An NHS alcohol team has offered some advice and support to people ahead of Dry January – at the service gets set to help more people in 2024.
The alcohol care team at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has some advice for people looking to cut down on their alcohol intake.
The team works as part of a hospital-based team who assessed more than 1,000 patients in its first year, while also referring many on for longer-term community support.
Hayley Tranter, alcohol specialist nurse, said: “For those who feel they need to cut down on the amount of alcohol they consume, Dry January is a great way to start.
“A month off alcohol can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and help you sleep better, lose weight, and save money. More importantly, evidence shows that people who do it are still drinking more healthily and report higher levels of wellbeing six months later.”
Tips to continue to control drinking in the longer term include planning ahead, having alcohol-free days and choosing drinks lower in alcohol percentage.
Hayley adds: “Plan and take control of your drinking by planning when and how much you will drink.
“Use a drinking diary to plan when you will drink alcohol and how much you will drink. These can also help you to see habits and to break them, including high-risk times like nights out with friends.
“On days you plan to drink, pick the time when you will stop drinking and leave the pub or bar and choose drinks that are lower in alcohol.
“Plan to eat before you drink alcohol, write off the rounds and tell your friends and family if you feel they will support you.
“Shaking up social plans also helps – meet up for breakfast or go to the movies instead.
“And keep a record of your mood. If you are starting to feel like you have more energy and are happier, this can encourage you to continue these good new habits.”
Alcohol Change UK offers a free app, Try Dry, which allows people to track their units, calories and money saved and set goals for managing their drinking year-round.