What alcohol abstinence does in the body

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Germans drink almost eleven liters of pure alcohol per head each year. But what happens in the body if you do without alcohol for a while? Even a few weeks of abstinence has amazing effects.

For many, the after-work beer or a glass of wine is part of everyday life. For many, drinking in company is simply part of it. If you refuse, you are often looked at crookedly. But strictly avoiding alcohol for a while or keeping consumption low is a good idea.

“There is basically no safe consumption of alcohol. Even small amounts of alcohol increase the risk of cell damage to the liver. One thing is certain: the higher the consumption, the more harmful,” explains Georg Poppele, spokesman for the Qualified Withdrawal in Internal Medicine working group of the German Professional Association internist. Cardiovascular and cancer diseases in particular can be the result.

Do without – but for how long?

“Absolute abstinence can also cause demonstrable damage to the liver, such as alcohol-related inflammation or fatty liver, within two months,” says Poppele. And two to four weeks of abstinence can help the immune system to recover.

Alcohol consumption that is still acceptable from a health point of view About 13 percent of women and about 16 percent of men exceed 12 grams of pure alcohol per day for women and 24 grams of pure alcohol for men.

Calculate the alcohol content of a drink:

The amount of drink in milliliters (ml)
The alcohol content in volume percent (vol .-%)
The specific weight of alcohol. This value is 0.8 g / ml.

The formula for the calculation:
Alcohol content (in grams of pure alcohol) = amount of drink (in ml) x (% by volume / 100) x 0.8

Example:
1 glass of beer (300 ml, 5 vol.%):
300 ml x (5/100) x 0.8 = 12 g alcohol

Lose weight during the alcohol break

Certain areas of the brain are activated during alcohol consumption, which are responsible for appetite and feelings of hunger. We are only too happy to reach into the chip tray or buy a kebab before going to bed. The salty snacks that can often be found in bars also lead to more thirst again. Refraining from alcohol can also prevent food cravings.

Another reason why many people lose weight during the break is the fact that many drinks – especially sweet cocktails – contain a lot of sugar and are calorie bombs.

Sleep better without alcohol

It’s well known that you fall asleep better with alcohol, but research has shown that sleep quality is poorer. The restless sleep means that you are not recovered the next morning. For the time being, the waiver can make you fall asleep worse. You are used to the effects of wine or beer in the evening. But your sleep will be better overall.

Better skin without alcohol

On the one hand, alcohol removes water from the body, the skin can appear dry and pale, On the other hand, alcohol makes your face look puffy, for example. This is because a hormone is activated that absorbs water. By giving up, you give the skin a break. It can regulate the moisture balance and relax.

Curb the desire for alcohol

“It’s fundamentally difficult to change his behavior,” says Michaela Goecke, head of the BZgA addiction prevention unit. “If you have successfully given up for a while, you can reward yourself with a visit to the cinema, for example.” Small tricks help to get a grip on the desire for alcohol: If you do a little thing or distract yourself in such a situation, the desire for alcohol often passes quickly.

Alcohol is often part of the social gathering. So should you rather stay at home during an alcohol break? Social events should not be avoided in principle. “But you should clearly state your position: in the form of a friendly but certain no to alcohol,” says Goecke. “It’s not rude if you don’t drink alcohol.” There are also many non-alcoholic alternatives to the usual drinks.

Do not make up for alcohol twice after the break

When alcohol-fasting is over, caution is advised. “Anyone who proves his ability to abstain for a month and then drinks all the more and makes up for the waiver is not doing himself a favor,” warns Prof. Falk Kiefer. The medical director of the Clinic for Addictive Behavior and Addiction Medicine at the Central Institute for Mental Health in Mannheim advises instead to regularly avoid alcohol on at least two days a week. This helps the body in the long term.

Important NOTE: The information is by no means a substitute for professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized doctors. The contents of t-online.de cannot and must not be used to make independent diagnoses or to start treatments.

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