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The Subtle Dangers of Holiday Drinking

Last updated on December 12, 2022

This blog was written by Dr. Kim Toynes, LPC, LCDC, SAP, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).

A survey of 2,000 Americans determined that the average adult would double their alcohol intake between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day (Newhart, 2018). In addition, New Year’s Eve and Super Bowl Sunday are two of the biggest drinking days of the year (McGinley, 2022).

Dangers of Drinking

People generally underestimate the dangers of being impaired or intoxicated by presuming that they can continue with their normal activities. Impairment is indicated by a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .01% to .05% BAC. Once a person reaches .06% to .15% BAC, their impairment increases and reaches the level of intoxication. 

The subtle rise in BAC levels cause slowed reaction time, slurred speech and even a loss of balance — all indicate you should stay where you are until you become sober. 

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NAIAAA), “Alcohol makes it harder for the brain areas controlling balance, memory, speech and judgments to do their jobs, resulting in a higher likelihood of injuries and other negative outcomes.” 

In a controlled environment, several Dallas College students were afforded the opportunity to experience those effects by participating in a drunken state simulation. Student’s vision and coordination were impaired with the use of drunk goggles. Their blurred vision, unstable walking and challenge to stand simulations created fun and laughter. However, the students recognized the potential dangers of being under the influence of alcohol and commented, “I would not drive a car in this condition.”

Make Wise Decisions

It is important to remember that “during an evening of drinking, it’s easy to misjudge how long alcohol’s effects last — and that alcohol continues to affect the brain and body long after the last drink has been finished. Even after someone stops drinking, alcohol in the stomach and intestine continues to enter the bloodstream, resulting in impaired judgement and coordination for hours.” (The Truth About Holiday Spirits, 2022). It is additionally important to remember the rules and laws governing alcohol.

Texas Drinking and Driving Laws:

  • 21 is the legal drinking age
  • Zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol by a minor (DUI)
  • Zero tolerance for driving while intoxicated by persons 21 and older

Tip: If you are going to drink, don’t drive. And if you are going to drive, don’t drink.

Alcohol and Stress Management

A common alcohol related myth is that alcohol helps reduce stress. However, since alcohol is a depressant, consumers can develop an unhealthy relationship with alcohol when it’s used to manage stress. Millions of people are affected by an addiction to alcohol, placing a strain on relationships, finances, school and even employment opportunities.

Tip: If you find that your level of alcohol consumption is causing problems in your life, take advantage of speaking with a nurse or counselor at Dallas College. All services are free and provide confidential support. Your health and wellness are important during and after the holiday season.


McGinley, G. (Dec. 6, 2022). Gross McGinley. Retrieved from Gross McGinley Atorneys at Law:

Newhart, B. (Dec. 19, 2018). Beverage Retrieved from Beverage Daily:

The Truth About Holiday Spirits. (November 2022r). Retrieved from National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:

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