ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. — This year marks 10 years since the term ‘Dry January’ became a household term. The month encourages 31 days of no alcohol in order to see health benefits.

What You Need To Know

  • 'Dry January’ was founded in 2013

  • Its founder is Emily Robinson & Alcohol Change UK

  • The month encourages 31 days of no alcohol to see health benefits 

  • Dr. Imran Iqbal, M.D. of Baptist Health Elizabethtown analyzes the health benefits and concerns around the trendy month

The trend was founded in the United Kingdom and quickly gained speed here in the United States. 2013 was the very first ‘Dry January’ and it kicked off after its founder, Emily Robinson, wanted to train stronger for a marathon. She eventually teamed up with an alcohol awareness organization in the United Kingdom called Alcohol Change UK. But as for the trend here in Kentucky–it’s something Baptist Health is keeping an eye on. 

Taking a month off from drinking can lead to several health benefits like better skin, sleep, energy and mood. That’s according to recent research from the University of Sussex, but an abrupt stop in alcohol could be a problem for heavier drinkers.

“The risks can be deadly. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can occur with abrupt substation of alcohol. That can lead to seizures or delirium tremens and they are deadly,” said Dr. Imran Iqbal.

Iqbal, is a physician psychiatrist at Baptist Health Elizabethtown. He says if you are going to partake in ‘Dry January’ you should think about a game plan on how to safely return to drinking if you wish.

“I would not drink a lot at a time. I would start back slowly. I would intersperse alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks which is maybe what you would’ve done during that month,” said Iqbal.

Last year, according to the American Heart Association, a national survey stated 35% of American adults of legal age gave up drinking last January. The trend, in fact, he explains, brings to thought the effect of alcohol use over one’s life.

“Decreasing energy, problems with sleep, problems with mood and anxiety can all be associated with long-term alcohol use,” said Iqbal.

So if you’re taking part in ‘Dry January’ you have 22 days left. But if you’re not, you can always think about moral support for a friend.

Dr. Iqbal recommends contacting your primary care doctor if you are a high consumer of alcohol to identify proper medication if withdrawals occur or even how to change ‘Dry January’ if you still want to take part.

In the same University of Sussex study from 2018, it revealed six months after ‘Dry January’ 70% of participants had healthier drinking habits.