Is Dry January worth it? What we know about abstaining from alcohol

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For others, taking a break is a chance to make a conscious choice about when, where and how much they want to drink when their break from alcohol is over. It may be triggered by their mood and is a behavior to numb feelings or cope with stress. Any potential cardiovascular benefits from alcohol are probably not a good enough reason to drink. Alcohol abuse can cause a lot of problems in relationships with others – with romantic partners, family, and friends.

What are 3 benefits of being alcohol free?

  • Say goodbye to hangovers. It may sound obvious, but stopping drinking means you will no longer suffer from hangovers.
  • Better mental health.
  • Improved energy levels and better sleep.
  • Your skin will look better.
  • You could lose weight.

But once you fall asleep, the alcohol can wake you up throughout the night. Most reputable alcohol recovery programs address co-occurring disorders.

This year’s Dry January resolutions come as the nation approaches the third year of the covid pandemic. Early on, as lockdowns went into place, many Americans found themselves drinking more. An American Psychological Association survey found that nearly a quarter of Americans reported drinking more to cope with the stress of the pandemic. Results are evident even in patients who have given up alcohol for a short period of time, Horn said. They tend to have more energy and their family and friend relationships tend to improve.

Losing Weight

Alcohol can make existing mental health conditions worse, but co-occurring disorders are treatable if you receive therapy. Prospective participants were recruited via advertisements placed on social media targeted at people living in the local region . Participants who responded to the advertisements were provided with information about the study, including the inclusion and exclusion criteria, before being invited to attend a screening visit on the University campus if they believed that they were eligible to take part. One new study found that the health benefits of Dry January last beyond the month. These initial health effects may lead to more long-term lifestyle changes. Given the research indicating that only small amounts of alcohol are beneficial among certain populations, maybe taking just a month off won’t make much difference.

In accordance with the CONSORT guidance for randomized pilot and feasibility studies , the primary outcomes were feasibility, acceptability and compliance outcomes. Secondary outcomes included those measures that may be included in any subsequent randomized controlled trial, as detailed below. Acceptability of study procedures and usability of a smartphone alcohol monitoring app and cellular breathalyser. Simply knowing that behavior like drinking excessive amounts of alcohol is unhealthy is often not enough to lead to change, Chait explains.

How to spot body issues in your boy

We did not conduct a formal sample size calculation given that this was a feasibility study. In the broader literature, sample size recommendations for feasibility studies range between 12 and 35 per group . Participating in Dry January, or abstaining from alcohol for a whole month, can have far-reaching health benefits, according to a study published in BMJ Open. “A lot of the benefits you would get from Dry January I think would depend on how much alcohol you were consuming before. Like, if you have one drink a week and then you stop having that one drink a week, it’s probably not going to make that much of a difference,” she said.

Does alcohol affect energy?

This is because alcohol can reduce the amount of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep you get, leaving you feeling drowsy, low in energy and you may find it harder to concentrate the next day.

Before designing the randomized feasibility study, we sought feedback from women in the local community who were representative of the target population. Volunteers were recruited to participate in informal focus groups via social media advertisements that requested women aged between 40 and 60 who were motivated to reduce their alcohol consumption. We ran two focus groups, both comprising five participants and a researcher who facilitated the discussion, in October and November 2017. Recent years have seen a surge in the popularity of organized campaigns in which alcohol consumers attempt to abstain from alcohol for a fixed period, typically 1 month.

Data analysis

It’s difficult to estimate when a person will experience benefits from sobriety because each person is different. Factors such as your age, gender, weight, family history and existing health conditions affect the benefits that you’ll experience. Many people don’t notice that alcohol is impacting other parts of their life. They may not realize that they’re spending less time with friends or family because they’re recovering from a hangover.

which is a benefit related to abstaining from alcohol

While alcohol is high in calories, and wine, beer, and mixed drinks add sugar to one’s diet, Kumar says cutting it out may or may not help to lose weight. After drinking alcohol, production of adenosine, a chemical that induces sleep, is increased. This action allows for a fast onset of sleep but also subsides almost as quickly as it came, making one more likely to wake up before being truly rested.

But anything beyond a drink a day increases the risk of new or worsening mental health problems. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. So it’s good news that not drinking alcohol is a great way to reduce your risk of cancer. Cirrhosis of the liver and fatty liver disease are more common in people with very heavy drinking habits. A 25-year-old woman who only drinks a few glasses of wine on the weekend may not experience clear health benefits when she quits drinking. Fortunately, the body can usually bounce back if you quit drinking.

Boost­ing your immune system

According to science, there’s a biological reason the effects of alcohol are harder on our bodies as we age. It can cause memory loss and interference with brain development. For college students, being dry is the best thing to do,” he said.

