Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, alcohol sales have significantly increased. More Americans are drinking these days to help cope with social isolation and economic hardship. While alcohol may temporarily numb you to these effects, the impact on your health might make you want to quit drinking.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. earlier this year and was soon followed by stay-at-home orders and varying degrees of lockdown. We found ourselves spending more time at home than we ever imagined. Boredom, anxiety, and isolation became the new norm. More Americans are reaching for the bottle to help cope.
Alcohol and the coronavirus have become socially entwined. Instagram has been saturated with posts on quarantinis, virtual happy hours, and online family gatherings. Daily drinking has become the norm for so many people. But with this uptick in alcohol consumption we are seeing more health problems arise. As some of us know alcohol is a depressant, which negatively impacts both our physical and emotional wellness. Let’s take a look at some of the effects alcohol can have on both mind and body and why it may be time to quit drinking and switch to mocktails instead.
3 Reasons to Quit Drinking
1. Alcohol Changes Your Behavior
Alcohol helps us relax and unwind. That’s why we drink, right? But the fun can quickly devolve into something else entirely. When that behavior change interferes with mental clarity, you begin making decisions you later regret. We’ve all been there. The difference these days, however, is that we’re spending more time stuck at home with our family members, a situation that has already put serious strain on some relationships. Add daily alcohol consumption to the equation and it’s no surprise that domestic violence incidents have gone up during the pandemic.
When you look in the mirror the next morning, you don’t want to see the look of shame and remorse, especially when you’ve got a 5 AM Zoom call with Tokyo. It’s not worth it. Not ready to completely quit drinking? Swapping just one or two of those cocktails for a mocktail will make a huge difference and likely mean less damage control the next day.
2. Shrinking Brain, Cancer, Heart Disease
Reason #1 (above) could land you in the slammer; reason # 2 will lead you to an early grave!
Do we really need another study to convince us that too much alcohol can destroy the body? For starters, alcohol makes you dumber. Yes, it literally shrinks your brain. Long-term alcohol consumption can have a profound effect on the frontal lobe, which controls our cognitive function, emotions, problem solving, memories, and judgement. Geez! What else is left? No wonder they call the frontal lobe the control panel of our personality.
Chronic alcohol consumption also increases the risk of throat, mouth, and esophageal cancer. Breast cancer is also more common in women that drink excessively. Nearly 40% of us will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in our lifetimes. Wouldn’t you rather improve those odds? Quit drinking alcohol and have a mocktail instead.
Heavy drinking is also one of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease. In the short-term, drinking increases heart rate and blood pressure. Over the long-term, drinking can stiffen the arteries and damage the heart muscle.
3. Drinking Increases the Risk of Diabetes
Reason #3 to quit drinking alcohol and choose a mocktail instead of a cocktail: because you don’t want diabetes.
In the U.S. alone, over 34 million people are living with diabetes. Many, many more are considered pre-diabetic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Complications related to diabetes can be debilitating.
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can make it harder for your body to manage blood sugar levels. If you already have diabetes, this can worsen your condition. Put your health first: quit drinking and choose a mocktail instead.
Yes, these are strange, trying times. But alcohol provides little more than a BandAid. Healthy coping strategies like exercise and meditation can get to the root cause of your stress and anxiety. There are many other reasons to quit drinking besides the three discussed above.
Got anxiety? Guess what? Alcohol makes it worse. Worried about your immune system? Alcohol makes it worse. Worried about keeping your job? Drinking puts that in jeopardy too.
Eventually, this pandemic will pass. As we begin to leave our homes and restrictions are slowly lifted, Will a broken family and damaged liver be your new normal?
Thank you as always for reading my article.
Have you recently quit drinking? How did you do it and how do you feel now? Leave me a comment.
Yours in health, Sarah