‘Dry January’ is a popular New Year’s resolution, but addiction experts say it’s not for everyone

"Dry January" trend growing across the nation

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - People across the globe are giving up alcohol to start the new year. “Dry January” has become a popular trend in recent years.

Addiction experts applaud those reevaluating their alcohol use, but it’s not for everyone.

While a drink after work can help us unwind, making it an everyday habit can get you close to what the Centers for Disease Control considers excessive alcohol use. Eight or more drinks a week for women and 15 or more for men would put you in that category.

It may take you taking a step back from alcohol to realize this, and many are doing just that with Dry January.

“Any time someone wants to reevaluate their relationship with alcohol I think it’s a really good thing,” said Dr. Shawn Hammwith Integrated Addiction Care Associates. “So that’s how I see Dry January.”

Hamm applauds those moderate drinkers for choosing Dry January. He said researchers estimate more than 140 million people drink alcohol in the U.S. About 17 million are reaching the levels of excessive drinkers.

Then there are people who have a severe dependency on alcohol. Hamm said Dry January, or quitting cold turkey, is not for them.

“What happens with alcohol is if you have certain risk factors and just stop cold turkey it could turn in to something called DTs or delirium tremens,” said Hamm.

DT can be fatal, and Hamm said if you’ve had an alcohol dependency for many years to seek a doctor’s advice on how to stop drinking safely.

Hamm said Dry January, or even cutting back on your drinking for the whole year, falls in line with typical New Year’s resolutions.

“I think it’s the same time where people are trying to get healthier, they’re going to the gym and they’re doing things and (alcohol) doesn’t really mix,” said Hamm.

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