The latest in our Drug Myths Debunked series, this one should ruffle a few feathers…
Myth: Drinking isn’t all that dangerous.
Fact: One in three 18 to 24 year olds admitted to the emergency room for serious injuries are also under the influence of alcohol at the time. Alcohol is also a major common denominator among homicides, suicides, and incidences of drowning. The World Health Organization estimates that risks linked to alcohol cause 2.5 million deaths per year from health problems such as liver and heart disease, car accidents, and cancer. All in all accounting for 3.8% of all deaths. Alcohol is the third biggest risk factor for early death and disabilities throughout the world.
Myth: Alcoholics Are Found in the Lower Depths of Society
Fact: The average alcoholic does not end up on the street or under a bridge. In fact a great many of them will be doing quite well in life. These high functioning alcoholics (HFAs) can have good jobs and a seemingly happy family life
Myth: Beer is weaker than other types of alcoholic beverages.
FACT: One 12-ounce can of beer, one 4-ounce glass of wine or one normal mixed drink are all equally intoxicating. The reality is that beer contains alcohol and some of the stronger beers can contain be high in alcohol content. This leads us to the next myth.
Myth: Beer drinkers can’t be Alcoholics
Fact: A common myth is that beer drinkers can’t be alcoholic. This view of beer can give people a false sense that beer is harmless. In fact, there are plenty of alcoholics who will only drink beer.
Myth: Alcohol use is not as dangerous as drug use.
Fact: Although there are more illicit drug users than there are alcoholics, every year there are many more alcohol-related deaths than there are drug-related deaths. There is a famous study done by researchers in Britain who designed a scoring system to decide what drug or drugs are “the worst.”
Scientists with the British Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) conducted research that took into account 7 different criteria and found that alcohol is most harmful. On a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 being harmless and 100 causing the most harm, they found alcohol to be worse than illegal drugs; alcohol scored a 72, while heroin scored a 55 and crack scored a 54.
Myth: Alcohol kills brain cells.
Fact: Although alcohol does not kill brain cells, it does cause you to lose neurotransmitters, the chemicals in your brain that allow you to do things like think and breathe. Long-term drinking can something called Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, also known as “wet brain.” It is a chronic and debilitating disease characterized by progressive learning and memory problems, such as forgetfulness frustration. Alcoholics with wet brain have difficulty with walking and coordination.
Alcoholism and Drug Addiction are Synonymous
The fact is, alcoholism and drug addiction are one in the same. The preferred substance might vary but, alcohol is, in fact a drug. So, technically, an alcoholic is a drug addict who happens to choose to specify his or her drug of choice: alcohol. A recovering alcoholic put it like this: “It’s only booze. But booze for an alcoholic is just as dangerous as crack.”
If you or your loved one is in need of treatment for alcohol abuse or addiction please give us a call at 800-951-6135.