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friends drinking at a barbecue party

Many people view the summertime as a time to kick back, relax a little bit, and enjoy the warm weather. That mindset also often sets the stage for overconsumption of alcohol. From block parties, float trips, weddings, and lazy days at the beach, these activities can easily become alcohol-fueled events.

Why Does Alcohol Consumption Increase In the Summertime?

Research published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol found that, in terms of annual seasonality in alcohol use, the summer months were the most popular time (excluding December).1 Although heavy drinkers are likely to continue those drinking habits year-round, some individuals may be influenced to begin drinking heavily during the summer months when their peers are doing the same.

One survey also found that respondents associate alcohol consumption with socializing and downtime. The summer months are full of both, so naturally, the drinking habits of many people may increase during this time. Holidays like the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day may also increase the likelihood that people will be drinking in the summer.2

Even annual sales reports reflect an increase in alcohol consumption during the summertime. According to Bevspot, a cloud software company for bars and restaurants, an analysis of annual beverage sales data revealed a spike in beer sales during the months of July and August followed by a considerable drop throughout the fall season.3

Although an important part of the self-care process is making time for fun and leisure activities, this should not be confused with a license to abuse alcohol or drugs. There is never a good reason to overindulge in alcoholic beverages, as the consequences far outweigh any short-term benefit a user might seek.

How Much Alcohol Is Too Much?

Some individuals with a family history of substance abuse or prior addiction problems will avoid alcohol altogether, completely eliminating summer drinking from the equation. Or, they may have recently completed a drug and alcohol rehab program and are trying to maintain their sobriety.

Others may choose to consume alcohol, but may not realize when they’ve had too much until it’s too late. Patterns of summer drinking, long-term binge drinking, and heavy drinking can easily lead to full-blown addiction, so it’s important to know how much is too much.

Drinking alcohol every day doesn’t necessarily mean you’re addicted. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines “at-risk” drinking as a pattern of alcohol consumption that could increase a person’s risk for alcohol use disorder as well as other health and personal problems. For men, “at-risk” alcohol consumption is having more than four drinks on any single day (or 14 drinks per week). For women, it is having more than three drinks on any single day (or 7 drinks per week).

Of course, this is not an exact science and it may even vary from person to person, but generally speaking, consuming too much alcohol too often will lead to adverse physical, social, and emotional effects.

If you are drinking every day or you feel like you may be struggling with alcohol use disorder, an alcohol rehab program can provide the life skills, peer support, education, and behavioral therapy that is necessary to overcome your addiction.

What Are the Emotional Effects of Binge Drinking?

There are many negative social and emotional effects of alcohol that can be exacerbated by binge drinking in the summer. Although alcohol can reduce feelings of social anxiety and improve your mood, it can also cause or contribute to a lot of undesirable effects in social settings, such as:

  • Verbal aggression
  • Physical aggression or violence
  • Sexual assault
  • Consensual but risky sexual behaviors
  • Broken relationships
  • Family problems
  • Job loss
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Excessive shame and guilt
  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Hopelessness 

All of these social and emotional effects of alcohol can contribute to excessive drinking habits or alcohol dependence. Not surprisingly, people who consume alcohol should remain vigilant about monitoring their consumption and taking note of any negative behavioral patterns associated with summer drinking or binge drinking. 

Am I Drinking Too Much Alcohol? 

Many people wonder, “Am I a heavy drinker?” While this question can be somewhat subjective depending on individual circumstances, there is a set of criteria that can help you determine whether your alcohol consumption is healthy or not.

It’s not always easy to determine whether you have an alcohol use disorder, but taking an honest look at your behaviors and drinking habits is essential to your overall wellness and the well-being of those around you. 

The NIAAA cites several signs and symptoms of an alcohol use disorder, which include the following:5

  • Drinking more alcohol or for a longer period of time than intended
  • Wanting to stop drinking but being unable
  • Getting into situations while drinking that increased their chances of being hurt
  • Having to drink more than you once did to achieve the same effects
  • Continuing to drink even though it causes social, physical, and emotional problems
  • Spending a lot of time drinking or recovering from hangovers
  • Neglecting obligations to family, work, and friends as a result of drinking habits
  • Giving up hobbies and leisure activities to drink alcohol instead
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when the effects of alcohol wear off

Additionally, some common alcoholic habits include:

  • Making excuses to drink, such as when receiving bad news or good news
  • Denying that anything is wrong when approached about drinking habits
  • Claiming to have the ability to stop drinking whenever
  • Getting defensive when anyone suggests alcoholism might be the problem
  • Hiding alcohol around the house
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Regularly day drinking
  • Blacking out while drinking

How to Stop Drinking Every Weekend 

Maybe you were binge drinking with friends all summer and the habit is seeping into your everyday life even now that summer has come to an end. If you want to know how to stop drinking every weekend, a great place to start is by asking yourself, “Why do I drink so much alcohol?”

