December is a month full of celebration, get-togethers, relaxation and holiday spirit. But we also tend to rely a bit too much on spirits to accompany all the home cooked meals and laughter. “Dry January” is a fresh start when a lot of people decide to avoid booze for the entire month. While helpful for the occasional alcohol abuser, Dry January cannot replace the much need substance rehabilitation work needed for those who are suffering from an addiction.
In this feature we take a detailed look at what this campaign entails, and some health benefits that go along with it if someone is not actively addicted to alcohol.
Dry January is the most appealing to those who may have noticed a pattern that they have been drinking a little bit more than they usually should. Generally speaking, moderate intake of alcohol is a glass a day or following and not exceeding the units per week according to the government guidelines.
Drinking beyond that limit may lead to an array of health issues. This is why a month-long break would be the healthy start someone may be looking forward to in the new year.
In most cases at the start of February, people who have applied the dry January programme, have discovered that they do not require alcohol as much as they did before the start of the year.
This approach to the new year may be a good reason for a person to decide on jumping ship from alcohol for good.
When Doing Dry January Can Be Dangerous
Even though, accepting the challenge may seem like a terrific idea, quitting alcohol altogether will have a few negative repercussions for people who have serious alcohol dependencies.
More extreme signs and symptoms of withdrawal, called alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS), can encompass Delirium Tremens (DT) in humans with an extreme alcohol dependency. The outcomes of AWS can be noticed within hours of obtaining from drinking, or several days later. They can also continue for a couple of weeks.
Symptoms of AWS regularly encompass shaking, headache, excessive blood pressure, anxiety, and tachycardia (expanded coronary heart rate). DT is a critical alcohol withdrawal symptom that can bring extreme harm to the body if untreated. It is not unusual for people with a history of alcohol withdrawal, people who drink heavily, and people who’ve had a dependency to alcohol for more than a decade to experience more severe withdrawal symptoms if they go without alcohol for too long.
However, many different signs and symptoms, which include sensitivity to light, confusion, and nausea, can also be present. While they seem harmless at first, experiencing them while crossing the street or while at work, may cause serious problems.
More critical signs and symptoms of AWS and DT can cause bodily trauma because of seizures, in addition to metabolic issues. It is unpredictable how the withdrawal will develop, so for those with an addiction, detoxing within a facility or at least under a doctor’s supervision is highly recommended.
Metabolic abnormalities can usually be corrected via an adequate consumption of vitamins, fluids, and sugar. Regular over-the-counter medicines can assist with extra malignant symptoms of AWS, together with headache and nausea.
Those suffering with an alcohol use disorder often uses the substance in excess. A commitment to abstinence is a good place to start for them, however they might need extra help from family and friends. This is important to ensure the addicted person’s safety and increase the likelihood of long-term sobriety.
Dry January also provides the opportunity to reassess their alcohol dependence. They might have not realized that their drinking habits had been harming them and those around them. If any withdrawal symptoms occur while experimenting with Dry January, it is advised to reach out to an addiction specialist or a GP for further investigation of the condition.
Should a person require assistance after the dry January period, a medically-supervised detox facility will ensure that they are comfortable during detoxification and safe from some of the harmful side effects of alcohol withdrawal.
As this month-long break from alcohol may not be easy, many decide to reflect upon their alcohol use even further. One thing they recommend is a list of reasons to quit. Designing a list of reasons why alcohol should not be consumed and reading it each day helps keep on track with the challenge. Many attach it as a paper sheet to their fridge, so they can view it every time they reach for a cold beer.
Keeping a reminder that alcohol can be consumed but the choice remains not to do so is important even in the long run, as relapses may occur.
Refraining from using Alcohol can be challenging and risky. It is important to stay focused on your health goals, regulate your intake, find alternatives best for you and do not be ashamed of any relapses. Help is always available should it be needed.