Alcohol Holidays And Binge Drinking: Where Does This Lead?

For many people, the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year. It can also be the most stressful. Many people turn to alcohol to self-soothe in times of stress, and the holidays are a great example. Also, seeing others look so seemingly happy and joyous and not sharing their emotions can make people turn to substances to feel better. People also drink at holiday parties or to celebrate special occasions. Research shows a significant increase in alcohol consumption during the holidays. Here are some ways to keep the holidays bright and avoid abusing alcohol during this stressful time:

1. Know what normal drinking habits are

Many people do not know the true symptoms of addition. Alcoholics in the media are often portrayed as grizzly homeless men, bored housewives, or overworked professionals; but alcoholism can affect anyone. Similarly, media also portrays binge-drinking and alcohol abuse as normal; but it is not normal to be hungover every weekend or the day after every holiday.

The definition of normal drinking habits will vary from person to person but pay attention if you notice your drinking increases significantly over the holidays. Alcohol abuse is technically defined as having more than one drink per day for women, or more than two drinks per day for men. Monitor yourself to see if you are exceeding this regularly during the holidays.

2. Open up

If you think someone else has a drinking problem, and it is especially noticeable around the holidays, talk to them about it. Do not bring it up when the person is already drinking or intoxicated. Wait for a sober moment to gently point out that you notice they are drinking more than usual around the holidays, and ask if they want to talk about anything that’s triggering them or if they need help. Do not label them or accuse them of anything, but let them know you are there to listen and assist them.

3. Prepare yourself

If you already know you are susceptible to struggles with alcohol, learn your triggers. Family gatherings, holiday parties, and financial burdens are all stressors that surround the holidays. Know your limits and set boundaries. If you are feeling stressed and you think that holiday work party might just put you over the edge, don’t go. If you can’t afford to buy everyone in your extended family a gift, don’t do it. Others will understand that you need to take care of yourself, and if not, too bad for them. You need to prioritize your sobriety and mental well-being first.

4. Ask for help

If you are worried that you may relapse or that you’re abusing alcohol, you don’t have to go through it alone. Seek help from friends, family, or professionals to help keep you accountable and stay sober through the holidays. Do not wait until something bad has already happened to ask for help. There is no shame in asking for help, and it always better to act preventatively.

Does Hypnosis Help In Alcohol Abuse Treatment?

Hypnosis can help people quit smoking, lose weight, and overcome fears. But did you know hypnosis is also a way to reduce alcohol consumption? While hypnosis may not be an effective cure for an alcoholic and can help people who need to cut back on their drinking. So although it will not cure alcoholism on its own, hypnosis is an effective component of an alcohol abuse treatment program.

What is Hypnosis?

Contrary to popular belief, anyone can be hypnotized. The state of hypnosis is the natural state that all people experience before waking and falling asleep.

The unconscious mind is where memories and emotions are stored, and also manage bodily functions. Although the conscious mind may decide to reduce or quit drinking unless the unconscious mind gets the memo the person will not be able to stop drinking. Hypnotism is a way to communicate with the unconscious mind. During hypnosis, people are much more susceptible and behavior changes and emotional suggestions. Communicating a request to cease or cut back drinking to the unconscious mind during hypnosis will help reconcile the disparity between the desires of the conscious and unconscious mind.

Can Hypnosis Help You Cut Back On Alcohol?

The short answer is yes, hypnosis can help the conscious and unconscious mind agree to cut back on alcohol and form new emotional habits and behaviors around drinking.

Alcoholics or people who drink too much often use alcohol to ease anxiety or depression. They have learned that alcohol is a fast way to help manage, albeit temporarily, negative feelings of stress or sadness. Nobody likes to feel bad, and the mind quickly learns that alcohol will make a person feel better for the moment. This can also apply to anything addictive, like gambling, cigarettes, or food. The earlier and more frequently these emotional habits are enforced in the unconscious mind, the harder they are to break.

Hypnosis can be a life-changing treatment for those who do not need full alcoholic rehabilitation but know they need to cut back on alcohol. It can also make rehabilitation easier for alcoholics (although hypnosis on its own will not cure alcoholism). The purpose of hypnosis is to break unhealthy emotional conditioning to self-medicate with alcohol and to use healthier responses to negative emotions instead. Think of a hypnotherapist as a personal trainer for your brain. Hypnosis helps train the brain to be more emotionally resilient and face challenges without using alcohol to cope.

The more a person learns to deal with problems without the assistance of alcohol, the easier it becomes to live without it. Think of alcoholism as being a wheelchair user, and alcohol is the wheelchair. You think it is helping, but hypnosis can help you realize that you can walk on your own. You realize that the chair is a burden that’s holding you back, not something that’s actually helping you. Once people learn to self-soothe without reaching for the emotional crutch of a drink, they will feel empowered, stronger, and more in control of their lives.