Many people don’t realize they rely on alcohol to deal with other problems, like social anxiety, depression, lack of confidence, or emotional pain. If you take a moment to question your motives, you may find that the causes of your alcohol abuse run deeper than you initially thought.

Learning how to stop drinking every weekend will require a high level of commitment, dedication, and determination, but even the most dedicated individuals often need professional treatment and support to be successful. If you’re ready to cut back on your drinking or stop completely, it may be time to seek outside help from a local recovery support group or an addiction treatment program.

Local Recovery Support Groups

Local recover support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), SMART Recovery, or Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) are great resources for people who want to stop drinking alcohol. They provide regular peer support, accountability, and structure for newly sober people who need help getting sober.

Medical Detox for Alcohol

If you’re drinking every day and you suffer from withdrawal symptoms when you go too long without a drink, you may need medical assistance to get sober. Quitting alcohol cold turkey can be dangerous if you’re severely addicted but a medical detox program provides round-the-clock medical and clinical care to ensure that you are comfortable as you safely detox from alcohol. After detox, your treatment team can refer you to ongoing treatment, such as an inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment program, which will help you maintain your sobriety.

Inpatient or Outpatient Alcohol Rehab Program

If you are addicted to alcohol, you may need professional help to get sober. An inpatient or outpatient alcohol rehab program will provide the personalized treatment and support you need to stay sober. These programs use research-based and evidence-based treatment methods to help you uncover the causes of your addiction, modify unhealthy behaviors and mindsets, and implement effective relapse prevention strategies as you gain the life skills you’ll need to sustain your sobriety.

Sober Living Program

After rehab, a sober living program can provide safe, supportive, and sober housing. This is especially beneficial for people who don’t have a sober or supportive home environment to return to after rehab. Sober living homes are gender-specific and they offer recovery support services such as drug and alcohol testing, certified peer monitoring, structured programming, educational planning, and volunteer placement for residents.

If you want to stop drinking every day or every weekend, a mixture of the above programs and services can help you achieve your sobriety goals and start living a life that you can be proud of.

Get Help for Alcohol Use Disorder and Addiction

If you or a loved one is showing any of the signs and symptoms listed above, you/they may be suffering from alcohol use disorder, but you are not alone. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 15.1 million adults ages 18 and older suffered from alcohol use disorder. Unfortunately, only 6.7 percent of adults who had AUD in the past year received treatment.6

Taking the first step to seek help is the hardest part of overcoming alcohol addiction. Although addiction recovery will require hard work, dedication, and time, it can be done.

At Nova Recovery Center, our alcohol and drug rehab program is designed to help individuals who struggle with chronic relapse. We provide the tools and skills necessary to avoid relapse and maintain long-term sobriety for a fulfilling life in recovery. Our addiction treatment professionals provide personalized treatment programs to best meet your every need. Even if you’ve tried to get sober multiple times and failed, we can help you.

Don’t let yourself or a loved one live another day shrouded in addiction. It may just seem like summer fun, but alcohol addiction is no joke. Get help today by calling our rehab center. A member of our admissions team is waiting and ready to help you begin your recovery journey.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8747501
  2. https://www.gutcheckit.com/blog/the-spirit-of-summer-how-alcoholic-beverage-preferences-change-during-the-season-of-bbqs-and-shorts/
  3. https://www.bevspot.com/2016/04/06/year-data-beverage-sales-season/
  4. https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/How-much-is-too-much/Is-your-drinking-pattern-risky/Whats-At-Risk-Or-Heavy-Drinking.aspx
  5. https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/How-much-is-too-much/Whats-the-harm/What-Are-Symptoms-Of-An-Alcohol-Use-Disorder.aspx
  6. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-facts-and-statistic
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