MALIBU, Calif., Nov. 29 (UPI) -- An ex-binge drinker in California who has been sober more than 10 years suggests drinkers ask themselves questions about their drinking before holiday parties.
Pax Prentiss, co-founder and co-director of the Passages Malibu Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Center, said two to three times more people are predicted to die in alcohol-related crashes due to holiday stress and the abundance of holiday drinking opportunities.
"Excessive alcohol consumption costs the United States $223.5 billion per year and 15 percent of the U.S. adult population binge drank in past 30 days and this percentage increases over the holidays, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found," Prentiss said in a statement.
"Identifying the warning signs of alcohol abuse and encouraging loved ones to seek treatment can mean the difference between life and death."
Prentiss says the warning signs of alcohol abuse are:
-- Drinking alone is a sign of alcoholism.
-- Making excuses and feeling the need to explain why they are drinking, whether it be for the holidays or because they had a bad day.
-- Claiming to drink less alcohol and drink less frequently than they actually do.
-- Forgetting what happened the night before and habitually asking people to help recall events.
-- Having a singular focus on finding alcohol as the No. 1 priority in their day or at an event.
-- Being unwilling to talk about their drinking, which would draw attention to the fact that they have a problem.