Drunk too much booze in the last month? Here’s how to reverse the effects of alcohol

DRY January is in full swing for many people and if you've managed to go ten days without a drink, then hats off to you.

But even if you're booze free at the moment, the impact of weeks of drinking can wreak havoc on your health and wellbeing.

Christmas boozing usually starts well before the big day and carries on into the New Year so it's no surprise that many of us still don't feel back on form.

Dr Elizabeth Rogers, associate clinical director at Bupa Health Clinics said feeling constantly tired, regularly experiencing hangovers, sweating a lot, and having frequent headaches are all signs you've had too much booze.

She explained that you should also watch out for psychological changes too, such as feeling anxious, experiencing mood swings and intensely craving alcohol.

But the good news is, Dr Rogers said, that we can reverse the impact that booze has had on our bodies by simply cutting back on booze.

Dr Rogers explained: "Whilst there is no set timeframe for when you will start seeing results as everyone’s body reacts differently, cutting back has lots of benefits for your health and wellbeing. 

"Removing alcohol and cutting it out of your diet for four weeks can improve your liver function and you could start some regeneration if you have not reached the stage of permanent damage.

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"If your liver function is not too badly affected by alcohol, it can recover within 4-8 weeks."

If you've really been hitting it hard and want to see results faster, Dr Rogers said you can combine cutting out the booze with other healthy habits.

Combining a month of no booze with regular exercise and a diet that's full of liver-friendly foods such as fish, pulses and brown rice will work wonders, she explained.

And even though we are already ten days into January, Dr Rogers said there is no harm in joining in now.

Dr Rogers added: "Giving up alcohol may also improve your mental health, as alcohol can be a depressant and can exacerbate mental health issues.

"You might find your concentration improves and you wake up feeling refreshed.

"If you’re attempting Dry January, it’s best to introduce alcohol slowly back into your diet in February, too.”

While it might seem like a bit of a chore to ditch the booze, your body will thank you for it and Dr Rogers said there are other benefits.

LET'S GO H2O

Drinking dehydrates you and Dr Rogers said that drinking enough water will help you feel refreshed.

You should aim for six to eight cups of water a day, the NHS says.

"Giving up alcohol can help you keep well-hydrated, which has lots of benefits, including improved concentration and motivation. Your skin may look and feel more refreshed, too", Dr Rogers said.

One of the main benefits of giving up booze, Dr Rogers and the clinical team at Bupa explained, is that it will help you sleep better.

"Alcohol affects how you sleep and often can keep you awake. It may make you feel sleepy, but it can stop you from falling into a deep sleep and cause you to wake up during the night.

"Not only will cutting back improve your quality of sleep, but it will also help you concentrate more the next day."

REVERSIBLE DAMAGE

We all know that booze can be harmful to our liver, and cutting back is also beneficial to this vital organ.

The experts said: "Drinking a large amount of alcohol – even just for a few days – can result in a build-up of fats in the liver.

"The good news is that the liver is an organ that can regenerate itself, so some of the damage is reversible."

Alcohol contains a lot of sugar and this is one reason why many people who drink too much can gain weight – due to drinking liquid calories.

The experts said that cutting back could help you lose weight.

"The extra calories in alcohol all add up, and many alcoholic drinks have a higher calorie count than we realise.

"With alcohol removed from your diet, it’s likely you’ll be consuming less calories, so you might lose weight over the month.

"Just be careful not to replace the drinks with things like sugary or unhealthy snacks and drinks", they explained.

If you've been struggling with your mood, then cutting back on the booze could also help boost this.

They added: "Alcohol can be a depressant and can exacerbate mental health issues.

"You might find your concentration improves and you wake up feeling refreshed. 

"Taking some time off alcohol allows your brain to level out, and you may find you’re able to deal with any mental health worries (such as stress and anxiety) in a far more positive way."

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