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The Benefits of Cutting Out Alcohol

Editor Dan Schimmel, LCSW, CAP
Created On
Updated On

Now that the new year is here, many people are looking forward to making changes for the better. For some, this means cutting alcohol out of their life (even if it is only temporary).

“Dry January” has become a growing trend among many. In short, this means you give up drinking for the entire month. While this may not sound like a big deal, being that you may return to your former habit come February, it can actually go a long way in improving the overall health of your mind and body.

According to an experiment by New Scientist, there are benefits associated with a short term break from alcohol use.

According to the UK based publication, the results are significant enough that people should take notice.

The experiment results were examined by Dr. Rajiv Jalan, a well known liver specialist at the Institute for Liver and Digestive Health at University College London.

Here is what you need to know:

  • Those who cut out drinking experienced a decrease of at least 15 percent in liver fat, which reduces the chance of liver damage.
  • Blood glucose level decreased by an average of 16 percent, which can help fight against the risk of diabetes.

Dr. Jalan added the following:

“If you take time off from alcohol, it’s going to be beneficial for your liver from the reduction of fat. People always forget the amount of calories in alcohol, so if you take a month off, and you usually consume 20 units, you’re going to lose weight and fat. It’s a massive reduction in calories.”

The physical benefits of taking off time from alcohol are easy to see. However, it doesn’t stop there. Sleeping quality, judged on a scale from one to five, increased by approximately 10 percent. Along with this, concentration ratings increased 18 percent.

What about the downside? There was only one negative associated with a decrease in alcohol intake: less social contact. This is not much of a surprise, as many people drink alcohol primarily in the presence of others. If they are not drinking, they may not have the same reasons to have regular social contact.

Fighting Alcohol Addiction and Abuse

Those who are addicted to alcohol or regularly abuse the substance often times find it difficult to cut this out of their life, even if only for a short period of time. On the flipside, if you are successful in abstaining for a month, it becomes much easier to realize that you can do so over the long haul.

The benefits of abstinence, such as those on the liver, should be reason enough for a person to reduce the amount of alcohol they are putting into their system.

The problem with alcohol addiction is simple: it is easy to say you will quit, but much more difficult to actually do so. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that you will go through withdrawal as you begin to wean yourself off the substance.

It may be called “Dry January” but this doesn’t mean you have to wait until the first month of the year to tackle an alcohol addiction. Instead, you can make changes for the better at any time, knowing that your mind and body will benefit in the long run.

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