Alcohol is a substance known to mankind for thousands of years. Since its arrival, it has been used and consumed regularly for medical, religious and cultural purposes.
For most people, drinking alcohol is an essential part of leisure, which is why all celebrations are accompanied by drinks and toasts. A beer after work, a glass of wine with lunch, champagne at the end of the year…these are just a few examples of how this substance is part of our daily lives.
Although its use is widely extended and standardized, the reality is that alcohol is a drug. However, it is a legal drug, which is why obtaining it is very simple. To do this, just go to a supermarket, gas station or bar / restaurant.
Although society’s awareness of the harmful effects of alcohol has grown in recent years, its presence in social events continues to be a constant and most people still do not know how alcohol affects health. Therefore, the pattern of consumption has not undergone major changes.
- We recommend you read: “20 false myths about pregnancy (denied by science)”
The social problem of alcohol
One of the big problems that prevents the population from adopting a more responsible use of alcohol has to do with the fact that many of its negative effects become visible in the medium and long term. Namely, its harmful nature is not always evident in the short term and this minimizes the risks associated with consumption.
Many people who have developed health problems after years of drinking alcohol regularly do not even establish a relationship between that habit and the deterioration of their body. And it is that, in a certain way, we all fall into certain erroneous beliefs and self-deceptions to justify our alcohol abuse without feeling bad about it. However, adopting a responsible attitude is key to taking care of our well-being and avoiding future damage.
Surely you have heard many ideas about alcohol that will even condition the way you consume it. However, you may be surprised to learn that most of them are probably wrong. Thus, In this article we are going to debunk some of the most common myths about alcohol.since being properly informed is a first step in taking care of our health.
- We recommend you read: “Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: causes and symptoms”
What happens when we drink alcohol?
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant., which is categorized in the group of sedatives along with other substances such as barbiturates and benzodiazepines. Ethyl alcohol, also known as ethanol, is the psychoactive substance found in alcoholic beverages.
It is a compound with addictive potential and that can be obtained by fermentation (wines, beers…) or distillation (gin, vodka, cognac…). When we consume alcohol, it reaches our brain in a few minutes, which is the organ most affected by this drug. Thus, when we drink, mood changes occur, reflexes and ability to concentrate are lost, the normal sleep process is altered, reality distortions are produced and the assimilation of memories is altered.
Coordination problems, loss of vision sharpness and, in the most severe cases, loss of consciousness can also occur.. Added to this, alcohol affects our digestive system, mainly the stomach and liver, and can cause cirrhosis if the abusive consumption of alcohol is prolonged over time. Continued use also impairs cognitive functioning, although the effects can be reversed by prolonged abstinence.
Even when alcohol intake is moderate, effects such as loss of sexual desire, decreased blood sugar, increased uric acid, skin deterioration or vitamin reduction can be observed, since alcohol only provides empty calories with no nutritional value.
Debunking myths about alcohol consumption
Next, we are going to review some of the most common myths about alcohol.
1. If you drink alcohol only on the weekend, it does not harm the body
The fact that it is drunk only on weekends does not at all rule out the presence of damage to the body. The damage that alcohol does to our body depends on the consumption pattern of each person. Thus, the quantity influences, because the more doses we ingest, the greater the damage.
In addition, intensity is also important, the same amount concentrated in a shorter period of time will be more damaging. Added to this, the psychological aspects that influence consumption can contribute to the establishment of a habit, whereby the person needs to drink in order to have fun. Thus, this consumption pattern can be generalized to other contexts and times beyond weekends.
2. Alcohol allows you to be more lively and energetic
Drinking alcohol does not make us more animated. In fact, it leads us to lose control of our emotions, which can exacerbate what we felt before consuming.
For example, if we find ourselves sad, drinking will only make that sadness much more intense. On the other hand, alcohol is not energizing, but rather produces greater fatigue and sleep and makes us lose strength and motor coordination.
3. Alcohol helps us to get warm
It is true that in the first moments alcohol can produce a temporary sensation of heat, as it has a vasodilator effect. However, after a short time the body temperature tends to drop and the sensation of cold increases. For this reason, when someone has drunk a lot, it is preferable to give them warm clothes.
4. Alcohol feeds
Although alcohol provides many calories, they are empty, since there is no nutritional contribution. For this reason, alcohol should not be considered a food, since the only thing that it favors is the increase in the production of fat in the body.
5. Alcohol is good for the heart
Although some studies suggest that moderate alcohol consumption reduces the risk of heart disease in adults, this benefit has not been observed in all cases.
6. Alcohol is a facilitator in sexual relations
Contrary to popular belief, alcohol is not a facilitator in sexual relations. On the contrary, abusive consumption of this substance usually makes it difficult and even prevents sexual relationsas it can lead to impotence problems and other dysfunctions.
7. Those who hold large doses of alcohol are stronger
There is a widespread belief that those who endure large amounts of alcohol, especially if they are men, are much stronger and more virile. However, this idea is totally absurd.
When a person is able to drink large amounts of alcohol without flinching, this does not mean that his body is not suffering damage. In reality, this is because you have probably developed a tolerance to alcoholwhich makes the risk of addiction to this substance much higher.
8. There is a safe dose of alcohol
It is always said that there is a threshold below which it is safe to consume alcohol. However, this is totally false. There is no safe amount of alcohol consumption and therefore the ideal is not to consume this substance.
9. Some alcoholic beverages are better than others
Although it is often said that some alcoholic beverages are better than others, nothing is further from the truth. Scientific studies have so far shown no differences between the different types of alcoholic beveragesso none is more recommended than the rest.
10. Alcohol helps calm chronic pain
People with chronic pain sometimes use alcohol to manage their pain. However, this is not at all a good idea. First of all, alcohol should never be combined with painkillers.
Since patients with chronic pain consume these types of drugs, resorting to alcohol in their case can lead to significant liver problems. Second, continued alcohol use causes tolerance to develop, so that larger amounts of alcohol will need to be consumed each time to feel the same pain-relieving effects.
Therefore, it is easy to develop an addiction to this substance. Finally, chronic alcohol use can have the opposite effect to the desired one and increase painespecially when suffering withdrawal syndrome.
In this article we have talked about some common myths regarding alcohol. The consumption of alcoholic beverages is very normalized in our society and is present in practically all social events.
Although awareness of the risks of alcohol has increased in recent years, consumption patterns in practice have hardly changed. A) Yes, It seems that a large part of the people do not know what effects it has. specifically alcohol on your body.
In part, this is due to the fact that many of the damages that this substance produces in our body are not immediate, but appear in the long term. In addition, there are numerous erroneous beliefs about alcohol that are still assumed to be true and condition the way in which it is consumed in all age groups.