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As most people know, there are plenty of compelling reasons to abstain from drug use. Not many people would argue the fact that quitting cocaine or heroin completely is a good idea. Alcohol is a trickier issue. Although there are many health risks involved with alcohol use, it is a legal drug, and very much woven into the fabric of daily life.
It is interesting to note that while not everyone who consumes alcohol drinks alcoholically, or would be considered an alcoholic, many people consume a dangerous amount of alcohol every time they drink, and do not know it.
Alcohol causes both short and long term health issues, both physical and mental for those who consume it. This is a well-established fact. It gets confusing though, because there is often conflicting information regarding the risks and even possible benefits of alcohol. Over the years, the concepts of wine and beer as a health food have been introduced, for example.
Another issue that comes up for people who are considering not drinking is how ingrained alcohol is in our social lives. For many, the idea of abstaining from alcohol conjures up images of sitting at home on the weekends with nothing to do, or awkward social situations that are no longer fun. Alcohol is everywhere: Restaurants, work functions, Weddings, barbecues and birthday parties. It is easy to see why people equate alcohol with having fun, and this can make it difficult to give up.
It may be helpful to know that there are very real benefits to be had, both physically and mentally, by abstaining from alcohol. Here are some of the physical benefits:
The health risks of consuming alcohol are not limited to those who overindulge. Even moderate, regular consumption can have adverse effects on the body, and of course, those who drink addictively are even more at risk.
Other advantages of not drinking include improved sleep. Studies show that even one or two drinks can impair sleep, and if that happens on a regular basis, it can affect your health. Now, let’s move on to the brain and mental health.
Anyone who has ever had a drink or two knows that alcohol has a pronounced and almost immediate effect on the brain. The pleasant feeling that alcohol gives its users is generally what motivates people to keep drinking. But there is a downside to this as well. Alcohol affects brain chemistry, neurological function and if used excessively, actually shrinks the brain. By not drinking, you can expect better brain function in both the short and long term. Here are the advantages to skipping happy hour:
Alcohol affects people emotionally, physically and financially. There is much to be gained by abstinence, and nothing to lose.