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Seasonal Drinking: Why Alcohol Is More Dangerous in the Summer

As summer marks its arrival with long days and gorgeous weather, everyone seems to be hunting for an excuse to spend more time outdoors. Summer is the perfect time of year to plan a barbecue, beach day or just a casual get-together with friends and family. However, there are also many risks associated with summer drinking. Because this season presents a slew of health dangers, such as dehydration and sun damage, it’s crucial to take extra precautions when drinking in the hot weather.

The negative effects of summertime drinking raise the risk of alcohol abuse as well. Even if you aren’t predisposed to alcohol addiction, excessive drinking is more common in the summer than it is during the rest of the year. By understanding the various risks of alcohol abuse in warm weather, you can help protect yourself and those around you from the consequences of addiction.


While alcohol always makes you prone to dehydration, the risk is even higher during the summer. Alcohol causes you to urinate more often, which leads to greater fluid loss. At the same time, the hot summer weather leads to more frequent perspiration, causing you to lose fluids through sweat. These two effects increase the risk of dehydration significantly.

Prolonged dehydration can have many negative effects on your body. Some of the most common symptoms include heat cramps, heat exhaustion and even heat stroke, depending on the severity of dehydration. If you fail to hydrate for an extended period of time, you may also begin to suffer from seizures, muscle damage, kidney stones or constipation.

Car Accidents

If you’re itching to hit the open road this summer, you’re far from alone. Between road trips and beach vacations, there’s good reason for the highways to be clogged from June through August. Unfortunately, this sharp uptick in traffic also means that there are more drunk drivers on the road. Many people also travel with young children or pets on their way to their summer destinations, which makes them more distracted and vulnerable to irresponsible driving.

One of the most prominent signs of alcohol abuse is putting others in danger as a result of one’s addiction. If you routinely struggle to keep your drinking habit under control despite the consequences, this may be a red flag that it’s time to seek treatment.

Swimming Dangers

The ocean or pool may seem inviting as summer settles in. But if you do plan on going for a swim, be sure not to do so after you’ve just finished drinking. In some cases, swimmers might not notice that their body temperature has dropped significantly, raising the risk of hypothermia. The most common side effects of hypothermia include:

  • Excessive shivering
  • Slowed speech
  • Confusion
  • Stumbling
  • Clumsiness
  • Slowed breathing

Additionally, swimming itself can become dangerous when alcohol is involved. Swimmers may dive into shallow water or collide with the diving board if they go for a swim while intoxicated. This risky behavior can lead to many serious consequences.

Sun Damage

If you’re soaking up the sun while enjoying a few drinks, you’re more likely to forgo proper skin protection. Studies also show that alcohol reduces the level of UV exposure required to create a sunburn. By not applying enough sunscreen before heading outside, you can significantly increase the risk of skin cancer.

It’s important to take extra steps to guard your skin against harmful UV rays if you plan to drink. In addition, try to avoid spending too much time outside during peak heat, which is roughly between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. During this time, the sun’s rays are the strongest, making you more vulnerable to sun damage.

Peer Pressure

The risks of summertime drinking are especially acute for young people. Summer is when children spend the most time hanging out with their friends. Moreover, the long, hot days create the ideal conditions for risky behavior, such as drunk driving, unprotected sex and criminal acts.

Even if a child isn’t prone to this type of behavior, they will be more likely to engage in it if their friends encourage them to. It’s also worth noting that risky acts become more common when school isn’t in session. This gives children ample time to get into trouble and put their health in danger, as well as the health of those around them.

Seek the Support You Need This Summer

For many people, drinking in the summer is an innocent, enjoyable activity that is meant to be savored with friends and family. However, others may struggle to keep their drinking habit under control as the hot summer weather kicks in. If you or someone you know is battling alcohol abuse, the next couple of months can prove to be a challenge. That’s why it’s crucial to find the right treatment program for your needs.

At Topsail, we offer full day outpatient (PHP*), weekly outpatient treatment and half day outpatient treatment (IOP**) in Massachusetts. Our dedicated addiction specialists will get to know you better and provide the tools and resources you need to achieve a full recovery. Once you’re ready to take the first step toward sobriety, reach out to us today.

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