12 Myths About Alcohol
Author: Thomas Roth
Last Updated: 7/26/2022
Myths about alcohol are fairly common. While this is the case, it’s important to determine the difference between fact and fiction, especially when referring to a dangerous drug like alcohol. Fortunately, there are facts and statistics about alcohol that disprove many myths about alcohol.
There are a handful of these myths that you should be aware of. Believing the myths about alcohol can be dangerous, increase the risk of addiction, and even lead to problems with law enforcement. Read on to learn more about alcohol and the many myths surrounding it.
1. I Do Not Have a Problem Because I Can Hold My Liquor
When someone can drink large quantities of alcohol and not feel intoxicated there is a problem. This is because alcohol tolerance increases when it’s consumed chronically. Someone who claims to “hold their liquor,” is just someone with a high alcohol tolerance. Additionally, a high alcohol tolerance is an indicator and risk factor for alcohol abuse disorder (AUD).
Based on this information, someone who can hold their liquor might have a drinking problem. This is especially true in cases where people participate in binge drinking or daily alcohol consumption.
2. You Really Have to Admire a Person Who can Hold His/Her Liquor
There is no such thing as holding your liquor, no, you don’t have to admire someone that can “hold” their liquor. When someone can hold their liquor it means that they have more body mass or a higher alcohol tolerance. A high alcohol tolerance is a sign of alcoholism because alcohol tolerance increases when more alcohol is consumed. To feel the effects of alcohol, someone with a higher tolerance needs to consume more alcoholic beverages.
This creates a dangerous cycle where more alcohol needs to be consumed to feel the same effects. Ultimately, someone with a high alcohol tolerance becomes more likely to develop an alcohol abuse disorder.
4. Alcohol Can be Used as a Food Supplement
Alcohol can not be used as a food supplement. While alcohol contains calories it doesn’t have any nutritional value. It doesn’t contain vitamins, minerals, protein, or other types of macro and micro nutrients. Yes, the calories in alcohol can provide someone with energy, but it’s not a reliable source of energy. This becomes even worse when you take the intoxicating effects of alcohol into account.
Alcohol is also a diuretic, which means it causes dehydration. Being dehydrated increases the risk of health disorders, especially if no food is being consumed. Alcohol can also lead to weight gain and poor food choices, so it should be avoided as a food supplement.
5. Alcohol Warms the Body
Alcohol does not warm the body. In fact, alcohol reduces body temperature because it opens blood vessels (dilates them). When this occurs in the skin, the blood is cooled by external temperatures. Cooled blood that circulates the body then reduces the overall temperature of someone’s body.
While having more blood flowing through the surface of someone’s skin makes you feel warmer, the opposite is happening on the inside of your body. In many cases, severe cases of alcohol poisoning can lead to hypothermia as the body struggles to maintain body heat.
6. Alcohol is a stimulant drug
Alcohol is not a stimulant drug, it’s a depressant drug. A depressant is a drug that slows down the central nervous system, while a stimulant drug increases central nervous system activity. Specifically, alcohol interacts with GABA receptors in the brain to influence serotonin, dopamine, and other areas of the brain.
When this region of the brain slows down, there’s a reduction in negative thoughts. This reduction of negative thoughts is what makes people feel stimulated when drinking alcohol.
7. Hangovers are Caused by Switching Drinks
Hangovers are not caused by switching drinks. While the type of alcoholic beverage can influence a hangover, hangovers are caused by the amount of alcohol consumed. So, liquor, beer, and wine all result in the same hangover state when they’re consumed. It’s Important to note that drinking liquor increases the risk of a hangover because of its high alcohol concentration. Plus, it’s easier to drink five shots in an hour than five beers.
The actual cause of a hangover is based on several factors but it all starts with the liver. When consuming alcohol, the liver needs to process the alcohol and it can process one standard drink per hour (on average). That said, when the liver is processing alcohol it struggles to maintain blood sugar levels. This leads to a reduction in blood sugar. Decreased blood sugar levels result in hangover symptoms like a headache and feeling light-headed.
Another cause of a hangover is dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic, so consuming alcohol causes the kidneys to release more water into the bladder. It’s for this reason that alcohol causes frequent urination that leads to dehydration. Alcohol also causes changes in brain chemistry, so once alcohol is removed from the blood the body takes a few hours to return to normal.
8. Alcoholics Drink Every Day
Alcohol abuse disorder occurs in many different ways. While people who drink alcohol daily are more likely to develop alcoholism, alcoholics can also drink infrequently. For example, binge drinking is an alcohol abuse disorder that occurs when someone drinks more than four standard drinks in an hour. While bouts of binge drinking can be occasional, it’s still a type of alcohol abuse.
