(Updated – June 2020) Drinking alcohol is a big part of most people’s lives, and not just in the West. Alcohol has become a big part of the culture, and socialising, all around the world. That’s not a good thing, because drinking has lots of negative impacts. There are far more reasons not to drink alcohol than there are to drink.
Read on to find out more about the reasons why drinking alcohol is not a good idea (research-backed, references in the end).
Editor’s note – This guide was updated in June 2020 to update the information and make improvements.
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20 reasons not to drink alcohol
- Can cause alcoholism – If you don’t drink, you can’t become alcoholic, simple. If someone has an addictive personality, this can be especially bad. It is also a bad idea to drink lots to forget painful experiences as that usually leads to alcohol dependence, which usually leads to full-blown alcohol addiction. So no drink = no alcohol dependence = no alcoholism.
- Can cause weight gain – Just one single 12-ounce beer, or a five-ounce glass of wine, or a 1.5-ounce shot of liquor has about 150 calories. That is a lot of calories for something that adds no nutrition to your body. Talk about empty calories! If you are working on improving your health, drinking really is not a good idea – for a lot more reasons than just this, reasons not to drink alcohol, as we will look at below.
- Makes you age faster – The pressure alcohol puts on your body’s internal organs leads to ageing faster. If you have ever seen an alcoholic who looks much older than their age (as is usually the case), now you know why. If you want to age better and live a long healthy life, drinking needs to be moderated, if not cut out altogether.
- Disrupts sleep – Alcohol negatively impacts the quality of your sleep. You might think that it helps you sleep, but the quality of the sleep you get on alcohol is not good quality sleep. Passing out is not quality sleep.
- Can worsen memory and ability to learn – Drinking alcohol regularly for a long time worsens your brain’s capacity to process information, which means your memory gets worse, as does your ability to learn things. Definitely not good if you are committed to personal development and want to get better through the span of your life. So if you want to have the memory of a 30-year-old when you are 60, you need to rethink your drinking habit. This is a pretty big reasons not to drink alcohol.
- Can cause chronic brain disorders – This is one of the most worrying impacts of long-term drinking. As mentioned earlier, long-term drinking impairs your brain’s ability to process information. But it doesn’t just stop there – according to the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, even just one or two drinks over time can lead to blurred vision, slurred speech, slower reaction times, impaired memory, loss of balance, and chronic brain disorders.
- Can cause high blood pressure – The more you drink, the higher your blood pressure will be. So if you struggle with high blood pressure, cutting out alcohol is one of the most effective ways to lower your blood pressure. So, high blood pressure is yet another reason not to drink alcohol.
- Often leads to bad hangovers – How many of you have experienced a bad hangover after a night of drinking? If you have, you know just how terrible it feels the next morning. Most people who experience hangovers know how bad it feels, so save yourself the pain and drink in moderation. Even better, skip the drinks altogether!
- Can impair judgment – Often people do the stupidest things when they are drunk. We all have friends who did something incredibly stupid, even downright dangerous because they weren’t thinking properly as a result of being drunk. So a surefire way to stop yourself from doing something you will regret is to not get drunk.
- Increases risk of cancer – Studies have found that alcohol is a carcinogen, i.e. it increases the risk of getting cancer. The more you drink, the higher will your risk be of getting cancer.
- Can lead to liver problems – Liver problems are one of the most known side effects of drinking alcohol, with liver cirrhosis (a serious liver condition) often being the end result. The longer (and more) someone drinks, the worse their liver gets. But there is good news – our livers are very resilient and start to heal when you stop drinking. So if you want a better liver, rethink your drinking habit.
- Can cause heart problems – Drinking alcohol often leads to heart problems, including alcoholic cardiomyopathy, hemorrhagic stroke, and heart rhythm disturbances.
- Can cause birth defects – Pregnancy and alcohol are a terrible combination. Alcohol has been shown to harm unborn babies, and can also cause complications during pregnancy. Children of pregnant women who drink are at extremely high risk of being born with fetal alcohol syndrome.
- Can cause muscle cramps – Drinking alcohol regularly can cause muscle cramps, which often gets worse as people continue drinking. So if you experience muscle cramps, staying off the booze can be a really good idea.
- Can lead to accidents – We all know about the dangers of drinking and driving. There are some very good reasons why driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal. It’s not just dangerous for you but is also dangerous for your loved ones, as well as other people.
- Can trigger traumatic memories – Often alcohol can bring up negative memories, even traumatic memories, which is bad because when you are under the influence of alcohol you are really not in a place to process such memories in a healthy way. This can cause a whole host of problems. This can be a recipe for disaster. A lot of suicides have resulted because of such reactions…
- Can increase mental health issues like depression – Some people drink alcohol when they feel down or depressed. But what this usually does is cause a momentary boost, but then a slump, which often leads to drinking continuously. If you are feeling down or depressed, drinking is really not a good idea.
- Can increase stress and anxiety levels – Alcohol affects different people in different ways, but for most, it does not have a calming, mellowing effect. Most people actually feel more stressed and anxious after drinking alcohol. If you want to properly deal with stress and anxiety, mindfulness is a great place to start. Learning about these 3 types of meditation (tutorials included) can also help.
- Can be a gateway to worse things like hard drugs – People who drink are far more likely to use hard drugs than people who don’t drink. Pretty potent reasons not to drink alcohol.
- Alcohol is expensive – Alcohol is not cheap. Even the cheapest alcohol can make a real dent in your budget if you drink regularly. There are far better things to spend your money on, like travel, or having an interesting experience. That’s as a reason as any for not drinking alcohol, won’t you say? Rather than spending your money on alcohol, save it to spend it something you will really love and cherish.
Alcohol has no positive impact on your health. As some of the points above made abundantly clear, alcohol does a lot more harm than good, if any good at all. Now you have some pretty big reasons not to drink alcohol.
It can be fun, but that’s about it, and even that is really short-lived (which is why some people become addicted to drinking).
It is not good for your health. It is not good for your mind. It is not good for your pocket (finances). There are just too many reasons why alcohol is not good for you.
Even drinking a small amount of alcohol can be bad for you, as research has found.
So if you do drink alcohol, now you have lots of reasons to cut down on how much you drink. Taking into account all the costs (physical, mental, financial, etc), not drinking is just a much better choice won’t you say.
What are your thoughts on these 20 reasons not to drink alcohol?
How do you feel about alcohol? Do you have any tips or advice to share?
Share your thoughts, suggestions and ideas in the comments section below.
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