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Myths/facts | Types | Causes | Effects


Some common myths and facts about alcohol

Myth: The mixing of different kinds of drinks causes greater intoxication than consuming only one type of alcoholic beverage at a time.
Fact: It is only the consumption of ethyl alcohol, the ingredient common to all alcoholic beverages, that causes intoxication, not the mixing of drinks. A person may tend to consume more when there are a variety of drinks, but it is still only the total amount of ethyl alcohol that counts.

Myth: Alcohol is a stimulant.
Fact: Although in small quantities it may be initially stimulating or irritating, alcohol is classified as a depressant. The first area of the brain that alcohol affects is the area which regulates inhibitions, judgment, and self-control. It is the lack of such restraints that causes the apparently stimulated or uninhibited behavior.

Myth: Alcohol is a medicine.
Fact: It is true that alcohol was called the miracle of life when the distillation process was discovered around the 14th or 15th century. This claim never held up, however, and there are currently only very limited medical uses for alcohol.

Myth: The best cure for a hangover is...
Fact: Everybody has a favorite, but they all have one thing in common: they can't work. What works? Preventive medicine. If you don't drink, or you drink very little, then you won't get a hangover.

Myth: Black coffee and a cold shower will sober you up.
Fact: Alleged methods for sobering up range from black coffee to cold showers, from fresh air to food. The only method of sobering up is to wait. There is no way to 'increase the oxidation rate - the rate at which the body eliminates alcohol.

Myth: ''I'll never drink like my Dad/Mom/brother/sister."
Fact: For whatever reason, drug dependence runs in families. If someone in an individual's immediate family has a problem with drugs, then that individual is at high risk for drug abuse.

Myth: Alcoholics and drug abusers use drugs every day.
Fact: Some people use drugs only on weekends. Some abstain for months. Chemical dependence is not determined by how often people use drugs, but whether or not they can control their use once they start.

Myth: Alcohol and other drugs increase sexual desire and ability.
Fact: The more one drinks or uses the drugs, the less one's sexual ability. "The depressant action of alcohol lowers inhibitions; therefore, the drinker may respond more freely to sexual stimulation. But, too much of any drug reduces performance abilities.

Myth: "You're not alcoholic unless you drink a pint a day.
Fact: There's no simple rule of thumb. Drug dependence is a state of mind. There are two kinds of dependence: physical and psychological. They may occur separately or together. Both types of dependency are real.

Myth: All alcoholics drink in the morning.
Fact: It is not when drinking occurs, but the lack of control over it when it does occur that defines alcoholism.

Myth: People who drink too much only hurt themselves.
Fact: They also hurt their families, friends, employers, and strangers on the highways.

Myth: It's macho to drink someone under the table, or smoke more dope than someone.
Fact: Often, people who seem to be able to use more drugs than others are developing a tolerance for the drug and becoming dependent on it.

Myth: People are friendlier when they're high/drunk.
Fact: People are also more hostile, more dangerous, more criminal, more homicidal, and more suicidal. Half of all murders and one-third of all suicides are drug-related.

Myth: People have more fun when they are high/drunk.
Fact: Sometimes they do, but sometimes they become more violent, more sleepy, more forgetful, and more likely to take risks that hurt themselves and others.

Myth: Alcohol/drugs are the best way to help me unwind.
Fact: Drugs can certainly create different moods. However, there are a number of non-chemical ways of creating different moods that in the long run are healthier.

Some popular myths

Will power myth: "He drinks because he has no will power."
Fact: An alcoholic will power is amply demonstrated by his ability to acquire alcohol in any circumstance, even without the means.

Moral myth: "He is a bad man, therefore he drinks."
Fact: Alcoholics are not bad people, they are sick.

Skid row myth: "Alcoholics are drunkards living on the streets."
Fact: Alcoholics are often rich, educated and have outward status and success.

Popularity myth: "I am a cool guy and I drink with the hip crowd."
Fact: Ultimately, alcoholics can be very lonely people shunned by family, friends and society.

Prescription myth: "Alcohol is recommended by doctors; they are bottled by large corporations with strict quality adherence."
Fact: Alcohol, if consumed in abundance is dangerous… period.

Self-infliction myth: "He's brought it upon himself. He's not contracted a disease from outside."
Fact: An alcoholic is mostly helpless and requires help to recover.

They only hurt themselves myth: "It's his problem."
Fact: Alcoholism affects all those who are associated with him. His family, friends, colleagues and employers.