Today more than ever, we know much more about the disease of addiction than we ever have in the past. However, there are still myths about drinking that leads to misconceptions and unhealthy decisions when it comes to alcohol consumption. It’s important to learn the truth about alcohol abuse to help you make healthy decisions.
Let’s get started!
Myth #1: Drinking alcohol only on weekends does not cause any harm to the body.
Fact: The damage caused by alcohol depends on the so-called “consumption pattern,” that is, on the amount (the higher the amount, the greater the injury) and the intensity (the same amount concentrated in less time is more harmful). When you continually choose to make drinking the center of your social life, therein lies the risk of your drinking becoming a habit, to the point where you are unable to have fun without it, and eventually, unable to feel well without it.
Excessive alcohol consumption can put you at risk of health problems such as heart disease, stroke, liver disease, sleeping problems, and some types of cancer.
You may be at risk if:
You’re a man, and you consume more than 4 glasses a day or more than 14 drinks a week.
You’re a woman, and you consume more than 3 glasses a day or more than 7 drinks in a week. (Here, a glass is defined as 12 ounces (355 ml) of beer, 5 ounces (148 ml) of wine, or 1 1/2 ounces (45 ml) of liquor).
Myth #2: Alcohol is good for your health.
Fact: While true that several studies have shown that moderate alcohol consumption appears to decrease the risk of heart attack, stroke, or peripheral vascular disease, these beneficial effects do not appear in all people or in all cases. The dangers associated with alcohol are vast, and perhaps outweigh the positives, as drinking in excess is known to damage the liver and heart, increase the chances of developing breast cancer (among other types), contribute to depression, incidences of violence, motor vehicle accidents, and interfere with interpersonal relationships.
Myth #3: Alcohol doesn’t affect older people
Fact: Most people believe that issues associated with alcohol intake start early in life. In fact, some people develop problems with drinking when they are older.
Some people become more sensitive to alcohol as they get older, probably due to the intake of medications that make the effects of alcohol stronger, as well as the loss of muscle mass that affects how alcohol is absorbed by the body. Older adults facing difficult life challenges may start drinking more because they are bored or feel lonely or depressed.
However, even if you didn’t drink a lot when you were young, you may still have problems with drinking as you get older.
Myth #4: Drinking is a good way to calm chronic pain
Fact: People with chronic pain sometimes use alcohol to help them manage the pain, studies show that as many as 28% of people turn to alcohol to alleviate their suffering. However, there are many reasons why this might not be a good choice. Alcohol and pain relievers do not react well together. Taking alcohol while on painkillers may actually increase the risk of liver problems, stomach bleeding or other problems.
In fact, chronic alcohol consumption can actually increase pain. If you have symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome, you may be more sensitive to pain. Also, excessive alcohol consumption over a long time can cause a certain type of neural pain.
Myth #5: Alcohol consumption helps to get out of depression, overcome fatigue, and be more lively and fit.
Fact: Although it may appear at first like you are gaining control over your life, abusing alcohol causes you in actuality to lose control over emotions and feelings. The initial apparent feeling of calmness and happiness is short-lived. You’ll end up feeling more depressed and sad, or perhaps guilty about what you did or said while under the impulsive influence of alcohol. It’s important to note that alcohol tends to worsen one’s mood and never truly solves any psychological issues. Rather, it is an avoidance technique to keep from dealing with the root issues. Also to further prove the point, there is often greater physical fatigue associated with alcohol use due to lost sleep and sleep quality, which affects nearly every other aspect of life or pursuit of well-being.
If you allowed any of these reasons to fuel your alcohol use or addiction, it is time to correct those misbeliefs and douse them with a healthy dose of truth. In pursuing health, well-being, or sobriety, alcohol is not your friend, but the staff at Riviera Recovery is. We offer residents a safe and supportive environment, and the chance to embark on a healthy and vibrant sober lifestyle in the heart of Malibu. Request a call back today to learn more!