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Common Alcohol Myths and Myths About Alcoholism

calendar June 03, 2021 user By Key To Recovery

There are still many alcohol myths and myths about alcoholism in circulation, despite alcohol existing for centuries. Understanding myths behind alcohol can help individuals realize how dangerous this legal drug is. Additionally, understanding myths about alcoholism can shed light on this complex medical disorder. This includes how many people drink to mask mental illness.

From stereotypes to get sober quick tips, there are many myths that surround alcohol. It’s difficult to weed out what is true and what isn’t when so many people believe falsities as facts. Instead of listening to peers, listen to the addiction specialists here at The Key to Recovery. 

Top 5 Alcohol Myths 

1. Alcohol Isn’t Dangerous Because It’s Legal 

If alcohol is legal for those of a certain age, doesn’t that mean it’s not dangerous? The statistics behind alcohol-related deaths tell a different story. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 10,497 alcohol-related motor deaths in 2016. Within these motor deaths are the individuals that abused alcohol, many of their loved ones that were in the vehicles with them, and many innocent drunk driving victims that were in the other vehicles involved in the accidents.

Drunk driving isn’t the only alcohol-related issue that can damage a person’s body or bring death upon a person. For example, the fact that alcohol is a depressant drug that slows down the body’s systems can also cause a person physical and mental health issues.

If someone drinks too much, he or she will have a dangerously high breath/blood alcohol content (BAC) level. This could result in alcohol poisoning. Severe alcohol poisoning can slow down the human body’s respiratory system to the point that causes an individual to stop breathing. Severe alcohol poisoning can also cause a person to pass out or choke on his or her own vomit.

2. It’s Alright For Adolescents to Drink Alcohol 

Myths About AlcoholismMany coming-of-age films depict adolescents having fun while drinking alcohol. Such depictions may convince many teens that underage drinking is a right of passage. Many teens may even think that nothing bad can happen to them while drinking outside of doing something slightly embarrassing that can make a good story one day or getting a hangover. Unfortunately, these assumptions aren’t true.

Because the brain doesn’t stop developing until the approximate age of 25, excessive drinking at a young age can stunt the growth of many teenagers and young adults in their early twenties. Research even shows that drinking excessively as a young adult often results in the development of learning disabilities and other cognitive issues. Furthermore, excessive alcohol use makes young adults much more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder later on in life.  

3. Cold Showers, Drinking Water, and Sleeping Can Lower BAC 

Some common alcohol myths are that people can take cold showers, sleep off their drunkenness, or just drink water to sober up after drinking. This is far from the truth though. No amount of cold showers or water will lower a person’s BAC.

Sleep can get a person to sober up to some extent though. This is because going to sleep causes time to go by. Therefore, because the only factor that truly lowers BAC is time, going to sleep can by default cause a person’s BAC level to lower. 

A person’s BAC can also rise as he or she goes to sleep though. Therefore, when everything is said and done, the ability to sleep off drunkenness is an alcohol myth. Sleeping while intoxicated can even be dangerous if someone vomits while passed out. 

4. It’s Okay to Drink a Little During Pregnancy 

It may seem innocent to drink a glass of wine or two during pregnancy. However, it’s dangerous for both the mother-to-be and her unborn baby if she decides to do so. Whatever a mother consumes, it passes from her body to the umbilical cord that supplies nutrients to unborn babies. 

If a newborn baby consumes alcohol through his or her umbilical cord, he or she might be born with a serious health complication that falls somewhere along the fetal alcohol syndrome spectrum. Babies born with conditions such as this can suffer from physical and mental abnormalities that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Therefore, while some may say that mothers-to-be can drink during a certain trimester, ultimately, all alcohol use during pregnancy is risky. 

5. Wine Is Good For Health 

There are many debunked studies that have to do with wine and its effect on people’s health. One alcohol use study that has stood the test of time is the French Paradox. Within this now-debunked study, it was said that French people have better heart health than most because their diet is rich in red wine. The logic behind this claim is that there are polyphenols in red wine that supposedly help with heart health and anti-aging. 

While a newer study did find that polyphenols found in red wine could help improve the health of mice, there was no strong link that the same could be said for humans. In fact, Harvard’s health blog writes that the link between drinking wine and better health is dubious at best. People would have to drink thousands of glasses of wine a day to see any benefits of polyphenols—their livers not so much though. Therefore, wine, like all alcohol, should only be consumed in moderation or not at all. 

