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Dry January could have long-term health benefits to kick off 2023

Jan 2, 2023, 11:17 AM
dry janurary...
Menu listing zero-proof non alcoholic cocktails, aka mocktails, at Alley and Vine restaurant, Alameda, California, October 16, 2021. Photo courtesy Sftm. (Photo by Gado/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gado/Getty Images)

Planning for a ‘Dry January’ could start your entire year on a healthier note, according to a doctor with the University of Washington.

The division head of gastroenterology at the UW School of Medicine, Dr. Rotonya Carr, says people who abstain tend to drink less for at least six more months.

“Making changes in January actually is associated with long-term reductions in alcohol consumption,” Carr said. “If we ask [participants] six months later [about] their alcohol-consumption habits, they have really committed to reducing alcohol for a long period of time.”

Dry January is a month-long break from drinking alcohol started by UK non-profit and advocacy group Alcohol Change UK. The goal of the month is to take a “break” and to have a “total reset for the body and the mind,” according to the group’s website.

“The aim of our campaign is to start a new conversation about alcohol, to encourage people to consider and discuss their alcohol consumption and ultimately, to inspire behavior change following a positive and fun-filled month of sobriety,” said Jackie Ballard, Chief Executive of Alcohol Change UK to the British Journal of General Practice.

In 2022, the number of Dry January participants grew to 35%up from the previous high of 21% in 2019, according to a report by CNN Business.

Looking out for signs of overusing drugs and alcohol for stress

Several studies tout the range of potential health benefits, including weight loss and metabolic improvements and better sleep.

People who participate in Dry January tend to lose weight and lower their cholesterol in those 31 days, Carr explained. The key to success might be finding a teammate, so you can support one another’s effort, she continued.

“I think it’s probably a more successful strategy if you’re doing it with someone,” she said. “You need a crew, as with all things.”

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Dry January could have long-term health benefits to kick off 2023