How Dry Was Your January?

11th February 2015

Now January is done and dusted – how did you do staying off the alcohol?

It has been reported that by the 22nd January, over 50% of participants had fallen over the wagon.

What does not drinking do for your body? Apart from the obvious avoidances of the horrific Sunday morning hangover, scientists have been proving for years that alcohol is a harmful toxin our bodies could probably do without. (Or you could take note of the research that says one glass of wine a day has benefits).

Alcohol is one of the most deadly lifestyle choices – taking its place just behind smoking and obesity. It is also a causal factor in more than 60 medical conditions such as heart disease, some forms of cancer and pancreatic issues.

It is predicted that alcohol costs the NHS in the excess of œ3bn a year, with alcohol misuse costing the country’s economy around œ21bn a year.

Dry January seems to appeal to so many after the overindulgence of the festive period catches up with them and the January return to work looms. It is an ideal time to get back to the gym and shift a few pounds. After all, you are not going to miss much in January are you?

We asked people around the office and found that as a collective, we didn’t fare too well.

“I attempted to do Dry January as I was told a glass of wine is the same calorific content as a doughnut. After seeing no immediate health benefits, I eventually succumbed before January had finished” said Carol.

Vicky said “I was just quite bored as I didn’t want to go out for a drink and not have a drink. I expected the weight to drop off and I saw nothing. Three weeks in and I had a few glasses of wine.”

We did find some success stories though?

Jayne commented “I’ve been sleeping a lot better and have more energy in general. I’m going to continue not drinking in February.”

“I have seen definite health benefits in not drinking. I’ve lost a couple of pounds and it is so much easier to get up in the morning. I’ll definitely be changing my drinking habits and watching what I drink from now on” commented Robyn.

Paul mentioned “It’s definitely been tough but I’m glad I stuck at it. I have missed having the odd drink but feel a lot better for it.”

Alcohol is undeniably a massive part of our culture for most of us – birthday celebrations without wine? An after work beverage of just coke? Good news without some champagne?

This winter has seen some of the most shocking A&E figures released in a long time for meeting waiting time targets and such like. With winter comes Christmas. With Christmas comes overindulgence. With overindulgence comes trips to A&E.

It is all too easy sometimes to bash the NHS and share posts on social media about the system falling apart, but maybe we all should first consider how much strain we are putting on the services we often take for granted, for incidents that could possibly be avoided. Incidents that are primarily caused by alcohol consumption.

More than 9 million people in the UK drink more than the recommended daily allowance, and in 2012/3 over a million hospital admissions were made relating to alcohol consumption – whether it be illness or incident.

Do you think we drink too much as a nation? Is alcohol an causal factor in the current state of the NHS?

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