3 Urban myths about alcohol.....

Updated: Sep 8, 2019

alcohol addiction

Mark Franklin is the CEO and owner of Start Recovery. Mark delivers Drug and Alcohol specialist counselling and addiction training. Start Recovery is based in Leeds, Yorkshire, England.

Myth 1. Binging on a weekend and not drinking through the week is better for you.

Fact - Although you may think that going out and partying once a week is better for your health, think again. Apart from the obvious effects of binging, such as lowered inhibitions, loss of balance, awareness and memory loss (blackouts), drinking heavily once or twice a week actually damages the brain more than if you were drinking constantly through the week (as a dependent or chronic drinker would do). The affect of drinking so much, quickly, and then stopping, causes a large amount of glutamate to be released in the brain, which over excites areas of the brain relating to, and impairing cognitive functions such as learning and memories.

Myth 2. Drinking spirits is worse for your health than drinking wine or beer.

Fact - Alcohol is alcohol, whether it is lager, red wine, white wine, whisky or vodka. It is the amount of alcohol consumed regardless of the type of beverage that counts, although it is true that more spirits can be consumed over a shorter period of time.

Often when I take on new clients, they will use this misconception as another way to justify or minimalise their own drinking behaviours, with comments like "I don't drink the hard stuff, or, "I'm not that bad yet".

Myth 3. Alcohol makes you warm, or keeps you warmer in the cold.

Fact - Unfortunately for all those living in the North of England this is not true. Drinking alcohol actually reduces the core body temperature making it more dangerous to be out in the cold wandering around in town in the winter. You may feel like you are warmer, but this is due to blood vessels dilating close to the skin and this actually reduces the temperature of the core vital organs. Also the de-sensitising and numbing effects of alcohol will make you feel the cold less which can add to the dangers, so wrap up warm on those winter nights out!

How much are you drinking?

Visit StartRecovery's alcohol problems page to find out more information on alcohol.

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