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This is what happens to your body when you give up booze

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Emily Reynolds
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Many of us are currently trying our best to stick to Dry January - but what impact is it having on our body? 

Dry January – a month in which we try to give up booze for our health, livers or wallets – is currently in full swing, with many of us feeling richer, healthier, better rested… or just a big smugger. 

But what’s actually happening to your body during Dry January? According to Dr. Preethi Daniel, who works at the London Doctors Clinic, you’re likely to experience bad side effects as well as the more obvious good ones.

Speaking to The Independent, Dr. Daniel points out that the first few days – or even weeks – of Dry January might be a little tricky, with symptoms including dehydration and disturbed sleep. More severe symptoms may also include nausea, anxiety, sweating and restlessness. 

This may be a sign you’re going through mild withdrawal from alcohol dependency. 

But, in the long term, giving up booze for a bit is probably much better for your body – even if you have to brave negative symptoms in the short term. 

Your sleep will improve, for one – at least after the initial restlessness wears off. You’ll feel and appear more, meaning “your skin will appear more radiant and your eyes will look brighter”, according to Dr. Daniels. Your immune system will also get a boost, making you better placed to beat off that cold going round your office. 

Drink Aware also point out that alcohol is linked to “seven different types of cancer” and that cutting down can lower your risk of getting cancer. 

“Giving up drinking will have a big impact on your liver and should reduce the chances of developing liver disease,” they explain. “At the early stages, fatty liver doesn’t often cause any obvious symptoms, so you might not know that your liver has been damaged.”

“The good news is that if the liver is not too damaged after four to six weeks of not drinking the liver will usually return to normal.”

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Emily Reynolds

Emily Reynolds is a journalist and author based in London. Her first book, A Beginner’s Guide to Losing Your Mind, came out in February 2017 with Hodder & Stoughton. She is currently working on her second.  

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