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There is nothing wrong with having a drink from time to time to celebrate a special occasion, complement a nice meal, or socialize with friends. Many people are able to regulate their drinking to stay within safe guidelines and minimize risk to their health. However, some people have difficulty staying in control. One drink turns into several and this may happen multiple days a week. Excessive drinking can take a toll on your physical and mental health and spiral into an alcohol use disorder.
According to Orange County alcohol rehab Chapters Capistrano, cutting back on drinking and seeking treatment from an alcohol rehab center can help curb issues before they become more severe. A luxury rehab in California can provide clients with the customized treatment they need to turn their lives around and embrace a substance-free lifestyle while improving their health. Recognizing that you have a problem and being proactive can help minimize the damage caused.
Health Concerns Associated with Drinking
There is a wide range of health impacts related to alcohol. One of the most noticeable is probably how you feel afterward. Having a hangover can affect your ability to think clearly, function effectively, and maintain a healthy diet and exercise. People generally feel sluggish and irritable because their head hurts and they are worn out.
Alcohol contains empty calories that can lead to unwanted weight gain. It can make you feel fuller but does not contain any real nutritional value. In fact, it can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and contribute to malnutrition or vitamin deficiencies. Oftentimes people are not focused on eating a well-balanced meal during or after drinking either, so their diet may be poorer to begin with.
In addition, alcohol is hard on the body. It can contribute to heart problems and put strain on the liver. The liver processes all of the alcohol in your body but it can only work so fast. Chronic or excessive drinking can lead to liver disease or cirrhosis of the liver. If it becomes too severe, a liver transplant may be necessary, but alcoholism can jeopardize a person’s eligibility.
Some people turn to alcohol as a way to help them sleep, but in reality it can actually make sleep worse. While they may fall asleep more quickly, their sleep is less restful and more disrupted. As a result they may wake up feeling even more tired and irritable.
Cutting Back on Drinking
Following strategies for cutting back on drinking can help you to improve your health and wellbeing. It can also be a proactive step toward reducing risk of alcoholism. If you do decide to have a drink, keep these tips in mind:
- Know the standards: Be familiar with what a standard drink is. In the United States, this means 12 ounces of regular beer, five ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. If you’re pouring your own drink, be mindful of these measurements. Consider using a smaller glass to reduce over pouring.
- Set a limit: Before you start, know your limit of how many drinks you will have. Pace yourself throughout the evening to stick to these guidelines. It can also help to bring a limited amount of money with you as this restricts how many drinks you can buy.
- Alternate with water: Drink a full glass of water before you start drinking to help fill you up ahead of time. Then continue drinking water throughout the night to stay hydrated and reduce the amount of alcohol you are consuming. Furthermore, make sure you are eating as well. Having a meal beforehand can help slow the absorption of the alcohol and keep you feeling fuller.
- Say no: Have a few phrases prepared in case someone offers you a drink. You could say that you have an early morning or you are the designated driver. Letting a close friend know that you are cutting back can help keep you accountable as well. They can provide support and encouragement.
- Start slowly: Cutting back can be challenging depending on how much you are used to drinking. Slowly decrease how much you drink instead of stopping cold turkey. This can ease the transition and make adjusting a little easier.
As you begin to cut back and drink less, you’ll notice that how you feel and look begins to change. Your thinking becomes clearer, you have more energy, you can remember the events that occurred, and you’re more in control of your decisions. Your body will slowly begin to heal as well and you can focus on eating well-balanced meals and staying active to maintain a healthy weight.
While there are some studies that show certain amounts of alcohol can be good for the body, these results depend on the individual. Not everyone responds the same way and it’s important not to overlook the risks as well. If you have tried cutting back on your own and haven’t had much luck, or your drinking is taking a negative toll on your life, seek professional treatment at an alcohol rehab center to get on the path to recovery.