Set limits on drinking during the holidays

The holiday season is here, and it’s time for parties and gatherings with family and friends. Through these good times, try to steer clear of risky drinking and manage stress well, so you can enjoy the festivities.

Those who consume 4 or more alcoholic drinks in one sitting—or within 2 hours—are binge drinkers. Binge drinking is dangerous because it can impact your speech, memory, coordination, and balance, and sometimes result in alcohol poisoning.

Alcohol use can affect your relationships as well, and it can have a negative impact on other family members. Many Warfighters and their partners also use alcohol as a sleep aid, but it’s ineffective. While drinking might make you sleepy, it disrupts your ability to get the deep sleep your body needs.

Military spouses might be more likely to binge drink than civilians too. They might drink because of stress related to deployment, or they’re exposed to alcohol more frequently at “post-deployment” parties. Some younger spouses are more willing to experiment with drinking as well. While some might binge drink to let off stress, healthier coping skills can help you go the distance. Military spouses report that what really helps them keep stress at bay is staying busy, exercising, journaling, spending time with family and friends, and focusing on spiritual activities.

It’s fine to enjoy a drink or two at a holiday party, but it’s important to know your limits and drinking patterns. If you’re concerned you or someone you know has a problem with alcohol, understand the signs and symptoms and get help.


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References

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2019). Women. Retrieved August 13, 2019 from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/special-populations-co-occurring-disorders/women

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Lipari, R. N., Forsyth, B., Bose, J., Kroutil, L. A., & Lane, M. E. (2016). Spouses and children of U.S. military personnel: Substance use and mental health profile from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Retrieved August 8, 2019 from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-MilitaryFamily-2015/NSDUH-MilitaryFamily-2015.htm

Nolen-Hoeksema, S., Wong, M. M., Fitzgerald, H., & Zucker, R. A. (2006). Depressive symptoms over time in women partners of men with and without alcohol problems. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 115(3), 601–609. doi:10.1037/0021-843x.115.3.601

Wheeler, A. R., & Torres Stone, R. A. (2009). Exploring stress and coping strategies among National Guard spouses during times of deployment: A research note. Armed Forces & Society, 36(3), 545–557. doi:10.1177/0095327x09344066