Holiday Drinking: Risky Business

drinkingWhen the holiday season approaches, people are overwhelmed with the increased stress and pressures that it brings.[1] Traveling, buying last minute gifts, attending parties, baking, and everything else can make an already busy schedule seem paralyzing. When it comes time to relax and celebrate, having a drink or two is welcomed by many with open arms. Alcohol is also the number one cause of damaging behavior at holiday celebrations throughout the Unites States.1

Tis the season to eat, drink, and be merry; however, some take those festive guidelines a bit too seriously, taking advantage of the spiked eggnog, champagne, and mulled wine.1 You are with friends and family you don’t see all of the time, and want to celebrate with a few drinks.1 If you know your limits, it’s not too harmful.1 However, if you don’t drink often, it’s difficult to know what your limits are, especially when you are indulging in cocktails you aren’t particularly accustomed to.1

The stress that builds during the holidays also plays a large role in overdrinking.1 Sometimes, you are at a party with people you aren’t completely comfortable with and turn to drinking to loosen up.1 This magnified if you are going through a difficult time, such as a divorce, a loss of a loved one, or family conflicts.1 This is when people medicate their pain and depression with alcohol, using it as a stress release.1

Choose the number of drinks you plan on consuming before you arrive—a responsible number that will allow a small buzz, but nothing more.1 Spread them out over the evening.1 When drunk, many get out of hand and end up embarrassing themselves.1 You don’t want to be that person at the party—they’re usually not easily forgotten, and not in a good way.1 At this time of the year, people who don’t have a problem with alcohol begin drinking and doing things they wouldn’t normally do and say things they wouldn’t normally say.1 And with the rise of Facebook and other social media, it may not be only the people at the parties that witness your embarrassing behavior.1

This is why the holiday season becomes one of the most dangerous times of the year for alcohol-related accidents and deaths.1 A hangover isn’t the worst consequence of too much eggnog.1 A designated driver is extremely important if you do choose to have a couple.1 Drinking and driving is never an option.1 Decide who will be driving home safe before arriving at the party.1

There are ways to create a safer and happier holiday by consuming alcohol in moderation throughout the season.1 Resist the pressure to drink at every social event.1 Just because it is there, doesn’t mean you should drink it.1 There is no law that states alcohol is necessary for holiday cheer.1 It’s not rude to choose a non-alcoholic beverage instead.1 In fact, many hosts offer nonalcoholic beverages as well.1

Don’t lose sight of what a holiday celebration is all about—hint: it’s not the alcohol.1 It is about having fun with people you know.1 Drinking in moderation can help ensure your holiday season is relaxing, enjoyable, peaceful, and most of all, safe.1

[1] Edwards, D. (2006). Holiday Drinking: Keep It Safe. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/holiday-drinking-keep-it-safe/000392

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