Myths About Alcoholism
While alcoholism is better studied than it ever has been in the past, there are still many prevailing myths about alcoholism that infest much of our culture. These misconceptions can cause people to make uneducated decisions and, frankly, put themselves and their health at permanent risk. Let’s debunk some of these myths and get the truth out there so you and your circle can stay safe and healthy.
Let’s get started!
Myth: Drinking infrequently (but still regularly) does not cause any harm to your body
Many people will limit themselves to only drinking on weekends. While this is a good start for someone who might have a larger drinking problem and something good to think about for those who might not know how to control themselves, there are multiple factors that go into a decision like this one, and everything needs to be taken into account.
The fact is, even if you limit yourself to only drinking on weekends, the amount and the intensity of the drinking is what really matters. Do you only drink on weekends but seriously binge when you do drink? This could potentially be more harmful to your body than only drinking small amounts every day. (This should still not be encouraged, as it can lead to more and more as one builds a tolerance)
Excessive alcohol consumption can still be a major problem for your health if you drink over a certain amount. This amount does not lessen if you save it all for one brief moment over the weekend. These binge nights can put you at risk of heart disease, stroke, liver disease, sleep issues, some types of cancer, and of course, the dreaded hangover.
You might be at risk if…
You are a man and drink more than 14 drinks a week (the equivalent of 4 drinks a day).
You are a woman, and you drink more than seven drinks a week (the equivalent of 3 drinks a day).
What this comes down to is weekly quantity. If you’re still exceeding one of these numbers on a weekly basis, you need to take a serious look at what you could be doing to your body long-term.
Myth: Alcohol is good for your health
This is a tough myth to debunk. The fact is, while some studies show there is some nuanced truth to this, the honest truth is always harder to decipher.
The fact is, there are some studies that show that small amounts of alcohol consumption can decrease the risk of heart attack, stroke, or peripheral vascular disease. While this study did find it common enough to be published, these results didn’t appear in everyone. The dangers of alcohol far outweigh the benefits, and if you or someone you know is suffering from any of these conditions, then there are always alternatives.
Alcohol is not something to be taken lightly, as it can ruin lives. While these studies do promote the idea that it can aid people in some specific scenarios, the reality is that one can’t know for sure if it would even help them, and if they are using these studies to mask their alcohol problem, then there needs to be a different conversation.
Myth: Alcohol doesn’t affect older people
While it might seem that younger people have a much harder time with alcohol in general and that older people might not have such an issue, the reality is that older people might just be better at covering it up. Younger people have less experience in general, and with alcohol-related issues as well, and therefore might end up in more positions where they are exposed for their problems.
The truth is, older people can be much more susceptible to alcohol as they age. If they have any pre-existing liver conditions, their bodies might have a harder time breaking down alcohol in general. Along with this, there are also many different medicines that people have to take as they get older, and many of these medications do not mix well with alcohol. As one gets older, their muscle mass percentage also decreases, allowing the alcohol to be absorbed into their bodies easier and faster.
This myth is nothing more than a straight lie. Alcohol is dangerous at every age; nobody should feel like they are immune. Recognizing that one is always, at any point, capable of becoming an alcoholic if they let themselves is a sobering reminder to those who want to stay sober themselves.
Myth: Drinking can cure/calm chronic pain
While many people use alcohol to help cure/mask pain, there are many reasons why this might be a terrible idea. Firstly, most painkillers and alcohol do not mix well. This can cause many problems, such as massive disorientation, confusion, and other side effects. Taking painkillers while drinking may also increase the risk of liver problems, as your liver is now having to work to break both substances down at the same time, and it also puts you at risk for stomach bleeding or other problems.
The irony of all of this is that alcohol can actually increase your pain. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome cause people who experience it to be massively more sensitive to any/all pain. On top of that, excessive/prolonged alcohol use can cause long-term permanent neural pain.
If you have chronic pain, there are many ways to deal with your pain. Don’t feel like you need to turn to alcohol. If you are already in this place, let someone know. There are so many different ways you can be helped.
Myth: Alcohol consumption helps depression, overcome fatigue, and encourages a healthy lifestyle.
While this myth is dying a little faster than others, it is still existent in today’s society. Alcohol can make you feel like you are in control of your life, and at first, that might actually be the case. Over time, however, it will be clear that alcohol will be the one ruling you. You will be at its mercy, and you will have sacrificed everything for very little.
The benefits that alcohol brings are all short-lived. They do not last, and they should not expect to last. You will constantly be at the mercy of the next time and always be wanting more after each subsequent night out. Alcohol is stealing happiness from the next day. It’s not adding happiness to your life at all.
If you feel like you are in a tough place in your life and don’t have anywhere to turn, alcohol is not going to solve any of these problems. Again, it could feel like maybe you’re getting your life together, but at the end of the day, you’re just making it harder for yourself to truly ascend and be the person you are truly made to be.
In conclusion, these are all very common excuses that people tell themselves to justify their drinking habits. While these myths are all really tempting to use, they are all just that, myths, and should not be trusted or used. Alcohol consumption is something that is tricky for anyone to do well, and the truth is that nobody really does it well. Staying far away from alcohol is the only way to keep yourself truly safe. Keep an eye out for these and other myths about alcohol, and keep yourself informed so that you can stay safe.
Addiction is not simple. It’s even more challenging alone. If you or someone that you care about is battling with addiction, reach out to us at ecosoberhouse.com. We know what it’s like to battle addiction and we want to help you in whatever ways that we can.