Dry January drinkers 'rarely succeed in reducing their boozing in the long term'

Despite record numbers of people cutting out booze for Dry January, drinkers who are determined to stay sober rarely succeed, according to new research.

Almost 3,000 drinkers took part in a study by the University of Bristol, 20 per cent of whom were keen to cut down on their weekly units.

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But six months later, those who hadn't made plans to cut down on their drinking had reduced their alcohol consumption by just the same amount as those who had taken part in Dry Janaury.

The study, led by Dr Frank de Vocht of Bristol Medical School, aimed to find out whether peoples' motivations to reduce intake did result in reduced alcohol consumption.

Key reasons for wanting to reduce alcohol intake included weight loss, improving fitness, saving cash and avoiding future health problems.

The findings suggest that those wanting to cut down on their drinking should use an app or find other support to make long-term changes.

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Dr Frank de Vocht, senior lecturer at Bristol Medical School, said: "Alcohol consumption is of particular concern to the UK's public health.

"We wanted to find out if motivation alone changes limiting intake.

"Sadly, although people start with good intentions, our results suggest that something more is required for those intentions to make a difference.

"For people who are serious in their intention to reduce consumption, obtaining structural support, for example by signing up to the Dry January campaign, may help.

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"Alternatively, smartphone apps are also being tested as a way to help people reduce their intake, but it's too early to say whether these can make a difference."

The National Institute for Health Research-funded study was published in the journal Addiction.

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