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What Are The Benefits Of Quitting Alcohol And Living An Alcohol Free Life?

Why is it so difficult to quit heavy alcohol consumption when the benefits of quitting drinking are so clear?

Dr. Gabor Maté once said, “It is impossible to understand addiction without asking what relief the addict finds, or hopes to find, in the drug or the addictive behaviour.” Taking this into consideration helps us to understand why people engage in chronic alcohol abuse, even when they are aware of how much better life might be if they quit their excessive drinking.

A person who consumes excessive alcohol consumption regularly, or engages in binge drinking may be self-treating a mental illness. Or, they may have developed an alcohol dependence, engaging in heavy drinking to cover up the pain from past traumas.

Yet, if you are drinking excessively, you may be aware that there are great benefits to quitting. Would you like to have healthier skin and improved skin tone? Would you like to have less brain fog? How would you like to be able to lose weight easily, improve muscle tone, and look healthier?

What are the benefits of quitting alcohol and health benefits of not drinking?

The benefits of being sober from alcohol include: improved mental health, better blood pressure, less belly fat, less liver damage, a reduced risk of breast cancer and liver cancer, and much more. Yet, alcohol addiction prevents a person drinking alcohol excessively from worrying too much about things like high blood pressure, weight gain, heart disease and liver disease.

Telling an alcoholic that they have a fatty liver, or that cutting back on alcoholic drinks will promote weight loss will not motivate them right away to engage in moderate drinking, or to quit drinking booze altogether. Yet, reviewing the benefits of going sober with someone suffering from alcoholism is still helpful.

While explaining to the alcoholic how wonderful alcohol recovery can be after detox and treatment may not lead to immediate changes, it does plant a seed that may lead that person to take the next step towards asking for help. It also helps to explain that getting past alcohol withdrawal and withdrawal symptoms does not have to be difficult and uncomfortable.

Alcohol detox can be medically managed to make alcohol withdrawal symptoms minimal and to reduce the risk of dangers, such as delirium tremens. A substance abuse facility experienced in addiction treatment and working with patients who have long-term alcohol misuse problems can help greatly with the detox process.

What are some of the top benefits of sobriety?

By reviewing the benefits of alcohol free life with a person who cannot stop drinking, we may touch on a particular benefit that appeals to that person. For example, an individual may not care about serious future health risks, but the idea of sleeping better may appeal to them.

Improved sleep is a major benefit of staying off alcohol. People who drink excessively often find that they cannot get a good night’s sleep, even when they are not drinking.

The sleep that a person gets when they pass out, after a night of excessive alcohol consumption is not good quality sleep. Living a life of drinking to fall asleep leads to daytime fatigue and constant brain fog.

Speaking of mental clarity, many issues of chronic fatigue, cognitive impairment, and reduced optimal brain function are related to heavy drinking. A great way to improve brain performance is to reduce alcohol consumption.

Poor sleep is part of the problem, but many cognitive difficulties experienced by alcoholics are due to the direct effects of alcohol on the brain. Fortunately, the brain is resilient, so when a person quits or slows down alcohol consumption, cognitive dysfunction can improve dramatically.

Is becoming a creative genius one of the benefits of sobriety?

I remember a patient who had been alcohol-free for a few months coming into the office, excited to share with me information about a patented invention. The idea came to him in a flash and he realized that it was something that people needed and would find very useful.

Not only had he overcome the mild cognitive impairment and brain fog symptoms due to chronic daily drinking, but he had moved ahead to have brilliant ideas and the energy to act on them. The memory loss, neurological symptoms, and cognitive problems that this patient had previously experienced had fully resolved, leaving him feeling like a creative genius.

This particular patient was responding well to naltrexone treatment. Naltrexone tablets, when taken correctly, can significantly help to reduce alcohol cravings and erase the alcohol habit from the brain. Regular naltrexone use with moderate drinking leads to extinction of the alcohol obsessions and cravings.

Interestingly, the patient wanted to attribute his genius inspiration to naltrexone. My opinion was that the reversal of his cognitive decline and overcoming mental confusion, leading to optimal brain functioning was simply because he stopped drinking alcohol.

Brain health is an excellent reason to quit drinking alcohol and start living an alcohol free life. Brain fatigue can be a thing of the past, especially after one year of no alcohol. Thinking clearly is one of the benefits of not drinking alcohol.

However, you don’t have to wait a whole year to see the benefits of improved cognitive function. Mental fatigue quickly resolves when a person stops binge drinking or drinking heavily every day.

One of the great benefits of quitting alcohol is less regret.

People who drink heavily for many years often experience deep regret. They obsess over a major lost opportunity, or they have remorse about things they have done.

I have heard patients express sorrow about things such as losing huge amounts of money due to bad financial decisions. Others have talked about bad decision making with regards to choosing a partner or how they treated their family.

Often, when an alcoholic feels guilt and regret over what they have done in the past, they continue excess drinking behavior to deal with the grief and pain caused by remembering their past behavior. Older adults are more likely to have regrets about the past, because they may be at an age where some mistakes cannot be undone.

Maybe it is too late to have the family that you planned to have when you were younger. Or, maybe the prospects of building wealth and a secure future seem less likely at your current age.

One of the best weapons against regret is gratitude. Gratitude is a proven beneficial state of mind that helps a person to live a better life. Being more grateful is one of the benefits of stopping drinking.

