If you think about alcohol, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Like most people, you may think about how it helps people have fun. It’s not uncommon to have that perception. Alcohol use is a socially accepted way to enhance social activities. In fact, it’s almost an American tradition since it is served at most recreational events today. But, there are some little-known facts about alcohol that may surprise you.
Here are some things you need to know about this commonplace, legal, highly addictive substance. You also need to know why these facts should matter to anyone.
Why Do People Like Alcohol So Much?
Alcohol use is such an everyday occurrence, most people don’t stop to wonder why. Why do people like alcohol so much? How can they continue to use the beverages even after it has affected their health or personal life? The answers to those questions are found among the following facts about alcohol that you need to know.
Most people who consume alcohol believe it will elevate their mood, boost confidence, or reduce stress. Adults often use alcohol to unwind after a busy day at work. Teens may use alcohol in response to peer pressure and a desire to fit in with the crowd. But, these perceived rewards of alcohol may come at a high cost.
Is Getting Drunk Dangerous?
When alcohol enters the body, it travels through the bloodstream until the liver has time to break it down and eliminate it. As it circulates through the body, it affects all major organs, including the brain. In the brain, alcohol acts as a depressant and slows down major functions. At this point, the person begins to feel drunk, and their breathing and heart rate can reach low levels. With heavy alcohol consumption, the heart rate or breathing can stop.
Other dangers of getting drunk appear when a person loses coordination or the ability to make sound decisions. They may suffer from falls, automobile accidents, violent behavior, or alcohol poisoning. These accidents happen because alcohol impairs thinking, hearing, vision, reaction times, movement, and judgment. Another problem is that people don’t know how impaired they are and will continue drinking more, increasing their risk of harm.
While a person is having fun during intoxication, they aren’t aware of the damages alcohol is causing throughout their body. Another surprising fact about alcohol is that it doesn’t matter whether it’s beer, wine, or liquor, the effects are the same.
More Little-Known Facts About Alcohol You Need to Know
More than 15 million people suffer from alcohol use disorder (AUD), according to NIAAA. Although many people are aware of some of the dangers of alcohol abuse, they drink it anyway.
For those who haven’t heard the little-known facts about alcohol, here are a few:
- One in eight people has alcohol use disorder.
- Alcohol is ethyl alcohol or ethanol which is often used as a solvent.
- More than 88,400 people die from alcohol-related causes every year.
- Genetics account for almost half the risk of developing AUD.
- Alcohol-related deaths rank 3rd among leading preventable death.
- Alcohol is the most commonly misused addictive substance.
- Women are more likely to die from alcohol-related issues than men.
- Men are more likely to abuse alcohol than women.
Little-known effects of alcohol on the body:
- Brain. Alcohol affects communication pathways in the brain and changes mood, behavior, and the ability to think clearly.
- Heart: Prolonged or heavy drinking can cause cardiomyopathy, arrhythmias, high blood pressure, or stroke.
- Liver: Heavy drinking can cause fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and fibrosis.
- Pancreas: Alcohol causes toxic buildup that leads to pancreatitis.
- Cancer: Alcohol consumption puts a person at risk for cancer of the throat, mouth, esophagus, liver, breast, or colon.
These appear to be random facts, yet they serve to separate the mystique of alcohol from reality. Although people have used alcohol for centuries, this doesn’t mean it’s safe. Also, many people today still hold on to myths about alcohol that can endanger their lives.
Do You Believe These Deceiving Myths About Alcohol?
Despite widespread education and prevention campaigns about the dangers of alcohol use, people still believe the outdated myths. Here are a few of those myths and why it is dangerous to believe them.
Myth: If I only get drunk once or twice a week, it’s okay.
Fact: Consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short period is known as binge drinking. It is just as dangerous to your health as drinking daily.
Myth: Coffee will sober me up quickly.
Fact: Coffee does not help the body process alcohol faster. Nothing can speed up the process of breaking alcohol down in the system. Caffeine may help a person feel a little more alert, but that doesn’t mean they are sober.
Myth: Moderate drinking is safe.
Fact: Alcohol is touted as having some health benefits when used in moderation. But, this does not mean it is risk-free. Individuals who use medications, are pregnant, have liver disease, or have heart problems can suffer adverse side effects while using alcohol even in moderate amounts.
Hopefully, these facts about alcohol will help you reevaluate your drinking habits. However, if you can’t control your alcohol use, professional treatment can help.
Help for Alcohol Abuse at Design for Change Recovery
Alcohol abuse and addiction can gradually take control of your mind and body. It can destroy everything you hold dear in life, and ruin your health. At Design for Change Recovery, we can help you eliminate this powerful, destructive force from your life. Contact us at our Lancaster, California facility today to learn more.
- niaaa.nih.gov – Alcohol’s Effects on the Body