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Blog Post

Sober October…Is it worth it??!

As the festive season fast approaches would it be worth considering a month alcohol-free…a whole 31 days with not one drink?!  Last year 75,000 people signed up for ‘Go Sober for October’ and raised £5m for Macmillan Cancer Support in the process. 

But can 31 days alcohol-free really benefit us??

Guidelines currently recommend that we should not drink more than 14 units per week and that amount should be spread across the week.  That equates to approximately one glass of wine or a pint of beer per day.  Polls suggest that one in five adults drink over this limit.

We know excess alcohol raises our risk of heart disease, stroke, liver disease, depression, dementia and some cancers – including mouth, throat, stomach, liver and breast.  It can also cause weight gain as alcohol is high in calories.  However, for the ‘normal’ drinker can a short break from alcohol have any benefit?

A small study at Royal Free Hospital in London took place to look at 14 people who considered themselves “normal drinkers”.  No changes were observed in those who continued their ‘normal drinking’.  However, in those who abstained from alcohol over the period results were significant – liver fat, cholesterol, blood glucose and weight decreased.  Other positive effects reported included improved sleep quality and increased concentration. 

So, this October is it something worth considering?

Written by Dr Aileen McPhillips.


Dr Aileen McPhillips is and Private GP at Kingsbridge Private Hospital.  She graduated from Queen’s University, Belfast in 2004.  She completed training in General Practice and graduated as a member of the Royal College of General Practitioners in 2009.  She enjoys all aspects of General Practice, however she has a special interest in Family Planning and Women’s Health (and has completed further training with Diplomas from the Faculty of Family Planning and Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists. To book an appointment with Dr Philips, please visit our online booking link. 


Posted on 15 Oct 2018