People taking part in Dry January are being warned by experts of the dangers of going ‘cold turkey’ from alcohol.
Nearly eight million people across the UK are expected to take part in the campaign of staying off booze for the entire first month of 2022 – up on last year’s record of 6.5 million.
The challenge was launched eight years ago by the charity Alcohol Change UK as is a great way to detox after a mulled wine-soaked Christmas.
However experts have warned those with alcohol dependency issues they should be careful when it comes to cutting out the alcohol.
Dr Gillian Shorter, a psychologist specialising in alcohol and drug research at Queen’s University, Belfast, told the Belfast Telegraph: “I was actually looking at the official Dry January website and I couldn’t see anything that really said, if you are alcohol dependent, maybe Dry January isn’t for you.
“So for people who are drinking several drinks a day for a month or more, or if you stop drinking for a couple hours and you find yourself sweating, shaking, sometimes hallucinating and maybe having more severe effects like seizures, then it’s really not a good idea for you to stop suddenly.”
She continued: “What you should do is really try and sort of reduce the risk of harm slowly. And if you’re able to do it in collaboration, with either detox – which can be hard enough to get – or speaking to your GP, to get a bit of support, because there are medications and things that you can get, that will really help with just kind of withdrawal and so on and so forth.
“But you shouldn’t stop cold turkey. It’s really, really dangerous, and can result in death for people who do have a physical dependence to alcohol.”
A survey by YouGov in January suggested a third of people who had attempted to stay off the liquor had already given up in the first week.
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