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Health Fusion: Drying out in January and beyond

Are you planning to dry out in January? Putting away the booze for a month may give your health a boost. In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams shares info from a Mayo Clinic expert on how to make a positive relationship with alcohol last all year.

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ROCHESTER — A lot of people drink more than they normally do during the holiday season. Between the wines, seasonal beers, festive mixed drinks and party punches, it's no wonder people might go a little overboard. But after New Year's Day, when it's time to get back into a normal routine, some people decide it's also time to dry out.

In 2012, Alcohol Change UK started Dry January , which is a month-long, no booze challenge. The organization's website notes that people who join the challenge report health benefits, such as better sleep, more energy and they save money.

Dr. Stephen Kopecky , a Mayo Clinic preventive cardiologist, says why stop at January? Why not adopt some healthy alcohol related habits that carry over for the rest of the year? He says a key to long-term success is to make small changes over time.

"I think when you deny yourself is when you end up bringing," says Kopecky. "There's nothing really to give up completely. But there are things to cut down on and things to increase. I think that's really what we need to do with a lot of these things that aren't good for us."

Kopecky adds that people with alcohol addiction should be even more cautious when abstaining from alcohol, as the sudden absence of it can lead to withdrawal symptoms, which can be deadly.

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He says that If your pattern of drinking results in repeated significant distress and problems functioning in your daily life, you likely have alcohol use disorder. It can range from mild to severe. However, even a mild disorder can escalate and lead to serious problems, so early treatment is important.

Follow the Health Fusion podcast on Apple , Spotify , and Google Podcasts.

For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at vwilliams@newsmd.com . Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.

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