One of the big problems with alcohol is that it is often viewed as a safe, socially acceptable substance. There is a world full of misunderstandings about alcohol. This could be one reason why more people die from alcohol-related causes each year than from all other drugs combined.
One of the first steps in properly educating people about the dangers of alcohol abuse is to start dispelling some of the myths surrounding the substance.
The myths, the science and the truth
In a country where a significant percentage of the population consumes alcohol (the NIAAA estimates that around 55% of adults drink alcohol regularly), it’s virtually impossible to grow up in the United States and not hear any myths about alcohol. Here are eight myths about alcohol and the real facts to dispel those myths:
Myth # 1: Occasional binge drinking is okay.
Binge drinking is always harmful, no matter what. The NIAAA defines binge drinking as “a pattern of alcohol consumption that brings blood alcohol levels (BAC) to 0.08 percent – or 0.08 grams of alcohol per deciliter – or higher. For a typical adult, this pattern equates to consuming 5 or more drinks (male) or 4 or more drinks (female) in about 2 hours. ”This alcohol consumption is absolutely excessive and harmful. Binge drinking damages the cardiovascular system and the liver. Such drinking affects judgment and can lead to accidental injuries such as car accidents, falls, and burns. It can lead to bad sexual choices, violence, and even problems with the law. Binge drinking is never okay.
Myth # 2: People stop drinking as much as they get older.
This is untrue. Elderly people drink alcohol just as often. Research shows that people are more sensitive to alcohol as they get older. In addition, other factors such as loneliness, depression, chronic pain, and boredom become more likely as they age, putting this population at risk for alcohol abuse.
Myth # 3: “I have no problem because I can hold my liquor.”
The very concept of “holding schnapps” is flawed because it suggests that some people can “tolerate” alcohol. This is a misconception because it suggests that some people have biological defenses against the effects of alcohol. That’s not the case. If alcohol turns out to not affect a person’s behavior, mood, or senses, it does not mean that the substance is not affecting them in any other way, biologically. A taller person may need several drinks to become aware that the alcohol is “feeling something”. But as soon as they first drink, the alcohol starts damaging their internal system.
Myth # 4: “I only drink on weekends. It’s not a problem. “
An alcohol abuse problem doesn’t have to be everyday. Heavy drinking doesn’t have to happen every day for it to be alcohol abuse. Just a case of binge drinking is a case of alcohol abuse. If a person has more than two drinks a day (for a man) or more than one drink a day (for a woman), it is drinking too much alcohol. In addition, if someone drinks in a day and has more than four drinks (for a man) or more than three drinks (for a woman), this constitutes heavy alcohol consumption and cannot be prevented by saving such drinking habits for “Weekend only.” . ”
Myth # 5: Increased alcohol tolerance protects your body from harm from alcohol consumption.
As you drink alcohol over time, the body begins to develop a tolerance for the substance. Alcohol is a foreign substance to the human body. Unlike food or water, humans do not need alcohol to survive, so the body’s natural response to the foreign fluid is to build a tolerance for it in order to prevent the substance from affecting a person’s behavior, mind, and physiological functions changed the way alcohol does it. However, increased alcohol tolerance does not protect individuals from the toxic effects that excessive drinking has on the body.
Myth # 6: Alcohol has legitimate uses in pain management.
There is no doubt that alcohol can have an analgesic effect (and the NIAAA estimates that 28% of patients with chronic pain use alcohol for this purpose). However, alcohol is not a medically recognized form of pain relief and pain relieving drinking carries significant health risks. First and foremost, more alcohol must be consumed than is recommended in order to achieve an analgesic effect. This means drinking too much for pain relief, essentially trading one problem for another. In addition, withdrawal from alcohol consumption often increases the sensation of pain. There are healthy ways to manage pain, but drinking alcohol is not one of them.
Myth # 7: Beer is less intoxicating than other alcoholic beverages, which means you can drink more of them.
This is not the case, since a regular alcoholic drink is the same regardless of the type Alcohol that is drunk in. According to NIAAA, “A standard drink is any drink that contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol (about 0.6 fluid ounces or 1.2 tablespoons).” The NIAAA also provides information on the amount of different types of alcohol that one must consume to drink that amount of pure alcohol . A single 12 oz. Serving beer is a standard drink. According to the data, men shouldn’t have more than 1-2 drinks a day, and women shouldn’t have more than 1 drink a day. (But even so, it’s important to note that all Alcohol consumption carries risks and should be avoided).
Myth # 8: Cold showers and hot coffee help sober you up.
While cold showers and hot coffee can create the appearance of wakefulness, there is no cure for drunkenness except over time. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “Coffee, fresh air, cold showers, or food will not help clear the alcohol or any other drug combination from the circulatory system. Time is the only medically proven method of removing alcohol or other drug combinations from the circulation. It takes about an hour for the body to remove a normal drink from the circulation. So if someone has had four regular beverages, they should wait four hours or more before driving off. ”Only by giving the body time to process and excrete alcohol can one recover from the effects of the substance.
Getting help with a drinking problem
Alcohol abuse is a serious health crisis that affects the mind, body, and spirit. It is important to understand what alcohol abuse and addiction are, and that alcohol myths do not stand up to scrutiny. If you know someone who drinks alcohol and cannot stop or drinks too much, please take them to a drug and alcohol treatment center as soon as possible. Alcohol addiction is a life threatening crisis.