One thing is certain; alcohol abuse is associated with mental health issues. But there is hope! By abstaining, your brain has a chance to heal and renew.
Curious about the positive changes to your mental health once you quit drinking? Keep reading to discover many of the benefits of not drinking alcohol.
How Alcohol Affects the Brain and Mental Health
When it comes to mental health, neurotransmitters play a leading role. We couldn’t discuss the mental health benefits of not drinking alcohol without addressing them first.
Alcohol is a depressant that causes an imbalance in neurotransmitter brain chemicals. Ironically, many people turn to alcohol to cope with this lack of neurotransmitter functioning.
Why We Get Addicted
Why do people get addicted to alcohol in the first place? For the same reason that addictions to food, gambling, and social media happen.
It’s because of the pleasure response from neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine. When we get a pleasurable hit of dopamine we want more, it makes us feel good.
As a person gives in to the cravings, again and again, the brain’s pleasure center gets over-stimulated. As a counter-measure, dynorphin is released to rebalance the system.
The problem with this is that the pleasure response gets blunted. More of the addictive substance or activity is now needed to get the same dopamine hit.
Not only that, all pleasure gets blunted, including doing your favorite hobby, hanging out with loved ones, and having a fantastic meal. Nothing will feel as good anymore.
Neurotransmitters and Mental Health
Neurotransmitters are responsible for activating receptors that transfer signals between brain cells and other cells around the body. Let’s look at a few of the neurotransmitters and the conditions that they’re responsible for.
Acetylcholine: Alzheimer’s and Dementia are a result of an imbalance of this neurotransmitter.
Serotonin: It regulates hunger, sleep, mood, temperature, and sex drive. Imbalance causes depression, anxiety, OCD, and sleep disorders.
Dopamine: As mentioned above, dopamine handles the pleasure and reward sensation. Not enough dopamine can cause addiction and Schizophrenia, where too much contributes to Alzheimer’s disease.
Norepinephrine: Responsible for arousal, attention, and anxiety; an imbalance causes ADHD, anxiety, and cardiac failure.
Glutamate: An amino acid found all over the central nervous system. Glutamate excites motor, sensory, and cognitive neurons. A shortage of it leads to ALS and brain fog.
GABA: GABA is another amino acid in the central nervous system. It inhibits motor, sensory, and cognitive neurons.
GABA produces sedation, muscular and cardiorespiratory relaxation, and inhibits pain. GABA supplements are effective for anxiety and drug abuse rehab.
You can reduce the harm to your internal neurotransmitter balance by not drinking. That said, some people are born with neurotransmitter issues, and others experience them from poor nutrition. In these cases, alcohol will make them worse.
Mental Health Benefits of Not Drinking Alcohol
Keeping your neurotransmitters in a state of balance you’ll gain:
- Better Coping Mechanisms
- Natural Pleasure
- Better Relationships
- Weight Control
- Sound Sleep
- Better Memory
If you’ve recently quit drinking or have natural imbalances, you may need to add temporary supplementation to rebalance your neurotransmitters before noticing these benefits
What’s the Bottom Line?
The mental health benefits of not drinking alcohol are life-giving. You can look forward to a renewed mind and a fulfilling life. You won’t regret your choice to quit.
Celebrate your new life and sobriety with a gift for yourself! Check out our AA jewelry featuring inspirational messages.