Alcohol is the oldest known recreational drug. Used for the past nine thousand years socially, many myths exist about alcohol use. It is true that alcoholism
and alcohol abuse are the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States, including violence, automobile accidents, and health problems. About eighty percent of high school seniors report trying alcohol at least once in their life. Due to the portrayal of alcohol
in the media, the publishing of heavily biased studies, and justifications for alcohol abuse by peers, it is difficult to distinguish alcohol myths and facts.
Myth: Alcohol is a Non-Addictive Substance
There is some truth to alcohol not being an addictive substance, although this statement is not entirely accurate. In contrast with drugs such as heroin
, alcohol does not immediately create a physical addiction. However, alcohol use does cause a psychological dependency. As somebody begins to use alcohol more frequently, they crave the high achieved by drinking, and may feel as if they cannot enjoy themselves without alcohol. In their mind, they need alcohol to get through the day. As the psychological dependency grows, a physiological addiction begins to appear. The brain becomes accustomed to working with alcohol in the system, and without alcohol, one experiences withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety
, the shakes, sleeplessness, fever, and nausea. For those that have an addictive personality, the risk is much higher of developing an addiction to alcohol.
Myth: Food in the Stomach Helps Absorb Alcohol
Many people believe eating a large meal before drinking may help absorb the alcohol and permit them to drink more. Although this sounds logical, it is not true. Eating a full meal may effect how much you can drink, but for a different reason. Large meals cause the stomach to produce more of the enzyme that breaks down food and alcohol, and keeps ingested substances in the stomach longer before passing it through to the small intestine.
Myth: Alcohol Causes Alcoholism
Although alcoholism is antagonized by alcohol abuse, there are other factors that go into the creation of an alcoholic. Many scientists and experts assert that alcoholism is a disease, present from birth, and is onset when an alcoholic begins drinking heavily. Obviously an alcoholic must be an active drinker to be considered a raging alcoholic, but even without alcohol symptoms often persist. Alcoholism has genetic factors as well as environmental factors, so a history of alcoholism or drug addiction in the family is a good indicator that one should be cautious with their alcohol consumption.
Myth: Alcohol Use is Not as Dangerous as Illicit Drug Use
Alcohol is the most heavily abused substance in the world. Around thirty percent of all emergency room visits are due to or related to alcohol. Alcohol has directly and indirectly claimed more lives than all other illicit substances combined. The notion that alcohol is safe to use compared to other drugs is completely false. Although other drugs may cause dependency quicker, alcohol can cause overdose, heavily impaired judgment, and numerous health problems.For more information on the dangers of alcohol please visit, Stop Alcohol Abuse