Pain Management, Weight Loss and Other Benefits of Drinking Less Alcohol
Image for representation. Credits: Flickr Creative Commons/Lazaros Papadopoulos.
It is very common for people to have a drink or two while socializing or even just unwinding after a long day. But when the drinking becomes regular or excessive, it can have extremely serious consequences such as high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, the formation of abnormal blood clots, cardiomyopathy or stroke.
As per Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, US, moderate alcohol consumption for men is considered to be two drinks per day whereas for women it is one drink per day. Reducing the consumption of or quitting alcohol is known to have several benefits. A recent study, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research on 8th October, found that reducing alcohol consumption can help in dealing with chronic pain.
Reducing alcohol may reduce pain
In this study, the scientists conducted a survey on approximately 1,500 veterans between 2003 and 2015. All these veterans reported heavy drinking at some point during the survey.
At the beginning of the study, the researchers found that half of these participants reported moderate to severe pain, more than half reported symptoms of anxiety and one-third had depression. Other than alcoholism, more than two-third veterans had the habit of smoking, one-third reported the use of marijuana and one-third had used cocaine.
The participants were divided into two groups; one group reduced drinking after the first survey and the second one didn’t.
After the follow-up, it was found that those who reduced their drinking showed improvements in chronic pain symptoms within two years. Furthermore, those who reduced alcohol consumption also showed less indulgence in other substances such as marijuana, cocaine and cannabis.
Here are some other benefits of reducing your consumption of alcohol:
1. Less burden on the liver
Those who consume excess alcohol on a regular basis may experience fatty changes in their liver, which can ultimately result in cirrhosis (scarring). Fortunately, these changes can be reversed if you quit or reduce your alcohol consumption. Once you take down the burden off the liver, it can focus on performing various other tasks such as digesting food, storage of energy and getting rid of the toxins found in the body.
2. Reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases
Whenever you consume alcohol in moderation, it gets metabolized by the liver with the help of an enzyme called dehydrogenases. When you consume alcohol in excess amounts, dehydrogenases gets saturated and another enzyme comes into play to metabolise the alcohol. However, when this new enzyme metabolises the alcohol, it releases a lot of free radicals, which can damage the organs and also form deposits in the arteries of the heart.
Reducing alcohol intake or drinking in moderation would not only prevent the formation of free radicals but would also produce good cholesterol (HDL) in the body.
3. Weight loss
Studies have shown that regular consumption of alcohol can result in excessive weight gain. Additionally, it increases your appetite and makes you more impulsive, which leads you to put up less resistance when tempted with unhealthy food. Reducing alcohol consumption can help you maintain your weight.
4. Better sleep
You might think that alcohol makes you sleep better but the truth is that alcohol consumption prevents you from getting REM sleep (deep sleep). It can make you wake up repeatedly in the night, leaving you to feel tired and exhausted the next day. Avoid consuming excess alcohol before going to bed to get better sleep.
For more information, read our article on Alcoholism.
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