We all know alcohol is fun, the world’s favorite social lubricant, and the single greatest source of funny weekend stories of wasted friends doing stupid stuff. But its status as a legal drug that’s consumed heavily around the world can make alcohol seem safer than it actually is or make the impact it has on society and individuals seem less obvious to most. There’s nothing wrong with drinking from time to time (hell, I like getting hammered every once in a while), but we should all be conscious of the effects it has in our bodies and how it impacts those around us so we can do it responsibly, without suffering short or longterm consequences or damaging others, something that’s far more common than you think.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every year 5.9% of all deaths worldwide are caused by alcohol consumption, this equates to 3.3 million people who die in accidents or from health complications caused by booze. Among people ages 20 to 39 this figure skyrockets to 25% of all deaths being alcohol related. Furthermore, research shows that alcohol consumption is a factor that contributes to more that 200 diseases and injuries. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has found that consuming too much alcohol can affect the brain, heart, liver, pancreas, and immune system, and it can also increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer: mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, and breast.
Now that you know just how much booze can suck, despite its cool qualities, you might want to decrease your intake to lower the risk of you getting into trouble or screwing up your internal organs. The bad news is that if you drink regularly, quitting won’t be that easy; the good news is that once you do it, you’ll start noticing improvements in your overall wellbeing in a few days. Alcohol acts as a toxin when it’s processed by the liver, so when you stop drinking, your body will start feeling better very quickly. If you’re thinking of going sober, here’s what you can look forward to.
You’ll smell better
Your liver breaks up alcohol and turns it into acetaldehyde to expel it from your body. That’s the reason why the days after you drink heavily, you’ll smell like an open bar on a busy Friday night. Sweat is your body’s way to get the toxic acetaldehyde out, even if it stinks you up for a few hours.
You’ll lose weight
That’s right, alcohol is very fattening. If you’re a heavy drinker, you’ve probably put on a lot of weight thanks to booze. It’s estimated that one glass of wine (red or white) packs around 160 calories, which means it would take you around 15 minutes of running to burn them off, while a pint of beer can have up to 180 calories. Once you stop drinking, your waistline will start shrinking.
You’ll sleep better
Although alcohol does help you fall asleep faster, it reduces the quality of sleep, so when you wake up after having more than a couple of drinks, you might feel drowsy or struggle to concentrate during the day. This happens because it disrupts the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the stage when you dream, which helps you gather energy for the upcoming day. So if you stop taking night caps, you’ll sense a boost in your vitality and concentration.
Your skin will feel more hydrated
Booze and skin don’t mix, since alcohol dehydrates it and leaves it dry. If you often drink heavily, your skin will age faster than if you don’t. Besides, alcohol irritates the skin, which is why people who drink too much look permanently flushed. Once you stop, you’ll immediately notice an improvement to your skin.
You’ll have more money
Alcohol is expensive, especially if you buy it at bars or clubs, where some spirits’ prizes have suffered three times as much inflation than those bought at liquor stores or supermarkets. So it’s not only good for your health, but quitting alcohol is financially sound as well.