The holiday season is often filled with parties, events, and gatherings. Many, if not all, of these functions tend to include alcohol. For this reason, among others, alcohol consumption increases during the holidays.
According to the New York Post‘s article on alcohol use during the holidays published in 2018, “The average American consumes double the amount of alcoholic drinks over the holidays than any other time of year.” This is a considerable increase for anyone.
However, it can especially detrimental if you are someone who struggles with excessive drinking even outside of the holiday season. There are many different reasons for this spike in consumption. A few common ones are discussed below.
Anticipating the New Year
One of the reasons people might consume more alcohol over the holidays is because they intend to stop or slow down in January. Drinking less or living a healthier lifestyle is a common resolution, and many will choose to let loose leading up to the new year.
This is dangerous for several reasons. If you are struggling with an addiction to alcohol, choosing to wait to try to slow down or get help will only make problems worse. Increased consumption comes with a variety of risks and can make detox more difficult.
Social Events and Parties
The holiday season is known to bring plenty of opportunities to socialize and celebrate. If you are like many others, you have a Christmas party for work, followed by a holiday party with friends, then a New Year’s Eve event to attend. It can be easy to overdo it when it comes to drinking alcohol when you are frequently in settings where it is easily accessible and even encouraged.
If you are battling addiction, these environments can be especially tough. Addiction to alcohol and holiday parties don’t always mix. If you expect that there will be alcohol at a particular event and you are making efforts to avoid it, it might be best to sit that one out.
Coping With Stress
The holiday season can be a stressful time for many. There are a variety of reasons for this. A few examples could include:
- Financial burdens
- Tension with family
- Relationship conflict
- Social pressure
- Unreasonable expectations
These examples could cause someone distress, let alone a combination of several. It can be common to use alcohol to cope with the stress the holidays bring. As stress increases this time of year, so does drinking to deal with the stress. As a result, it is essential to identify healthy ways of coping with stress this time of year.
For many, the holidays bring a little break from the typical routine. It is common to have at least a few days off work, and many will choose to take extra time off. With the obligation of staying sober during the week for work relinquished, many will decide to drink on days or at times when they normally would not. This can lead to excess consumption.
Dangers of Alcohol Consumption
It is no secret that consuming alcohol is not a healthy habit. While a drink every now and then is not likely to cause long-term or severe damage, drinking heavily frequently can cause significant harm. If you are choosing to consume alcohol this holiday season, it is essential to be aware of the effects consuming alcohol can have on your body.
When you consume alcohol, you are essentially allowing toxins into your body. These toxins impact your organs and cause them to function differently or less effectively.
Your liver, for instance, has to work extra hard to break down and release these toxins to restore your body to its normal state. Over time, fat builds up around the liver, preventing it from functioning properly. Additionally, heavy alcohol consumption affects the heart and pancreas and weakens your immune system.
Excessive alcohol consumption also has significant impacts on the brain. Drinking interferes with the communication pathways in the brain, causing major disruption. This can cause problems with focus, coordination, and memory.
Your mood and behavior can also be affected due to alcohol’s impact on the brain. Even a few days of heavy drinking can create problems that persist beyond the drinking period. With your reaction time slowed and decision-making impaired, typical activities such as driving can become risky.
Choosing to Get Help
Knowing that the holiday season can result in increased alcohol consumption, it is important for you to be proactive. If you are struggling with an addiction to alcohol, you don’t want to go into the holidays without support. You are bound to be more stressed and experience more temptation than you would during other seasons throughout the year.
Making the call to seek help before your drinking gets too out of hand can make detox and recovery easier. It is possible to get through the holiday season without alcohol, especially if you have a support system in place.
The average American doubles their alcohol intake over the holidays. This statistic, while not shocking, is concerning for many reasons. If you are struggling with an addiction to alcohol, you are likely already consuming large amounts daily. Doubling your intake could lead to irreversible damage. Getting help before things spiral out of hand as a result of increased holiday drinking is the best choice. At Renaissance Ranch, we conduct a thorough assessment at intake to determine the level of care you need based on your addiction and situation. If you would like to learn more about our services and treatment programs, give Renaissance Ranch a call today at (801) 308-8898.