Are you thinking of participating in Dry January? You’ll want to get ready to download this useful tool
BY ELLA GAUCI, IMAGE VIA UNSPLASH
Are you thinking of trying Dry January in the New Year? Get ready to download Jitai! This new innovative app will be ready to download on 1 January 2023 to help people reduce their alcohol intake. Co-founder and creator LGBTQIA psychiatrist Dr David McLaughlan describes it as being “like having your own personal coach on your phone”.
Jitai stands for “Just In Time Adaptive Intervention” and the app will offer a range of personalised tools and techniques such as mindfulness, breathing exercises, and their own unique motivation board to help beat temptation. During the month of January it will specifically offer a 31-day alcohol reduction plan and workbook to coincide with the Dry January challenge.
With one in six LGBTQIA people saying that they drank alcohol almost every day over the last year, this app aims to help break cycles of alcoholism within the queer community. By providing 24/7 support, Jitai aims to provide accessible healthcare advice. In a time where 14% of LGBTQIA people admitted that they have avoided accessing healthcare services for fear of discrimination, apps like Jitai will help to provide support without shaming users. A 2020 study found that LGB older women were almost two times as likely as heterosexual women to have harmful drinking habits.
In the pilot survey of the app, Dr. McLaughlan found that participants had cut their drinking by over 50% in the first week. Participants said that it helped them stay “accountable” for their drinking and that it was like “someone holding [your] hand while guiding [you] through the process”.
Dry January is much more than a passing trend. Cutting out alcohol provides countless health and social benefits. By reducing your intake of booze, you can enjoy improved sleep, better hydration, and it even benefits gut health. After three weeks without alcohol, most adults find a boost to their mood and productivity, improving their relationships at work and home. Even if you’re just looking to save some money in the new year, removing alcohol from your weekly shop will help with hitting your financial goals.
Dr. McLaughlan has been helping LGBTQIA people cut out drinking for the last decade, but it was after the pandemic that he saw the need for an accessible app. “Unfortunately, the NHS is too stretched and the private sector is too expensive for most people,” Dr. McLaughlan commented. “There’s lots more work to be done to support health inequality, but hopefully I can do my bit with Jitai and encourage others to see what they can do too.”
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