By: Dr. Harris Stratyner, Ph.D.

Dr. Harris Stratyner, Ph.D., vice president of Caron Treatment Center and clinical director of the New York region, is internationally known for developing and implementing the groundbreaking clinical model of "Carefrontation," a treatment approach that doesn't shame or blame the patient. It recognizes addiction as a disease and stresses each individual's responsibility to work with healthcare providers to reach the goal of complete abstinence.  

A tempting time

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Dec 16, 2014

The holiday season is a time to eat, drink and be merry. But for many adults, it’s also a time to behave irresponsibly, according to a recent survey conducted by Caron Treatment Centers.

The survey offers some alarming information about adults’ (age 21+) behavior and attitudes during the holidays. For example:

20 percentof parents who were surveyed admitted to blacking out after returning home from a holiday party with children in the house.

Roughly 33 percent of adults admitted to leaving a party and driving after they had consumed alcohol. 

Even more alarming was an outcome that revealed that approximately two in five adults who were 65 years of age and older, admitted to drinking and driving.

Fifty percentof those surveyed had seen someone leave a party after clearly consuming too much alcohol and get behind the wheel

Approximately 33 percent of adults were ok with their 18 to 20 year old children having one alcoholic beverage at a holiday party at home as long as the kids were not driving.

That covers the behavior after the party, but the behavior during was just as bad. Those who attend parties have witnessed someone under the influence at a party:

Arguing with others (68 percent)
Using excessive profanity (59 percent)
Flirting inappropriately (57 percent)
Becoming physically aggressive (56 percent)
Engaging in sexual activity (33 percent)
Posting inappropriate comments or photos on social media (19 percent)


Of adults who have ever behaved inappropriately when drinking too much at a party, 69 percent were hung over and 36 percent reported feeling embarrassed about their behavior. But fewer than one in five (17 percent) said they were concerned about their behavior.

It is never a good idea to drink and drive - indeed it is a potentially deadly idea!

As far as those who are under 21, it is illegal to drink and parents should be clear and not give mixed messages.

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant; however, when one initially consumes alcohol it disinhibits their mood - it is therefore no surprise that individuals argue, use profanity, flirt, become physically aggressive, act out sexually or post inappropriate messages or pictures.

To this clinician, it seems rather stupid to imbibe if you are not alcoholic unless you have taken precautions - such as arranged for a designated driver. Even then one should drink moderately so they don't embarrass themselves or others. Of course a person with Alcohol Use Disorder should not be drinking at all, and again anyone under the age of 21 also should not be drinking. Yes, I know that kids drink but parents must make it clear they will not tolerate it.

I am known for my method of "carefrontation," which subscribes to a loving, gentle approach to addiction and behaviors that are deleterious to one's well being, but caring and respect should never be confused with allowing inappropriate, dangerous behavior.

If you are going to drink make sure you don't do it on an empty stomach - stay away from carbonated mixers because they increase alcohol absorption rates from the stomach to the bloodstream - don't drink on medications, and certainly on illicit drugs - if you like earning a paycheck, perhaps you should stick to soft drinks at the office party.

Remember the old saying: "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

For the complete results of the Caron Treatment Center survey, go to their website at, and have a very happy, healthy, and safe holiday season.


Other articles you might be interested in...

Avoiding the holiday hangover 

Maintaining the cheer 

Gaining power by admitting powerlessness 




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