L & B Counseling

Dry January

dry januaryWhat is Dry January?

Dry January, also known as “Sobriety January” or “Drynuary,” is a popular trend in which people abstain from alcohol for the month of January. This can be a challenging undertaking, but it can also have significant mental health benefits.  

What are the benefits of going dry?

One of the main benefits of Dry January is that it can help to reduce alcohol dependency and improve overall physical health. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, meaning that it slows down brain function and can lead to feelings of relaxation and euphoria. However, excessive alcohol consumption can also have negative effects on the body, including liver damage, weight gain, and an increased risk of certain types of cancer. By taking a break from alcohol, people can allow their bodies to detox and rest, which can help to improve overall physical health.

In addition to the physical benefits, Dry January can also have positive effects on mental health. Alcohol can alter your mood and can be used as a coping mechanism for stress and other negative emotions. However, over time, excessive alcohol consumption can actually contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression. Alcohol is a depressant. It slows down processes in your brain and central nervous system, and can initially make you feel less inhibited. In the short-term, you might feel more relaxed – but these effects wear off quickly.

In fact, if you’re experiencing anxiety, drinking alcohol could be making things worse. Over time, if you regularly drink heavily, the central nervous system gets used to the supressing effect of the alcohol, which means your brain is affected if the alcohol level suddenly drops. You can go straight into ’fight or flight’ mode as the alcohol leaves your system – the same reaction as an anxiety disorderBy taking a break from alcohol, people can give their minds and bodies a chance to reset and potentially improve their mental health.

Dry January can also be a great opportunity to develop new, healthy habits. For example, people who participate in Dry January may find that they have more energy and are more productive without the added burden of alcohol. This can be a great time to start exercising, eating healthier, or even taking up a new hobby.

Overall, Dry January can be a challenging but rewarding experience that can have significant mental health benefits. By abstaining from alcohol for a month, people can improve their physical health, boost their mood, and develop new, healthy habits.

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol dependency, please contact one of our trained specialists for assistance. 

Aaron Yearwood, LCSWA, LCASA

Kirsten Cole, LCMHCA, LCAS, CCS-I