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Dry January: Experts reveal the people most likely to be able to give up alcohol

Dry January is adopted after the excesses of Christmas 

Kashmira Gander
Tuesday 05 January 2016 18:30 GMT
(Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

After the excesses of the festive season, social media feeds are filling up with pledges to cut out alcohol for Dry January.

The challenge is promoted by the charity Alcohol Concern, whose latest figures show that more than 9million people in England drink more than the recommended daily limits.

A recent study which sought to test the effectiveness of Dry January showed that those who completed the challenge reaped the benefits up to six months after, by consuming less and becoming better at say no to alcohol.

Participants who finished the study conducted by the University of Sussex for Alcohol Concern also reported positive short-term effects.

As many as 62 per cent of the 857 UK adults (249 men and 608 women) who took part said they slept better and had more energy. A further half of participants said they lost weight.

Researchers also found that otherwise moderate drinkers were most likely to succeed with the challenge. Of those who took part, 67 per cent of men and 63 per cent of women said they did not drink for a month, Mail Online reported.

However, those who completed the challenge were not the only ones to benefit, as 72 per cent of participants had maintained lower levels of harmful drinking and 4 per cent were still not drinking after six months.

They were also more likely to say no to a drink in social situations, when feeling worried or upset, and in situations where they would normally have had a drink.

To make their findings, researchers asked partipants to complete a questionnaire, as well as a follow-up six months later.

Dr de Visser, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Sussex, said at the time the study was published: “What’s really interesting to see is that these changes in alcohol consumption were also seen in the participants who didn’t complete the whole month alcohol free.

“Even if participants took part but didn’t successfully complete the 31 days, it generally led to a significant decrease across all the measures of alcohol intake.”

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