Health tips to safely participate in Dry January

ABC News' chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton answers questions and shares important health information about forgoing alcohol this month.
5:10 | 01/03/18

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Transcript for Health tips to safely participate in Dry January
Jen is back. She's excited because she has her own hashtag, the announce many coming in and the reaction. You're having a dry January. You said you won't have any alcohol. Correct. In the month of January and the reaction, you posted a video, got over 100,000 views. Over 350,000 now. No wonder you have your own hashtag. But you know what, overwhe overwhelmingly rightfully so it was positive but there was some negative reaction and people thought you had -- think you have a problem with alcohol. You gave us your permission and we contacted your doctor and your doctor said she is in great health, that she is absolutely a social drinker, nothing more than that and know alcoholism and aud that we talked about is a serious condition. Right. I think here's the important thing and this is really what I want to classify. We have to be crystal clear. There is a big difference between making a small tweak as a wellness challenge and doing something for the purposes of abstinence and sobriety which is a very serious issue. That is not what I'm doing this for. I always try to challenge myself physically. You say you're going to walk the walk because if you're a physician and you're going to tell your patients to do this. I always try to challenge myself and this is how I'm kicking off the year with this challenge and as you said, the response for the most part was incredible. People sent really inspiring messages on social media, but some of them not so nice. I was called a lush. I was called a dry drunk. And I think the point is when you are around someone who is trying to do anything to better themselves, their health, name shaming has no place in medicine. I can't get over that and I'm glad you addressed it head on. You didn't bury your head in the sand and addressed it and that's the way too look at it. Some people that -- something like that happens and it prevents them from moving forward but as you said great reaction. Cynthia, do you have a question for Jen. I do. Hi. So a lot of people say that at the end of the day they need to take a drink to take the edge off. So in the absence of that is there another option? Well, you bring up a really interesting point, Cynthia, which is that there is some new data, new science that suggests in general that men and women drink for different reasons and it starts in adolescence or early adulthood. Men for the most part drink more for the positive gain, they want to activate that reward center and feel good. Women, the opposite, they drink for what's called negative reinforcement so it's exactly your question, Cynthia. They drink more to alleviate a negative feeling like anxiety and to that I would say if that is your why, if that's your motivation, absolutely look for something to replace that, like meditation or exercise or reading or needlepoint. Anything that will give thaw feeling of lessening the anxiety if that is the motivation. A great question, Cynthia. I feel like I'm on a talk show. It's great. Thank you, Cynthia. But also from people online this one person, Diane and it's a question I know that you have had to address. Social drinking. Being in a social atmosphere and this person, ane, said one friend thought I shouldn't announce it because she announced she wouldn't drink and one friend thought I should announce it as it draws more attention to the fact that you're not drinking. How should you handle in a social situation. I'm going to learn that myself this month. I think you have to do what works for you. I don't think there is a right or wrong way. When you recruit friend, I have two doctor friends doing this challenge with me and many other relatives and friends and, of course, the great "Gma" viewers who have gotten on board. The more people know you're doing it the better because it takes that kind of pressure off because, yes, adults do experience peer pressure. That doesn't stop in seventh grade. Unfortunately, it doesn't but you're getting great tips about what to do. Really, really good ones and I think that, you know, we have -- this is my drink ofchoice. I like to drink blanco tequila. Do your own reassessment. A serving is one ounce. If you put one ounce in a highball you will send it back saying where is my tequila. This is two ounces. Go back to basic math. Moderate alcohol intake is seven servings a week. If you just go out a couple of times a week and have five of these you're already over the moderate level. Right, right. You're at ten and that's really why I did it because I'm saying, oh, god, I know there are weeks I'm having five of these over the course of the week, that's ten and I want to be under the moderate threshold so one of the tips I encourage people to do, do that math. A serving of wine is five ounces, not eight. So, you know, when you start adding it up you can be well above the level. Join me, though. You'll do a video diary. Yep. You'll be on Twitter. Yep, a lot of it. Okay. You can see it on "Gma" Facebook and Twitter and after the show Jen will answer your questions so just go to "Gma's" Facebook page. Thank you for doing this. Oh, god, thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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