Common Myths and Facts About Alcohol Use Disorder

Reviewed Aug 31, 2017

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Summary

Some myths:

  • Everyone drinks.
  • Alcohol gives you energy.
  • Alcohol makes sex better.

Humans have been drinking alcohol for thousands of years. Yet in spite of all the harmful effects, lives lost, families destroyed, and careers ended, there are still many misconceptions. Here are some of the most common myths, followed by the facts. Knowing the truth is a good way to avoid problems for you and your family.

Myth: Everyone drinks.

Fact: According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 52.7 percent of Americans (age 12 and older) currently drink.

Myth: Beer is less intoxicating than other types of alcoholic beverages.

Fact: One 12-ounce can of beer, one five-ounce glass of wine, or one mixed drink or cocktail (1.5 ounces of hard liquor) are all equally intoxicating.

Myth: Alcohol gives you energy.

Fact: This statement is false. Alcohol can make you feel less inhibited, but it is a depressant and will actually make you sleepy. It slows down your motor skills, which control the way you think, speak, move and react.

Myth: Cold showers, fresh air or hot coffee help sober a person.

Fact: Only time will remove alcohol from the system. It takes the body approximately one hour to eliminate the alcohol in one drink.

Myth: Eating a big meal before you drink will keep you from getting drunk.

Fact: Drinking on a full stomach will only delay the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream, not prevent it. Eating before you drink is not a defense against getting drunk.

Myth: Driving with someone who drank, but is not drunk, is safe if they drive extra carefully so they don't get pulled over.

Fact: In 2014, 9,967 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (31 percent) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. 

Myth: Alcohol affects everyone in the same way.

Fact: There are many factors that affect the body's reactions to alcohol including weight, age, gender, body chemistry, genetics, amount of food and alcohol consumed. The way one person reacts can be vastly different from another person. You can't predict how alcohol will affect you.

Myth: Alcohol makes sex better.

Fact: Alcohol can increase desire, or at least make you feel less self-conscious. But the reality is that it can actually decrease sexual performance. And it can affect your decision-making ability. Sixty percent of unplanned pregnancies occur when the woman is drunk. Having drunken sex increases the chance for pregnancy and/or contracting a sexually transmitted disease.

Myth: If I drink too much, the worst thing that can happen is I throw up and have a bad hangover.

Fact: Getting drunk can harm you in many ways. Accidents, injuries, and bad decisions are common when people get drunk. Drinking too much can cause alcohol poisoning, which can be deadly. Smoking marijuana or taking painkillers while drinking can stop you from getting sick. But this can cause alcohol poisoning and death. Taking cocaine or other stimulants can keep a drunken person from passing out, which allows her to drink even more.

Excessive drinking is just plain dangerous. It can affect your health and your ability to function and think. Drinking to the point of impairment is not only dangerous for you, but places others in danger as well. This can be on the roads, at home, and in the workplace.

By Drew Edwards, EdD, MS
Source: CDC Injury Prevention & Control: Motor Vehicle Safety (http://www.cdc.gov/MotorVehicleSafety/Impaired_Driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html); CDC National Survey of Drug Use and Health: https://www.drugabuse.gov/national-survey-drug-use-health
Reviewed by Enrique Olivares, MD, FAPA, Director of Addiction Services, Beacon Health Options

Summary

Some myths:

  • Everyone drinks.
  • Alcohol gives you energy.
  • Alcohol makes sex better.

Humans have been drinking alcohol for thousands of years. Yet in spite of all the harmful effects, lives lost, families destroyed, and careers ended, there are still many misconceptions. Here are some of the most common myths, followed by the facts. Knowing the truth is a good way to avoid problems for you and your family.

Myth: Everyone drinks.

Fact: According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 52.7 percent of Americans (age 12 and older) currently drink.

Myth: Beer is less intoxicating than other types of alcoholic beverages.

Fact: One 12-ounce can of beer, one five-ounce glass of wine, or one mixed drink or cocktail (1.5 ounces of hard liquor) are all equally intoxicating.

Myth: Alcohol gives you energy.

Fact: This statement is false. Alcohol can make you feel less inhibited, but it is a depressant and will actually make you sleepy. It slows down your motor skills, which control the way you think, speak, move and react.

Myth: Cold showers, fresh air or hot coffee help sober a person.

Fact: Only time will remove alcohol from the system. It takes the body approximately one hour to eliminate the alcohol in one drink.

Myth: Eating a big meal before you drink will keep you from getting drunk.

Fact: Drinking on a full stomach will only delay the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream, not prevent it. Eating before you drink is not a defense against getting drunk.

Myth: Driving with someone who drank, but is not drunk, is safe if they drive extra carefully so they don't get pulled over.

Fact: In 2014, 9,967 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (31 percent) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. 

Myth: Alcohol affects everyone in the same way.

