The holidays are a time to relax, celebrate, and enjoy friends and family. Unfortunately, people tend to drink more during this season than any other time of year.
Many who overindulge will suffer negative consequences, from fights to falls to traffic accidents to alcohol poisoning. Critical decision-making abilities or driving skills are diminished long before the physical signs of intoxication began to show.
It is easy to misjudge how long the effects of alcohol last. Many people believe they begin to sober up and can drive safely once they have a cup of coffee or take a cold shower. But the truth is, alcohol continues to affect the brain and body long after finishing that last drink.
The effects of drinking differ according to the individual, but certain facts are consistent. There is no way to speed up the brain’s recovery from alcohol, and it is difficult to make good decisions when you are drinking too much, too fast (binge/heavy drinking).
Before you celebrate, plan ahead! Remember to play it safe, and always “Protect What You’ve Earned.”
Here are some tips to help plan ahead if you choose to drink during the holidays:
- Pace yourself: know what a standard drink is. Do not have more than one drink per hour and no more than three drinks per day.
- Use “drink spacers.” Make every other drink a non-alcoholic one (preferably water). This can also help you avoid a hangover.
- Eat food before and during drinking to help slow down the absorption of alcohol.
- Make plans to get home safely. Remember that a designated driver is someone who hasn’t had any alcohol, not simply the person in your group who drank the least.
- Download ride share apps on your phone and set up your account before you go out.
For additional information on alcohol and low-risk drinking tips, check out Rethinking Drinking.
Additional information is available at your local Substance Abuse Counseling Center. Substance Abuse Counseling Center.