Enhancing Your Physical and Mental Health
Once addiction takes hold of your life, it will most often have severely damaging effects on your mind and body. The list of health consequences is long and intense, ranging from ill mental health, high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, pancreatitis, and cancer, to name but a few. [i] [ii]
As you sink deeper into the rabbit hole of your addiction, it can feel impossible to break away and release yourself from the negative impacts that alcohol has on your body. But if you can find the determination, commitment, and appropriate support to reach sobriety, you’ll soon be blinded by the adverse effects of drugs and alcohol.
Below is a list of some of the seven critical ways that getting sober will enhance your physical and mental health:
1. Reduced Toxins
Sobriety doesn’t just give you your life back; it also gives you your health back. Removing drugs and alcohol from your body means that eventually, all the toxins flooding your body will reduce to zero. The body must expel these toxins for a person’s body to have the best chance of health.
The body rids itself of toxins by breaking them down and flushing them out of the body. The kidneys, liver and intestines are the vital organs that allow this to happen. But these organs aren’t invincible and will eventually deteriorate with heavy drinking or drug use.
But there is good news. Once you’re no longer drinking or using drugs, your body won’t need to expel these toxins. Sobriety, therefore, gives your organs a break from all this hard work. Giving your organs this break means they have a chance to heal and recuperate and potentially function for longer. [iii]
2. More Energy for Better Things
When you banish drugs and alcohol from your body, you will have more energy, concentration, and awareness of your surroundings.
As the toxins start to leave your body, it leaves room for more energy. Using your new energy for greater things like exercise, meditation, and yoga is perfect for reducing stress and mental health issues. By reducing your stress and improving your mental health, you’ll also experience better sleep, improved mood, higher energy levels and much more.[iv]
3. No Hangovers
There are an odd few people who are lucky enough not to suffer hangovers. Still, for most of us who have drunk alcohol ever, hangovers are horrid, debilitating beasts that ruin your day.
Hangovers are the body dealing with the withdrawal symptoms of alcohol. You may find yourself experiencing such bad hangovers that your career, family, friends, and general responsibilities are affected.
However, the more days you wake without a hangover and with a clear head and non-nauseous stomach, the more you’ll realise how great and productive life is without hangovers[v].
4. Better Sleep
Alcohol especially has a hugely detrimental impact on your sleep, making it nearly impossible for you to get a full night’s sleep. Alcohol causes more frequent awakenings, interruptions, and less time in REM sleep, which negatively impacts your life.
But becoming sober allows you to get your sleep pattern back into a normal rhythm.
By eliminating the disruptive consequences of alcohol, not staying up late partying, and allowing yourself to get the rest you need, your sleep and life will be much improved.
5. Look and Feel Better
Becoming sober not only improves your insides, but it also improves your outsides. Your body will begin to look better in several ways when drugs and alcohol have been eliminated from it.
Firstly, removing the dangerous toxins reduces the ageing effect on the outside and the inside. Secondly, your body can once again begin to balance the nutrients needed to look and feel healthy.
As your body begins to detoxify and your physical health begins to restore, several things will happen. Healthier, shinier skin will glow, in contrast to the pale, lacklustre colour your cheeks were sporting before.
You will likely lose weight as the empty calories from alcohol, or bad diet you have picked up, begin to fade away and are replaced with healthier habits. Finally, as you get out more, get more exercise, and start to feel better, you’ll begin to look and feel better. [vii] [viii]
6. Better Mental Health
The benefits of sobriety don’t just stop with the body; instead, they travel to the mind. Although these are not technically related to any physical benefits of sobriety, your improved mental health can hugely impact your physical health.
But, unfortunately, the co-occurring mental health conditions that come with addiction can leave people suffering from a world of bad habits.
For example, depression can lead people to eat a lousy diet, get next to no exercise and suffer from insufficient sleep. However, with sobriety, especially if you have enlisted the help of a rehab centre, your mental health will improve, and you can learn ways to deal with your negative feelings.
Once your mental health enhances, you are likely to eat better, sleep better, exercise more and generally feel better. [ix]
Give Yourself Less Risk of Disease
Lastly, addiction to drugs and alcohol can leave your body more susceptible to a wide range of diseases. But the more time that passes in your sobriety, the more your body will begin to recover and potentially revert to your pre-addiction state, reducing with it your risk of certain conditions.
- Improve Your Immune System. Your immune system is essential for staying healthy. However, alcohol stops the immune system from operating at full speed, meaning an increased chance of catching a cold, cough, or the flu. People with alcohol use disorders often suffer from this problem. Allowing yourself to become sober gives your immune system the chance to get better, which means fewer colds and flu for you. [x]
- Strengthen Your Heart. One of the worst effects of alcohol is its increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Alcohol causes your arteries to get blocked when bad cholesterol gets oxidised, which builds upon the carotid arteries and causes blockages that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. In contrast, becoming sober allows your heart and blood vessels a better chance to work as they should. As they get healthier, the risk of cardiovascular disease reduces.[xi]
- Improve Your Blood Pressure. You might not realise it, but alcohol intake is linked to high blood pressure and multiple health problems, including stroke. This happens because alcohol causes vasoconstrictors to be released, which thins the blood vessels thinner and increases blood pressure. Give yourself less chance of high blood pressure and less chance of stroke by becoming sober.[xii]
- Lessen your chances of cancer. No one likes to consider their chances of getting cancer, but if you drink regularly, then you should. With alcohol’s direct links to cancer, increased alcohol consumption means you are at higher risk of cancers of the breast, throat, mouth, oesophagus, voice box, colon, bowel, and liver. Moderate drinking is not enough to keep you safe from these risks, as even light drinkers of one drink per day and binge drinkers are moderately at increased risk of some cancers. However, cutting out alcohol gives you a better life expectancy and a reduced risk of cancer. [xiii]
- Help Your Liver. Alcohol, even mild consumption, can increase your chances of liver disease, fatty liver disease and mild fibrosis. Long-term drinking has even more severe consequences for your liver, such as alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis. But the liver is a beautiful, regenerative organ and even long-term drinkers have a chance of improving their liver’s health once they become sober.[xiv]
The list of health benefits related to sobriety doesn’t stop here. With the prospect of your life and health vastly improving with recovery, there seem to be more reasons every day for you to get sober.
Once you’ve been sober for even only a few months, you’re bound to find your body looking and feeling better.
Hopefully, that’s all the motivation you need to start the recovery process.