Resolutions go hand in hand with the start of a new year. And Dry January, the annual initiative to stop drinking alcohol for the first month, is one of the more popular New Year’s challenges, drawing in millions of people in multiple countries each year.
Should you try it in 2019? Here’s what experts say.
Conventional wisdom (and federal guidelines) say that moderate drinking — up to a drink per day for women, or two per day for men — is okay for health. But several prominent 2018 studies found that drinking even small amounts of alcohol may be associated with higher risks of health problems and death, and that the risk of developing alcohol-linked conditions, such as cancer, may outweigh potential benefits associated with booze, such as better heart health. Most experts — even those who don’t advocate for outright alcohol abstinence — say the less you drink, the better.
Katie Witkiewitz, a professor of psychology at the University of New Mexico’s Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Addictions, agrees that any decrease in drinking, even a temporary one, is likely a good thing. “We know that reductions in drinking are associated with improved health and improved sleep and improved mood, and taking just a month to reduce your drinking reduces the overall pattern of consumption,” Witkiewitz says. “By cutting it out for a month, you’ve consumed less for the year.”
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