According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), drug and alcohol addiction treatment is a $35 million industry. However, only a fraction of people suffering from an alcohol abuse disorder will get the treatment they need.
In the United States alone, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence estimates that 17.6 million citizens – or 1 in every 12 adults – suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence and that there are several billion more people who binge drink or engage in dangerous drinking patterns on a regular basis.
One might ask why alcohol abuse is so prominent, especially when there is research to suggest that alcohol is the most dangerous substance in the world. The problem may lie in all the misconceptions surrounding alcohol, and its accessibility and social status when compared to other substances. In this post, we’ll debunk some of the most common myths and misunderstandings – uncovering the shady truth about alcohol.
Myth 1: There are ways to sober up quickly if you have to.
You may have heard that having a cold shower or drinking a strong cup of coffee can help sober you up when you’ve had too much to drink. Some people will try these techniques and then feel that they can drive home, or keep drinking.
While these practices may make you feel more sober or awake, they cannot remove the alcohol from your system! Your blood alcohol content (BAC) is not reduced, and you actually put yourself at more risk: caffeine can stimulate the body, and give you a false sense of confidence.
Myth 2: Mixing different types of drinks gets you drunker in a shorter time frame.
Many people believe that drinking different types of alcohol – like beer, wine, and hard spirits – will make them feel intoxicated much quicker than if they only consumed one type of alcohol throughout an evening. Some also believe that mixing drinks leads to worse hangovers. The reverse ‘logic’ of this is that it’s safer to consume only one type of alcohol, even in large quantities.
In fact, the amount of alcohol you consume matters more than the type of drink or the order in which you consume them. People who mix drinks are more likely to drink more and are likely to move from drinking a low alcohol content beverage (like beer) to a higher one (like spirits) – thereby increasing their overall BAC. However, if you’re drinking 20 beers in one sitting, you’ll probably be as intoxicated as your friend who mixed drinks. Similarly, the severity of your hangover depends on how much alcohol you consumed and not necessarily what type.
Myth 3: Some people have a naturally higher tolerance to alcohol.
You may have heard that some people can just drink and drink, and not feel the effects of alcohol as severely as others.
There is some truth to this, insofar as men can drink a bit more than women on average. Because men are typically bigger and have more pound-for-pound water content in their bodies, their BAC is going to be slightly lower than that of a woman drinking the same amount of alcohol.
However, increased tolerance to alcohol is caused by regular drinking, and can actually be a sign of alcohol dependence. Alcohol tolerance encourages people to drink more, and while they may not feel drunk, their BAC is still over the limit. Unfortunately, many ‘alcohol tolerant’ drinkers engage in dangerous behaviors (like drunk driving) or risk serious organ damage by continuing to drink heavily.
For more information about common alcohol myths and misconceptions, contact Beachside Rehab today.