Drinking too much alcohol
If you over-drink on a regular basis, alcohol can be a poison. Women who regularly consume two or more drinks a day and men who regularly down three or more are at higher risk for liver damage, various cancers including those of the liver and mouth, high blood pressure, and depression. Women, who are more sensitive to alcohol, can also develop heart disease, brittle bones, and even memory loss. Soon after you cut back or quit, your digestion will improve and you’ll sleep more soundly. Your blood sugar will be lower and steadier, your blood pressure may fall toward a healthier range, and even your brain will bounce back. You’ll have a healthier liver and cardiovascular system.
How to fix it: You don’t have to quit cold turkey; stick to healthy limits. That’s two or less drinks per day for men, one for women. You’re also more likely to sip your drink slowly if you reserve alcohol for meals. Drink for flavor, not to get drunk. And if you can’t stop, acknowledge the addiction. Talk with your doctor and contact a support group like AA. Check with your doctor if you should be screened more often for bone density, cancers, and liver damage. Don’t miss these 17 tips to help you cut back on drinking, too.
As far as health goes, no popular habit on Earth is as harmful. It directly causes 30 percent of heart disease deaths, 30 percent of cancer deaths, and a massive 80 to 90 percent of all lung cancers, not to mention increasing the risk of developing mouth, throat, and, bladder cancer. This bad habit also astronomically raises your odds for heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure, on top of possibly triggering or aggravating breathing problems like bronchitis and asthma attacks. After you quit, the health benefits are almost immediate. Within a month, your lungs will work better and you should be coughing less, feel more energetic, and have less shortness of breath.Your sense of taste and smell, as well as your endurance, will also improve.
How to fix it: Treat it like an addiction, not a habit. Before you stop, prepare for the tough road ahead. Plan to quit during a calm period—not over the holidays or when you’re under a lot of stress. Prepare a strategy, a support team, and a Plan B if your first methods fail. Ask your doctor about a stop-smoking drug like Buprion and varenicline, or a nicotine patch or gum. Seek support, whether that’s from your friends and family or resources like counselors, hotlines, and support groups. And, finally, remember that a lapse isn’t a failure. Use slip-ups to discover your personal obstacle to quitting and create a plan for dealing with those needs. Check out these 23 ways to stop smoking if you need more help.
Overusing painkillers and sedatives
When they’re not taken properly, long-term habitual use can cause more problems than it solves. Using drugs like ibuprofen or aspirin for arthritis or muscle pain can over time increase your risk for ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, high blood pressure, and heart attacks. Clues you’re taking too much of a calming drug or sleeping pill include memory loss, excess sleepiness, feeling unresponsive or confused, and falling frequently. Since they make you feel good, you may want to keep on taking them, turning them into a habit or addiction before you know it. Kicking the sedative and prescription pain pill habit is possible with commitment and support, and once the pill-taking has ceased, your body will quickly rebound from their effects.
How to fix it: New pain-relief strategies can ease muscle, joint, and head pain with fewer pills and side effects. For chronic pain, switch to acetaminophen; it doesn’t cause stomach irritation and doesn’t raise blood pressure like aspirin and ibuprofen. Save ibuprofen for flare-ups of severe, short-term pain. For frequent headaches, see your doctor; migraines can be stopped quickly with the right medication. If you think you’ll be susceptible to addiction, challenge your doctors when they want to put you on pain, mood, or sleeping medication long-term (think more than four months), particularly if the drugs work well. And get help if you can’t stop. There’s no shame in asking for help from family members, friends, or your doctor. Next, don’t miss this other bad health habits that doctors need you to stop doing ASAP.