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Local Expert: Dry January Can Uncover The Truth About Drinking

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Local Expert: Dry January Can Uncover The Truth About Drinking

Millions across the country are participating in “Dry January” a period of alcohol abstinence designed to shed light on the relationship one has with alcohol.

The COVID pandemic led to the biggest spike in alcohol consumption in 50 years. Cumberland Heights Chief Medical Officer Chapman Sledge said even if drinking has not been a major problem in someone’s life, there are substantial health benefits to abstaining for a month.

“For people that have become physically dependent on alcohol, jeez, if somebody 24-48 hours after their last drink, and they’re sweaty and they’re shaky and they’re irritable and they can’t sleep, they’re nauseated, they can’t keep anything down, those people need to seek medical attention quickly,” Sledge said.

Sledge said taking some time away from drinking allows the body to begin to function normally again, and it happens quickly. He said mood, energy, and sleep improve significantly in only a few days. He said that in just a few months liver function returns to normal.

Sledge said those who try “Dry January” and discover that they cannot make it to February, Sledge suggested seeking help. Cumberland Heights can offer support and assistance at 866-698-5078.

“It gives a person a chance to eliminate alcohol from their routine and just see how much their day-to-day life revolved around alcohol previously,” Sledge said.

Sledge said alcoholism is not about how much one drinks. He said it is about impaired ability to control and moderate drinking habits. Sledge said, however, that dry January can create a facade of comfort.

“If one were to abstain from alcohol for a month and they resume, I mean, it can create a false sense of security that, ‘Well gee, I proved that I’m not an alcoholic so I can go back to drinking like I was previously,’ so I think that that could be one risk of dry January,” Sledge said.

Sledge said in his 34 years of practicing addiction medicine, he has met alcoholics who drink once every six months, but when they do, it has catastrophic effects on their lives.

He said the National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse has set “at risk” guidelines. Females who have more than three drinks in a day, or more than seven weekly, and males who have more than four drinks in a day, or more than 14 weekly, are considered at risk of alcoholism. He said drinking more than that does not make someone an alcoholic, but it may be wise to be mindful of those habits.


The post Local Expert: Dry January Can Uncover The Truth About Drinking appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.