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'Dry January' Can Help People Control Alcohol Intake For The Rest Of The Year, Says Study

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Participating in a public health campaign called "Dry January" can help those who want to cut back on their drinking in 2019, a new paper suggests.

How Dry January Changes People's Drinking Habits

Researchers at the University of Sussex conducted a study on people who abstained from alcohol for the whole month of January in 2018 as part of the campaign created by the Alcohol Concern UK. They found that those who participated were able to regain their control of drinking up to eight months later, resulting in better skin, weight loss, and overall better health.

"The simple act of taking a month off alcohol helps people drink less in the long term: by August people are reporting one extra dry day per week," said Richard de Visser, a psychologist who led the research. "There are also considerable immediate benefits: nine in ten people save money, seven in ten sleep better and three in five lose weight."

The researchers collected data from over 800 people. They were made to answer a survey to assess how their drinking habits have changed after the campaign.

The participants reported that the days when they drank fell from 4.3 days to only 3.3 days per week by August. Their average alcohol consumption also fell significantly, from 8.6 to 7.1 unit or about 10 milliliters per day.

The people who also abstained in January last year said that they became drunk less frequently, averaging to only 2.1 days per month compared to 3.4 days before the campaign.

Health Benefits Of Abstaining From Alcohol

Perhaps the most encouraging findings from the research are the immediate positive impacts of drinking less to the participants. Of over 800 people who went dry in January 2018, 93 percent reported feeling a sense of achievement for surviving the campaign, 88 percent saved money, and 82 percent got to reevaluate their relationship with alcohol.

Majority of the participants or around 80 percent say that they are now better in control of their drinking. Around 76 percent of them did self-reflection and realized why they drink while 71 percent of them now believe that they do not need to be inebriated to have fun.

Other benefits of Dry January include better sleep, more energy, weight loss, better concentration, and better skin.

The Dry January 2019 campaign is now open for registration at alcoholchange.org.uk.

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