Holiday binge drinking can cause problems for you during the holiday season, and if it’s part of a larger pattern of unhealthy drinking, it could indicate an alcohol use disorder.
The holidays are rife with festive celebrations, and these inevitably involve copious amounts of alcohol. Holiday binge drinking is a common occurrence this time of year. Binge drinking, according to the Centers for Disease Control, is a pattern of drinking enough in the space of two hours to bring your blood alcohol content up to .08 percent, which is the legal limit in most states. For women, this is generally four drinks. For men, it’s five.
Binge drinking effects can be severe and include unintentional injuries, alcohol poisoning, violent behaviors, and being the victim of violence or another crime. Long-term binge drinking effects include memory and learning problems; chronic diseases like high blood pressure and liver disease; and some cancers. It can also lead to alcohol addiction and dependence.
Knowing your limits and recognizing harmful drinking patterns is essential for your health and wellbeing. Here are five signs that you may be engaging in problematic holiday binge drinking.
1. You’re drinking to relieve stress.
The holidays are very stressful for many Americans, and holiday binge drinking can seem an ideal solution for reducing stress associated with finances, family dysfunction, and other common holiday stressors. But drinking to cope with stress actually reduces your body’s ability to effectively handle it, making your overall stress levels higher. Instead of drinking heavily to reduce your stress, get some exercise or engage in a healthy hobby.
2. You go over your limits.
One of the most common binge drinking symptoms is not knowing your limits, going overboard, and not realizing it until it’s too late. This is the point at which you may put yourself in a dangerous or unhealthy situation, say or do something you’ll regret later, or get into legal trouble. Knowing how many drinks you can have before it gets to this point is important for your wellbeing. Know your limit, and stick to it.
3. You can’t seem to stop once you start.
If you can’t seem to quit drinking once you start, you may be addicted to alcohol. Alcohol addiction is characterized by compulsive drinking even though it’s causing negative consequences in your life. Continuing to drink even after you’ve had enough can lead to severe problems with your relationships, health, finances, and the law.
4. You’re letting things slide downhill.
Binge drinking symptoms include frequent hangovers that keep you from fulfilling your responsibilities at home, work, or school. Letting things slide downhill–including your relationships–can cause significant problems in your life, including job loss and family dysfunction and it’s another sign of addiction.
5. Feeling like you need to drink to socialize.
If you feel uncomfortable in social situations where alcohol isn’t served, and you’re likely to turn down such invitations, you may have social anxiety, which is a common factor for holiday binge drinking. Drinking as social lubrication is okay if you limit it to a drink or two, but if you find that it takes quite a few drinks before you can relax and have a good time socializing, you may have a drinking problem.
Help is Available
If you think your binge drinking may be a problem for you, treatment can help. Frequent, heavy binge drinking almost always has underlying causes, such as chronic stress, anxiety or depression, or a history of trauma in your life. Addressing these issues and developing healthy coping skills for stress and cravings is essential for successfully ending unhealthy drinking patterns and enjoying your life without the need for alcohol. A high quality treatment program will help you not only quit drinking, but it’ll also help you restore your quality of life, repair damaged relationships, and improve your overall health and wellbeing for the long-term.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.