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Can you cut out the booze for Dry January?

Wokingham residents are being encouraged to cut out drinking during Dry January 2016, a national campaign from Alcohol Concern and Public Health England. Wokingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is encouraging local people to take a month off from alcohol and enjoy the many benefits of having a break from the booze.

Dry January participants often report losing weight, sleeping better, gaining more energy, clearer skin plus huge savings. Not a bad return just for cutting out the booze for 31 days.

Cutting out alcohol for a month can help people re-evaluate their drinking habits long term. New research has shown just how effective Dry January is at changing behaviour. The most comprehensive study yet has shown that six months after completing Dry January, 65 per cent of people have made a positive change to their drinking habits by drinking less, or cutting alcohol out completely.

Those signing up at www.dryjanuary.org.uk can get extra support in the form of regular emails with tips, help and advice, and people can share their experience and ideas via social media. The Dry January website has lot of ideas and suggestions to help people through the month, such as delicious mocktail recipes.

People can participate in Dry January at www.dryjanuary.org.uk without any need to fundraise, although they are welcome to raise sponsorship money to help Alcohol Concern. Participants can also find out just how much calories and cash they’ll save using the calculator here: www.dryjanuary.org.uk/impact-calculator

People who are worried about their drinking habits can also get support from their GP surgery.

Dr Helen George, GP lead for liver and alcohol for the four Berkshire West CCGs, said:

“The health benefits of cutting out (or cutting down) on alcohol, are immense. As well as improving your general health in the short term, longer term, re-evaluating your alcohol consumption can have a far reaching effect, helping to avoid serious health conditions, such as cancer, coronary heart disease and liver disease.”

Watch a video of Dr George talking about the benefits of Dry January here: https://youtu.be/wM8ZXQut-yA

For more information on Dry January contact info@dryjanuary.org.uk, call 020 7566 9800 or visit www.dryjanuary.org.uk

A useful alcohol unit calculator is available at: www.dryjanuary.org.uk/unit-calculator

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Notes

  • Alcohol is one of the three biggest lifestyle risk factors for disease and death in the UK, after smoking and obesity. Deaths from liver disease have reached record levels, rising by 20 per cent in a decade (whilst decreasing in other European countries).
  • The alcoholic strength of a drink is measured in ‘units’. For example, a pint of normal strength beer (4%) contains 2.3 units, a large glass of wine (250mls) contains three units and a single measure of white spirits such as gin (37.5%), which is just 25mls, contains 0.9 units, whilst dark spirits, such as brandy and whiskey (40%) contains one unit.
    The maximum recommended amount to drink each day is 3-4 units for men and 2-3 units for women.
    Clinical commissioning groups are responsible for planning, designing and paying for NHS services. This includes planned and emergency hospital care, rehabilitation, most community services and mental health and learning disability services. Working with NHS England, this now includes planning GP services.
  • If you would like to interview Dr George, please contact Sarah Rayner-Osbon on 07917 183365 / s.rayner-osbon@nhs.net or Kulbir Sandhu on 07785 338845 / Kulbir.sandhu@nhs.net
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