10 reasons why your body will thank you for doing Dry July.

Image: Put down the bottle (via Broad City).

If you’ve embarked on the Dry July challenge this year, chances are your motivations were charitable.

The annual fundraiser aims to improve the wellbeing of adult cancer patients and their families, using donations to help fund various projects by local cancer organisations. Saying no to wine, cocktails and co. for a month is a small price to pay to support Aussies who are doing it tough, so well done, you.

RELATED: Why does my face turn red when I drink alcohol?

However, going dry this July won’t just help others —you’ll also be doing your health, wellbeing and bank account a service. So if you get three weeks in and suddenly crave a mojito, reminding yourself of all the negative effects you’re sidestepping by not drinking could help to keep you motivated.

Short-term effects

We often think of drinking in terms of its long-term effects (more on that in a moment) but throwing back too many glasses on one occasion can impact your body in a number of ways. Here’s what you’ll be missing out on through Dry July:

Drunkenness is just the beginning.

1. Risk of injury

Because alcohol impairs your balance, cognitive abilities and motor skills, it makes you more likely to hurt yourself, even in a home situation. Tripping over your feet is one thing, but alcohol use in Australia has been linked to more serious incidents including fire injuries, drowning and industrial accidents — not to mention drink driving.

RELATED: You can get drunk without actually touching a drop of alcohol.

2. Social issues

We view alcohol as a social lubricant, but it doesn't always help our interactions with others. Mood swings and extreme emotions are a common behavioural side-effect of drinking, and then there's the lowered inhibitions, which can sometimes make us say or do things we regret (and worse even — forget) the next day.

3. Hidden health effects

Your stomach, cardiovascular system, immune system, libido and lungs can also take a hit when you're on the grog. For instance, have you ever had a massive weekend on the town, then caught a cold a few days later?

That could be the result of your immune response being inhibited by alcohol. Inflammation of the stomach lining, irregular heartbeats and alterations in the body's hormone levels can also occur.

RELATED: Ever had your bowels go funny after a night of drinking? This is why.

4. Cravings for crappy food

Maybe save the hot chips for an occasion when you'll actually enjoy (and remember) the experience of eating them...

Alcohol has a tendency to tempt even the healthiest eaters to the kebab/fries/pizza stand at 3am — even if you had a decent meal before going out. Abstaining will not only stop you throwing your cash at junk food vendors, but it'll save you from bingeing on fatty, high-calorie foods your sober self would probably like to steer clear of. Or, at least, remember eating.

RELATED: 5 drunk meals you don't need to be ashamed of.


5. Hangovers

This one should go without saying. How many hours of our lives do we waste lying in bed with a churning stomach, pounding head and a bucket on standby? Far too many. Just think — you could be at brunch instead. (Post continues after gallery.)

Long term effects

The cumulative health, wellbeing and financial effects of drinking alcohol over time are, frankly, quite scary and definitely worth knowing about.

We're not saying you should cut alcohol out of your life completely — although Dry July and similar campaigns suggest it's doable, at least for a few weeks at a time — but generally speaking we could probably all benefit from drinking a little bit less.

We're not saying you should stop drinking altogether... but do you really need the whole bottle?

6. Changes to your brain

According to the US National Institutes of Health, regular binge drinking could be damaging your brain's frontal cortex and the areas involved in decision-making and executive functions. It can also slow down the neurotransmitters that contribute to your body's responses and moods.

RELATED: 5 ways to drink less without changing your lifestyle.

In happier news, saying no to your favourite drop could help to correct some of these effects. “Abstaining from alcohol over several months to a year may allow structural brain changes to partially correct ... [and] help reverse negative effects on thinking skills, including problem­ solving, memory, and attention," the NIH states.

7. Wellbeing concerns

Is it time to cut down?

Drinking can impact your wellbeing in myriad ways. It can impair your sleep, affect your mood and personality, and in some people it can increase the risk of developing mental illness like depression and anxiety.

RELATED: Could there be a drug-free solution to anxiety?

8. Increased risk of serious health problems

There's a long list of serious health implications that can result from long-term alcohol use. These include: cardiovascular disease, some cancers, nutrition and digestion-related conditions, high blood pressure and liver disease.

9. Your weight

You'd be surprised by how much alcohol can affect your weight.

When people reduce their drinking, one of the things they'll rave about is how much it affected their weight. Alcohol contains a surprising amount of calories — in some cases, more than a serve of your favourite junk food — which then affects your waistline.

So while you might think your diet is relatively healthy, those Saturday night blowouts could be undoing your hard work.

RELATED: Which alcohol gives you the worst hangover.

10. Your finances

You don't need to be a Mathlete to know a few cocktails here and a couple of wine bottles there quickly adds up over one week alone — multiply that by a lifetime, and there's a whole lot of money you could have spent on a Mediterranean holiday instead. Just a thought.

Are you doing Dry July this year?