People in Somerset are challenged to ditch the booze and ‘Try Dry’ this January

Just thirty-one days without alcohol can positively impact on health – improving sleep, boosting energy, reducing anxiety, and saving money, to name just a few of the benefits.

That’s why this year, Somerset County Council is encouraging residents and employees to sign up to Dry January and discover the many benefits of going alcohol-free, including the financial, physical, and medical benefits this can bring.

Drinking alcohol is linked to more than 60 health conditions, including liver disease, high blood pressure, depression, and seven types of cancer. Every day in the UK, 20 people die as a result of their drinking.

Alcohol misuse is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15-49 year-olds in the UK, and the fifth biggest risk factor across all ages. Annually, it is estimated that alcohol costs the NHS £3.5 billion in England alone.

People can download an app to track their units, money and calories saved, plus many more features. Or they can sign up at www.dryjanuary.org.uk for regular support emails with tips and tricks from experts and others taking part.

Cllr Adam Dance, Executive Lead Member for Public Health, Equalities and Diversity said:

“Dry January is a really good opportunity for many people to give their body a chance to recover and feel healthier after the festive period.

“It is far too easy for regular drinking to creep up and turn in to a daily habit, and taking some time out can have a really positive impact on our health and wellbeing. Drinking less has many benefits including improved sleep, better skin and weight loss all while saving money.

“I would encourage everyone to join me in giving Dry January a go, perhaps with family or friends for support, so they can experience these benefits first hand and consider reducing the amount of alcohol they drink in the future.”

With many families put under tremendous strain during Covid-19 and the ongoing challenges with the cost of living crisis, many people have turned to increased drinking. However, as well as the short term benefits, research shows that Dry January can help people to drink more healthily year-round.

If you drink very heavily or regularly Dry January may not be for you, so check with your GP or local alcohol service before you start. Where an individual is experiencing physical symptoms when they stop drinking (which may include but are not limited to: shakes, sweating, restlessness, insomnia, nausea, stomach cramps or hallucinations) they should seek medical help urgently.

The Somerset Drug and Alcohol Service (SDAS) delivered by the charity Turning Point, provides free and confidential support for people wanting to make changes to their relationship with alcohol. For support speak to your GP, call SDAS 0300 303 8788 or visit www.turning-point.co.uk/sdas.