Today is a great day to be free of all the crap that’s holding you back. For some of us, it’s that nightly glass of wine, or two, because hey, it’s healthy to drink red wine, right? 😉
From an Outside magazine editors experience on the Appalachian Trail with and without alcohol, to this podcast from Huberman Lab about the effects of alcohol on brain and body health, there are plenty of reasons to dry out.
Many of us are doing a dry January. So, let’s fire up your soda streams and take note of some really important reasons to minimize or even eliminate alcohol intake from our diet. We only get one body and mind, right?!
- Hypertension: High blood pressure is often associated with the use of alcohol. Having high blood pressure is a risk factor for numerous other related health conditions. Many individuals who stop drinking alcohol, become involved in formal treatment that may involve the use of medications, and take on various other lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy diet and getting sufficient exercise, can correct this situation relatively quickly.
- Alcoholic cardiomyopathy: Chronic heavy drinking weakens the heart muscle and reduces its effectiveness in pumping blood. The symptoms of cardiomyopathy can include feeling short of breath, fatigue, an irregular heartbeat, and swelling in the legs and feet. Individuals who stop drinking alcohol and get treatment can reverse some of these symptoms to some extent, but in chronic cases, cardiomyopathy may be permanent.
- Arrhythmias: Irregular heartbeat is associated with chronic alcohol abuse. Again, individuals who abstain from alcohol and get treatment can reverse this issue to some extent, particularly within the first year of recovery. However, the damage may not be entirely reversed.
- High cholesterol levels: High cholesterol levels are associated with chronic use and abuse of alcohol. Abstaining from alcohol in addition to other forms of treatment, such as dietary changes and the use of medication, can help to reverse this issue. Moderate to heavy use of alcohol is also associated with obesity, which is linked to high cholesterol levels, hypertension, heartbeat irregularities, and increased potential for heart attack.
- Heart attack or sudden cardiac death: Individuals who are moderate to heavy alcohol users are at increased risk for death due to heart attack. This risk is exponentially increased if individuals use tobacco products and drink alcohol. The risk drops significantly in the first year after one abstains from alcohol; however, cardiac damage may not be fully resolved. Individuals with a history of alcohol abuse are at an increased risk for later heart attacks compared to individuals who never abused alcohol. In addition, all of the other factors listed in this section increase the risk that an individual may experience a heart attack.
Those who drink heavily should consider talking to their doctor about how to come off of alcohol without having high risk side effects. This conversation would more than likely have saved my Mom’s life. She was alcohol dependent, and when she tried to stop drinking, she had a stroke that led to an aneurysm. Some body types and genetics are more prone to severe outcomes from withdrawal.
If you or someone you know is struggling with moderation, the information below may be helpful.
To your health, Coach Michelle
What are the symptoms of addiction withdrawal?
Withdrawal symptoms can be different for different people and can be mild or severe. Symptoms depend on:
- the type of substance/behaviour and how long you used it for
- your age
- your physical health
- your mental and emotional state
- the withdrawal process used
Symptoms can include:
- not being able to sleep
- changing moods
- aches and pains
- seeing things that are not there (hallucinations)
- nausea and vomiting
You may also be hot and cold, have goosebumps, or have a runny nose
Severe withdrawal symptoms, especially for drugs and alcohol, can include:
Symptoms can last for a few days or weeks, but they will stop with time.
When should I see my doctor?
You might need medical support when you are quitting to make sure you are safe.
Always talk about withdrawal with your doctor or with an alcohol and other drug treatment service first. This is very important if you are withdrawing from using alcohol, GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate), benzodiazepines or ketamine. Source