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Addiction experts warn of relapses, binge drinking during holidays

Posted at 7:20 PM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 19:30:39-05

NAPLES, Fla. — The holidays are hard enough for people fighting to stay on the right path. It’s even worse when health leaders say don’t go to your family or friends’ houses to celebrate. But, there are things you can do if you or a loved one is battling addiction.

Thanksgiving is just three days away, many consider it a time to give thanks. Others, unfortunately know the day before the big holiday as “Blackout Wednesday”, and that has people like Melissa Fors with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation concerned.

“In an normal year, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving tends to be on of the biggest nights at the bars for drinking, and it tends to be one of the hottest nights for DUIs in our country,” she said.

Fors is a spokesperson for the treatment center. She says women specifically are drinking more this year compared to 2019.

“Women are drinking what we consider heavy drinking or binge drinking 41 percent more than last year, and that’s very concerning,” she said.

That’s according to researchers at Rand Corporation. Fors says because addiction is a disease of isolation, those often battling it have a hard time coming forward. Sometimes they're depending on people who care about them to intervene by having what could be a life-saving conversation and doing it at the right time.

“Have that conversation privately, while that person is not intoxicated, and really the most important part is to express your concern,” said Fors.

If you’re personally having a hard time with addiction during the holidays, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation offers virtual meetings for alcoholic and narcotics anonymous groups seven days a week.

Fors urges everyone, no matter who you are or where you are, to pick up the phone and check on your loved ones.

“Just because we’re socially distanced doesn’t mean we have to be socially isolated. So, we can reach out. That’s one thing I’d say all of us can do,” she said. “Not just with someone who’s struggling with drugs or alcohol. Just to reach out to different people during this time.”

Fors says those AA meetings are available virtually on Thanksgiving day, too. You can find times on their website hazeldenbettyford.org.

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