Alcohol abuse and alcoholism are serious issues across the nation. In fact, there are over 95,000 alcohol-related deaths each and every year. Despite how problematic alcohol can be, it is still the most used substance across the country – many don’t realize the risks and health-related problems associated with alcohol.
Before we look at how taking even a short break can help you in the long-term let’s first look at the major risks associated with excessive alcohol use and binge drinking.
Major Risks of Alcohol Use
When it comes to alcohol abuse, there are many issues that can occur – from long-term physical health issues to the consequences of poor judgement.
Regular alcohol use for an extended period is associated several long-term health risks including:
- Heart disease
- Increased risk of numerous cancers (mouth, throat, liver, colon)
- Learning problems and dementia
- Weakened immune system
Along with these, there are numerous other issues that can occur due to the lapses in judgement and forward thinking that occur while using alcohol.
One of the most common issues associated with alcohol use is drunk driving. According to information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 28 people die every day from drunk driving crashes – all preventable deaths.
As you can see, there are numerous problems and issues associated with excessive and regular alcohol use. That said, taking a break, even a short one, from alcohol can allow the body to recover.
Taking a Break from Alcohol
Reducing your alcohol use will obviously help you avoid judgement problems like drunk driving, potential violence, and risky sexual behavior, but it can also help your body with physical health problems that can occur from excessive drinking.
Let’s take a look at some of these issues.
Liver disease is one of the most dangerous issues that can occur from excessive alcohol use. Luckily, the liver is a resilient organ that can return to homeostasis fairly easily after a few weeks of not drinking.
One commonly overlooked benefit of going back on the wagon is the weight loss you will likely see. Alcohol can be very high in calories and sugar and taking a break from alcohol for a few weeks or months can provide weight regulation benefits that will also provide relief for numerous other body functions. It is still important to understand that each individual is different and cutting alcohol may provide more weight loss to some than others.
Reduce Cancer Risk
As mentioned previously, alcohol increases the risk of numerous different forms of cancer including esophageal, breast, colon, head and neck, and more. In fact, one study found that about 3.5% of all cancer deaths are alcohol-related. Fortunately, taking a break from drinking may provide your body with some relief as excessive alcohol use over time was found to increase this risk further.
There are many ways that you can try this out. For some people, quitting cold turkey works just fine and they can go on extended breaks. For others, it may be easier to pick a few days out of the week to avoid alcohol. Upon feeling the benefits your body and mind feel during this time, you may find it even easier to continue to cut down on your alcohol intake.
That said, if you are experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms when you cut back on your usage, this is a sign that you are dealing with an alcohol addiction problem. If this is the case, it is best to get professional help that can provide you with medical supervision and addiction recovery tools to help you achieve long-term sobriety.
To get a better understanding of your situation, or if you are asking yourself “am I an alcoholic?” there are many tests online to help you determine the severity of your issue. Another option is to reach out to an addiction treatment center and discuss your habits with their admission team.
Overall, alcohol is a dangerous and debilitating substance that can lead to numerous problems and issues related to physical and mental health, not to mention the various other problems that can occur such as drunk driving crashes, transmission of STDs, or the development of an alcohol use disorder.
Joe Gilmore is a creator on behalf of The Hope House, a luxury addiction treatment center dedicated to helping clients achieve long-term sobriety and improved well-being.
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.