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Dry January: Is going sober for a month worth it?

After indulging in excessive drinking over the festive period, millions of people across Britain decide to take up the Dry January challenge. However, experts feel that the decision to go alcohol-free for an entire month might actually harm one’s health. A lecturer in mental health at the Department of Health Sciences, University of York, Ian Hamilton has warned those giving up alcohol for a month. He says that the participants often go off or abstain from alcohol for a month, but they can go back to their normal habits during rest of the year.

Overlooking the benefits offered by the campaign, Hamilton’s main concern is the post-detox behavior of those participating in the event. According to him, instead of abstaining from alcohol or going cold-turkey for an entire month, one should try to go for two or three sober days in a week, throughout the year.

Is abstinence necessary for recovery?

Though a comprehensive treatment for alcohol addiction often involves detox, medication and therapy, total abstinence has long been regarded as one of the most effective methods to resolve an addiction problem. While complete abstinence may be necessary for one to live a sober and healthy life, it may encourage an individual to use drug substitutes to curb his/her addiction to alcohol.

Often cited to be the most effective treatment options for alcohol addiction, abstinence is not the only path to take to sobriety. One of the most effective ways to treat alcohol addiction is moderate consumption. A behavioral change program, moderation management or MM empowers individuals to be personally responsible for their drinking habit and promotes early self-recognition of risky drinking behavior. An evidence-based approach to treating alcoholism, MM encourages individuals addicted to alcohol to take necessary actions to cut on their drinking amount or quit it entirely before it becomes too severe.

Dry January is a public health campaign that helps reduce the harm caused by alcohol by encouraging people to abstain from it. The event also helps participants save money by giving up alcohol consumption for a month. Some of its other benefits include improvement in skin health, sleep pattern and mental health.

While critics of Dry January may stress on the limited scope of the campaign, it is important to understand that alcohol abuse is a mental illness and overcoming it requires a person with addiction to understand his/her relationship with booze and the environmental factors contributing toward alcoholism. One also needs to understand that while campaigns like Dry January can help stay sober for a month, it’s up to an individual to maintain abstinence from alcohol throughout the year.

Road to a sober life

In addition to causing dependency, excessive alcohol use can have many negative effects on one’s health and lead to several physical as well as mental problems. Alcoholism may be a complex disease, but recovery from addiction is possible. A comprehensive treatment for drug addiction includes a combination of medications, detox and therapy. If you or someone you know is battling an addiction to alcohol, it’s time to get professional help.

The 24/7 Recovery Helpline, an alcohol and drug addiction help online resource, can help you get connected to the best treatment providers in the U.S. The website also provides useful information about drug and alcohol addiction. Call us at our 24/7 alcohol helpline number (855) 441-4405 or chat online with one of our experts to get access to the most suitable treatment as per your needs at a top-notch addiction treatment facility near you.

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