Enjoying the Holidays Sober

In Alcohol Addiction, Mental Health, News November 22nd, 2019 No Comments

Enjoying the Holidays SoberWe’ve all heard the saying that the holidays are a time to drink and be merry. Alcohol plays a big role in holiday festivities from Thanksgiving all the way to New Year’s Eve, and according to the data more people choose to binge drink during the time. Even those who rarely drink, or drink moderately, tend to increase their alcohol consumption around the end of the year or as some people like to call it “drinking season”. The term “Blackout Wednesday” is used to describe the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as where excessive drinking is encouraged and celebrated.

Things like shorter working hours, office holiday parties and friends and family visitation can all involve drinking alcohol. Many people feel more exuberant and choose to imbibe more than they usually would any other time of the year.  On the other hand, the hustle and bustle of the holidays can leave some feeling stressed, depressed and isolated. These feelings also can cause an uptick the alcohol consumption rates during this time.

Depression and Anxiety and other Health Hazards During the Holidays

Although holidays are made for good cheer the holidays can be an emotional time.

Things like holiday shopping, financial stress, family conflict, shorter and darker days and self-reflection from the past year can leave people depressed. The holidays can be a trigger for a lot of people as they remember their unhappy memories associated with the holidays.

A recent study in the Guardian reported that there is significant link found between amount of alcohol consumed and adverse impact on children. The study showed that parallel between the amount of alcohol consumed by parents and increased negative experiences among children who witness them in a drunk state. As families often get together over the holidays, children are more apt to see their parents under the influence more than usual.

The “Holiday Heart Syndrome” describes how seasonal overindulgence of alcohol can cause irregular heartbeat pattern presented in those without a history of heart disease. Other lifestyle factors can affect “Holiday Heart” disease however, the increase in heavy drinking contributes significantly.

Drunk driving is also at a higher risk during the holiday season. More people are on the road visiting with friends and family; therefore, the amount of people impaired driving goes up. Bad weather can also contribute to dangerous road conditions, making accidents more frequent.

Focusing On Your Wellbeing During the Holidays

It’s important to approach the holidays with a plan. Taking the holiday celebrations and get togethers at your own pace and prioritizing the festivities that you want to participate in are key. Taking some time for yourself when you feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable is encouraged and very helpful to keep balanced. It’s also a good idea to not compare your own holidays with others. The holidays come with a lot of pressure but when you make sure your are mental health and sobriety come first, you can making happy last memories.

References:

https://www.thefix.com/living-sober/surviving-holidays-happily-alcohol-free

https://www.alcohol.org/statistics-information/holiday-binge-drinking/

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/nov/05/uk-parents-drinking-negatively-affects-over-third-children-study

https://www.fatherly.com/health-science/holiday-heart-syndrome-christmas-drinking/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/when-your-adult-child-breaks-your-heart/201612/holiday-drinking-and-depression


Written By
Dr. Boris Vaisman
Family medicine and addiction specialist. Enjoying the Holidays Sober Enjoying the Holidays Sober Enjoying the Holidays Sober Enjoying the Holidays Sober Enjoying the Holidays Sober

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