The holidays are just around the corner and many people are busy preparing for the hustle and bustle of reunions and get-togethers. While enjoyable for the most part, for many people it’s a time of stress and chaos which can bring about unhealthy behaviors. Drugs and alcohol play a big role in the recreational aspects of the holidays and it’s easy to get into trouble if you don’t have the facts.
For example, many people incorrectly believe that you can still drive under the influence provided you’re not slurring your words or acting erratically. This is wrong and very dangerous since the coordination needed for driving is actually compromised long before the signs of intoxication are visible. More so, alcohol has sedative effects which can cause the driver to nod off and fall asleep at the wheel. And despite popular belief, drinking coffee will not quickly sober you up before that drive home. The caffeine may help with the drowsiness but the effects that alcohol has on decision-making and coordination take time to wear off as your body processes it and returns to normal.
Another false and dangerous belief is that alcohol warms you up and insulates you from the winter cold and as a result, some people avoid wearing warm clothing outside after they’ve had a few drinks. The truth is that alcohol widens the tiny blood vessels right under the skin, so they quickly fill with warm blood. This can make you feel warm and even sweat. But your temperature is actually dropping because alcohol is depressing the part of your brain that controls temperature regulation. If you’re in cold weather and not wearing warm enough clothes this could lead to hyperthermia and even death so make sure you keep warm even if you don’t feel cold on the outside.
Many of the people in our inner circle of family and friends will share their ideas and beliefs, it’s imperative that we know what’s true and what’s not so that we don’t make decisions we will later regret. Following simple guidelines and using common sense can save your life and the life of someone close to you. The holidays can be especially stressful for recovering addicts, don’t feel ashamed to find that extra support if you need it.
Florida Center for Recovery wishes you and your loved ones a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season.
Dr. Balta is the Medical Director at FCR for more than 10 years. Dr. Balta is Board Certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, Certified Psychoanalyst. As well, as having Psychiatric Training at The Albert Einstein School of Medicine Psychiatric Residency Program In New York City and Psychoanalytic Training at The William Alanson White Institute in New York City. While working in New York City, gained funding Grants for the treatment of Substance Abuse Disorders from SAMHSA , HRSA and the City of New York.