Help Your Alcoholic Child Today

Having a child with an addiction is worrisome and heart-breaking. Parents may feel helpless and unable to reach out to their child. If your child is exhibiting signs of alcohol abuse, there are several things you can do to help today. You don’t need to face addiction on your own.

1. Research and understand addiction

As a parent, your instinct may be to ignore or deny that there is a problem with your child. Do not blame yourself or the child, or turn a blind eye and hope it resolves itself. Alcoholism is a disease, just like cancer or diabetes, and your child needs help to treat it. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has defined alcohol abuse as having more than one drink per day for women, or more than two drinks per day for men. If they are not of legal drinking age, of course, your child should not be drinking at all. But if they are drinking and you suspect their consumption is higher than this, it is symptomatic of a drinking problem.

2. Talk to your child about alcohol when he or she is sober

Like the dreaded “sex talk,” every parent should also talk to their child about alcohol. This is even more important if you suspect your child is drinking or has an alcohol problem. Do not talk to your child about it if you suspect he or she is already under the influence. Wait until they are sober, like when they first wake up in the morning. You want them to remember the talk and respond rationally. Do not be accusative or flippant, but also let your child know they can always come to you with any problem or question.

3. Do not enable

Parents want the best for the kids, and often want to protect them from serious problems. If your child is struggling with consequences from their alcoholism, such as getting into legal trouble or floundering at school or work, do not enable their drinking by making the consequences go away. Paying your child’s legal fees for him/her, allowing him/her to miss school, and lying to others to cover your child’s alcoholism are all enabling behaviors.

4. Intervention

It is best to meet with an addiction counselor or therapist (without your child) before staging an intervention. They can help you figure out the best approach and what to say to your child, and prepare you for various reactions. An important part of the intervention is establishing boundaries (such as explaining what is and isn’t acceptable behavior). Even if your child rejects the intervention, establishing boundaries makes it a successful intervention because the seed of recovery has been planted, and perhaps one day your child will still get treatment.

5. Seek treatment

If your child cannot or will not stop abusing alcohol, you to seek professional treatment. This can be in the form of a rehabilitation center, family therapy, individual counseling, or support group meetings. In-patient treatment forces the child to detox and to stay away from harmful influences during recovery.

Recognize The Symptoms Of Alcoholic Hepatitis

Chronic, heavy alcohol use is harmful and exhausting to the body and brain. One of the serious health risks of alcohol abuse is contracting alcoholic hepatitis. Although it can take years for alcoholic hepatitis to manifest, when it does it can be deadly.

Chronic alcohol abuse damages and inflames the liver, and liver inflammation is a classic case of alcoholic hepatitis. Alcoholic hepatitis usually lasts 10 to 20 years and often ends in death, and so is considered a chronic and even deadly condition.

Because it takes many years for alcoholic hepatitis to develop, the majority of people with alcoholic hepatitis are between ages 40 and 60 years old. Once a person has hepatitis, it is nearly impossible to reverse the damage caused by the disease, but abstaining from alcohol can help manage symptoms.

Nearly 50% of people diagnosed with the disease die within months of diagnosis. Other than a liver transplant, which is expensive, risky, and not always an available option for many reasons, there is no cure for alcoholic hepatitis. Since it cannot be cured, prevention is the best way to avoid alcoholic hepatitis.  Spreading awareness of the existence, risks, and causes is the best way to help prevent alcoholic hepatitis. 

How does a person contract alcoholic hepatitis?

Whenever the liver has to process alcohol, fat builds up in the cells of the liver. The liver is only able to digest about one drink (one shot, one beer, one mixed drink) per hour. If too much fat collects in the liver from alcohol abuse, the liver stops being able to do its job filtering out toxins, and the toxins can harden and scar the liver. The unfiltered toxins flow into the bloodstream and can then access other organs.

Alcoholic hepatitis symptoms

Unlike other forms of hepatitis, there is no blood test available to diagnose alcoholic hepatitis. Diagnosis is made based on observable symptoms.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis:

  1. Swollen or sensitive abdomen: If you have pain in your abdomen, then you could have a swollen liver. Another sign of this is an enlarged abdomen area from the liver swelling. What is popularly known as a “beer belly” or a “spare tire” could actually a symptom of alcoholic hepatitis.
  2. Poor or decreased appetite: Alcoholics are often more concerned with getting their next drink than eating healthy, nutritious food on a regular basis. Poor diet and malnourishment leave the body open to a higher risk of any infection
  3. Fever: A fever, even a low-grade fever, is a sign of a disease of some sort. Even if you think the infection is something else, you should get a blood test to find out the true cause and rule out hepatitis.
  4. Yellow skin: Any liver damage, whether from alcohol abuse or not, can cause a noticeable yellowing of the skin. This yellowing is known as jaundice and is perhaps the most common symptom of alcoholic hepatitis.

