Cheers to a dry January

12 Jan 2022 10:46
Published by: Scott Callan

ONE in six adults who drink are planning to go alcohol-free this month.

The figure has been revealed in a new survey by Alcohol Change UK, the charity behind Dry January.

It is urging people to download its free app Try Dry to double their chances of having a successful alcohol-free month.

Research has consistently shown that many people are drinking more heavily due to the additional stresses brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This new research shows that almost three in 10 drinkers found themselves drinking more in 2021, compared to 2020.

Around one in six were concerned about the amount they have been drinking since the removal of Covd-19 restrictions in the summer.

A quarter of those quizzed would like to reduce the amount they drink in 2022 and research shows that Dry January is an effective and lasting way to cut down.

The benefits include improve having more energy, saving money and losing weight, and to help them drink more healthily year-round.

Dr Richard Piper, chief executive of Alcohol Change UK, says: "We know that things are feeling uncertain at the moment and lots of us will be looking for ways to try to cope.

"As the pandemic continues to take its toll, research consistently shows that, for many people who were already drinking heavily, our drinking habits may have taken a turn for the worse.

"With many of us experiencing heightened levels of stress, it's hardly surprising that some of us might be drinking more without realising.

"The good news is that being in control of our drinking can improve our overall health and wellbeing.

"And that's where Dry January comes in. It offers the opportunity for a total reset. 31 days to try something new.

"Sleep better and have more energy, improve your mental health and concentration, look fabulous and get brighter skin, save money and feel an amazing sense of achievement.

"What's more, over 70 per cent of people who do Dry January continue to drink less six months later - so it’s an investment in your health and happiness year-round.

"Dry January isn't about giving something up. It's about getting something back. Get your fun back. Get your calm back. Get your energy back. Get your you back."

Download the free Try Dry via the App Store or Google Play. Through the app you will be able to receive optional daily coaching emails. You can sign up for just the emails  at

The app allows people to track their units, calories and money saved noy drinking, plus set personalised goals and earn badges year-round.

Research published in 2018, conducted by the Royal Free Hospital and published in the British Medical Journal, found that a month off alcohol:

·        Lowers blood pressure

·        Reduces diabetes risk

·        Reduces levels of cancer-related proteins in the blood

How can it be that just a month off has a long-term impact? Being alcohol-free for 31 days shows us that we don't need alcohol to have fun, to relax, or to socialise.

It helps us learn the skills we need to manage our drinking. That means that for the rest of the year we are better able to make decisions about when we drink and how much, so we can avoid slipping into drinking more than we really want to.

That's extra good news, because alcohol is linked with more than 60 health conditions, including liver disease, high blood pressure, depression and seven types of cancer.

In fact, alcohol is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability for people aged 15 - 49 in the UK.

Cutting back on alcohol long-term reduces your risk of developing these conditions.

However, stopping drinking suddenly can be very dangerous, and can even kill you, if you are dependent on alcohol.

If, after a period of drinking, you experience any of the following symptoms, you may be dependent on alcohol and you should NOT suddenly stop drinking completely:

·        Seizures (fits)

·        Hand tremors ('the shakes')

·        Sweating

·        Seeing things that are not real (visual hallucinations)

·        Depression

·        Anxiety

·        Difficulty sleeping (insomnia).

But you can still take control of your drinking. Speak to a GP who will be able to get help for you to reduce your drinking safely.

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