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Debunking the myths of alcoholism
by TeenHelp June 2nd 2015, 07:15 PM

Debunking the myths of alcoholism
By Jenny (coolkid98)

The myths and misconceptions about alcoholism can make it hard for those affected to reach out and get help due to fear of being judged. Some of these myths can also lead to alcoholics being in denial about their problem because they don't fit a stereotyped appearance of an alcoholic. Alcoholism, also know as alcohol dependency, describes an addiction to alcohol in order to cope with everyday life.

Myth: Those who often get drunk are alcoholics.
Fact: Lots of people drink alcohol heavily at some period in their lifetime. However, they don't become alcoholics because of this. For example, binge drinkers who binge on weekends might not necessarily develop an addiction to alcohol. To become an alcoholic one must develop either a physical or psychological dependence to alcohol.

Myth: Drinking coffee sobers people up.
Fact: In reality this isn't true, only time sobers people up and having coffee, exercising or experimenting with any other remedies for intoxication doesn't actually cause a person to become more sober. Although coffee or a cold shower may wake one up, it won't make one more sober. The liver can process alcohol at a rate of about one standard drink per hour, this is the equivalent to one glass of wine. This means that if one drinks alcohol with a higher alcohol content than wine, the time taken for the drink to be processed by the liver will be extended.

Myth: Men and women can drink the same amount of alcohol.
Fact: Women and men both have different recommended daily maximum alcohol units. In the UK, men are advised to drink no more than 3-4 units and women shouldn't drink more than 2-3 units per day. Units are a way of showing the content of pure alcohol that each alcoholic drink contains. For example, one small shot (25 ml) of alcohol such as vodka and whisky is equivalent to one unit. One is also advised to have at least 2 alcohol free days each week.

Myth: Alcoholics are always violent and abusive.
Fact: Although some alcoholics become violent and abusive when they are intoxicated, this isn't the case for every alcoholic. Everyone reacts differently to alcohol, behaviour can range from being extremely happy to being angry and violent.

Myth: Alcohol makes people happy.
Fact: The truth is in fact totally the opposite, alcohol is actually a depressant drug. This means that it slows down the functions of the body causing speech to become slurred and makes one less able to react quickly. Alcohol can cause the impression of feeling happy because it can make one feel relaxed and trouble free. However, it is important to remember that alcohol only becomes a depressant drug when a person drinks more alcohol than the body can cope with.

Myth: Alcohol causes a person to reveal their true personality.
Fact: The effect of alcohol on the brain causes major changes to the person's normal personality; this can make a person act completely differently to how they would normally. For example, a person who is usually calm and friendly when sober can become extremely angry and aggressive when under the influence of alcohol. You can only see a person's true personality when they are sober.

Myth: Everyone who drinks alcohol will become addicted to alcohol.
Fact: Some people who drink alcohol occasionally won't become addicted to alcohol, even if they drink alcohol heavily infrequently. In some cases, a person can become addicted to alcohol when they increase their tolerance to alcohol, meaning that they need to drink more alcohol to feel the effects of it. There are many influences that can cause alcohol dependence; one person who has a higher tolerance threshold may not become addicted, while another person with a lower tolerance may feel that they need to drink in order to function.

Myth: Beer drinkers can't become alcoholics.
Fact: Beer contains alcohol and stronger beers can contain high levels of alcohol. Therefore those who excessively drink beer can become alcoholics. This means that despite what alcoholic drink is being consumed, one is still at risk of developing an addiction to alcohol and becoming an alcoholic.

Myth: Alcoholics will stay alcoholics for their entire life and there is no chance of recovery.
Fact: Although there is no specific cure for alcoholism, with the correct treatment, alcoholics can lead a productive and happy life without drinking alcohol. Examples of treatments are detoxification, which is when a medical professional helps a person to stop drinking. This can be done by gradually decreasing the amount of alcohol being drunk or medication to stop or reduce withdrawal symptoms. Other treatments include therapy to help combat the problems that caused the alcoholism to begin.

Alcoholism is a difficult addiction and can be treated with support from family members and friends and a treatment plan put in place by a medical professional. Alcoholics need support without being judged or stereotyped, and to have a support network to enable them to combat their addiction in order for them to be able to live a fulfilling and alcohol free life.
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