This is how giving up alcohol actually affects your body

This is how giving up alcohol actually affects your body

Like a lot of people, I enjoy the occasional drink - and there's nothing wrong with that. However, as we are all aware, regular or excessive drinking can have some extremely negative effects on our bodies, and it's important to know the risks before diving once more into the bottom of a bottle.

Here's just some of the things that alcohol affects, and how going sober can make some very positive changes:

Weight

If you've got a few stubborn pounds you can't seem to shift, kicking the drinking habit might just be the way to solve the problem. Alcoholic drinks are often very sugary, and just a couple of pints of beer can be around 600 calories - about the same as a Big Mac. Alcohol itself acts as an appetite stimulant, too, and we all know how tempting a takeaway looks at the end of a heavy night.

fat man Credit: Getty

Skin 

Aside from causing specific health problems such as Rosacea, excessive drinking can make your skin red and puffy. And, if you don't drink enough water alongside your beer/wine/spirit of choice (and who ever does?), alcohol can dehydrate the body, depriving the skin of vital nutrients. So, if you want a clearer complexion, try swapping that sex on the beach for an orange juice.

rosacea bad skin Credit: Getty

Heart

Regular drinking can have some very detrimental effects on the heart. High blood pressure and irregular heart rhythms caused by alcohol consumption can potentially be fatal, and puts frequent drinkers at risk of heart attacks. Obviously, cutting back on the booze reduces these risks, and allows the heart to repair itself from previous damage.

heart symbol made with fingers Credit: Getty

Liver

When we think of heavy drinking, we think of liver damage. Though the organ has the ability to regenerate itself, it can still be badly damaged by regular alcohol consumption. Quitting alcohol will prevent further damage, and allow the liver to keep on performing its (very important) job of filtering unwanted chemicals from our blood.

liver Credit: Getty

Kidneys

Like the heart and liver, the kidneys perform a vital role. They are responsible for making sure we have enough water in our bodies - but alcohol interferes with their ability to do this. I'm sure I don't need to spell it out for you, but basically: no alcohol = no interference. Simple as that.

kidneys Credit: Getty

Digestion

Even the smallest amount of alcohol can cause the stomach to produce more acid than usual, which, in severe cases, can cause gastritis. The symptoms of this include vomiting, diarrhoea, and sometimes even bleeding. Quitting the hard stuff eliminates these problems, and allows for smoother digestion.

digestive system Credit: Getty

Sleep

Everybody is supposed to have six or seven cycles of REM sleep a night, but, if alcohol is consumed, that number can drop to one or two. This leaves you feeling tired and sluggish in the morning - and that's before the hangover kicks in. Going sober encourages a healthier and more regular sleep pattern.

sleep Credit: Getty

Mental Health

Obviously, getting more sleep aids in improving mental health, but quitting drinking has many other positive effects on the brain. Alcohol is a depressant, and - as well as causing anxiety - excessive consumption will make you feel lower than usual. Avoiding excessive alcohol consumption will improve brain function and overall happiness; and who doesn't want that?

drinking alcohol Credit: Getty

If you were considering going sober for October (or longer), perhaps this will give you a little extra encouragement. And remember, even just cutting down on alcohol will improve your health; just make sure to drink in moderation, and know your limits.