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“Dry January” could be good for most, but dangerous to those dependent on alcohol

Drew Kelly

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A week into the New Year and there’s a likelihood most people have already broken their resolution.

One popular resolution this year is Dry January, where people give up drinking.

Kristie Harris, a wellness education specialist with Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, says the experiment isn’t for everyone.

“People that consume a heavy amount of alcohol, if they just, all of a sudden, go cold turkey, we could be talking some major, life-threatening withdrawal symptoms,” she said. “Consider going and talking with a provider.”

Harris says for others, the idea is a good one, and it’s been shown to have an effect on alcohol use for people moving forward.

“Any time that someone wants to take a look at doing some behavior change and improving their overall health, I think that’s a good thing,” she said. “And that’s kind of what most of us do at the beginning of january.”

And, for those people, Harris says the trick is changing your patterns and surroundings.

“Instead of going out to your normal hangout, where you guys would go after work to have a couple of drinks and maybe some appetizers,” she said, “maybe you choose to do something different. Maybe it’s going to the gym. Maybe it’s going for a walk.”