Psychologist offers caution about excessive alcohol use during the holidays

Alcohol and the pandemic

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The holidays are difficult this year with many people isolated during the pandemic, and experts say many might turn to alcohol for comfort.

Dr. Josh Klapow says even though times are tough, be careful choosing a vice to get through.

The holidays are a time to indulge, but the consequences of reaching for the bottle too often can last well past the new year.

Nielson reports alcohol sales have gone up more than 50 percent during the pandemic.

“We have that idea of having a drink to calm down, to take the edge off, to make us feel more relaxed,” explained Klapow.

In moderation that’s fine, but with the ongoing marathon of trauma this year, it can become a crutch.

“What I would say this year is even though you may want to drink and relax and use a substance to feel better, it’s fine but don’t go too far,” cautioned Klapow.

Dr. Josh says if you know you’re taking it too far, your New Year’s Resolution is to get help.

“If you’re using them to numb the pain and numb the stress day after day, it’s probably time to talk to a mental health professional,” said Dr. Klapow.

Physically, alcohol can also impair judgement, weaken the immune system and make you slower to react.

The national crisis hotline is staffed 24/7 even through the holidays with trained professionals.

Copyright 2020 WBRC. All rights reserved.