Fact: There are many factors that affect the body's reactions to alcohol including weight, age, gender, body chemistry, genetics, amount of food and alcohol consumed. The way one person reacts can be vastly different from another person. You can't predict how alcohol will affect you.

Myth: Alcohol makes sex better.

Fact: Alcohol can increase desire, or at least make you feel less self-conscious. But the reality is that it can actually decrease sexual performance. And it can affect your decision-making ability. Sixty percent of unplanned pregnancies occur when the woman is drunk. Having drunken sex increases the chance for pregnancy and/or contracting a sexually transmitted disease.

Myth: If I drink too much, the worst thing that can happen is I throw up and have a bad hangover.

Fact: Getting drunk can harm you in many ways. Accidents, injuries, and bad decisions are common when people get drunk. Drinking too much can cause alcohol poisoning, which can be deadly. Smoking marijuana or taking painkillers while drinking can stop you from getting sick. But this can cause alcohol poisoning and death. Taking cocaine or other stimulants can keep a drunken person from passing out, which allows her to drink even more.

Excessive drinking is just plain dangerous. It can affect your health and your ability to function and think. Drinking to the point of impairment is not only dangerous for you, but places others in danger as well. This can be on the roads, at home, and in the workplace.

By Drew Edwards, EdD, MS
Source: CDC Injury Prevention & Control: Motor Vehicle Safety (http://www.cdc.gov/MotorVehicleSafety/Impaired_Driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html); CDC National Survey of Drug Use and Health: https://www.drugabuse.gov/national-survey-drug-use-health
Reviewed by Enrique Olivares, MD, FAPA, Director of Addiction Services, Beacon Health Options

Summary

Some myths:

  • Everyone drinks.
  • Alcohol gives you energy.
  • Alcohol makes sex better.

Humans have been drinking alcohol for thousands of years. Yet in spite of all the harmful effects, lives lost, families destroyed, and careers ended, there are still many misconceptions. Here are some of the most common myths, followed by the facts. Knowing the truth is a good way to avoid problems for you and your family.

Myth: Everyone drinks.

Fact: According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 52.7 percent of Americans (age 12 and older) currently drink.

Myth: Beer is less intoxicating than other types of alcoholic beverages.

Fact: One 12-ounce can of beer, one five-ounce glass of wine, or one mixed drink or cocktail (1.5 ounces of hard liquor) are all equally intoxicating.

Myth: Alcohol gives you energy.

Fact: This statement is false. Alcohol can make you feel less inhibited, but it is a depressant and will actually make you sleepy. It slows down your motor skills, which control the way you think, speak, move and react.

Myth: Cold showers, fresh air or hot coffee help sober a person.

Fact: Only time will remove alcohol from the system. It takes the body approximately one hour to eliminate the alcohol in one drink.

Myth: Eating a big meal before you drink will keep you from getting drunk.

Fact: Drinking on a full stomach will only delay the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream, not prevent it. Eating before you drink is not a defense against getting drunk.

Myth: Driving with someone who drank, but is not drunk, is safe if they drive extra carefully so they don't get pulled over.

Fact: In 2014, 9,967 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (31 percent) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. 

Myth: Alcohol affects everyone in the same way.

Fact: There are many factors that affect the body's reactions to alcohol including weight, age, gender, body chemistry, genetics, amount of food and alcohol consumed. The way one person reacts can be vastly different from another person. You can't predict how alcohol will affect you.

Myth: Alcohol makes sex better.

Fact: Alcohol can increase desire, or at least make you feel less self-conscious. But the reality is that it can actually decrease sexual performance. And it can affect your decision-making ability. Sixty percent of unplanned pregnancies occur when the woman is drunk. Having drunken sex increases the chance for pregnancy and/or contracting a sexually transmitted disease.

Myth: If I drink too much, the worst thing that can happen is I throw up and have a bad hangover.

Fact: Getting drunk can harm you in many ways. Accidents, injuries, and bad decisions are common when people get drunk. Drinking too much can cause alcohol poisoning, which can be deadly. Smoking marijuana or taking painkillers while drinking can stop you from getting sick. But this can cause alcohol poisoning and death. Taking cocaine or other stimulants can keep a drunken person from passing out, which allows her to drink even more.

Excessive drinking is just plain dangerous. It can affect your health and your ability to function and think. Drinking to the point of impairment is not only dangerous for you, but places others in danger as well. This can be on the roads, at home, and in the workplace.

By Drew Edwards, EdD, MS
Source: CDC Injury Prevention & Control: Motor Vehicle Safety (http://www.cdc.gov/MotorVehicleSafety/Impaired_Driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html); CDC National Survey of Drug Use and Health: https://www.drugabuse.gov/national-survey-drug-use-health
Reviewed by Enrique Olivares, MD, FAPA, Director of Addiction Services, Beacon Health Options

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