Are you taking part in Dry January this month? For years now, Dry January has seen millions of people give up alcohol for the month of January.

Taking part is a chance to ditch the hangover, reduce the waistline, and save some serious money by giving up alcohol for 31 days.

Five things you need to know about alcohol

  1. In 2014-15, there were an estimated 1.1 million hospital admissions related to alcohol consumption and alcohol harms are estimated to cost the NHS around £3.5 billion annually.
  2. Alcohol misuse is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15-49 year-olds in the UK, and the fifth biggest risk factor across all ages.Alcohol is a causal factor in more than 60 medical conditions, including: mouth, throat, stomach, liver and breast cancers; high blood pressure, cirrhosis of the liver; and depression.
  3. For those entering an alcohol treatment program, approximately 55% were self-referrals.
  4. Around 61% of people seeking treatment for alcohol completed it successfully.

Five tools to help you understand your relationship with alcohol

  1. Take a few minutes to complete a self-assessment to understand your overall relationship with alcohol
  2. Download the Dry January app to track your progress during January (and beyond)
  3. Know your units and try this calculator and see how much you could save by cutting back
  4. Alcohol-free drinks have come a long way and you may be pleasantly surprised. Try the Independent’s list of alcohol-free alternatives as a starting point and make sure you are informed about any hidden sugars.
  5. Team up with your partner or a group of friends. You can support each other and, if you do decide to have a drink, you can make it a low-alcohol alternative.

Dry January is led by Alcohol Concern, and aims to:

  • Enable participants to take control of their relationship with alcohol.
  • Drive a conversation about alcohol: why do we drink it, what does it do, and how can we reduce the harm it can cause?

You can access more information and advice at NHS, Alcohol Concern and at the Men’s Health Forum website.  If you are pregnant, you may wish to access the advice available on alcohol during pregnancy.

If you are concerned about your drinking habits then you don’t have to face it alone.  Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation Trust  provides an alcohol treatment service in Derby for individuals and their families. To find out more information or to make an appointment call: 0300 790 0265 (local rate).

Together, we can all reduce the harm caused by alcohol.