Things You May Not Know About Alcohol Use Disorder

For others, it does, and it’s not because addicts wake up one morning and decide they want to have an addiction. There isn’t one set definition for addiction to alcohol, and there are many different variations for dependence. Even those who drink a glass of wine to fall asleep every night could be considered addicted. And while they may not necessarily have alcohol use disorder, regular binge drinking could lead to developing alcohol use disorder. During an evening of drinking, it’s easy to misjudge how long alcohol’s effects last. For example, many people believe that they will begin to sober up—and be able to drive safely—once they stop drinking and have a cup of coffee.

Once they are addicted to alcohol, their problems are aggravated by their condition. Alcoholism makes it much more difficult to deal with life’s problems. Some of these myths are dangerous since they stand in the way of understanding and helping a friend or loved one who is suffering from alcohol dependency or addiction. Here are some of the most common myths and corresponding realities about alcoholism. We often toast to special occasions, and that glass of red wine may even have health benefits. If you’re aware of the risks, you’re generally fine to drink alcohol in moderation.

Myth #6: Recovery from alcoholism is expensive

It was incredible how many suggestions I received from well-meaning friends and family (who are not in recovery), and I tried them all. My alcohol consumption increased with every failed attempt to try the next “new thing” that never seemed to work. It is worth adding here that although alcohol itself does not kill brain cells, alcohol withdrawal can kill you. It is another myth, then, that you can’t die from alcohol withdrawal. However, there’s limited research showing the efficacy of this form of treatment. Evidence also shows that continuing to drink in moderation while in recovery may heighten your cravings for alcohol.

Alcohol decreases inhibitions and judgment and can lead to reckless decisions. According to a recent study, poor mental health and suicidal thoughts and behaviors have steadily increased among all teens from 2011 to 2021. Here are some of the myths around alcoholism that still prevail today, along with my experience.

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You may think that drinking problems have to start early in life. In fact, some people develop problems with drinking at a later age. You do not need to drink every day to have a problem with alcohol. Heavy drinking is defined by how much alcohol you have in a day or in a week. Being able to have a few drinks without feeling any effects may seem like a good thing.

The effects of alcohol start sooner than people realize, with mild impairment (up to 0.05 blood alcohol concentration [BAC]) starting to affect speech, memory, attention, coordination, and balance. And if you are under 21, driving after drinking any amount of alcohol is illegal and you could lose your license. Critical decision-making abilities and driving-related skills are already diminished long before a person shows physical signs of intoxication. Binge drinking among teens is the most common way that alcohol is used by this age group. Over 90% of teenage drinking can be classified as binge drinking, and there is no evidence that suggests that this is because they haven’t learned to drink. One study found that the more teenagers were exposed to alcohol at home, the more likely they were to drink outside the home.

Myth #1: I Do Not Have a Problem Because I Can Hold My Liquor

Around 119,000 emergency room visits each year are by 12–21-year-olds for alcohol-related injuries. It’s much easier to get sober by joining a treatment program that offers medically supervised detoxification and more. That way, addicts won’t have to worry about the anxiety surrounding quitting all on their own and can instead work with a team throughout the process.

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It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers. While it is true that a large percentage of high schoolers drink alcohol, it does not negate the potential dangers of underage drinking. Underage drinking statistics show that 30% of high schoolers report drinking alcohol within the last 30 days. While kids drinking alcohol may be somewhat common, that doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous. Anyone is susceptible to developing an alcohol addiction or alcohol use problem. A person does not need to have character flaws, be sick or suffering, or have a hard time managing stress, to develop an alcohol problem.

Teens who drink alcohol — especially those who binge drink — are significantly more likely to try to injure or kill themselves. This includes cutting, attempting to hang themselves or attempting to poison themselves. Teenagers who drink alcohol are also more likely to consider suicide than those who do not drink.

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