Q&A: ‘Dry January’ provides opportunity to reevaluate drinking for liver, overall health – Healio

Q&A: ‘Dry January’ provides opportunity to reevaluate drinking for liver, overall health – Healio


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Healio Interview

Reau reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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Many individuals look to the new year to follow through their resolutions such as diet and exercise and some are now attempting ‘Dry January’, to reset after a holiday full of drinking.

“For the average person who doesn’t have alcohol-related health consequences, 1 month is like going to the spa for a month of health concentration,” Nancy S. Reau, MD, FAASLD, AGAF, The Richard B. Capps Chair of Hepatology and professor of digestive diseases and nutrition in the department of internal medicine at Rush University, told Healio. “Relook in February with a new perspective. Are you going to resume drinking safely, or are you going to go back to drinking the same way you were before? Dry January shouldn’t be seen as something miraculous.”

Healio spoke with Reau about the impact of alcohol abstinence on liver and overall health and the importance of evaluating alcohol consumption and other unhealthy habits.

Healio: Do you encourage Dry January or in general taking time off drinking?

Reau: I think it is important to concentrate on health and consider Dry January to be about more than just alcohol abstinence, but rather kind of a reset to a healthy lifestyle. If someone thinks they have an alcohol problem and it is affecting their job or social function, then attempting Dry January is important, but it should not just be a month off. It should be an evaluation for how to be healthy going forward. It cannot just be a month of vacation from something that is potentially more problematic.

Healio: What recommendations do you give people who are trying to reduce or reevaluate their drinking?

Reau: If you are a social drinker, you are going to be able to stop without any kind of health hazard. But if someone is a heavy, regular drinker, they can get quite sick when they abruptly stop. For those who fit within the CDC guidelines of reasonable recreational alcohol use, Dry January is a nice time to concentrate on overall health. There are a lot of bars that now do virgin cocktails, so you can feel like you are doing something fun. I think that Dry January is more appropriately a time where you can look at your health consequences and not just assign all health value to alcohol load. It is probably not good enough to stop drinking if you still are eating a bag of chips and or a lot of fast food and you are not exercising.


Source: https://www.healio.com/news/gastroenterology/20220111/qa-dry-january-provides-opportunity-to-reevaluate-drinking-for-liver-overall-health

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