The Benefits of Participating in ‘Dry January’ Amidst Ireland’s Binge Drinking Epidemic

Lauren Walsh

January is a clean slate. We are all tightening the reigns after the overindulgences we allowed over the
Christmas period. We make the same cliché promises every year. The holy trinity; we are going to eat
healthy, we are going to save our money and we are going to stay sober. However, cliches stick around
for a reason. There are huge positives to all these resolutions. For college students there are a plethora
of benefits to sticking to the latter of the list in January 2023!

Alcohol has been identified as one of the ten leading risk factors for the burden of disease, worldwide.
Ireland has the second highest rate of binge drinking in the world, behind Austria. 39 percent of all Irish
people over the age of 15 have engaged in this activity, according to the Global Status Report on Alcohol
and Health.

Irelands ‘binge-drinking’ culture has been a worrying problem for some time. The issue is particularly
prevalent amongst university students. The World Health Organisation describes this phenomenon as
having ‘more than 6 standard drinks in one period’. Exceeding this amount results in drinking faster than
your liver can process the alcohol. This will negatively affect its ability to carry out its other vital
functions. The liver can only process one standard drink an hour.

It is important to familiarize yourself with what a ‘standard drink’ actually is. Only 1 in 10 Irish adults can
identify the three most common standard drink measures according to Drinkaware, an Irish charity that
tackles alcohol misuse. A standard drink is considered to be half a pint of 4.5% lager, 100ml glass of
12.5% wine and a pub measure of 40% spirits.

Since drinking is so engrained into Irish culture, the fear of being ostracised for staying sober at social
events often deters people from cutting alcohol out. We should take it upon ourselves to create an
environment in which all leisurely activities aren’t rooted in alcohol consumption. ‘Dry January’ is a good
time to focus on this. It is important to do things that don’t involve drinking. DCU’s Sober society host
lots of great events to attend. They can be found on Instagram @sobersocdcu

If you are thinking of giving up drinking this month, there are plenty of benefits to motivate you. Cutting
out alcohol can decrease your chance of getting certain forms of cancer, heart disease, liver disease,
immune system deficiencies and stomach disorders. It will also lead to increased productivity as your
energy levels will not be as depleted. Not to mention the amount of money you will save!
Whether you are taking on the ‘dry January’ challenge or not, it is vital that we are mindful of the
alcohol that we are consuming. For more information visit