Taking a break from alcohol or cutting down is one of the best things you can do for your health. On a recent Friday night, Rob Zaleski and Kim Daniel walk into Marshall’s bar in Austin. They’re going without alcohol for 30 days, they explain, and are documenting their experience in a podcast and on Instagram at #boozelessATX. After a monthlong break, researchers measured levels of a liver enzyme called gamma-glutamyltransferase, or GGT. “There’s an antioxidant made by the liver called glutathione. You can get an indirect measure of how much oxidative stress the liver is under by measuring an enzyme called GGT that helps replenish glutathione stores,” White explains.

  • 6 tips to help you try dry January, or taking any break from alcohol.
  • You could ask for it to be served in a spirit or cocktail glass – you might be less likely to be asked why you’re not drinking.
  • Set up a Dry January challenge with friends or join a social media group to get built-in support.
  • They’re part of a sober social club, made up mostly of women in their 30s who want to have fun and make friends without alcohol.
  • It’s hardly a secret that having a few drinks alters the way your brain works.
  • A 2021 review of research notes that several studies determined that two to four weeks of abstinence from alcohol by heavy-alcohol users helped reduce inflammation and bring down elevated serum levels in the liver.

For example, “Folks may be able to cut down from three drinks a day to two drinks a day, but they can’t get to the point where they can get down to one drink a day,” Fiellin says. “It’s all good progress, but it’s also a sign that they should seek out professional help.” There’s also the benefit of not waking up with a hangover, he adds.

Possible health benefits of cutting out alcohol for one week

We celebrate with beers when our teams win and give toasts for weddings and work promotions, and especially on festive occasions like New Year’s Eve. Now, if you’re worried that you are one of the 17 million U.S. adults who are alcohol dependent, and alcohol is causing you stress or harm, seek medical advice. As we’ve reported, there are a variety of treatments beyond Alcoholics Anonymous, including counseling, medications and support groups to help people who want to end that dependency. This NIAAA guide can help you find a program or approach that’s right for you. It included just 16 people who had been in the habit of drinking about two drinks per day on average.

benefits of taking a break from alcohol

They can refer you to alcohol support groups and for courses of therapy. They can also perform health checks to assess the effects of drinking on your body and help you cut down safely and effectively. Research conducted by the University of Sussex indicates that people who have a dry month report better sleep, higher energy levels, and better concentration. They also feel more able to control their alcohol intake later on and to manage pressure, expectations, or temptations to drink. It’s always a good idea to periodically examine your relationship with alcohol.

What to know if you’re a casual drinker

The way alcohol is glamorized in advertising also contributes to our collective hook. All that sugar (a drug in its own right), combined with the pleasure of feeling “buzzed” can break down our filters and release suppressed thoughts and feelings. This can lead to moments just as fun as what’s depicted in those alcohol advertisements. But just as frequently things can become sloppy, or take a detrimental toll over time.

There are plenty of cheaper (and sometimes free) ways you can spend a night with friends, and the change might be refreshing. Why not try organising a game of beach volleyball, or a sushi-making night, or a home movie marathon. Think outside the square and just watch the extra money pile up in your bank account.

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“You might drink at night to reduce your anxiety. And then, as a result, the next evening, you feel more anxiety, which then motivates you to drink again,” White says. And, day by day, as the anxiety returns, it may become more intense, which can lead people to drink more heavily. “Having one glass of wine started to not provide the same effect that I was looking [for],” says listener Ash Weber. “I suppose [it was a] growing intolerance and needing more than two glasses to feel the warm and fuzzies.” It’s hardly a secret that having a few drinks alters the way your brain works. “You get the best benefit from alcohol when you drink in moderation.

However, for people who exceed recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, he said staying away from alcohol for a month can reap changes. Finally, Stangland and Fiellin both say that taking a temporary break from alcohol may help you understand more about how to take a break from drinking your relationship with drinking. “A trial of stopping alcohol can help a person realize the extent to which they do or do not have control over their drinking,” Fiellin says, and some people may decide to take more drastic steps to address their drinking habits.

Will I lose weight if I stop drinking alcohol?

Over time, it’s a driver of inflammation — and in heavy drinkers — sets the stage for cirrhosis. The NIAAA Alcohol Treatment Navigator can help you recognize and find high quality treatment for alcohol use disorder. If you drink excessively, seek medical help to plan a safe recovery as sudden abstinence can be life threatening. NIAAA’s Rethinking Drinking can help you assess your drinking habits and provides information to help you cut back or stop drinking. Stangland had also started to notice just how ubiquitous alcohol was in her social life, and that drinking was starting to feel like an automatic part of any event.