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Viva Vitality: Celebrate responsibly this holiday season

Posted on December 27, 2023 by Sunny South News

By Taneil Zanidean

The holidays can be a time for family, friends, and celebration. Celebration can look different for everyone, but for many, it includes alcohol. It is important to consider the risks of alcohol use.

If you drink too much alcohol on a single occasion, you may experience the following short-term effects: impulsive behaviour, drowsiness, aggressiveness and violent behaviour, slowed reaction time, slurred speech, double or blurred vision, flushed skin, nausea or vomiting, frequent urination, impaired memory loss or loss of memory, or impaired attention, concentration and judgement. Severe alcohol intoxication can lead to alcohol poisoning which can result in stupor, coma, respiratory arrest, and death. 

You can reduce the risk of the short-term effects and other alcohol-related harms by limiting the number of drinks you have on a single occasion, and the number of drinks you have per day and week over time.   

This holidays season if you’re the party host: 

• Offer a selection of non-alcoholic beverages and plenty of food.

• Stop serving alcohol at least one hour before the party ends.

• Don’t serve alcohol to an overly intoxicated guest.

• Don’t let anyone who is drunk drive home.

Drinking less benefits you and those around you. It reduces your risk of injury and violence, and many health problems that can shorten life. You can reduce your drinking in steps. Every drink counts – any reduction in alcohol use has benefits.  

The more alcohol you drink per week, the more the consequences add up.

• 0 drinks per week. Not drinking has benefits, such as better health and sleep.

• 1 to 2 standard drinks per week. You will likely avoid alcohol-related consequences for yourself and others.

• 3 to 6 standard drinks per week. Your risk of developing several different types of cancer, including breast and colon cancer, increases.

• 7 or more standard drinks per week. Your risk of heart disease or stroke increases. 

If you or someone you know needs help with substance use, contact the Alberta Health Services Addiction Helpline at 1-866-332-2322. This is a confidential 24/7 service that provides support, information and referrals to Albertans experiencing addiction and mental health concerns. 

Taneil Zanidean is a Health Promotion Facilitator with Alberta Health Services’ South Zone Addiction and Mental Health.

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