Alcohol and the Holidays
- Category: Mental Health
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Alcohol is a common part of many holiday traditions and celebrations. Unfortunately, so are alcohol-related accidents and deaths. Approximately 1,200 people will be killed by a drunk-driving event this holiday season. Alcohol use increases during the holiday season, considered to begin at Thanksgiving and end New Year’s Day. Do not underestimate the effects of alcohol. Initially, alcohol is a stimulant, but as drinking continues behavior becomes more reckless, judgement and perception decrease, and it eventually acts as a depressant, leading to sleepiness and blackouts. Even after you stop drinking, alcohol sits in the stomach and intestines and continues to enter the bloodstream, adding to its effects.
People who may not drink much throughout the year may do so during the holidays and thus are more vulnerable to the effects. Even a low blood-alcohol content can still lead to intoxication due to low tolerance, so keep track of what you are drinking or set limits of how many drinks you will have prior to a party or gathering.
Here are eight simple tips:
- Do not feel like you HAVE to drink. Holiday fun can happen as a sober partygoer. It’s not rude to say “no, thanks” to your host.
- Always designate a driver before the party. This is NOT someone who has had the least amount of drinks, but a person who has committed prior to the party to not have any alcoholic drinks. With all the transportation options today, there is absolutely no reason to drink and drive.
- As a host, offer non-alcoholic drinks and plenty of food, and do not continue to serve guests who are already intoxicated.
- If you are a parent, model appropriate alcohol use; children love to observe adult actions, and this holds more weight than words.
- As a guest, rather than bringing a bottle of alcohol, bring an array of tea or hot chocolate as a beverage instead.
- Consider making every other drink a non-alcoholic one.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the celebration.
- Lastly, coffee and cold showers do not make you sober; only time will make you sober because it takes time for your body to process and eliminate alcohol.
So relax, enjoy, and have fun during the holidays but follow the above tips and do not become a statistic. Drink in moderation, or not at all, and encourage friends and family to do so as well.