You may have heard the term Dry January before, but when undertaken with intention, it can be a beneficial tool for people facing or recovering from addiction. It has been a “trend” for many years, but we want to express the many positive elements of pursuing Dry January.
There are multiple benefits for the body, and these effects also transfer to the brain and a person’s mental health. Recovery from drug and alcohol addiction is no easy task. Whether you continue with professional drug and alcohol rehabilitation or you are completing the aftercare of your programme, Dry January is a given.
So, does a period of abstinence positively affect our bodies? The simple answer is yes. A study from the University of Sussex found that participants of Dry January in the UK were almost unanimous in saying how much improvement they felt daily. This includes better sleep, improved mood and even weight loss. Alcohol stimulates our digestive system, which encourages us to eat. Taking part in dry January can make you feel healthier and lose a few extra pounds. So let’s look deeper into the logistics in relation to drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
1. More Energy and Better General Health
Any type of addiction promotes inflammation of the gastric mucosa and the body. This is because numerous toxins are found in these addictive substances that create an unpleasant environment for the body.
Dry January allows your body to detox slightly from these toxins. Although it is not a ‘fix-it’ for addiction, it can supplement your therapies and ongoing treatment. Alcohol can inhibit certain absorptions for specific vitamins; therefore, to regain energy, skip alcohol and caffeine and instead drink lots of water to hydrate.
2. Better Sleep
Sleep is vital for our organs to heal and our minds to feel balanced. With addiction, the plethora of toxins within our bodies creates an inflammatory reaction. When this occurs frequently, you can feel like you are not getting the quality sleep you need. Insomnia is a common issue for people facing addiction.
Over time, the accumulated sleep debt can make us feel worn down, unmotivated, and unwell. When we remove the toxins, our bodies can more easily relax, and muscular fatigue and racing thoughts will naturally feel calmer. If you are still struggling following a dry January, you should ask your therapy team for added natural solutions.
3. Weight Loss
Alcohol is likely to reduce the elimination of fat and promote its accumulation. It is scientifically proven that a decreased production of digestive enzymes is essential for the optimal absorption of the nutrients necessary for the body’s healthy functioning. Alcohol also enhances appetite, so consuming it makes you likely feel hungry. Therefore, removing alcohol will create a healthy appetite. Alcohol also promotes fat accumulation, which often sits around the abdomen; this is why it is often referred to (usually in men) as a ‘beer belly’.
4. Change in Attitude
Our moods are often dictated by the dopamine and endorphins within our brains. Whilst alcohol can stimulate and suppress these chemicals, it often acts as a short-term fix, like a sugar high. Therefore, you can easily and effectively improve your mood when it is removed. Potentially feeling negatively from the lack of intake of alcohol, as like sugar, there is always a “crash” first.
Alcohol can impact our moods for many reasons, and oftentimes it boils down to the individual’s brain chemistry and personality. However, by adding more exercise and whole foods to your lifestyle instead of alcohol, you will feel much more prepared for your day and generally happier in the long term.
5. Saving Money
It is no surprise that alcohol prices are rising. Spending a handful of money on a night out with friends is easy. This is not to say that you should not still go out and socialise, but there is no reason you can’t still have fun without drinking alcohol. So, with a heavier wallet, you can put the money into what you want to do this January.
6. Lower Blood Pressure
Alcohol acts as a physical stimulant; it has similar effects on the body to caffeine. This includes a rapid heartbeat (and/or palpitations), high blood pressure, increased temperature and more. If you are someone who suffers from hypertension, then cutting out alcohol with Dry January will greatly benefit you.
Scientifically speaking, if you cut back on alcohol, you can lower your top number in a blood pressure reading (systolic pressure) by about 5.5 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg) and your bottom number (diastolic pressure) by about 4 mm Hg. In the long term, reducing your blood pressure can also significantly lower the risk of heart attack and stroke. You can speak to your GP for further information on this.
The Final Thought for Dry January
Dry January is something that anyone can try. However, if you believe that you may have a problem with alcohol addiction and would like assistance with the available options, it is possible to do so. At Action Rehab, we are a dedicated interdisciplinary team of professionals who can help you further. Whilst Dry January is an excellent place to start, alcohol addiction and dependence need a more in-depth analysis and forms of treatment that are tailor-made to your needs and your health circumstances.
For more information, please do not hesitate to call us today and reach out on 0151 268 6992. We want to help you create a healthy and happy 2023!
Posted on Friday, January 13th, 2023 at 11:17 am in Latest News.