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Fitness & Health

31st Oct 2023

How your body transforms when you don’t drink for a month as sober October comes to an end

Charlie Herbert

sober october

There are far more benefits than just having no hangovers

Sober October isn’t as popular as Dry January but tens of thousands of Irish people take part every year.

And right about now a lot of them are probably pretty desperate for a refreshing pint, with the finish line upon us. However, some might even be thinking of holding out a bit longer and a few might even give the bottle a miss for good.

In 2018, it was estimated that 75,000 people signed up for Go Sober for October and raised 6 million euro. While a month off might not seem like much – or, maybe too much for some – the benefits to the brain and body can’t be overlooked.

Participants probably also saved a bit of money, slept and ate better, probably performed better at work and were maybe even a little more bearable to live with.

Here’s a rundown of the changes those who have gone through Sober October might have noticed, according to Alcohol Change. In Ireland, Drink Aware have some great advice on it, too.

So, here’s a rundown of the impact one month without alcohol will have on your body.

Skin

A side-effect that you’ll probably notice by simply looking in the mirror is that your skin should be feeling and looking much better by going teetotal. Alcohol reduces the production of the antidiuretic hormone vasopressin, which means you lose water and sodium more quickly when you drink.

With more vasopressin in your body, you should notice a lovely glow to your skin. A month off the booze should also result in any pores you have reducing in size.

Blood pressure

A few weeks off the sauce is also likely to see your blood pressure come down, particularly if you had high blood pressure to begin with. Studies have found that a month without booze is all it takes to start lowering your blood pressure.

Going a month without alcohol will have a number of benefits for your physical and mental health (Getty)

Liver

Even if your knowledge of the health impacts of drinking is pretty limited, you probably still know that your liver bears the brunt of the booze. This is the organ that processes alcohol into waste products. But the liver has hundreds of other tasks to do, so needless to say it would enjoy not having to worry about alcohol for a few weeks.

One study found that just four weeks without a drink can substantially reduce liver ‘stiffness’, which can be an early sign of liver disease.

Digestion

You may have noticed in the past that after drinking your bowel movements are, shall we say, different. If you suffer from bloating, wind, diarrhoea or constipation, chances are you’ll see an improvement in your symptoms after going one month without booze.

Brain

Psychologically and mentally, you’ll probably also see some improvements. Don’t be surprised if you find it easier to get to sleep at night, are better at decision-making, and see a general improvement in your mental health, probably helped in no small part by the fact you won’t have to deal with any hangxiety for a month.

Cancer

It’s a fact that drinking alcohol increases your risk of cancer. According to Cancer Research UK, alcohol causes seven different types of cancer, including breast, bowel and mouth cancer. So, giving up the drink for a month can help you reduce your risk of developing these.

Immune system

Alcohol suppresses your body’s immune system. By giving up booze, not only will you reduce your risk of catching a viruses like a cold but you’ll also probably recover quicker if you do come down with something.

Ahead of the winter months, there’s no better time to prepare your immune system really.

Of course, not everyone who gives up booze will feel all of these benefits at the same or in the same way. But even if you don’t notice them, going a month without alcohol will be doing you the world of good.

For more information about the impact reducing your alcohol intake will have on you, along with tips on how to cut down on the booze, you can visit the NHS website or Drink Aware.

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