Dry January grows in popularity year on year. It is a campaign by Alcohol Change UK, in which participants give up alcohol for the entire month of January. If done correctly, this one-month booze-free challenge can have a significantly positive impact on your health.
Alcohol has proven to increase the risk of developing a range of health problems (including cancers of the mouth, throat and breast) and that risk increases the more you drink on a regular basis.
The UK Chief Medical Officers’ (CMOs) guideline for keeping health risks from alcohol to a low level for both men and women states that:
A useful website for more information about alcohol is www.drinkaware.co.uk
On average, it takes about one hour for your body to break down one unit of alcohol, however, this can vary, depending on:
People taking sedative drugs (like diazepam/valium) or antidepressants (like fluoxetine/Prozac) should avoid alcohol altogether.
There are some antibiotics; metronidazole and tinidazole which just do not mix with alcohol – drinking with these will make you sick. But for most commonly prescribed antibiotics, drinking is unlikely to cause problems so long as it is within the low-risk alcohol unit guidelines.
People taking long-term medications should be careful about drinking, as alcohol can make some drugs less effective and long-term conditions could get worse. Examples of long-term medications include drugs for epilepsy, diabetes, or drugs like warfarin to thin the blood.
By Ruth Kander BSc(Hons)RD | Dietitian
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