Dry January

Dry January is a public health campaign where millions of people pledge to give up alcohol for the month of January. Dry January is way to reset the relationship individuals have with alcohol. Not only does this month give individuals a sense of accomplishment, but it also saves money and has many health benefits. According to the World Health Organization’s alcohol AUDIT to measure risky drinking, 72% of Dry January participants drink in a less risky manner six months later.

Dry January was created by a leading alcohol charity in the United Kingdom called Alcohol Change UK. The goal of Alcohol Change UK is not to boycott alcohol, but to put a stop to alcohol harm. Alcohol harm includes alcohol problems such as poverty, health issues, mental disorders or homelessness. Alcohol Change UK hopes to encourage individuals to be aware of their drinking habits and provide support to those with drinking problems without shame or stigma.

Facts about alcohol:

  • Harmful alcohol use results in 3 million deaths every year, overall representing 5.3% of all deaths.
  • Every 10 seconds, someone dies because of alcohol.
  • Drinking alcohol leads to death and disability relatively early in life. Alcohol is the cause for about 25% of deaths among individuals ages 20 to 39.
  • Up to 80% of gender-based violence is alcohol-related.
  • Alcohol is a risk factor for more than 200 medical conditions, diseases and injuries including cancer, high blood pressure, cirrhosis of the liver and depression.
  • Alcohol use is linked to mental and behavioral disorders, as well as infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
  • The more money someone makes, the more likely they are to drink alcohol.

Learn more about the latest research on alcohol below:

1. Stop drinking alcohol: How short abstinence from alcohol changes your body

Over 25% of adults in the United Kingdom drink more than the recommended guidelines. For this reason, alcohol consumption is the highest in European countries. A study published in the BMJ assessed the effectiveness of a short-term break from alcohol. Researchers found that the participants who abstained from alcohol had improvements in liver function, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Read more about this study and the benefits of taking a break from drinking here.

2. Do cold and dark climates affect consumption of alcohol and liver disease?

There is a common belief that people who get fewer hours of sunshine in cold climates tend to consume more alcohol. Researchers from the University of Pittsburg conducted a study to examine this theory. The researchers collected data from 193 countries and concluded that there was an increase in alcohol consumption, binge drinking and total drinkers in the population, in colder and darker climates. Read more about this study and how colder and darker climates lead to higher alcohol consumption and alcohol-related liver disease here.

3. Can your alcohol consumption put you at risk for a heart attack?

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 6 million people suffer from a heart attack every year. 25% of the people who suffer from a heart attack die. People have been questioning the relationship between alcohol consumption and the risk of getting a heart attack. Researchers in Serbia conducted a study to determine if alcohol consumption increases or decreases an individual’s risk of suffering from a heart attack. Find out if alcohol consumption is a risk factor of a heart attack here.

4. What is the relationship between alcohol and blood pressure?

High blood pressure increases an individual’s risk of heart disease, stroke and death. Hypertension is medically defined as blood pressure higher than 130 over 80mmHg according to the American Heart Association. A Brazilian study published in PLoS ONE journal, investigated the association between alcohol and blood pressure. Find out the relationship between alcohol and blood pressure here.

5. How binge eating may trigger alcoholism

Teenagers are more vulnerable to addictive behaviours such as alcohol and drug abuse and eating disorders. Previous animal studies have shown that binge eating increases the risk of alcohol and cocaine addiction. A study involving mice was published in PLoS ONE journal to consider the relationship between binge eating and alcohol. The mice had to abstain from a binge eating habit for 2 weeks to monitor their alcohol consumption. Find out if binge eating may trigger an increase in alcohol consumption here.

Want to know more? Read about the latest alcohol research here.

There is a Dry January app available for Android and Apple devices to assist individuals with staying dry for the month or all year-round. Instead of downloading the app, individuals can also sign up for motivational emails including advice and support here.


Written by Alana Punit

References:

  1. “About Us”. Alcohol Change UK, 2018, https://alcoholchange.org.uk/about-us. Accessed 13 Dec 2018.
  2. “Alcohol”. World Health Organization, 2018, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/alcohol. Accessed 13 Dec 2018.
  3. Chan, Calvin J. “How Binge Eating May Trigger Alcoholism”. Medical News Bulletin, 2018, https://www.medicalnewsbulletin.com/how-binge-eating-may-trigger-alcoholism/. Accessed 13 Dec 2018.
  4. Chan, Calvin J. “Stop Drinking Alcohol: How Short Abstinence From Alcohol Changes Your Body”. Medical News Bulletin, 2018, https://www.medicalnewsbulletin.com/stop-drinking-alcohol-abstinence-changes-body/. Accessed 13 Dec 2018.
  5. Fernandez, Sonia Leslie. “What Is The Relationship Between Alcohol And Blood Pressure?”. Medical News Bulletin, 2018, https://www.medicalnewsbulletin.com/relationship-alcohol-blood-pressure/. Accessed 13 Dec 2018.
  6. Khoshnood, Nikki. “Can Your Alcohol Consumption Put You At Risk For A Heart Attack?”. Medical News Bulletin, 2018, https://www.medicalnewsbulletin.com/alcohol-consumption-risk-heart-attack/. Accessed 13 Dec 2018.
  7. Mcshane, Julie. “Do Cold And Dark Climates Affect Consumption Of Alcohol And Liver Disease?”. Medical News Bulletin, 2018, https://www.medicalnewsbulletin.com/cold-dark-climates-alcohol-liver-disease/. Accessed 13 Dec 2018.
  8. “What Is Dry January?”. Alcohol Change UK, 2018, https://alcoholchange.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/dry-january/about-dry-january/what-is-dry-january. Accessed 13 Dec 2018.
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