Health

8 Ways to Stop Drinking and Cut Down on Alcohol

Alcohol has been a part of human culture for thousands of years. Have you ever considered why you drink alcohol and how to stop drinking? Did you start due to social reasons, or do you like the flavor? Whatever the reason, if you want to reduce your alcohol use, it may be helpful to figure out why you drink in the first place.

WHY DO PEOPLE DRINK ALCOHOL?

Before looking into ways to stop drinking alcohols, it’s worth to find out why one starts drinking first. Various reasons for drinking have been investigated, including drinking to boost sociability, power, escaping the challenges, getting intoxicated, for enjoyment, or ceremonial reasons. Let us see what can be the other possible reasons:

A Social Norm

Alcohol is usually served on social celebrations like weddings, happy hours, birthday parties, holidays, etc. It is thought that a drink or two might be a good way to celebrate an occasion or compliment a nice meal. It is commonly encouraged in countries like the USA and UK, with many young people eagerly awaiting the day they turn eighteen, so they can have their first alcoholic drink.

Peer Pressure

While your peers may assist you in developing new abilities or generating new interests, they may also put you under pressure to participate in activities that you would not have decided on your own, such as getting drunk. Peer pressure is one of the most common causes for people of all ages to drink due to fear of being isolated or discarded from a group. Teenagers, in particular, are more sensitive to being affected by this, which can lead to addiction.

Traumatic Experience

Trauma, particularly unresolved trauma, is a key risk factor for alcoholism. Those who have been bullied lost a loved one, experienced domestic violence, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, or lived with a mentally ill parent are at significant risk of becoming an alcoholic. People with multiple traumas in the at are more prone to be alcoholics.

Stress

Alcohol consumption is also used as a coping mechanism by many people as it slows down the function of the CNS (Central Nervous system), causing sensations of relaxation. They drink to distract themselves from the different challenges in their lives and alleviate their negative thoughts and feelings.

Read here to see how stress affects your health and aging.

Past Experiences With Drinking

Drinking for a long time changes people’s attitudes on alcohol. People who drink can remember the good times they’ve had with it, which may boost their willingness to drink more. Bad experiences tend to have the opposite effect.

Environment

Alcohol-related stimuli such as advertisements on digital media like TV and cellphones, and billboards Increases or develops the desire for drinking. Financial pressure, like taxes, on the other hand, makes drinking less appealing.  Evidence suggests that simply boosting the price of an alcoholic beverage by 10% reduces demand by 7%.

Family History

According to scientists, genes are responsible for almost half of the total risk of drinking. People who have family drinking problem are more likely to develop an addiction or engage in risky drinking habits themselves. For example, if drinking was common in the family, the person was more likely to develop a drinking habit as he has seen this happening around him and will consider it normal. 

For Fun!

In general, people drink to have a good time. They enjoy being getting drunk because it makes them feel cheerful and “energetic.” They think alcohol enhances their abilities to get happier on any occasion.

WHY DO PEOPLE BECOME ALCOHOLICS?

sad man with alcohol glass

One reason to make stop drinking very challenging is the addictive potential of alcohol. According to recent researches, addiction is created in the brain because alcohol overrides the brain reward center known as Limbic System. The delivery of dopamine (our happy hormones) reorganizes a healthy brain into an addicted brain. The brain’s reward and pleasure centers are overloaded, and the user experiences cravings to repeat those experiences.

PROBLEMS WITH ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION

an image of alcohol bottles to imply the effects of alcohol to the body

Quit drinking is a common trend as more and more people are aware of the detrimental effects of alcohol to the body. Indeed, alcohol consumption has a direct effect to your body and the principal organ.  Find out what it does to your body here. Besides, alcohol can bring about the below short term problems and long-term problems:

SHORT TERM
  • A humiliating drinking accident, such as vomiting or passing out, can lead to mockery, social ostracism, and other forms of bullying or making regretful mistakes during the drunken moments.
  • Hangovers can cause lost wages, poor performance, and workplace mishaps, all of which might compromise your career.
  • Excessive drinking can also harm personal relationships.
  • Injuries occurring due to accidents, burns, falls, and drowning are reported by WHO due to excessive drinking.
  • Violence activities, including homicide, suicide, sexual assault, are also reported due to drinking.
  • Financial problems due to excessive spending on alcohol
  • A medical emergency known as Alcohol Poisoning is due to overdrinking.
  • Miscarriage, stillbirth Fetal Spectral Disorder can also occur if it’s consumed during the conception period.  Find out other reasons for delayed pregnancy here.
LONG TERM

Excessive alcohol use increases the risk of several diseases. It has been linked with 60 different health conditions, according to research.  Drinking for many years can cause serious health risks, including the following effects.

HOW TO STOP DRINKING ALCOHOL?

an image with no alcohol sign to signal the wish to stop drinking

Harvard Health provides tips that have helped others cut down on their drinking or stop drinking.

1. SET A GOAL & BUDGET

Set a limit on how much you’re going to drink before you start. It should always be under the recommended guidelines. You can also write it down as it will assist you in remembering that you want to restrict your drinking.

Take only a specific amount of money to spend on alcohol. In this way, you will save money as well as your health!

2. COUNT AND MEASURE YOUR DRINKS

If you’re going to keep track of how many drinks you’ve had, make sure you’re accurate. You can still have a drink, just in fewer proportions. Instead of pints, try a bottled beer or a small glass of wine instead of a large one.

3. PACE YOURSELF

Never drink on an empty stomach. Pace your drinks – gently sip your drink and enjoy it while taking your time. It takes time to metabolize alcohol (see the table above to see how much time it takes to metabolize a drink).

4. DON’T KEEP ALCOHOL AT HOME & CHOOSE ALCOHOL-FREE DAYS

One easiest way to stop drinking is to leave no alcohol at home, make alcohol less accessible to you. Also, assign several days free from drinking each week.

5. AVOID YOUR TRIGGERS

Always keep in mind that your health may be at stake because of drinking. It is a good idea to avoid circumstances where you are used to drinking if you try to cut back or quit drinking entirely. People, places, objects, and activities can all be triggers for the desire to drink.

6. LEARN TO SAY NO

You will almost certainly be in conditions where someone may offer you a drink or expect you to drink with them as you have in the past. It can be due to peer pressure as well. The best way is to say No firmly. It will not only boost your confidence in your decision, but it will eventually become a habit later.

7. KEEP YOURSELF BUSY

If drinking has become a significant part of your life, try replacing other activities for drinking hours. Consider taking up a new hobby like exercising or spending more time with your family. Find something enjoyable to do during the time you would typically drink.

8. ASK FOR SUPPORT

It is always the best idea to let your family know that you’re cutting back, your wish to stop drinking and why it’s important to you. Your doctor, counselor, or therapist can be offer support too.

Arming yourself with strategies and tips can help you or a loved one take small steps towards big results to cut down or stop drinking alcohol. One way is to start is to know what alcohol does to your body. Check out this article to find out.

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Aimen

Being a Doctor by profession, Aimen is passionate about helping people get better health in their lives. Aimen enjoys her research on Prime With Time subjects and strives to create better awareness of the problems and changes related to women's health.
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