While you may have many regrets that are due to your drinking alcohol, such as not doing well in school, or ending up in a career that you are not happy with, you also have many things to be grateful for. Are you healthy? Do you have family or other loved ones in your life?

It helps to make a thorough written gratitude list and to maintain the list on a regular basis. One of the best ways to minimize future regret and to increase the things you are grateful for is to start an alcohol treatment program.

If you can quit drinking, or get treatment that helps you to moderate alcohol intake, then you will be in a better position to have more gratitude and less regret. The sadness of regretting the outcome of past mistakes may be one of the best motivators for someone to make the decision to get help to overcome an addiction. Less regret is one of the benefits of giving up alcohol.

Less anxiety and depression are benefits of sobriety.

Anxiety is a serious mental health issue. People may minimize the significance of anxiety, but it is debilitating for those who suffer from it.

Imagine having a tight feeling in your chest nearly all the time, especially when you are out in public and around other people. Anxiety disorder can be overwhelming.

Depression is also a serious condition that is as much of a problem as any serious physical illness. Suicidal thoughts are as serious as a heart attack, and must be addressed as such.

Some people with a dual diagnosis of depression and alcohol addiction may be drinking to self-medicate their mental health problems. Yet, for many heavy drinkers, anxiety and depression may be a consequence of their drinking.

Unfortunately, acute alcohol withdrawal, after quitting alcohol cold turkey, can lead to anxiety as one of the side effects of acute withdrawal. Depression symptoms may also arise quickly during alcohol withdrawal, even during a medical detox.

Quitting drinking cold turkey is not always the best approach. Using a harm reduction protocol, such as The Sinclair Method, can help a person to reduce alcohol intake gradually.

Some people who follow this approach can even become successful moderate drinkers. However, many TSM patients eventually reach a state where they have no interest in drinking, so they choose voluntarily to quit, becoming lifetime abstainers.

Either way, one of the great psychological benefits of quitting drinking is a reduction in social anxiety, and along with it, less overall depression. While living an alcohol free lifestyle may not resolve all mental health issues, It definitely helps with significant improvements in mood and emotionality.

What about the physical benefits of being sober?

For some reason, active addiction seems to prevent a person from caring about serious risks to their health. Warning an alcoholic about the risk to their liver with continued drinking rarely helps to motivate them to quit.

Yet, it should still be discussed clearly with the patient who presents for alcohol addiction treatment, that there are major physical health benefits to quitting alcohol. As that patient moves forward with treatment, they will gradually become more concerned about their physical health.

Staying healthy can be a great motivator to remain in recovery and avoid relapse. Avoiding liver cirrhosis and other liver damage, as well as heart disease can help, but focusing on health issues that affect lifestyle may be even more motivating.

Men are very focused on issues of erectile dysfunction. Chronic alcohol misuse can definitely cause issues with sexual functioning that can be long-lasting, even after the person quits drinking initially.

It may help to point out to a male patient that, if they quit drinking, blood pressure and blood flow throughout their body will improve. Erectile dysfunction often improves dramatically without alcohol.

Another great motivator is that a patient may need less medication, as their health improves. No one likes to take pills every day. As issues due to alcohol, such as gastritis, high blood pressure, obesity, and others improve, there may be less of a need for chronic medications to treat various conditions.

One of the benefits of quitting alcohol and starting a good exercise and diet program is significantly improved physical health. People who engage in a daily healthy lifestyle tend to need less medications overall.

Of course, do not quit taking medications without seeing your doctor first. You should always consult with your doctor before making any changes to your medical treatment plans.

Many patients who participate in alcohol treatment programs are also excited to see that they are losing weight without much effort. Alcohol causes weight gain, and excessive alcohol can lead to severe weight gain.

After quitting alcohol, weight loss is relatively easy with a good diet and exercise plan. Imagine how great it will feel to not only be alcohol free, but also to lose weight and look healthier.

If the benefits of being sober are so great, how do I quit?

Quitting alcohol does not have to be difficult. You have the option to go the traditional route of detox and rehab if you are a very heavy, regular drinker.

However, if you are an occasional binge drinker, or a gray area drinker, you may do well, quitting on your own with guidance from books, or a sober coach. There are elite concierge sober coaches who will be there for you 24/7 to help at any time when you have an issue with alcohol cravings or triggers.

Another option that may work well is The Sinclair Method, or TSM, as mentioned earlier. This method of reducing alcohol intake is a form of medication-assisted treatment, because it uses naltrexone, an opioid blocker, to help retrain the brain to not obsess over alcohol.

While TSM has not enjoyed widespread acceptance, it is a medically acceptable, evidence-based treatment plan. It should be said that there are many ways to implement TSM, depending on the specific patient.

The basics of TSM are fairly easy and straightforward, but setting up a plan for each individual can be involved and requires extensive knowledge and experience in working with TSM patients. The best plan for someone seeking TSM treatment is to find an experienced doctor to work with.

There are also certified TSM coaches to complement the work of doctors in supporting patients in their plan to take naltrexone regularly to reduce alcohol cravings. The C3 Foundation is an excellent source of information on the subject.

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of quitting alcohol, and the best ways to quit drinking or reduce your alcohol consumption, please contact us for more information. We provide concierge medical treatment throughout the state of Florida, from Tampa to West Palm Beach, and consulting services all over the world.

 

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