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“Dry January”

Not drinking in the new year following excessively imbibing throughout the holidays can be feel like an accomplishment to some and scary and unattainable to others.

“Dry January” has come to be known as the time of year when folks volunteer to become clearer, sober and refreshed in a way that’s hidden in the previous months filled with cocktails and parties. It’s often considered a health resolution for the new year yet for many, it’s a chance to see if it can even be done. Addiction is challenging and many who drink daily may not see their behavior as real addiction so doing 30 days without a drop can be overwhelming.

Researchers reveal alcohol is metabolized differently for women than men – more alcohol is absorbed and it takes longer to break down. Risk of breast cancer is increased, as is heart damage, cirrhosis and other alcohol-related liver diseases. So, what can be gained from one month without the sweet nectar?

Some claim deeper and more consistent sleep patterns, less reflux and headaches, and a lot calmer with less anxiety and irritability. That’s a good start! Many claim seeing their weight drop, better skin and hair, and having more energy.

Downsides? If you’re a light but daily drinker, the biggest downside is missing it! It’s habitual for many and a pleasant path to ask the managerial thoughts of the day quiet for a bit. For heavier drinkers, like for months or years, and I mean 2-4+ drinks a night, mild symptoms of alcohol detox may be:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Shakiness
  • Vomiting / nausea
  • Delirium tremens (occurs 48-72 hours after the last drink) – includes confusion, racing heart, high blood pressure, fever and heavy sweating. These conditions need medical treatment.

If you consider yourself a heavy drinker, you may want to slowly wean off the liquor or wine instead of stopping cold turkey. Talk to your health care professionals about the plan first.

Otherwise, raise a toast of Ginger Beer, seltzer and lime, or mocktails. Happy and Healthy New Year to all!

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