Many people love to celebrate during the holidays during family gatherings, office parties, and other celebrations, but some people may drink beyond their limits. Adverse consequences can range from family fights or relationship problems, to accidents or embarrassing situations with co-workers. And for people who spend a lot of time drinking—including finding themselves craving alcohol or drinking more to get the same effect—this may be a sign of an ongoing alcohol use disorder (AUD). The start of a new year is a good time to look back at your behavior over the holidays, take stock of your own or your close friends’ or family members’ drinking patterns, and to consider ways to cut back or stop if alcohol is causing harm.
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The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s (NIAAA) online resource, RethinkingDrinking.niaaa.nih.gov, allows people to take a quick drinking pattern checkup, learn about signs of a problem, and get tips to cut back or stop. Additionally, NIAAA’s free booklet, Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help, covers the latest research-based treatments—such as behavioral treatments and medications—and what to consider when choosing among them.
About Dr. George Koob
Dr. George F. Koob, Director of NIAAA at the National Institutes of Health, is an internationally-recognized expert on alcohol and the neurobiology of alcohol and drug addiction. Dr. Koob began his career investigating the neurobiology of emotion, particularly how the brain processes reward and stress. He subsequently applied basic research on emotions, including on the anatomical and neurochemical underpinnings of emotional function, to alcohol and drug addiction, significantly broadening knowledge of the adaptations within reward and stress neurocircuits that lead to addiction. This work has advanced our understanding of the physiological effects of alcohol and other substance use and why some people transition from use to misuse to addiction, while others do not. Dr. Koob oversees a wide range of alcohol-related research, including genetics, neuroscience, epidemiology, prevention, and treatment. He is the author of more than 650 peer-reviewed scientific papers, and the co-author of The Neurobiology of Addiction, a comprehensive review of the most critical neurobiology of addiction research conducted over the past 50 years.