cancers including mouth, throat, esophagus and colorectal have been linked to excessive drinking. 

A Good Night's Sleep

  1. Get better ZZZZs. Alcohol can make you “pass out” – but it’s not restful sleep. Alcohol disrupts the natural rhythms of your sleep patterns. Better sleep leads to increased energy, focus and even productivity.

A Slimmer Waistline

  1. Drop some pounds. Alcohol is high in calories and sugar content. It can also cause weight gain by preventing the body from burning fat while it also causes cravings for foods high in fat. 

A Boost for Your Mood

  1. Boost your emotional health. Drinking can wreak havoc on your moods because it’s a depressant. Your natural levels of endorphins and dopamine are also disrupted by excessive alcohol use. Consuming more than two standard drinks a day can increase your risk of developing anxiety and depression. 

A Natural Looking Glow

  1. Get your skin glowing. Even though it’s liquid, alcohol actually dehydrates your skin. Excessive drinking also deprives the skin of vitamins. A break from alcohol can mean smoother, more supple skin. 

If you’re ready to take a break, plan ahead to give yourself a better chance of success. Try an alcohol-free beer or stock up on other alternatives. Substitute some new activities like a hobby or fitness activity to keep busy. Most importantly, think of it as doing something good for you, rather than giving something up. 

If you’re not ready to take a break, strive to get within the recommended limits. One drink per day for women and two or less drinks per day for men. If you’re concerned about your own or a loved one’s drinking habits, talk to your primary care provider. We won’t judge you and sincerely want to help. 

Alain Green, FNP-C
Alain Green, FNP-C

Alain Green, FNP-C is a primary care provider with CHI St. Alexius Health.

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