Considering a new challenge? Try Dry January | LMH Health

The beginning of a new year brings with it countless possibilities. Many people decide whether to make small or big changes in their lives. If the holiday season has been filled with partying, eating, and partying, and you’ve been waking up repeatedly with a dizzy head, you might be thinking of a new challenge. Dry he is January.

Dry January started in 2013 as a public health initiative by Alcohol Change UK. The 1-Month Sobriety Challenge allows participants to try their hand at sobriety and ask the following questions:

alcohol use in the United States

The history of alcohol in the United States, which came to the fore in the 1920s, has been The Prohibition Movement and the 18th Century of Ratificationth Amendments to the US Constitution. Prohibition, enacted in 1920, strictly prohibited the manufacture, importation, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages until repealed in 1933.

Matthew Carey, MD

“During the Prohibition era, people started to realize the harm alcohol causes and began to perceive it as a poison,” explained Matthew Carey, M.D., a psychiatrist in LMH Health’s Internal Medicine Group. “After Prohibition was reversed, the pendulum has swung back and forth over the last 100 years, with social changes to alcohol and turmoil about what to do with alcohol use.”

Alcohol affects the body in many ways, both physically and mentally. Some effects are temporary, while others accumulate over time and have a significant impact on quality of life. Short-term effects include:

  • loss of balance
  • reduced inhibition
  • Mood changes such as anxiety, depression, and irritability
  • slow reflexes
  • dehydration
  • GI issues
  • Lack of sleep

Long-term alcohol use can cause more serious and even fatal health effects. Dr. Carey explained that alcohol is an organic toxin that has harmful consequences when used in high concentrations. High blood pressure, stroke, cancer, liver disease, sexual dysfunction, depression and dementia are just some of the health risks.

A Massachusetts General Hospital report found a 21% increase in binge drinking during the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers predict that by 2023, this change in drinking patterns will cause an additional 100 deaths and 2,800 liver failure. By 2040, his 8,000 deaths from alcohol-related liver disease, 18,700 liver failure, and 1,000 liver cancer are included.

“Alcohol is 100% poison,” Dr. Carey said. “Any amount of alcohol is ultimately too much for ideal health.”

calm curiosity

AJ Strickland, MD

AJ Strickland, MD

AJ Strickland, MD, a board-certified addiction and family physician and DCCCA’s medical director, said Dry January and the “Cold Curiosity” event was especially important in the Midwest and the Midwest, where alcohol is a part of our lives. He said it could be useful to explore how it is ingrained in culture. in the American tradition.

“On some holidays, such as St. Patrick’s Day, 4th of July, and New Year’s Eve, drinking alcohol is part of the tradition. “Events like Dry January offer a way to explore what it means to be sober, and to help people understand what it means to be sober,” he said. It gives me a more critical way of looking at what drives me.”

A dry January provided an opportunity for Samantha* to do just that. She had previously tried to abstain from her drinking but had felt pressure from her friends and family.

“It was always like, ‘Come over for a drink’ or ‘It’s a birthday party’ or ‘Why would you do that when it’s fine?’ It felt too hard to say no, so I declined.” “That one drink turned into something more than usual,” she said.

Reading about Dry January in late 2021 made Samantha think she’d have to start over. It gave her permission to try to live abstinent from alcohol for a month while minimizing her social impact. She saw the difference when her friends invited her out for a drink before her basketball game.

“I was frankly doing Dry January and I said I wanted to hang out or pick them up,” Samantha said. “I was shocked because it wasn’t a problem at all, and I was very relieved.”

Why should I participate?

If you’re into dry January, you’re in good company. A study by CGA, a food and beverage research firm, found that nearly 35% of Americans quit drinking in January 2022.

“It may seem counterintuitive when you see the plethora of ads for beer and liqueurs, but younger generations find that the culture isn’t centered on alcohol,” he said. It’s seen in patients, too. Alcohol and bingeing aren’t that common, and I’m excited about that.”

If you drink alcohol, it’s important to be aware of the signs of alcoholism. Binge drinking, which the CDC defines as having 5 or more drinks at a time for men and 4 or more drinks for women, is one of the symptoms. Not only is there a higher risk of injury and illness, but there is also a higher risk of alcohol use disorders. Other signs of alcoholism include:

  • Difficulty controlling alcohol use despite wanting to reduce or stop
  • Feelings of guilt or remorse for your behavior while drinking
  • Others care about how much you drink
  • Inability to meet personal/professional obligations
  • blackout

Alcohol is an addictive substance and some people may experience withdrawal symptoms. These range from anxiety, fatigue, and irritability to a more serious condition called delirium tremens (DT). People with DT experience hallucinations, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, seizures, and in some cases, even death.

“If you have symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, talk to your doctor about how to stop alcohol use slowly and in a controlled manner,” says Dr. Strickland. “There are medications you can use under your doctor’s supervision to help you taper off alcohol-related seizures.”

Dr. Carey agreed that talking to your doctor is an important first step. He recommends making an appointment with a specific goal to discuss your drinking, determine if you have a problem, and develop a plan to minimize it. referral to, outpatient dependent programs, or medication-assisted treatment.

“Alcohol overdose is a medical problem and should be treated as such. Your doctor can provide you with things you can see, such as your liver numbers,” he said. “If you were in bad shape before you cut back or quit, you can track and re-evaluate over time.

“Don’t delay. Don’t hesitate. If you want to maximize your health, sobriety is one of the most beneficial things you can do.”

Samantha never thought of herself as an alcoholic, but Dry January offered her the opportunity to experience life without alcohol. After a few weeks, her skin started to improve, and she noticed an improvement in her sleep patterns and energy levels.She discovered that she wasn’t limited to drinking soda water or sodas when she went out. . Some restaurants included alcohol-free beer, spirits and mocktail menus, giving her time to re-evaluate her relationship with alcohol.

“I’m not saying I’ll never drink again, but Dry January has taught me that alcohol doesn’t have to be a big part of my life,” said Samantha. “I can count on one hand the number of times she’s had a drink in this year, and honestly, it hasn’t made her feel any better.”

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