Dry January increasing in popularity as more drinkers turn their back on alcohol
The campaign, from Alcohol Change UK, has been growing in popularity, with 1.1 million extra people taking part this year.
Its aim is to help change people’s relationship with alcohol, lose weight and get healthier.
‘In the run up to Christmas many people start drinking more than usual as they celebrate the festive season with parties and get-togethers,’ Jackie Ballard, chief executive of Alcohol Concern, said.
‘This is the perfect time to sign up to a holiday from alcohol.
‘Dry January is not about never drinking again.
‘It’s an opportunity for people to reflect on their drinking patterns and to give their body a break from alcohol.
‘We know from previous years that people who do Dry January will feel better, lose weight and save money.’
Almost a third of under-25s have decided to give up alcohol completely, a recent survey suggests.
This compares with one in five 16 to 24-year-olds in 2005 who had turned their back on drink.
The shift towards non-drinking has been linked to awareness of mental health, financial concerns and a more diverse generation.
‘Over 17,000 people took part in Dry January in 2014,’ Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England, says.
‘Many reported taking a break from alcohol acted as a reset button concerning their alcohol use for months afterwards.
‘Not only helping people to drink less per drinking day but also to drink less frequently.
‘As with any commitment to a healthier lifestyle change, people need some time to prepare themselves in advance.
‘Then they’re in the best position possible to successfully achieve their goal.
‘People who sign up to Dry January will receive the tips, ideas and encouragement to stay motivated and make the most of their month off alcohol.’
Despite these record highs, fewer drinkers receive treatment for alcohol addiction in 2016/17.
Numbers for those receiving help has dropped by 11,197 (12.2%) since 2013/14.
‘Tory austerity has meant cutting treatment services for some of the most vulnerable in our society,’ shadow Health Minister, Jonathan Ashworth, said.
‘It is devastating, misguided and completely counterproductive.
‘People addicted to alcohol are paying the price for this Government’s cruel and reckless cuts to public health.’