The brain fights to re-establish equilibrium, and the heart pumps at an irregular rate. Whether you want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, not drinking alcohol will help. Alcohol is full of sugar and calories without any nutrients, and it can lead to weight gain and obesity. As I mentioned, alcohol also impedes athletic performance, and abstaining from drinking will boost your fitness level. Whether you want to run a faster 5K or train for a marathon, abstaining from alcohol will help you reach your fitness goals.

Participants who met all inclusion criteria then completed the Short-Form Health Survey (SF-12 ) and the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9 ) before completing the remainder of the secondary outcome measures as described above. They were then provided with a participant information sheet , asked to carefully consider if they would like to take part and, if so, to book the next visit to the University at least 7 days later. Acceptability of the general study procedures, and usability of a smartphone app and cellular breathalyser (based on semi-structured interviews). Over the course of the intervention period, participants were required to attend testing sessions at the University of Liverpool campus, as detailed below. An earlier analysis of the data suggested that globally, the impact of alcohol was negative, and that there is no safe level of alcohol, but a more recent look disaggregated the effects. The latest research from Gakidou and her team took a more nuanced look at the effect of alcohol on health for people in different locations and age groups.

which is a benefit related to abstaining from alcohol

“Psychologically, it feels much more achievable to say you will abstain from alcohol for 30 days than to commit to giving it up completely. After an indulgent holiday season, many Americans will turn to “Dry January.” The concept of abstaining from alcohol for a month has become a common New Year’s resolution for people looking to change their relationship with alcohol. The limited research on it indicates that it may financial assistance for substance abuse and drug rehab treatment have some positive health effects, at least for moderate or heavy drinkers. “Drinking one or two glasses of wine once or twice a week has some health benefits, especially for men over 40; it reduces risk of cardiovascular disease… for women you can get those benefits anytime, it’s not age-dependent,” Dasgupta said. After the holidays, many people look for a chance to start fresh by eating healthy and exercising more.

Benefits of Quitting Alcohol

When a person quits drinking, their liver begins to flush out the leftover byproducts that were produced over time. This process usually takes several weeks, but in extreme cases, may take a few years. After the byproducts have been cleared, the liver can return to normal functioning. The dehydrating nature of alcohol can cause dry skin and blotchiness.

Also, many people fall asleep with makeup on after a night of drinking, which triggers even more skin problems. And if you want to keep a youthful glow, avoid alcohol as it is linked to decreased collagen what causes alcohol addiction production and premature aging of the skin. According to researchers, 35 percent of U.S. consumers participated in Dry January in 2022, a significant increase from 21% of consumers who took part in 2019.

  • By avoiding alcohol, you can reduce your risk of these cancers, improving your overall health and longevity.
  • One participant in the complete abstinence condition withdrew from the study immediately after the interim assessment.
  • “Psychologically, it feels much more achievable to say you will abstain from alcohol for 30 days than to commit to giving it up completely.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines drinking in moderation as limiting intake to two drinks or fewer per day for men, and one drink or fewer per day for women on days when alcohol is consumed.

Alcohol can even interfere with the digestion, storage, utilization, and excretion of nutrients. This typically occurs after five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women. Guidelines for best books on addiction to break down stigma and open your mind alcoholism treatment include therapy, medication, and management of related diseases There is no shame in seeking help. Giving up alcohol lowers that risk, and may even help you lose that belly fat.

Automated text messages were sent to the participants four times per day, at the beginning of each scheduled breathalyser time window . Each text message prompted participants to provide and transmit a breathalyser reading within the next 2 h. Participants who responded to advertisements were sent a detailed participant information sheet via email and invited to attend a screening appointment if they believed that they met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Screening and all other University-based appointments took place in a private room on the University of Liverpool campus. “Research has consistently shown that setting smaller, shorter-term goals leads to higher rates of success than setting long-term goals,” Chait explains.

Alcohol raises your heart rate, which can cause serious effects on your heart. Excessive drinking can cause long-term heart damage and heart conditions, including high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, and cardiomyopathy, a disorder that affects the heart muscle, according to John Hopkins Medicine. Abstaining from alcohol is the healthiest option for your heart, and is a great compliment to your workout program. The National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse defines binge drinking as a pattern of alcohol consumption that brings blood alcohol concentration levels to 0.08 g/dLi in a short period of time . Systolic and diastolic blood pressure, measured with an upper arm cuff. This was included because a previous study demonstrated reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure after temporary abstinence from alcohol .

which is a benefit related to abstaining from alcohol

Therefore, abstaining from alcohol makes it easier for your body to naturally fight off infection and diseases. Mixed drinks are worse, once you add in all those sugars and other carbs. That alcohol intake adds a lot of extra calories in addition to your normal daily diet.

Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Try your best to have patience as your mind and body heals and you relearn a life without alcohol—and take pride in how far you’ve already come. Heavy drinking can cause thehippocampus, the part of the brain critical to memory and learning, to shrink.

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