The New Year and Your Health; How Dry January Can Help You Ditch Alcohol

Living in a culture that promotes alcohol and navigating pandemic life can be quite a challenge. As an Addiction Medicine Psychiatrist with more than a decade of experience, my patients typically ask me about the benefits when considering if “Dry January” is a good time to evaluate their relationship with alcohol. As the coronavirus outbreak continues to surge, the spike in alcohol related consumption is on the rise. People often express that drinking feels “safer” and more “socially acceptable” than indulging in other harmful substances. They are shocked when I share the sobering reality that illnesses attributed to alcohol cause more than 88,000 deaths a year, more than all drug overdoses combined. The COVID-19 crisis has underscored the importance of making our health and wellness the number one priority for 2021. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-facts-and-statistics - :~:text=Alcohol-Related Deaths%3A,poor diet and physical inactivity.

Taking a step back to better understand how the promotion of alcohol use influences our vulnerability to normalize unhealthy habits can be a liberating step for many individuals. Once we take a look at the history of alcohol use in society, we begin to understand that it has played a central role in society in all human cultures since about 4000 BC. One of the primary reasons our founding fathers used alcohol was to help them connect and fit in with their tribe. Fast forward to modern times, not much has changed. In an article titled “Drinking Exploits on Social Media Can Predict Alcohol Problems,” Studies show that social media use strengthens a person’s ties to the culture in which they use it. As most people using social media are in their college years, alcohol (especially binge drinking) is significant to their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram experiences. This, researchers suggest, could contribute to problems with alcohol use in later years.” https://www.healthline.com/health-news/social-media-posts-drinking-habits

Let’s use Dry January as an opportunity to declare our independence from being victimized by the influences of the shameless marketing and sales tactics that are an insult our integrity and autonomy by encouraging us to make unhealthy choices. Researchers have found that giving up alcohol for the month can ultimately lead to drinking less or kicking the habit entirely. My patients report improved sleep, weight loss, financial savings and feeling healthier, happier and more satisfied with their relationship to self and others. I look forward to helping you welcome in a bright New Year filled with possibilities and hope.

 **If you are ready to break your alcohol addiction, you can safely detox with programs offered by Dr. Richard E. Repass, MD, at Revolution Psychiatric and Addiction Treatment in Mercer Island, Washington. Please ask us about our innovative and effective detox using BR+NAD™ therapy. For more information, call Revolution Psychiatric and Addiction Treatment to schedule an appointment.

 

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Dr. Richard Repass

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