Winter Blues – Alcohol Use

You’ve had a long day at work, you barely saw the sun except on your lunch break and even then it was mostly hidden behind dreary looking clouds, and it’s cold. The kind of cold that seems to go straight through your clothes and settles in your bones.

You get home and make yourself a hot toddy, you cuddle up in a blanket and put on your favorite tv show. The warm drink and the alcohol make you feel cozy, but is it really what is best for you?

Alcohol makes us feel warm and tingly, which can give a false sense of security in the winter months. Why do we experience these sensations? Alcohol dilates your blood vessels on the surface of your skin, making you feel warm, but do not let that fool you (Baker, 2019). Alcohol is no replacement for warm clothing if you’re headed outside in January! You may feel warm, but your body isn’t really warm and hypothermia is still a danger.

Want to warm up in winter? Drink warm drinks without the added alcohol and layer your clothing rather than increasing your alcohol consumption.

How can we help patients who consume more than the recommended amount of alcohol on a regular basis no matter what the season? Implement Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention (SBI) to your routine care visits. These validated screening questions can help you identify drinking patterns and can open opportunities for you to help patients who need it.

Want to learn more about SBI? Take a look at this information from the CDC:


Baker, S. (2019). You’re Not Really As Warm As You Feel When Drinking Alcohol in Winter. Retrieved from:¬†

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