Education Ramblings

Are you hoping for a Dry January?

Are you hoping for a Dry January? This eGPlearning TipThursday reviews the app by the Alcohol Change UK charity and looks at its applications and usefulness

Are you hoping for a Dry January?

Hi #eGPlearners – are you hoping for a Dry January? Check out this Dry January app review on how the app works and whether it is useful for individuals or patients. 

Click on the image below to see the full video or read below. 

Dry January

It is reasonable to assume that alcohol drinking increases over December with Christmas parties, festive celebrations over the holiday period and New Years which also culminate in lesser-known occasions like Black eye Friday. 

But with a new year comes change and a slew of new years resolutions. Many may participate in Dry January – where you do not drink alcohol for the whole month. To support people,  the Alcohol Change UK charity has created the Dry January app, but is it any good?

The app is easy and free to download. It asks for your current drinking habits and lets you add this quickly and easily. Presenting you with an approximate unit intake, cost and calorie intake per week is also a good set of metrics to use. 

The app does ask if you want to contribute and savings you make as a pledge. I think this is reasonable as the Alcohol Charity UK have created this app for free and offer you the choice. Better yet- even if you pledge it is only a percentage of the savings you have made so technically you are not paying for it. 

Logging your habits is easy and customisable. The main dashboard provides clear information and some resources to support you. 

However, I think the app could be improved. while Dry January can be a useful idea, for those significantly high drinkers stopping suddenly can be dangerous and clearer warnings on this would be more ideal particularly when logging your intake. Also signposting to regional support services would be a more useful way to use the app. 

Overall, I like the app and think it works better than many of the tools in the patient health records I use. If it leads to a permanent change in drinking habits this can be really helpful, although it is important to remember that boom or bust methods to cut vices can sometimes lead to rebound use which can be just as damaging to a person’s health. Subjectively many clinical colleagues mention higher admission rates for alcohol misuse in the first two weeks of February and Dry January may be the cause. 

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