Most people are able to drink responsibly their entire lives without many problems and only use alcohol to relax or break the ice at a party. That said, it is always important to educate yourself and your children on how to drink safely and in moderation.As well as providing the professional interventions needed to treat alcohol addiction, our aim here at Life works is to proactively confront the issues that lead to alcohol abuse. To contribute to alcohol Awareness week this year (14th to 20th November) this article returns to the fundamentals of social drinking, exploring trusty guidelines and exploding some old myths to cover those factors that keep us safe from alcohol harm.
You cannot speed up detoxification
Contrary to popular myth there is no way of sobering up quickly. While coffee and a walk in the fresh air my wake you up, your body will still contain alcohol for 24 hours. For this reason it should be remembered that your judgement, concentration, cognition and lack of inhibition, could be affected for this period of time also.
Depressant not a stimulant
The biggest myth about alcohol it is in some way a stimulant. This idea has grown up because alcohol is linked with positive social situations. But alcohol is a depressant. Therefore large quantities will eventually make you feel depressed.
How fast will alcohol affect you?
How fast alcohol affects you is dependant on the drink itself as well as how you drink. Bubbly drinks such as champagne will affect you more quickly than still drinks as it enters into the bloodstream faster. For the same reasons, if you drink on an empty stomach it will not take as long to get drunk. Alcohol affects a person with a lighter body weight faster than a heavier person. Gender plays a part here too. Because men have a higher body water content that dilutes the alcohol, they can drink more than women without suffering the side effects.
Children and drink
Many parents take the laws restricting alcohol for children lightly. This is often because these laws appear to be pointless and draconian. But the fact is the laws are present to prevent real damage to a child’s emotional, spiritual and physical wellbeing. The young mind is still attempting to get a strong grasp of the environment – excess alcohol distorts this reality. As mentioned above, a smaller amount of alcohol will affect a smaller body frame much faster. Also, if the young person starts to rely on alcohol at an early age as a coping tool, they will fail to build the tools to deal with life’s issues and traumas in later life. Perhaps most importantly, as the child is still growing alcohol can actually damage the body physically while still maturing.
According to government guidelines, a healthy adult male can drink up to three to four units and a healthy adult female up to two to three units per day without harming their health. An important exception to this rule is pregnancy; pregnant women are advised to drink no more than one to two units once or twice a week. Whether there is any safe level at which children can drink has not been established. The sensible drinking guidelines for adults apply whether you drink every day or less than this. It is not OK to save up units for the weekend. Binge drinking or drinking a lot in one go is very risky and is responsible for most of the problems associated with drinking alcohol.