Dry or Wet January: Is Giving Up Alcohol Worth It?

Optimal Mental Health and Well-Being

Dry or Wet January: Is Giving Up Alcohol Worth It?

A common New Year’s resolution is to cut back on drinking. Perhaps out of a desire to be healthier in general or due to drinking to excess over the holiday season and suffering the effects of head-pounding hangovers, people can be motivated to address their relationship with alcohol.

Started in 2012 as a public health campaign by a UK charity, Dry January is a challenge to give up alcohol for 31 days. According to an article in Oprah Daily, there are many health benefits associated with participating in Dry January. These include: losing weight, eating more mindfully, sleeping better, saving money, drinking more water, and having increased motivation to take on new challenges.

Not sure if the challenge of Dry January is worth it? A recent article in The Washington Post noted how depression and anxiety can be helped by reducing the amount of alcohol used. In the article, Richard A. Friedman, MD talks about how patients’ moods got better when they were able to cut back on their use of alcohol.

He was stunned — and convinced — by the results. His sleep normalized, and his mood was markedly better. It wasn’t just that he was unaware that alcohol had wrecked his mood and sleep; he was beginning to drink more each night to counter the very anxiety provoked by the previous night’s alcohol, setting up a self-sustaining cycle of depression, anxiety and drinking.

Richard A. Friedman, MD

While the debate about whether the use of alcohol in moderation is healthy will continue as the research is mixed, feedback from those who try Dry January shows that abstaining from alcohol for even short periods of time has important health benefits. Not convinced? Try for yourself like some of the patients with Dr. Friedman did. Perhaps you’ll be convinced that improvements in mood, sleep, and other life areas are worth the price of reducing alcohol consumption.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *