Dry January: raising awareness about alcohol

For almost a decade now, the month of January has been synonymous with Dry January across the UK and deservedly it is a phrase (and nationwide campaign) that has entered the national psyche.

The aim of the campaign is to encourage people to begin talking and thinking more about the levels of alcohol they consume. And to inspire change in a way that is both positive and fun.

For those who may have heard of Dry January but aren’t too sure what it involves, it is a simple challenge. To drink less alcohol or ideally to cut it out completely for the first month of the year and see the benefits for ourselves. It isn’t a detox challenge, (although there are obvious benefits linked to detoxification) and it isn’t aimed at those with alcohol dependency issues. Dry January is for those of us who slowly but surely drink a little too much, a little too often.

The benefits of cutting out alcohol are wide-ranging. From the obvious financial benefit of simply having more money like 86% of participants, to enjoying better sleep at night and having more energy and far greater concentration levels in the daytime. The longer term health benefits however are even greater.

The risk of conditions such as liver and heart disease as well as cancer are all reduced as a result of cutting down or giving up alcohol. Doing so can also lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels. These might not be benefits we can feel immediately but they will certainly be there and you will almost certainly be doing your long term health a big favour.

There are certain benefits you will notice though, such as improvements to how you look. Alcohol dehydrates the skin, so cutting it out can help you look better after just a couple of days as skin is quick to react to changes. It can also help with dieting and weight loss, things that many people look to do in January after the festive season.

This year, Dry January takes on extra significance with people experiencing mental health problems and health services under increasing strain. Alcohol consumption can play a big factor in depression, low mood and anxiety. These are all conditions that have seen significant rises in recent times, and it can also impair the effectiveness of, or even interact dangerously with medication.

Drinking alcohol, whether it is a glass or two of wine with dinner or a night out with friends is firmly embedded in our society and culture, so often many of us don’t really stop to think about why we do it. Dry January gives everyone the perfect opportunity to build the confidence to say ‘no thanks’ or to leave those bottles on the supermarket shelves. Not just during Dry January but for the rest of the year too!

For more information on Dry January and the download the free Try Dry app, visit alcoholchange.org today.