Lack of booze can have positive effects on your body, especially if you’re a woman, especially after the spike in alcohol use since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.
Dawn Sugarman, a research psychologist in the Department of Alcohol, Drugs and Addiction at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, told TODAY.com earlier this year.
Women increase their alcohol consumption at a higher rate than men, she said, especially on heavy drinking days — four or more drinks within a few hours.
With this crisis “stressing nearly everyone … trying a period of sobriety such as dry January is a very positive thing,” said James, an adjunct professor of psychiatry at the university’s Bowles Center for Alcohol Research. Dr. C. Garbutt adds: of North Carolina.
What is Dry January?
“Dry January” is the month when many people voluntarily quit drinking after December’s binge and enter the New Year calmer, clearer, more refreshed and healthier.
More than a third (35%) of U.S. adults will participate in Dry January in 2022, a “significant increase” from 21% who participated in 2019, according to food and beverage market research firm CGA Did.
About three-quarters, or 74%, of those who planned to abstain from alcohol said they had a successful CGA.
If you’re asking why you should face the world without any wine, beer, or spirits during the coldest, darkest, most depressing months of the year, here are a few things you should do. There are compelling health reasons.
Why do people do dry moons?
“It’s like a self-assessment of how important alcohol is to you,” Sharon Wilsnack, an expert on women’s drinking behavior and an adjunct professor of psychology at the University of North Dakota, told TODAY. com told me.
“Can you go a week or a month without alcohol? If not, why? What drives your craving for alcohol?”
Garbutt points out that Dry January allows people to “taste sobriety” without being overwhelmed by the notion of skipping alcohol forever.
“Sometimes, within four weeks, some people say, ‘I sleep better and feel less irritable and anxious.’
Alcohol is not “benign”
Dry January began in 2012 as an initiative by British charity Alcohol Change UK to “cure your hangover, tighten your waistline and save a ton of money by giving up alcohol for 31 days”. .
Millions of people are now participating in the challenge, with more Americans taking notice each year. The hashtag #soberissexy is popular on Instagram.
Awareness has increased as recent studies have found no evidence that light drinking helps people stay healthy.
In fact, researchers have found that drinking an average of five or more drinks a week can shorten a person’s lifespan by years.
“Alcohol is not completely harmless, but people want to forget it.
Women, who may be particularly susceptible, are drinking more than they used to.
“Alcohol use is increasing among U.S. women at a time when it is decreasing among men.
Excessive alcohol consumption is a serious health problem for women
Women are at greater risk for some of the adverse effects of alcohol.
The biological sex difference means that women’s bodies absorb more alcohol than men’s and take longer to break it down.
Alcohol increases the risk of mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon, and breast cancer in women, warns the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Women who drink alcohol are more susceptible to brain and heart damage than men.The risk of cirrhosis and other alcohol-related liver diseases is higher than men.
Sobriety is a very big factor the CDC has Stated alcohol intake limit As one of four “perfectly actionable New Year’s resolutions” that reduce breast cancer risk.
Benefits of giving up alcohol for a month
Even a short break can make a difference.
A study found that regular drinkers who abstained from alcohol for a month experienced a “rapid decline” in certain chemical mediators in their blood that are linked to cancer progression. Participants also saw improvements in insulin resistance, weight, and blood pressure.
A University of Sussex study found that nearly three-quarters (71%) of those who attended Dry January said they slept better and 67% said they had more energy. More than half of them reported weight loss, 58%, and skin improvement, 54%.
George F. Coob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, said people felt more accomplished, felt better, and were mentally sharper.
Heavy drinkers who take breaks may notice less heartburn and reflux, less irritability and anxiety, and less headaches, notes Garbutt.
He and Willsnak warn that abstaining from alcohol for 30 days won’t erase the damage from years of binge drinking.
“But given that women are more vulnerable (I think), there should be proportionately greater health impacts when women cut back. …But I recommend it for both women and men It’s a good idea,” says Wilsnack.
What can you drink in dry January?
It doesn’t have to be all or zero. Today’s Savannah Guthrie calls it a ‘dry January’ — a little drier than December. .
Find alternatives: Fill a wine glass with water with fruit or flavored sparkling water.
Cultivate new ways of coping in social situations. Distract yourself by slowing down, or leave the room and practice your breathing. You may never need a drink again. Remember, socializing without drinking has never been easier. The “cold curiosity” trend has led to alcohol-free bars and events popping up across the country.
Create a strong support network: Encourage friends and loved ones to hold you accountable and perhaps even take on challenges together.
Write about it: Wilsnack advised journaling in a dry January to help you spot patterns. When did you miss the most?
If you’ve vowed not to drink for a month, but you end up drinking at a party or dinner, don’t feel guilty or blame yourself, says Garbutt. However, if you’ve been drinking more frequently and have noticed an increase in volume over time, consider investigating it.
“If you can’t live a week without saying ‘I’m going crazy,’ where’s the wine when you get home from work? It’s like a red flag to me that you might be developing alcoholism.” “It seems like a lot,” says Wilsnack. It might be time to talk to your doctor.