Every January, Alcohol Concern launches their annual Dry January campaign which sees participants abstaining from alcohol for the month.
Some people choose to take part as a post-Christmas detox, some want to lose weight, others do it to raise money for charity, many are looking for a personal challenge and some people do it because they’re concerned about their drinking habits.
Whatever the reason, the biggest debate that Dry January raises every year is whether or not going alcohol-free provides any long-term gains and if it’s actually more detrimental to those who then start to binge drink once the 1st of February comes round.
New academic research has revealed that Dry January participants do actually go on to drink less throughout the year and are now drinking in less harmful ways. The study which was carried out by the University of Sussex showed that 72% of participants had sustained reduced levels of harmful drinking, 23% of those who were consuming harmful levels of alcohol prior to Dry January are now in the low risk category and 4% have gone on to stay dry six months on.
In addition to changed attitudes towards healthier drinking, the research also showed that people felt more confident that they could refuse alcohol at social gatherings, when feeling worried or upset and in situations where they would normally have a drink.
Director of Campaigns at Alcohol Concern, Emily Robinson commented:
“This research is the proof of how with the help, advice and support we offer throughout the month, our model can really change behaviour and reduce drinking. Given the huge burden alcohol misuse has on society as a whole, we need the government to take action at a national level but we also believe Dry January can really help individuals take a positive step towards cutting down their drinking and improving their health.”
Do you think Dry January is an effective way to reduce long-term drinking and improve our habits? Have you ever taken part in it and if so, how did it affect your outlook on drinking? Feel free to share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page. If you are looking for help with alcohol abuse you can contact us today.