There can also be people who drink alcohol almost daily without being an alcoholic; this is rare and occurs when someone drinks about one standard drink per day. Overall, alcoholism is defined as being unable to control alcohol consumption once it begins. This can be drinking every day or not being able to stop drinking when alcohol is available.
9. You Can’t Become an Alcoholic by Drinking Only Beer
On average, people in the United States drink more beer than any other type of alcohol. For example, Americans drink upwards of 10 times more beer than liquor. While that number is lower for wine, it’s still almost double. While it’s true that beer contains less alcohol than liquor or wine, it still has enough alcohol to be addictive. Therefore, people who only drink beer can become alcoholics.
A great example is someone who comes home from work and drinks three or four beers each night. While the individual is functioning at work, consuming more than two or three standard drinks daily makes them an alcoholic.
10. Black Coffee or a Cold Shower Sobers a Drunk
Black coffee and cold showers can make someone feel more sober but they don’t decrease blood alcohol concentration. The only thing that can reduce blood alcohol concentration is the liver and that takes a lot of time. Therefore, only time can sober a drunk.
It can also be dangerous to combine stimulants with depressants. Stimulants can make someone feel less intoxicated, which increases the risk of alcohol poisoning. Mixing alcohol and stimulants can also cause someone to drive a vehicle when they’re still intoxicated, which can result in an accident or a DUI charge.
11. Drinking is a Good Way to Take the Edge Off My Chronic Pain
Drinking is a terrible way to take the edge off of your chronic pain. While drinking can temporarily reduce feelings of pain, using alcohol to self-medicate is dangerous. Self-medicating with alcohol increases the risk of addiction and alcohol poisoning. Furthermore, chronic pain that’s caused by inflammation will continue to persist. Alcohol increases inflammation in the body, so it can make chronic pain worse once its intoxicating effects wear off.
Always consult with your doctor before drinking alcohol as a means to cope with chronic pain. While a few drinks on occasion is okay, alcohol should never be a treatment method for chronic pain.
12. I Can Manage to Drive Well Enough After a Few Beers
Driving after a few beers is never a good idea and driving “well enough” doesn’t hold weight in a court of law. While someone with a high alcohol tolerance might not feel too intoxicated after a few beers, driving a vehicle when under the influence of alcohol is dangerous and against the law. With a BAC of .08% resulting in jail time, hefty penalties, and more.
Driving a vehicle under the influence is also dangerous for the driver and other people on the road. Alcohol depresses the central nervous system, which results in slowed reaction times. When driving a vehicle at high speeds, even a slight reduction in reaction time can result in an accident. Vehicles should never be driven after a few beers, even if someone claims to drive well enough.
What to Know More About Alcohol?
Alcohol is a dangerous substance that can lead to addiction, financial problems, and even death. People who abuse alcohol are more likely to struggle with work, relationships, and health. While alcohol is one of the most commonly used drugs, it also causes the most drug-related deaths and injuries around the world. Knowing more about alcohol and its dangers can help you stay safe when drinking alcohol.
What are the Common Facts About Alcohol?
A lot of research has been done on alcohol and its effects. These facts about alcohol explore things like how alcohol interacts with the body, how alcohol tolerance works, and much more.
Below are the facts about alcohol.
- Alcohol effects men and women differently
- Alcohol causes changes in blood sugar levels
- Drinking small amounts of alcohol can help with heart health
- Alcohol is a diuretic
- Alcohol intolerance causes rashes and blushing as well as other types of discomfort
- Several factors datetime how someone reacts to alcohol
- Alcohol poisoning is deadly
- Alcohol is the most abused drug in the world
- Alcohol withdrawal is deadly and dangerous
These are only some of the facts about alcohol. Still, new research comes out every year about alcohol and its effects.
Does Alcohol Make You Fat?
Alcohol does not always make someone fat but people who abuse alcohol are more likely to gain weight. People who drink alcohol become fat because it leads to bad food choices like potato chips and fast food. Alcohol also has a substantial amount of calories, so drinking a few beers at night can put someone in a calorie surplus. Being in a caloric surplus is the primary factor that leads to weight gain.
Is Alcohol a Drug?
Yes, alcohol is a drug. Alcohol is classified as a depressant, which is a drug that slows down central nervous system functions. It attaches to GABA receptors in the brain and causes changes in serotonin and dopamine. Alcohol can also influence other neurotransmitters in the brain and it can be physically addictive.