Friday, December 12, 2014

Nearly 60 Percent of American Adults Have Problem Holiday Drinking The December holiday season may mean much merriment, but according to this survey, 59 percent of American adults who attend holiday parties drink too much and engage in potentially serious and dangerous behavior. The online survey, conducted by Harris Poll and commissioned by Caron Treatment Centers, polled 2,000 American adults over the age of 18. Some of the most concerning statistics pertain to parents with children under the age of 18 living at home. Of parents age 21+ who attend and drink at parties, one in four (26 percent) admit to driving home from a party after drinking too much. One in five (21 percent) have blacked out and couldn’t remember anything after drinking too much at a party. “Alcohol is still one of the deadliest drugs in our society,” said Doug Tieman, Caron’s president and CEO. “Our culture has normalized substance abuse to the extent that many people don’t perceive significant consequences as cause for concern even though they can indicate serious problems. Many of the unintended victims, of course, are our children. We all need to be accountable for our behavior. But, if you are an alcoholic, it’s unlikely that you can change your behavior without significant help. You will need support to develop the skills and tools to lead a happy and productive life without alcohol.” In addition, 55 percent of adults who attend holiday parties have seen someone drive even though they appeared to be impaired and 32 percent admit they drove impaired themselves. Surprisingly, 40 percent of adults over the age of 65 who drink at parties admit to driving while impaired compared to just 21 percent of 21-34 year olds. Even though they are breaking the law, parents with children under the age of 18 still living at home, are still providing them with alcohol. • 48 percent said it’s acceptable for 18-20 year olds to have at least one drink at a family holiday party if they are not driving. • 12 percent said it is acceptable for an 18-20 year old to drink any amount at a family holiday party if they are not driving. “Serving alcohol to minors is not only illegal, but sends a permissive message and can lead to serious and even deadly consequences,” said Dr. Harris Stratyner, PhD, Regional Clinical Vice President of Caron Treatment Centers in New York. “It’s never safe for an underage person to drink, even when ‘supervised,’ as drinking puts them at risk for emotional, physical, and psychological problems. Drinking at a young age may also cause brain, liver, and growth problems, and make someone more likely to develop an addiction later in life.” The survey showed that many Americans have misconceptions about alcoholism. • 37 percent believe most alcoholics cannot hold down a full-time job. • 72 percent agree that most alcoholics drink every day. • 10 percent strongly agree with the statement: “Alcoholics could stop drinking if they wanted to, but they lack the willpower.” “With the popularity of social media and frequent use of mobile video/photo uploads, it’s important to recognize that any person’s actions while under the influence could be seen by a wide net of people,” said Dr. Stratyner. “The consequences can impact lives both personally and professionally.” If you believe that you, a friend or family member may have a problem with alcohol, the National Institute of Health has a tool that may be able to help. Go to http://rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/ to Rethink Your Drinking.