NIAAA Provides A Fact Sheet On The Truth About Holiday Spirits

By John Lavitt 12/31/15

Check out this important fact sheet if you plan to indulge this holiday season. 

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NIAAA seasonal fact sheet

In order to help people celebrate safely this holiday season while avoiding unnecessary negative consequences, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has provided a fact sheet on the truth about holiday spirits. People tend to drink beyond their limits during this season than at other times of the year, and the direct result is often adverse consequences that range from fights and falls to car crashes and accidental fires. Celebratory drinking should not be a reason to open the door to a careless tragedy.

The focus of the NIAAA fact sheet is to challenge the myths about holiday drinking and drinking in general. These popular beliefs about how quickly alcohol affects the body and how long the effects of drinking last can prove to be dangerous. Since critical decision-making abilities and driving-related skills are already diminished before physical signs of intoxication appear, such myths often result in drunk driving and deadly accidents.

Three NIAAA tips to keep in mind if you choose to drink:

• Pace yourself with no more than one drink per hour, and no more than four drinks for men or three for women per day.

• Use drink spacers—make every other drink a non-alcoholic one.

• Use a designated driver, meaning someone who forgoes all alcohol, not just the person in your group who drank the least.

In the thrall of holiday drinking, it is often easy to misjudge the lasting effects of alcohol. For example, many people believe that by stopping drinking and having a cup of coffee, they will sober up. Caffeine may help with drowsiness, but not with the effects of drinking on decision-making or coordination. The body needs time to metabolize alcohol and then to return to normal. 

Alcohol continues to affect a person long after the last drink has been finished. Even after the party stops, alcohol lingers in the bloodstream, impairing judgment and coordination for hours. Since individuals are so different, it is difficult to give specific advice about drinking. There is no proven way to speed up the brain’s recovery from alcohol, and the magical strategies of your friends often can be a one-way ticket to a drunk tank, a felony on your record or, even worse, the morgue.

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles with his beautiful wife, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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