Holidays Drive Americans To Drink, But Don’t Blame Holiday Blues, New Survey Reveals
a reason DUI incidents spike between Thanksgiving and New Year’s
Day – but it may have more to do with holiday fun than the
holiday blues. While half of Americans believe that loneliness and
depression do play a part, a whopping seven out of 10 blame holiday
the key finding of a new nationwide survey of 1,000 adults, conducted
by market researcher Synovate for New Seasons Behavioral Health Care
historical data confirming a holiday increase in drunk-driving
incidents and fatalities, respondents were asked to select all of the
reasons that might prompt that kind of behavior: the prevalence of
holiday parties, stress associated with spending, more encounters with
family, the expectation that the holidays must be happy times, the
heartache associated with holidays past, increased feelings of
loneliness and isolation, or none of the above.
the trigger, excessive alcohol and drug use should always be addressed
sooner rather than later," said Steven M. Orenstein, MA, LMFT, and CEO
of New Seasons. "The abundance of parties during the holiday season
clearly presents more opportunities for over-drinking, but that’s
not the full story. The holiday season compounds issues of family
tension, financial stress, feelings of isolation – and problems
arise when people stop regulating behaviors like drinking, eating and
spending. People like to wait and make recovery a New Year’s
resolution, but that’s a mistake. If you or a loved one has a
problem, seek treatment now."
Holiday Ahs More Potent Than Holiday Blahs
percent of Americans attributed the rise in holiday drunk-driving
incidents to partying – a first-place preference that held across
gender, age, race and economic categories.
group – respondents with annual household incomes below $25,000
– ranked partying second. In this group, nearly two out of three
(65 percent) chose loneliness and isolation over holiday parties (62
loneliness and isolation emerged as Americans’ clear second
choice, cited by 50 percent. Interestingly, no major differences
emerged among those who might be considered most at riskfor holiday
loneliness: unmarried and childless respondents.
expectation that people are supposed to be happy during the holidays
weighed heavily for two out of five respondents (42 percent), while
less than one in three blamed past holiday heartaches (29 percent).
more likely than men to blame loneliness and isolation (57 percent
versus 43 percent) and happy expectations (47 percent versus 36
Those in the
Northeast were less likely than their peers in other parts of the
country to blame holiday parties – 61 percent, versus 75 percent
in both the Midwest and the West, and 71 percent in the South.
Financial Pinch Not Felt Until January?
than one in three attribute holiday drunk driving to financial stress
– a finding that generally held across income levels.
households under $25,000 were about 25 percent more likely than average
to cite "stress associated with spending" (46 percent vs. 37 percent),
financial stress did not outpace parties, loneliness or higher
expectations as a reason to drink among these low-income Americans.
Family Togetherness vs. Family Trauma
One in three
blamed holiday overindulgence on "more encounters with family" (33
percent). The youngest respondents, ages 18-24, were more likely than
any other age group to blame family get-togethers (44 percent).
Retirees were least likely to attribute drinking to family stress, with
only one in four citing family as a contributing factor.
Port Hueneme, CA, is a treatment system specializing in the treatment
of drug, alcohol, gambling, shopping and other addictions, eating
disorders, and psychological disorders.
For more information visit www.newseasonsrecovery.com