Sober October: Doctor explains benefits of giving up drinking this month


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Sober October is here. It’s a wellness trend where — you guessed it — people give up drinking for the month of October.

Health experts say in this pandemic time when more people have taken up drinking or are drinking more, putting down the glass may be eye-opening.

“Oftentimes people may cut back on alcohol and say ‘Hey, I didn’t realize how much that was taking over my life,'” said Dr. Bruce Waldholtz, a volunteer with the American Cancer Society and member of the Cancer Action Network board.

By giving up alcohol for one month, you may sleep better, be less irritable, have better concentration and cut your risk for liver disease and a list of cancers.

“According to the American Cancer Society, about 4% of cancers in the United States are related to alcohol,” Waldholtz said.

Waldholtz said those cancers include liver, colon, breast, head and neck, esophageal and rectal. The safest amount of alcohol, in terms of breast cancer risk, he said, “Really is zero.”

Going cold turkey for a month, or forever, Waldholtz acknowledged is tough for a lot of people. So he recommends if you drink, do it in moderation.

“It really is important to not have more than two drinks a day for men and one for women, including on the weekends,” he said.

If you try Sober October, behavioral health experts suggest you pay attention to how you feel without alcohol. Do you feel better without the morning after effects or do you find it really difficult to handle social gatherings or stress?

If you’re having trouble, consider talking to your doctor or a mental/behavioral health professional.

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