What To Know About Binge Drinking & The Holidays


binge drinking man

Binge drinking is defined as drinking enough alcohol to raise your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit of 0.08 percent. This usually occurs with four drinks within two hours for men and four drinks within the same amount of time for women. Binge drinking does not signal alcohol addiction, but it can become a factor in developing an addiction in the future.

An increase of binge drinking often occurs during the holidays between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. The increase can be attributed to many reasons. There are often holiday gatherings and celebrations making the availability of alcohol a temptation. The pressure to fit in at these gatherings can promote drinking as well. The holidays are a stressful time for many people. Whether the trigger is grief, financial issues, or family situations, drinking can ease the stress that may be associated with the holidays.

The truth is, most people do not realize they are on a binge until it’s too late, and they are left regretting their actions. If you are concerned about drinking too much around the holidays, it is important to learn the signs of holiday binge drinking.

5 Signs of Holiday Binge Drinking

‘Tis the season for celebrations around every corner, and alcohol is flowing freely. If you are worried you might be going overboard this holiday season, here are common signs of alcohol abuse:

1. The Inability to Stop Once You Begin Drinking

Whether you feel like you need to finish a bottle of wine once the seal is broken or don’t stop drinking until you are drunk, difficulty stopping at any time is a red flag. Some social drinkers plan to stop after a certain number of drinks, but fail. You should always feel like you are in control, not alcohol.

2. Using Alcohol to Muffle Emotions

The holidays can be an emotional time for many of us. There is a magical connection to the past, and whether memories are joyful or filled with distress, they can bring powerful feelings. Holidays can also be a source of grief after losing loved ones, or a let-down due to unrealistic expectations. It’s important to remember that using alcohol to avoid facing these experiences puts you in danger of repeating the cycle.

3. Attending for Alcohol

It’s common to expect to consume some alcohol when you are going to a party where drinks will be served. If you are attending the party specifically because of the drinks, there might be a problem. Some drinkers drink to ease awkward feelings during social situations, however, you should be able to attend social functions without needing alcohol to be present.

4. Not Realizing When You Go Too Far

Not realizing you are drinking too much until the next day when someone tells you about your actions, is a problem among some binge drinkers. Even if you don’t cross a line, consuming alcohol so quickly you don’t notice the effects could be a sign of abuse. Not knowing your limits, or refusing to observe them, is one of the first symptoms of alcohol abuse.

5. Skipping Responsibilities

If drinking takes priority over responsibilities, you are likely abusing alcohol. When you miss work frequently because of late nights and hangovers, alcohol is taking a priority in your life. If you choose activities based on the options of drinking, you may be abusing alcohol in a way that can lead to addiction.

Holiday binge drinking or occasionally drinking in excess does not indicate alcohol abuse. However, this behavior can lead to alcohol misuse and abuse. This type of excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of problems like memory loss, blackouts, and car accidents. Other concerns include long-term health risks like liver disease, stroke, and heart problems. If you suffer from excessive drinking or know someone who does, it is important to seek professional help.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing substance abuse and/or symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.