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Here’s looking at ‘Dry January’

By Health Promotion, Ministry of Public Health, Gibraltar

Dry January is an annual initiative run by the charity Alcohol Change UK through which millions of people give up alcohol for the month of January.

Alcohol is believed to affect the neurochemical pathways in our brain and releases endorphins that make us feel good. Relaxing after work with a beer, cocktail or glass of wine is a fairly common occurrence. For women, a moderate consumption of alcohol is about one glass a day — no more than seven per week. Excessive drinking can lead to a slew of health issues, so holding back on alcohol for 31 days could launch you into 2020 on the right footing. You might find that you don’t need alcohol as much as you thought and you may reap some significant health benefits.

Taking on a month of abstinence can have different implications depending on the level of regular alcohol intake. For example, someone who drinks occasionally is not likely to notice as much of a difference as someone who has four or five drinks in a single night over several nights a week. Excessive consumption of alcohol can result in several negative health effects, including a higher risk of certain diseases, such as breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, liver problems, suppression of the immune system, high blood pressure and high cholesterol; also affecting day to day activity and sleeping patterns.

Ditching alcohol in the first month of the new year, is an annual tradition for many; perhaps a New Year’s Resolution or even a detox from the festive over-indulgence. An important point to note here is that your tolerance to the effects of alcohol is likely to be lower after a month of abstinence so remember not to overdo it the first time you have a drink again.

One very welcome and likely result of dry January is a decrease in your overall caloric intake, resulting in weight-loss. Alcohol is deceptively high in calories, 1 Pint lager = 200 calories and 1 Medium glass of wine (175ml) = 130 calories, and when over-consumption impairs judgement it can lead to making even less healthy food choices.

Why not evaluate your relationship with alcohol this January...?

At the end of January 2020, check in with yourself and review your experience and what that might mean for your drinking habits going forward.

Do you feel better? healthier? more productive? More energized? Less anxious?

Have you saved money?

For more information on alcohol visit:
www.AlcoholChange.org.uk
www.DrinkAware.co.uk
www.HealthyGibraltar.org