If you’re like most Americans, you’ve probably heard a few things about drinking and “rules to follow.” However, many of those age-old sayings don’t hold up to the truth. Let’s look at some of the myths out there about drinking:

#1. Beer is “less intoxicating” than wine or hard liquor.

Alcohol is alcohol, no matter what form it comes in. One standard drink of beer will have the same effect on the body as one standard drink of liquor. However, if you had 12 ounces of liquor, this would far exceed the effects 12 ounces of beer would have. Check out this chart to see what counts as one standard drink

A standard drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.

#2. Switching between beer, wine and liquor will make you more drunk.

Again, alcohol is alcohol. What you drink doesn’t impact you as much as how much you drink does. However, mixing different kinds of alcohol can easily lead to you drinking more than you realize.

#3. Cold showers, fresh air, and hot coffee will “sober you up.”

While these things may make a drunk person feel more awake, the only way for someone to sober up is for the alcohol to leave their system. On average, it takes the body around an hour to process one standard drink, and around two hours for that one standard drink to fully leave the body.  

#4. Eating a big meal before drinking keeps you sober.

Eating a big meal before you drink only slows down the absorption of alcohol. While drinking on an empty stomach isn’t the best, eating a full meal beforehand also doesn’t mean that you can pound shots and not expect any consequences.

#5. Eating after drinking will make your hangover better in the morning.

By the time you’re done drinking, the alcohol has already been absorbed into the body. Having food in your stomach won’t help your liver metabolize alcohol any faster. In fact, eating a lot before bed after drinking can actually lead to acid reflux.

#6. Everyone reacts to alcohol in the same way.

There’s a multitude of factors that affect how a person responds to alcohol including sex, body size, tolerance, and metabolism. Everyone is different and what affects one person one way may not affect another person the same way.

#7. I can drink as much as my guy friends if I am a female.

Again, alcohol affects everyone differently. A biological woman will process alcohol differently than a biological male. So, even if a man and woman that are the same size drink the same amount, the woman will have a higher Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level than her male counterpart.

#8. I can still be in control even if I drink.

Even one drink impairs your judgment and lowers your inhibitions. Among college students, alcohol contributes to deaths from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, sexual assault, unprotected sex, suicidal behaviors, and other risky behaviors.

#9. If someone passes out from drinking, it’s best to let them sleep it off and leave them by themselves.

NEVER LEAVE A DRUNK PERSON ALONE, especially if they have passed out from drinking too much. If they have had that much alcohol, they are suffering from alcohol poisoning. Call 911 for assistance.

#10. Drinking helps you sleep better.

While alcohol does make you sleepy since it’s a depressant, it actually disrupts your sleep cycle. Drinking to help you fall asleep will decrease the quality of your sleep and leave you cranky in the morning.

#11. It’s better to learn “how to hold my liquor.”

Learning “how to hold your liquor” means that you’re increasing your tolerance. This means that you need more alcohol to get the same effect on your body. This can lead to dangerous behaviors such as binge-drinking, dependency, and alcoholism. What’s better is to learn how to pace yourself so you can responsibly enjoy a drink.

#12. People pass out from drinking all the time. It’s fine.

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that slows your heart rate and breathing and lowers your blood pressure. Once these essential functions have been depressed enough, your brain starts to shut down, and you pass out. This is incredibly dangerous and can lead to death.

#13. I can still drive well even if I haven’t that had much.

Alcohol gets absorbed into the bloodstream almost as soon as you consume it. Any amount of alcohol in your system increases the chances of a fatal crash. Even at one standard drink, your speech, memory, attention, coordination, and balance are affected. And, if you are under 21 and drinking and driving can have some serious, legal consequences.

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