Alcohol and the Holidays
The holidays are a time of cheer and festivity, and many people choose to raise a glass to celebrate this particular time of year with family and friends. Alcohol is prevalent in almost every holiday party, and family gatherings almost always involve cocktails, wine, or beers. People even begin to drink mimosas or fancy spiked coffees in the mornings. This prevalence can be a harmless, fun way to let loose as you have some extra time off work, but there is a difference between having a couple of extra glasses of wine at your holiday mixer and problematic drinking. Continue reading to learn the signs of alcoholism to look out for during the holidays or visit our drug rehab facility to learn about our addiction treatment programs.
Alcohol use disorder is defined as a combination of physical dependence on alcohol and psychological addiction.
- A physical dependence begins as a development of tolerance to alcohol. This means the person will have to drink more of it to get the same effect until the body becomes dependent on the alcohol to function correctly. They experience withdrawal symptoms when they are without alcohol in their system.
- A psychological dependence on alcohol is a combination of compulsive behaviors and disordered thinking that leads to their thoughts and actions being mainly geared towards getting more alcohol and drinking.
Signs of Alcoholism: What to Look For
These are the signs of alcoholism to look out for during the holidays:
- They are unable to control how much they drink once they get started
- Needing to drink to avoid withdrawal symptoms
- Keeping stashes of alcohol around the house, office, or on their person
- Drinking in secret, lie about their drinking or drink in the morning
- Using alcohol when it is not safe, like when swimming or driving
- Missing essential responsibilities, events, and gatherings because they are drunk or hungover
- Continuing to drink even when they do not want to, or when it is causing severe repercussions to their love life, family, work, finances, and friendships
Determining the Severity of Alcoholism
Along with knowing the signs of alcoholism to look out for during the holidays, here are the three main stages of alcoholism:
- Early Stage: occasional binge drinking, having a few drinks here and there, social drinking
- Chronic alcoholism: years of daily drinking begin to cause serious problems
- End-Stage: professional help is required; chronic and severe health troubles arise
What Does Early Alcohol Use Disorder Look Like?
Early alcohol use disorder involves binge drinking, social drinking, and experimenting, usually young adults. A small percentage of those who begin this behavior will continue to drink regularly due to genetic reasons or environmental conditioning. Others will abuse alcohol to relieve the symptoms of mental health issues. This frequent consumption can put these people at risk of developing a substance use disorder, which could require alcohol detox to overcome.
When Does Alcohol Abuse Become a Problem?
Alcohol abuse becomes a problem when:
- There is an emotional or psychological attachment to drinking.
- Drinking interferes with responsibilities like work or family, causes you to miss social functions, and being drunk or hungover causes you to perform poorly at school or work.
- You experience a loss of control, continuing to drink, even when you know it is causing health problems, relationship issues, and is negatively impacting your career or other life aspects.
- A tolerance is developed to alcohol, meaning you need to drink more to achieve the same level of intoxication.
- You begin to engage in risky behavior when drinking, like drunk driving, fighting, or committing crimes.
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you try to cut back on your drinking and cannot quit drinking independently.
How to Help a Loved One with Alcohol Use Disorder
If you believe your loved one may have an alcohol use disorder or shows signs of alcoholism, you will want to bring up the subject in a non-judgmental way, with kindness and love at the forefront of all discussions. Educating yourself on addiction and alcoholism before bringing up the issue is a good idea. You may also want to research addiction treatment centers in your area beforehand to present options to your loved one.
For help and more information on what you can do to help a loved one experiencing alcoholism or know what signs of alcoholism to look out for during the holidays, you can contact the WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab center today. We will help you figure out what your next step should be, giving you treatment options to consider. We are only a phone call away, and we are happy to help you during this difficult time.
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.