The Most Common Signs Of Alcohol Abuse

There are plenty of people with normal, responsible drinking habits. Not every person who drinks is an alcoholic; far from it! But if you are worried that your or someone you know may have a drinking problem, here are some of the signs of alcoholism.

Alcohol Is Making You Miss Out On Life

Being hungover or constantly worrying about having access to alcohol is exhausting and anxiety-inducing. If alcohol is preventing you from doing regular activities, such as going to work, school, or even out with friends, then you may have a drinking problem. Having a hangover once in a while does not make you an alcoholic, but having several hangovers per week is cause for concern. Likewise, carrying alcohol with you at all times or having a plan in place to always have access to alcohol is also symptomatic of an alcohol problem.

Blacking Out

Occasionally, even healthy, social drinkers will go too far in a night of drinking and blackout. This is dangerous and risky for anyone, not least of all because you can’t remember what happened to you. If you find yourself blacking out on a regular basis or frequently you may have a drinking problem.

Using Alcohol To Ease Anxiety

Many refer to alcohol as “social lubricant,” and it is true that alcohol can loosen you up and make social situations more comfortable. But if you rely on alcohol and feel anxious without it, you could have a drinking problem.

You’re Embarrassed By What You Did When You Were Drinking

Have you ever heard of the “Sunday scaries”? The term refers to the feeling of dread and anxiety you might have the day after drinking. If you act in ways that embarrass you or get completely out of control when you drink to the point that you consistently have regrets about your behavior from the night before, you are probably abusing alcohol.

Others Express Concern

Do not get defensive if someone talks to you about a possible problem with alcohol. It is likely you have exhibited some of the warning signs and this person is genuinely concerned and looking out for your well-being. If someone close to you keeps asking if you should really have another drink, or if you should really be drinking in a situation, you may be abusing alcohol.

You Incorporate Alcohol Into Every Situation

Going to the movies, for a walk, or to the gym does not require alcohol to make it fun. If you find yourself always bringing along or buying alcohol to “spice up” every activity, this is cause for concern. Not every activity has to be a party, and you should have plenty of pastimes and hobbies that are still fun without alcohol.

You Have Tried To Control Your Drinking, But Can’t

If you have attempted to abstain or cut back on your drinking and failed, this is a sign of alcoholism. Feeling out of control is a warning that alcohol has taken over.

What Is Alcoholism and How Does It Start?

What Is Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a severe and dangerous form of alcohol abuse. If a person is an alcoholic, then they are unable to manage drinking habits. Another term for alcoholism is alcohol use disorder. There are three types of alcohol use disorder: mild, moderate and severe. Each type has several warning signs and can be harmful and dangerous. If untreated, any of the forms of alcohol abuse can become uncontrollable and deadly.

Alcoholics may feel like they cannot function without drinking. This can cause a wide variety of problems and negatively impact career goals, personal relationships, and physical and mental health. Chronic and heavy alcohol abuse can cause severe and sometimes irreversible damage to the body and brain over time.

If you or someone you know is suffering from alcoholism, please get treatment right away. You don’t have to go through this alone. Treatment programs not only make recovery more comfortable but also more statistically likely to have lasting results. There are many forms of treatment available, including free and convenient options, to help you or someone you know to overcome addiction and live a happy, healthy, sober life.

The biggest struggle in my life was the constant feeling of emptiness and being alone. Substances turned on me, and they were no longer fun nor a solution. My addiction put me in risky situations… Quitting was out of the question, I was powerless.

Warning Signs of Alcoholism

Sometimes alcoholism is glaringly obvious, but other times it can be hard to detect. It is possible to be an alcoholic and not know it. There are also functional alcoholics that can function normally despite their alcohol abuse, making detection difficult. In most cases, alcoholism occurs in stages and gets progressively worse over time. Although recovery is possible at any stage, just like any illness, it is easier and more likely to have a successful recovery if caught in the early stages.

Some of the warning signs of alcoholism include, but are not limited to:

  • Attempting and failing to limit alcohol intake
  • Physically or mentally craving alcohol when you’re not drinking
  • Prioritizing alcohol above personal responsibilities
  • Drinking in unsafe or inappropriate circumstances (such as while caring for children, while driving, etc.)
  • Financial troubles due to over-spending on alcohol
  • Acting out of character or making risky decisions after drinking alcohol