Myths about Alcohol
One of the health observances we recognize in the month of April is alcohol awareness. According to The Global Drug Survey, alcohol is the #1 reason people end up in the Emergency Room.1 Therefore, it is so important to know the facts regarding alcohol consumption for your safety and the safety of others.
Myth #1: You can sober up quickly
Many make the mistake of letting themselves drink too much, too fast because they assume sobering up will not be difficult. Cold showers, fresh air, and hot coffee may seem refreshing, but it is not sobering. In fact, caffeine is a stimulant. Because of that, someone that is drunk is going to be more awake but just as impaired after coffee. The individual gains a false degree of confidence that they are not impaired. This could lead to riskier decision making.
Myth #2: It is good to build up your tolerance so you can drink more and stay sober
It is true that the more you drink over time, the more alcohol tolerance you develop. However, tolerance is a warning sign, not a stamp of approval to continue drinking. If you have to drink more to feel the same buzz you once did, you are on a dangerous path to developing a drinking problem. The more you drink, the more damage your body receives.
Myth #3: A nightcap helps you sleep
It is true that having a drink before you turn in at night will put you to sleep quicker. However, alcohol will disrupt sleep. Research from a 2018 study concluded that alcohol typically disrupts sleep during rapid eye movement or REM sleep, the more crucial sleep stage. 2
Myth #4: Eating before a meal will keep you sober
Food will not keep alcohol from affecting your body. The alcohol still enters your system. It may be delayed slightly due to the food, but if you drink heavily, your rate of absorption is affected only a little and you still get drunk.
Myth #5: Beer affects you less than other types of alcohol
Wine, liquor and beer all contain the same type of alcohol (ethanol). One standard drink should lead to the same level of intoxication. However, many tend to drink more when drinking hard liquor or mixing alcoholic beverages. Cocktails often contain much more alcohol than a standard drink.
So, what is a standard drink? For beer its 12 ounces. A standard drink of wine is 5 ounces, and a mixed drink is one shot of 80-proof liquor. Each standard drink contains .5 ounces of ethanol.
Myth #6: When someone passes out from drinking, allow him to sleep it off
When someone is so drunk he passes out, alcohol can continue to absorb into the body, sometimes leading to a fatal overdose. Unfortunately, some “aspirate” on their own vomit and choke to death after drinking. It’s important to stay with someone who may have had too much to drink. Do not assume that he will be ok while “sleeping it off.”
Life is meant to be enjoyed. However, make sure as you enjoy life you remember your health and safety too! If you feel your drinking habits are becoming a problem, please reach out to one of our CCMH providers for an appointment. You can find a list of them on our online directory at ccmhhealth.com/directory.
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2 US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. Colrain, Ian M., Nicholas Christian L., and Baker, Fiona C. Alcohol and the Sleeping Brain. 2018 Feb 21.