This Is How Not Drinking Alcohol For A Month Benefits Your Mental Health
Whether you've started already or are thinking of taking part, there are loads of reasons why you should give up drinking for a month and join in with Sober for October.
First of all, it's a massive joint effort to help raise money for cancer charity Macmillan. But I'm sorry to say you're not quite a selfless, fundraising hero; there are so many benefits of giving up alcohol for just four weeks.
You will most likely unintentionally lose some extra weight (which can be useful just before Christmas and that CONSTANT eating), you'll save loads of money and, importantly, your mental health will reap the benefits.
You might have heard the term 'hangxiety' being thrown around lately. It's essentially a way to describe that 'morning after' feeling.
Behavioural psychologist, Jo Hemmings, explains: "The term 'hangxiety' sums up that uncomfortable combination of feeling physically fragile after drinking alcohol coupled with a sense of anxiety or guilt about what we did while under the influence.
"It's caused by alcohol leaving your system and depleting your levels of serotonin, the chemical that regulates mood, which can leave you feeling stressed the next day."
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A YouGov poll suggests that the things you do when you drink excessively are likely to induce 'hangxiety' and they're things many of us will be able to relate to. In fact, three in five of us said we have called or messaged an ex-partner (own up) and broken or lost a personal item (anyone else on their third phone of the year?) - all making us feel bad the following day, as does oversharing information and telling secrets.
But it's not just the short term that is affected when you drink, it can also make a difference to your general mood.
If you drink regularly, you're more likely to develop symptoms of depression. This is again down to the delicate chemistry of the brain. Regularly drinking means that your brain has lower levels of serotonin in it at all times.
This can then become a vicious cycle where you drink to try to increase the level and feel better, only for it to become even worse afterwards.
According to NHS Scotland, more than half of people who ended up in hospital because they'd deliberately injured themselves said they've drunk alcohol immediately before or while doing it. If you're worried about any of this, then as always, contact your GP.
Of course - going Sober for October for most of us just means a month off the bevvies. But even that amount of time can be useful for you to take stock of how much you drink, notice any negative patterns you may not have recognised before, as well as all those psychical benefits.
You can still sign up and go sober for October here.
Featured Image Credit: PA