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Study predicts health benefits of even short-term break from alcohol

Study predicts health benefits of even short-term break from alcohol

As the night progresses, the music gets louder and liquor starts flowing more freely. The club gets crowded, people start to step on to the dance floor and everybody seems to be having a good time. So does a group of 3 men and 4 ladies standing near the club’s bar. The only difference was that the colorful drinks in their hands were non-alcoholic, handcrafted mocktails.

These women and men aged between 27 and 36 years were a part of a social club whose motto was sobriety and fun without alcohol. The members of this club worked out, made friends, did fun activities and even went to clubs and parties but refrained from consuming alcohol. Due to various reasons like high pressure jobs, hectic schedules or simply for not wanting to be hungover the next morning, they abstained from alcohol. Their simple answer when asked why was that they felt good without alcohol. These people were following a trend called sober curious.

What is “sober curious”?

“Sober curious” started as an experiment among the party goers who suffered from the side effects of alcohol after excessive partying during the New Year’s weekend. It started off with the concept of a “Dry January” with the idea of showing off and feeling proud of their break from alcohol over social media. Soon, it was followed by concepts such as “Dry July” and “Sober September”. With the movement gaining popularity every day, people across the country are now challenging each other to enjoy life with alcohol and also share their sober experiences with the world.

A few years ago, it was impossible to imagine a group of friends hanging out at a club and not drink alcohol. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) stated that around 86 percent of adults above the age of 18 years are current users or have had consumed alcohol once in their lifetime and as many as 56 percent have admitted to consuming alcohol the month before.

But the good news is that, refraining from alcohol – even for a brief term – is the latest trend. Accounts like Sober Nation, on social media platforms, promoting the movement have thousands of followers. Authors such as Ruby Warrington have written a book on the movement titled “Sober Curious-The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol.”

Benefits of abstinence

Breaks from alcohol, irrespective of whether it is short-term or a long-term, improves health. Taking a break from alcohol is good, quitting it altogether even better. Past studies have shown benefits in moderate drinkers as compared to those suffering from alcohol use disorder.

A study conducted by a group of researchers from England observed that people who participated in “Dry January” affirmed a number of benefits. The study which included 850 men and women reported that:

  • 82 percent of the participants felt a sense of achievement while abstaining from alcohol.
  • 62 percent admitted of better sleep.
  • 49 percent cited weight loss.

Another study in UK compared the health consequences of a group of men and women abstaining from alcohol for a month to the health consequences of a group who continued drinking. Speaking about the findings, Aaron White, senior scientific adviser to director NIAAA said that just a month of abstinence resulted in positive weight loss. He further added that improvements were noticed in blood pressure control, insulin sensitivity, and overall appearance.

A study was conducted by researchers from Netherlands in order to understand how a break from alcohol helped in the healthy functioning of the human liver and the biochemical effects of one month of self-restrain from alcohol. The study included 16 participants with an average consumption of 2 drinks per day. After the 30 days’ break, levels of gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT), a liver enzyme, were measured. The findings observed a reduction in the level of GGT in the participants. Explaining further, White said that oxidate levels in the liver can be calculated by measuring the level of GGT, which help in the production of an antioxidant called glutathione.

Excited about the findings, White said that finally there were evidences based on which further researchers to understand the benefits of a short break from alcohol on a human body could be undertaken.

Treatment

According to the 2018 National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) report, there were around 14.8 million Americans above the age of 12 years who suffered from an alcohol use disorder (AUD) in the past year. It is always advisable to seek medical help in case of alcohol dependency. Apart from support groups, professional detox, proper medications, and counseling are helpful in overcoming an addiction to alcohol.

If you know someone battling an addiction to alcohol and looking for certified help for alcohol abuse, then get them in touch with the Texas Substance Abuse Helpline. Being a repository of alcohol-related resources, we can connect them with reliable alcohol addiction treatment facilities offering evidence-based treatment programs for treating alcohol abuse. For more information about effective alcohol treatment programs, call our 24/7 substance abuse helpline 866-971-2658 and speak to a certified representative. You can also chat online for further information.