One in seven Brits plan to take part in Dry January 2023, charity estimates

Anxiety and the cost of living crisis were cited as motivating factors for opting out of alcohol

Joanna Whitehead
Tuesday 20 December 2022 15:46 GMT
Dry January: Kate Garraway suggests Brits have a problem with alcohol after giving up drinking for month

One in seven (17 per cent) of UK adults are estimated to be planning on going alcohol-free for 31 days in January, according to a new study.

Research conducted by Alcohol Change UK, the charity behind the Dry January initiative, reveals that almost nine million Britons are keen to sign up to the campaign, with the cost of living crisis influencing their decision.

One in six (16 per cent) of those surveyed said they were drinking more to cope with worries around the crisis, while one in seven (14 per cent) have prioritised purchasing alcohol over essential items, such as groceries.

One in four said they have drunk more in 2022 than 2021, with one in three young adults who drink (36 per cent) citing anxiety after drinking as a factor in them deciding to reduce their alcohol consumption.

During a typical week, British drinkers consume an average of 13.7 units of alcohol, but one in three (30 per cent) drink more than than the maximum 14 units recommended by the UK’s chief medical officers.

The study comes days after research which claims that three in 10 adults have felt pressured to drink alcohol when socialising.

The poll found that 28 per cent of respondents had multiple excuses to avoid drinking, with 43 per cent admitting to cancelling social plans to avoid the pressure of drinking alcohol altogether.

January 2023 marks the tenth anniversary of Dry January.

According to Alcohol Change, a month off alcohol leads to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes risk, as well as lower cancer-related proteins in the blood.

“Over the past few years, things have been incredibly tough for so many people and the cost of living crisis is making things even tougher,” Ailar Hashemzadeh, director of research and public affairs at Alcohol Change UK, said.

“This has led to more and more of us finding our drinking creeping up, particularly for those of us who were drinking more heavily to start with,

She added that Dry January offers a brilliant opportunity to take a breaking from drinking and have a “total reset”.

“It helps you break habits you’ve fallen into and make long-term changes for the better. It can help to relieve anxiety and helps you remember that you don’t need alcohol to have fun, relax, celebrate, unwind or anything else. It puts you back in control of your drinking.”

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