As we say goodbye to January, the people across the globe who willingly embarked on a 31-day journey of abstaining from alcohol are close to finishing Dry January.
Dubbed “Dry January”, a recent survey revealed that more than half of UK adults (57%) want to cut down their alcohol intake in 2024. And, with the term “sober curious” receiving 819.3 million views on TikTok, this Dry January is looking to be one of the most popular yet.
But, after a month without alcohol, how can consuming alcohol again after this affect your brain?
With this in mind, the brain health experts at Brainworks Neurotherapy have shared that drinking alcohol again after a month off can impact your brain health.
Impacted cognitive function
The most immediate impact is seen in temporary cognitive function and mental clarity. James Roy, technical director at Brainworks Neurotherapy, says: “Resuming alcohol consumption after a month of abstinence can temporarily affect cognitive function. The initial euphoric effects may be followed by impaired judgement, decreased coordination, and slowed reaction times. These effects can compromise one’s ability to perform tasks that require focus and attention.”
“After a month of abstinence, the body’s tolerance to alcohol may decrease. This means that the same amount of alcohol that a person used to consume might have a stronger effect than before. This can result in quicker intoxication and increased impairment.”
“The brain may become more sensitive to the effects of alcohol during periods of abstinence. As a result, even small amounts of alcohol can have a more pronounced impact on cognitive functions and motor skills. This heightened sensitivity is partly due to the brain’s attempt to restore its normal functioning after a break from alcohol.”
Physical and mental health
“Repeated or heavy drinking can have detrimental effects on both physical and mental health. Chronic alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of liver damage, cardiovascular issues, and mental health disorders.”
In summary, Dry January can be seen as a positive reset for the brain, so it’s crucial for individuals who have chosen to abstain from alcohol for a period and then decide to reintroduce it to do so mindfully. Moderation and self-awareness are key.
Please note that the benefits will differ for each individual depending on their alcohol intake. If you think you’re struggling with an alcohol addiction, there are plenty of ways you can get help.