Top 4 Myths About Alcoholism 

1. Alcoholism Is a Choice 

Alcohol Myths and Myths About AlcoholismOne of the most harmful myths about alcoholism is that it’s a choice. Firstly, why would anyone choose to have a self-destructive addiction? Secondly, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) states that any substance use disorder is a complex medical condition. This includes alcohol addiction. 

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) writes that 18.6 million Americans over the age of 18 suffer from an alcohol use disorder. That translates to 5.6% of the population that’s over 18. This statistic just goes to show that millions of Americans don’t have the ability to stop drinking. 

The constant stress on the body and change in the chemicals in the brain that alcohol abuse causes literally changes people’s brain chemistry. Also, when someone with a severe alcohol use disorder tries to quit drinking, that person will be faced with unbearable withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms can range from severe depression to seizures. It’s because of the intense withdrawal symptoms and changes in brain chemistry that alcohol addiction causes that people with alcohol use disorders don’t have a choice in developing the disease. 

2. Family History Doesn’t Increase Chances of Alcoholism 

Individuals who contain parents that have suffered from alcoholism are four times more likely to develop alcoholism themselves. While this could be because of genetics, it also has to do with the fact that people with parents that suffer from alcohol addiction are exposed to alcohol abuse at young, impressionable ages. In fact, there are plenty of studies that suggest that children model what they see, alcohol abuse included. 

Additionally, parents suffering from alcoholism may put their kids through emotional trauma as it’s difficult to be a good parent when dealing with an alcohol use disorder. 

Although a family history with alcoholism does increase the chances that a person will develop alcohol use issues later on in life, there’s always still a chance for a person with a family history of alcoholism to not develop an alcohol use disorder. In fact, research shows that more than half of those with parents suffering from an alcohol use disorder don’t develop one themselves. 

Therefore, even though the idea that family history doesn’t increase chances of alcoholism is a myth, it isn’t the end all be all. Individuals with a family history of alcoholism should simply be aware of their increased chances of developing alcohol use issues and the dangers of alcohol as a whole. 

3. People With Alcohol Use Disorders Are Degenerates 

Alcohol Myths and Myths About AlcoholismMillions of Americans suffering from alcohol addiction every year. Therefore, it’s ignorant to say that all of those alcoholics are morally corrupt. Furthermore, myths about alcoholism such as this one only perpetuate harmful stereotypes that can convince people that they can’t develop alcohol use disorders. 

At the end of the day, anyone, regardless of age or class, can develop an alcohol use disorder. In fact, many people that suffer from alcohol use disorders are full-time employees that dismiss or mask how much they drink. 

There are many roads that lead to substance abuse, whether that’s self-medication or self-destructive habits. Spreading the knowledge that anyone can suffer from an alcohol use disorder makes people more likely to take it seriously when they notice themselves or their loved ones starting to develop alcohol use issues.

4. Alcoholism Can Be Cured

Like any serious medical health condition, an alcohol use disorder can’t be “cured” per se. Part of what makes alcoholism so difficult to overcome is that it’s a chronic relapse disorder. In short, it’s a medical condition characterized by an inability to stop using alcohol. 

Research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) shows that up to 60% of individuals struggling with a substance use disorder will relapse. This is partly due to the fact that alcoholism is a lifelong illness. Although an incurable lifelong illness, alcoholism can be managed. 

Just like many other medical conditions, mindfulness about one’s health (mentally and physically) can keep alcoholism in check. Not every day will be easy to maintain positivity in the face of triggers, but it will get easier over time. It takes practice and coping skills to ward off an alcohol relapse. Finding the facility to receive alcohol addiction treatment at can help make warding off relapse easier while in addiction recovery.  

Learn More About Alcohol Myths and Myths About Alcoholism at The Key to Recovery 

One myth about alcohol addiction that many people tell themselves is that they can’t overcome it. This isn’t the truth, but it could be a reality without taking the first step to recovery. 

Alcoholism is a dangerous, deadly disorder that requires medical detox and professional addiction treatment to properly overcome. Trying to overcome alcohol addiction without professional help can end in unbearable withdrawal symptoms and relapse. 

Fortunately, The Key to Recovery offers a safe place to effectively treat one’s alcohol use disorder. That’s because we here at The Key to Recovery provide our patients with sub-acute detox and residential treatment programs. Our intimate addiction treatment facility in Huntington Beach, California helps rehab patients achieve sobriety that can last them long-term. 

Oftentimes, people enter our programs unsure of whether or not they can overcome an alcohol use disorder. Once they complete our rehab programs though, they leave addiction treatment fully aware of what it will take to maintain sobriety and a permanent support network. 

Don’t leave recovery up to chance. Contact us today so that we can make sure that you receive the strongest foundation possible for a lasting recovery.