Many Benefits Of An Alcohol-Free Month
Dry January is an initiative of the British NGO Alcohol Change, which inspires and supports people to try and start the year with a month free from alcohol. The alcohol-free month in January has gone global and Dry January is a worldwide phenomenon now – as evidenced by a recent Wall Street Journal article by Sumathi Reddy entitled “The Dry January Effect. Now that the British fad is taking hold in the U.S., research shows that losing booze for a month has several health benefits—sometimes months later”.
Research shows that the people participating in Dry January are experiencing major benefits.
Scientists at the University of Sussex investigated the issue and published findings that shows that taking part in Dry January sees people regaining control of their alcohol use, having more energy, better skin and losing weight. They also report consuming less alcohol months later.
The research, led by Sussex psychologist Dr Richard de Visser, was conducted with over 800 people who took part in Dry January in 2018. They each completed three online surveys: 2,821 on registering for Dry January; 1,715 in the first week of February; and 816 participants in August. The results show that the participants are still consuming less in August the same year.
Long-term and sustainable change in alcohol use behavior
People reported a long list of benefits from the alcohol-free lifestyle:
- Alcohol consumption days fell on average from 4.3 to 3.3 per week;
- Units consumed per alcohol consumption day dropped on average from 8.6 to 7.1;
- Frequency of being drunk dropped from 3.4 per month to 2.1 per month on average.
Interestingly, these changes in alcohol consumption have also been seen in the participants who didn’t manage to stay alcohol-free for the whole month – although they are a bit smaller, explains Dr de Visser, of Sussex University.
This shows that there are real benefits to just trying to complete Dry January.”
Many benefits from going alcohol-free
The simple act of taking a month off alcohol helps people [consume] less in the long term: by August people are reporting one extra dry day per week. There are also considerable immediate benefits: nine in ten people save money, seven in ten sleep better and three in five lose weight,” Dr de Visser said.
The University of Sussex research showed a long list of major beenfits from going alcohol-free:
- 93% of participants had a sense of achievement;
- 88% saved money;
- 82% think more deeply about their relationship with alcohol;
- 80% feel more in control of their alcohol use;
- 76% learned more about when and why they consume alcohol;
- 71% realised they don’t need an alcoholic beverage to enjoy themselves;
- 70% had generally improved health;
- 71% slept better;
- 67% had more energy;
- 58% lost weight;
- 57% had better concentration;
- 54% had better skin.