When Holiday Drinking May Be a Sign of a Bigger Issue

The Doctors

Indulging during the holidays with wine, champagne, or a cocktail is common, but are your holiday drinking habits a sign of a possible larger issue with alcohol? 

It is difficult to know if you are simply celebrating or possibly misusing alcohol -- and after the events of the past year relying on alcohol or other drugs is common. Now is the time to take a moment and consider if you are experiencing any of these holiday drinking red flags, which health experts say could be a sign of a potential addiction issue.

Not feeling like you can enjoy a holiday event without drinking

The experts say if you require alcohol to "get into the holiday spirit" you likely have an alcohol issue.

Needing alcohol to function

If average daily life tasks cannot happen without having a drink, this is a red flag. “Some alarming signs are impairment in functioning, like when you’re not able to perform the usual activities in life without alcohol,” Ayana Jordan, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine tells HuffPo

Drinking to cope with COVID or pandemic stress

Feeling alone this year is very understandable and will, unfortunately, be common for many people, but the experts urge people to not turn to alcohol to cope with stress, noting the drinking "may result in short-term satisfaction, but not long-term fulfillment." Instead of drinking in isolation, turn to connecting with others remotely, exercising, reading, watching your favorite holiday movie, baking, or getting out of the house and into nature.

Drinking before drinking

If you find yourself “pre-gaming” before a holiday event where alcohol will be served, the experts say this concerning.

Secret drinking, hiding your drinking & denying your drinking

“An unhealthy attachment to the topic of alcohol, such as defensiveness when drinking is discussed or denying alcohol is definitely an issue,” psychiatrist Stacy Cohen tells HuffPo.

Having withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking

Experiencing symptoms like headaches, sweating, heart beating fast, and hallucinations are likely a sign that your body has become too dependent on alcohol.

Being unable to stop drinking when you attempt to quit

Finding yourself unable to stop or turn down a drink is likely a sign of a larger alcohol issue, say the experts. 

If you are dealing with one or more of the above-mentioned indicators, it is advised you speak to your doctor, healthcare provider, or alcohol specialist to better determine if treatment is needed and if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction please call the confidential and free National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP or visit their website.

More: The Red Flags You're Drinking Too Much To Deal with COVID

Watch: Is Daily Drinking as Bad as Binge Drinking for Your Heart?

Watch: 5 Tips for How to Manage Pandemic Holiday Stress

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