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Myth: Will Power is the Key
People do not recover from illnesses by simply resolving that they will stop being sick! As it happens, many alcoholics do have a great deal of will power. For example, in some cases, they can hold down jobs long after they should. Saddled with a massive hangover, their sheer will to carry out a 'normal day' will get them to work when with any other illness would keep them home. However, just one drink—for an alcoholic—can result in an endless, downward spiral.
Myth: Eating a Big Meal Before Drinking Keeps You Sober
The fact is that drinking on a full stomach will only delay the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream, not prevent it. Eating before you drink is not a defense against becoming intoxicated.
Eating a filling, greasy, carb-loaded meal may prevent you from suffering worse hangover symptoms compared to drinking on an empty stomach. However, the best hangover remedy is to not drink in the first place, or drink a very modest amount.
Myth: Cold Showers and Hot Coffee Sober You Up
While showers, fresh air, and hot coffee might feel a little refreshing to a person who has been drinking all night, none of these things will make you sober.
It takes the body approximately one hour to eliminate the alcohol in one drink. Once absorbed into the bloodstream, alcohol gets processed by the kidneys, lungs, and liver. This is why a urine, blood, or breathalyzer test can all detect alcohol in the body.
Myth: Switching Between Drinks Makes You More Drunk
There is a saying, "Beer on whiskey, mighty risky." This saying is not about how mixing drinks makes you more drunk, but a warning about how mixing different types of alcohol might make you sick to your stomach.
Similar to the expression, "Beer before liquor, never been sicker. Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear." Mixing drink types is usually a recipe for disaster. Your body can only process so much before it goes into preservation mode.
Yet keep in mind that drinking a lot of anything alcoholic can lead to dehydration and a nasty hangover.
Myth: Beer Is Less Intoxicating Than Other Alcoholic Beverages
The fact is that one 12-ounce can of beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or one average sized cocktail containing about 1 1/2 ounces of liquor are all equally intoxicating. Each alcoholic beverage is considered a standard drink containing about the same amount of alcohol.
Where the myth has some merit is if you were to drink 12 ounces of liquor compared to one 12-ounce can of beer. Then, yes, the 12 ounces of liquor might have you hugging a toilet bowl.
Myth: Having Tolerance Is a Good Thing
Developing alcohol tolerance could be a clue that you or someone you love is at risk of developing alcohol-related problems.
Alcohol tolerance can be defined as the following:
A need for increased amounts of alcohol to achieve intoxication or desired effect
Diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of alcohol
Either way, it's one of the warning signs of an alcohol use disorder and it's not a sign of healthy physical function.
Myth: I'm Too Old to Have a Drinking Problem
Alcohol use disorders don't discriminate. In fact, in the past 10 years there has been a steady rise in alcohol use disorders among those ages 65 and older. What's more, people with alcohol use disorder who are middle-aged and older are at a significantly higher risk for suicide compared to their younger counterparts.
Myth: Alcohol Helps Me Manage My Pain
According to research, as many as 28% of people with chronic pain misuse alcohol to alleviate their symptoms. Yet if you have chronic pain, it's best to put down that drink.
While alcohol can deliver a certain amount of relief by slowing down the brain and nervous system, the amount of alcohol you'll need to drink to relieve chronic pain would probably be more than the recommended guidelines for safe alcohol consumption.
If you or someone you love is drinking daily for pain relief, you'll also likely build up a tolerance, needing more to achieve the same pain-relieving effects. In addition, mixing alcohol and painkillers is downright dangerous, with possibly fatal consequences.
90 Seconds Is All It Takes
When you eat food, it takes your body a while to digest it and absorb its nutrients.
Not so with alcohol, which quickly affects every cell in your body. Within 90 seconds of your first sip, the lining of your mouth and stomach absorb some of the alcohol directly into your bloodstream.
It even crosses the blood-brain barrier, which was designed to keep harmful substances out of your brain. It’s no wonder that too much alcohol can wreak so much havoc on every part of your body and mind!
Stress relief is another side effect of drinking alcohol. This is caused by an increase in the uptake of another neurotransmitter, called GABA.
Alcohol affects men and women differently
Men and women metabolize alcohol differently due to stomach enzymes, hormones, the ratio of muscle to fat, and water concentration in the body, Dr. Lander says. Women absorb more alcohol and metabolize it more slowly, and they're also at greater risk for long-term damage from alcohol. Men are more likely to drink excessively and simultaneously engage in high-risk behaviors, which leads to a higher incidence of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations.
Alcohol and Cancer
The less alcohol you drink, the lower your risk for cancer.
Drinking alcohol raises your risk of getting six kinds of cancer—
Mouth and throat.
Voice box (larynx).
Colon and rectum.
Breast (in women).
All types of alcoholic drinks, including red and white wine, beer, cocktails, and liquor, are linked with cancer. The more you drink, the higher your cancer risk.