UK charity Alcohol Concern is once again running its start the year without alcohol campaign.
Known as Dry January, the campaign urges people to give up drinking for the whole of the month. Cutting out alcohol for a few weeks is not only a great way to kick the Christmas hangover, it will also hopefully encourage us to drink more moderately through the rest of the year.
Of course, we are now more than half way through the month, so you may think it is too late to join in. But you would be wrong. Giving up for half a month is better than not at all, and there is nothing to say you can’t start your Dry January now and continue into February to complete your full month.
If you need a little help to motivate you, here are few facts about what alcohol does to your body from Alcohol Concern’s website.
Over time, heavy drinking can cause a number of different types of brain damage.
Mouth and throat
If you drink regularly above the recommended amount you are increasing the risk of developing cancer of the mouth, larynx (voice box), pharynx (upper throat) and oesophagus (food pipe).
In spite of media stories about red wine being good for your heart, there is no evidence to back this up. We do know that heavy drinking raises blood pressure, and so increases the risk of heart disease.
Most alcohol you drink is processed by your liver. If your liver has to break down too much alcohol it will damage its health.
Drinking too much alcohol over the long term can lead to fatty liver, hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) and cirrhosis (scarring of the liver).
Too much alcohol can cause inflammation of the stomach lining, stomach ulcers and reflux.
Men may suffer temporary impotence after drinking. Long-term drinking can cause sexual organs to shrink.
For more information on all these risks, and to learn more about alcohol and health, visit Alcohol Concern’s website.
Practical help to quit or cut down alcohol
If you need more help to quit or cut down your alcohol intake, talk to your GP or nurse. Your GP will be able to assess your drinking and give you guidance on how best to cut down or quit. You may also find it useful to speak to a counsellor.
Call us on 966 860 258 if you wish to book an appointment with our GP, nurse or psychotherapist.