According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 88,000 people die from causes that are alcohol-related each year. In addition, driving while intoxicated by alcohol accounts for 30% of all fatal crashes annually. Only 8% of the more than 15 million people suffering from an alcohol use disorder receive treatment. Binge drinking is also a major concern. More than 65 million Americans have reported binge drinking each year. Women are especially affected, with one of two women of childbearing age reporting drinking. Of those, 18% report binge drinking. In men, a slightly higher percentage, 23%, report binge drinking.
There is good news, however. OPR reports that even quitting alcohol briefly has benefits.
In 2016, a British study involving about 850 male and female participants cited benefits after abstaining from alcohol during “dry January.” Some of the benefits reported included better sleep (62%) and losing weight (49%).
Weight loss is not the only benefit. Another study done in Britain focused on another group of men and women who agreed to stop drinking for one month. At the end of the experiment, they had better insulin sensitivity, better blood pressure, and their livers looked healthier.
Another small study focused on a group of just sixteen participants who drank, on average, two drinks a day. After a month of abstinence, doctors measured levels of a liver enzyme, gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT), which is indicative of stress on the liver. After a month of not drinking, the levels of GGT had reduced.
If you’re sober-curious, or just wish to reap the benefits that cutting alcohol short-term can bring, one of the best things that you can do is be vocal about your decision to quit drinking. If you believe that you may be dependent on alcohol, seek medical help.