Is There Any Science Behind Not Drinking for a Month?

Regular excessive drinking is always unhealthy, but as we head into the Christmas season, this behaviour is not only normalised but expected as part of the celebrations.

As part of this, many people choose to partake in no alcohol November also known as dry November. During this, they try to not drink any alcohol or vastly reduce the amount of alcohol that they do drink.

For many people, there is the belief that this month of control is a way to prepare their body for the following month of overindulgence, as a way to allow their liver to heal and to shed some of the excess weight that is caused by alcohol.

However, much of this belief doesn’t come from a place of science but rather tradition. A way for people to make the holiday season just a bit more special.

So what are the scientific facts surrounding no alcohol November?

First of all, some people refer to it as an alcohol detox which is not technically accurate. If you were to truly detox from alcohol, you would experience withdrawal symptoms, and if you experience withdrawal symptoms, it is simply not safe to detox without medical supervision.

Though a detox does take around ten days so the month-long sobriety does have some impact towards this.

As far as medical benefits go, your liver may be able to do some self-healing during this month, and you may lose a bit of weight depending on the type of alcohol you drink and how regularly.

Science has found that no alcohol in November can make it easier for you to control the amount of alcohol you regularly drink. It also makes future no alcohol November’s easier as you have already done the hardest part.

It can be a great way to reduce the amount of alcohol you regularly take and start you on your way to permanently dealing with your drinking if you believe that you drink too much or too often.

It has also been found that the best way to do no alcohol November is with a friend, as you are twice as likely to succeed if you have the support of someone who really understands what you are doing and why.


Physical Benefits of No Alcohol November

As already mentioned, it is scientifically proven that cutting out alcohol for the month of November can allow your liver and body to heal a bit.

It can also help you to lose weight as you are not ingesting the empty calories of alcohol or giving in to junk food cravings while drunk.

However, the benefits to the liver have only been found in people who are not already engaging in excessive drinking. Regular alcohol abuse can cause serious physical damage, including:

  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Heart damage
  • Nerve damage

This kind of damage doesn’t just go away as it needs serious medical intervention to correct often, including the help of an alcohol rehab centre.

Excessive drinking can cause scaring on your liver and other organs and potentially permanent damage.

It is recommended that rather than just stopping drinking for a month that you instead follow the guidelines for safe drinking, which include:

  • Leave two days between drinking sessions
  • Don’t go over the recommended alcohol limit
  • Listen to your body and stop before you go too far

A dry November with a return to binge drinking will not show you any physical benefits as you are doing too much damage the rest of the year. Therefore, it is better to exercise consistent caution all year round.


Are There Mental Health Benefits to No Alcohol November?

Alcohol is a unique substance as it can cause a person to calm down and relax like a depressant, or it can make people full of energy and ready to party like a stimulant.

Many people actually use alcohol for these benefits so that they can modify their own moods. However, this is not very mentally healthy and can be harmful in the long run.

No alcohol November may cause you to experience some unpleasant mental health symptoms, such as:

  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

But this is not a bad thing. If going without alcohol causes these issues to come to the surface, then you can get real help that can provide you with a long-term result.

No alcohol November can also have the mental health benefit of allowing you to exist in the moment and engage in mindfulness activities as a result. This can lead you to feel happier and more alert.

It can also allow you to concentrate better in work or your personal life as you are not distracted by when you can have your next drink or by already being drunk.

No alcohol November can give you the opportunity to experience life without the crutch of alcohol and to get help for your mental health if you need it.


Things You Can Do Instead of Drinking

It may be difficult to imagine how to have a good time with your friends without alcohol, but there are plenty of alcohol-free options out there for you.

You could try getting involved in a sport such as:

  • Football
  • Hockey
  • Rugby
  • Tennis
  • Running
  • Cycling
  • Boxing

You could try an artistic hobby such as:

  • Painting
  • Pottery
  • Modelling
  • Sketching or scrapbooking
  • Knitting, needle felting or crochet
  • Baking

You could try low-effort hobbies such as:

  • Video game
  • Reading
  • Watching movies
  • Walking dogs
  • Board games

There are also always local events going on around the country. It is worth seeing what is going on so that you can get out of the house and have a good time. You should be able to find more information from a community centre, library or public forum on Facebook.

One of the best things you can do is to get out and socialise with your friends and family no matter what you are doing.

When you are having a good time, you don’t miss alcohol for the month of November.

John Gillen - Author - Last updated: November 18, 2022

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.