The COVID-19 pandemic brought into focus the increasing alcohol use in the United States of America (USA).
Existing data on alcohol use in the U.S. suggest the following:
- A 2018 government survey found that over a quarter of American adults reported a binge alcohol use episode in the past month.
- About 20 million American adults could be having an alcohol use disorder.
- Over half of Americans consume alcohol every month.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the alcohol problem in the United States with increased consumption levels, as people start using alcohol as an unhealthy coping mechanism to manage stress and anxiety.
In this context, the Dry January campaign’s popularity in the United States enables people to be more conscious about their alcohol intake, to explore the benefits of going alcohol-free and to reduce or quit alcohol use in the long-term.
There are so many benefits involved with doing a dry January, including clearer skin, better sleep, better digestion, and just an elevated mood since alcohol is a depressant,” said Hilary Sheinbaum, author of “The Dry Challenge: How to Lose the Booze for Dry January, Sober October, and Any Other Alcohol-Free Month”.Hilary Sheinbaum, author of “The Dry Challenge: How to Lose the Booze for Dry January, Sober October, and Any Other Alcohol-Free Month”
The challenge gives people time to experience the benefits of being alcohol-free. Often when people experience that their mental and physical well-being increase they continue to either be alcohol-free or reduce their alcohol use in the long term. According to research analyzing the effect of Dry January, for example in a study looking at more than 850 British participants, most were still consuming less alcohol than they used to at 6 months after the challenge. This is true for even people who hadn’t completed the full 31 days.
The Dry January campaign started in 2013 in the United Kingdom and has spread to other countries around the world. Dry January is a challenge but also a community to support one another to go alcohol-free or “dry” for the month of January. Similar alcohol-free month campaigns have been in existence for a long time in different parts of the world. This year a record number of 6.5 million people are intending to participate in the UK campaign.
As Movendi International has reported previously, the alcohol-free lifestyle is enjoying increasing attractiveness across the globe, mostly driven by health conscious younger generations. For instance, generation Z is reportedly the least alcohol using generation in history.