Witkiewitz On CNN International Discussing Drinking Reduction Benefits

Departmental News

Posted:  Jan 11, 2019 - 12:00am

Dr. Katie Witkiewitz

Dr. Katie Witkiewitz, a professor of Psychology and scientist at the Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Addictions (CASAA) at the University of New Mexico,  appeared on CNN International to discuss the benefits of drinking reductions, specifically the potential long term benefits of participating in “dry January,” when individuals commit to giving up alcohol for a month.

Giving up alcohol (or even reducing alcohol use) for a month can be associated with better sleep, weight loss, stabilization of mood, financial savings, and more energy. In the long term it can help people identify new activities that do not revolve around alcohol and help people learn how to moderate their alcohol use in drinking contexts. It can also provide an experiment in how alcohol is fitting into one’s life and whether a person is dependent on alcohol for a variety of reasons (such as to have fun or to cope with negative feelings or anxiety). If it is difficult to stop or reduce drinking for a month then it could also signal a need for seeking help.  Medications and behavioral treatments are effective and can help people reduce or stop drinking. You can find out more at https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/.

Dr. Witkiewitz’s research is focused on examining factors that are associated with successful alcohol use disorder treatment outcomes, and the development and evaluation of new behavioral treatments for alcohol use disorder. She has a particular interest in mindfulness-based interventions for alcohol use disorder and addiction. She is also interested in studying the association between drinking reductions, short of total abstinence from alcohol, and improvements in physical health, quality of life, and psychological and social functioning.