From dehydration to liver and kidney failure, drinking leads to numerous physical and mental repercussions. People who drink heavily or abuse alcohol are more likely to experience physical repercussions like organ damage, organ failure, and even mental illness. Despite its dangers, many people become hooked on alcohol due to the sedative and euphoric side effects it produces in high doses. As an alcohol and drug rehab center in Gilman, our professionals believe that a good way to avoid these issues is by living teetotal. But what does teetotal mean?
The idea of living teetotal comes from a movement called teetotalism. Teetotalism is the practice of complete personal abstinence from alcohol. A person who practices teetotalism is known as a “teetotaler.” This movement first began in Preston, England in the early 1800s. The term was coined by Richard Turner at a Preston Temperance Society meeting in 1883.1 This society was founded 50 years prior by Joseph Livesey, who became the leader of the temperance movement and even authored a book called The Pledge, which stated, “We agree to abstain from all liquors of an intoxicating quality whether ale, porter, wine or ardent spirits, except as medicine.”2 Like most societies, they came up with a term to identify individuals who chose to live according to this pledge: teetotaler.
“Teetotaler” is now a term that’s used frequently to describe an individual who completely abstains from drinking alcohol. At Banyan Treatment Centers Heartland, we understand that while some people are able to monitor their drinking, we support teetotalism. We also offer medically monitored detox in Illinois that helps patients safely taper their use of alcohol. Team members who lead our detox programs may also administer medication to mitigate withdrawal symptoms as needed.
There are many consequences of long-term alcohol abuse, and alcoholism is the most common one. In 2019, over 14.5 million people ages 12 and older struggled with alcohol use disorder.3 There’s also a growing awareness regarding the dangers of heavy drinking, including liver disease, risk of weight gain, cardiovascular disease, mental illness, and cancer. Now that there are more teetotal celebrities and public figures, the health benefits of being teetotal are becoming more apparent. Below is a list of teetotal benefits that show why abstinence from alcohol is a good thing.
One of the most common effects of alcohol on the muscles is dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it prevents your body from holding onto water, which can lead to dehydration. When people are focused on drinking, they also usually forget to drink water. Not only can this cause uncomfortable side effects later on, but it can even contribute to back and neck pain. People who drink while dancing or partying are also at risk of becoming dehydrated to the point where they end up in the emergency room.
Although alcohol can make people sleepy and keep them unconscious for hours, this doesn’t necessarily qualify as good sleep. The amount of time a person spends in slow-wave sleep and REM sleep matters. Slow-wave sleep is associated with deep sleeping and REM sleep is the cycle during which people dream the most. Drinking too much alcohol can cause an imbalance between these two cycles, reducing the latter and prolonging the former. Over time, the lack of sleep is not only unhealthy, but it can lead to irritability and more drinking.
Because it acts as a sedative in high doses, chronic drinkers or binge drinkers may struggle with cognitive performance at work or in school. While the short-term effects of alcohol can impair concentration and brain function, chronic drinking can also cause a chemical imbalance in the brain. This imbalance can make simple tasks impossible to complete and is usually the source of addiction.
The physical effects of quitting alcohol occur quickly and are often the most difficult to get through. Medical detox is usually an effective first step in treating alcoholism because it mitigates physical discomfort associated with quitting alcohol that would otherwise discourage the person from completing their treatment.
Alcohol inhibits our ability to make decisions and think things through. The more you drink, the more likely you are to behave in a way you normally wouldn’t. Drinking excessively and frequently can affect the way you treat your loved ones, leading to problems with your friends, spouse, family members, and even coworkers. Individuals who abuse alcohol are often pushed away by their loved ones if they refuse to sober up.
If you’ve ever heard of the term “beer belly,” then you may understand the correlation between alcohol and weight gain. Alcoholic drinks usually contain lots of calories and carbs. Even if you aren’t eating excessively, drinking too much can still lead to significant weight gain. This is partly the reason why people with alcoholism often struggle with high blood pressure and heart problems.
The effects of alcohol on the skin are a result of the dehydration it causes. Drinking excessively can leave your skin looking dry, sallow, and wrinkly. Alcohol also depletes the body of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin B, and zinc, all of which contribute to skin health. By avoiding alcohol, you can also avoid premature aging and wrinkling.
Factors that affect your blood pressure include lack of physical activity, eating too much sodium, and high cholesterol. Alcoholic drinks often contain lots of calories, carbs, and sodium, which is why drinking affects your blood pressure. While blood pressure levels usually regulate a few hours after a person has had a few drinks, chronic drinking can lead to hypertension.
As with most substance abuse disorders, maintaining addictive habits related to drinking alcohol can become expensive. Many individuals who do not seek out alcohol addiction treatment often find themselves struggling financially, which can affect their relationships and in extreme cases, lead to homelessness.
People who are dependent on alcohol often drink to the point of blacking out. Another common side effect of drinking too much is experiencing a hangover the day after, which is characterized by symptoms like headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and stomach pains. A person who drinks a lot of alcohol is also more likely to experience alcohol poisoning. This is another ailment that can be deadly and land someone in the emergency room. Frequently experiencing these issues over several years can cause permanent damage to your physical and mental health.
Last but not least, you can avoid alcoholism by not drinking. The more accustomed to drinking alcohol a person gets, the more their tolerance grows. The more tolerant your body becomes to a certain amount of alcohol, the more you’ll need to drink to experience the same high or buzz. Repeating this pattern of behavior for a long time can result in a full-blown addiction.
Living teetotal isn’t impossible. At Banyan Heartland, we offer a variety of addiction treatment services for those who are struggling with substance abuse disorders. Call us now at 888-280-4763 to speak to one of our team members and learn how we can help.