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Dry January isn't for everyone, experts say. Some drinkers need treatment. Others are trying Dry-ish January

Kate Thayer, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Health & Fitness

The holiday parties are over, the New Year's resolutions are in and many likely revolve around a healthier 2020. For those who may have been overserved during December's festivities, or are just looking for a challenge, that could include cutting out the glass of wine with dinner or the cocktails during nights out with friends.

Dry January has become an annual trend in the past several years, prompting many to abstain from alcohol for the inaugural month of the year.

But does it work?

Experts say it's great for some to slow down their alcohol intake after one of the most celebratory times of the year. It cuts down on calories, improves sleep and brings an awareness of drinking habits.

But for others, a deeper problem exists, and a cold turkey approach could actually be dangerous.

Here are five things to know about Dry January.

 

1. Some history.

The U.K.-based group Alcohol Concern, now named Alcohol Change UK, started the trending Dry January challenge in 2013.

In its first year, 4,000 people took part, according to the group, and the hashtagable trend has grown since then. The group's latest tracking shows that while 100,000 people signed up on the website in January 2018, millions actually participated. The group projects that 10% of those who drink in the U.K. will take part in the challenge this month and abstain from alcohol.

"Dry January offers a ready-made response to anyone who tries to pressure us to drink," Alcohol Change UK CEO Richard Piper said in a statement. "Strong evidence tells us that signing up for Dry January helps people -- even heavy drinkers -- to drink more healthily all year round."

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