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Holidays and Binge Drinking: Why People Overindulge in Alcohol This Time of Year

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Home Addiction Holidays and Binge Drinking: Why People Overindulge in Alcohol This Time of Year

It’s no secret that holidays and binge drinking go hand-in-hand. When it comes to holidays, Christmas and New Year’s Day account for the highest incidents of binge drinking compared to other annual holidays.  

Alcohol use escalates this time of year partly due to company office parties and family get-togethers that foster the holiday spirit with spiked eggnog, champagne punch, mulled wine, mixed drinks, and many more creative alcohol-infused beverages.  

According to recent studies, the favorite seasonal drinks are:

  • Eggnog (40%)
  • Christmas beer (28%)
  • Cider (27%)
  • Coffee with Bailey’s (34%)

Surprisingly, studies show that some people increase their alcohol intake by as much as 100% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.  This trend leads to an increase in alcohol-related deaths during the holidays.  

About two to three times more people die between Christmas and New Year’s Day due to alcohol overindulgence.  In fact, alcohol-impaired drivers are responsible for about 40% of traffic fatalities this time of year.

What Are the Reasons for Seasonal Binge Drinking? 

According to the Alcohol Monitoring Systems report,

Monitored DUI offenders increased their drinking rates by 33% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.  This rate doesn’t account for the thousands of people who weren’t monitored.”

Binge DrinkingHoliday parties can be problematic for a compulsive drinker for several reasons. Even moderate or social drinkers can face the temptation to drink more than they normally do.  The holiday season is also a time when many people who are recovering from alcohol use disorders relapse.

With the holidays just around the corner, it is a good time to think about your drinking habits and set limits in advance to avoid going overboard.  Begin by taking a look at some of the reasons why people overindulge in alcohol this time of year to help keep your drinking in check.

> More Opportunities to Overindulge

According to, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States receives one-fourth of its profits from alcohol between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.  The reasons for the increase in consumption are due in part to people attending multiple parties and get-togethers.

> Stress 

Stress levels are often high during this time of year.  With all the shopping, cooking, social activities, and money issues, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.  It’s tempting to unwind after a stress-filled day by taking a glass of wine or a mixed drink.

> Loneliness or Grief

People feel isolated during the holidays for many reasons.  It’s likely that they don’t have extended family or are unable to get together with their loved ones. In many homes, a loved one recently passed away.  Missing loved ones during the holidays can lead a person to self-medicate with alcohol to numb their sadness.

Comparing current holiday celebrations with ones from the past can lead to loneliness or depression.  In many cases, alcohol is used as a tool to escape these feelings.

> Unrealistic Expectations 

People often feel that everyone else is having a better time than them during the holidays.  They see posts on social media about parties and the good times everyone is having. 

Or, they watch movies that show happy families around the Christmas tree, everyone smiling and happy.  Too often, for people who feel left out of the festivities, alcohol becomes a source of comfort. 

> Seasonal Affective Disorder

For some individuals, winter months trigger depression and fatigue.  This happens because the low levels of sunlight causes decreased production of melatonin and serotonin in the brain.  As a result, people suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD).  In many cases, they turn to alcohol to help them cope with their mood swings.

What to Do When Holidays and Binge Drinking Lead to Addiction

As you can see, people often increase their alcohol consumption during the holidays for a variety of reasons.  Unfortunately, their overindulging doesn’t always stop when the holidays are over.  

Seasonal binge drinking can be the beginning of a pattern of drinking that persists long after the celebrations stop.  Continued binge drinking can lead to alcohol use disorder and increases the risk for many health complications.

Reach Out to Design for Change Recovery to Overcome Alcohol Use Disorder

Binge drinking during the holidays may be a warning sign that you can’t control your alcohol consumption.  If you think you need help with alcohol use disorder, contact Design for Change Recovery in Lancaster, CA.  We offer an alcohol addiction treatment program that can be customized to suit your specific needs.  

Reach out to us today to begin a path toward alcohol-free holidays and a year-round sober lifestyle. One of our representatives will be happy to assess your situation and recommend a treatment plan that is right for you.  

Best wishes from Design for Change Recovery for a wonderful holiday season for you and your family.


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