BETHESDA, MD., August 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Many of us look forward to tailgating, viewing parties and barbecues during football season, but it’s also a time when some people are more likely to drink beyond their limits. . Some people will experience adverse consequences ranging from fights to falls to traffic accidents. So this football season, don’t underestimate the effects of alcohol. Don’t think you can beat them, or they might beat you.
Despite the potential dangers, myths about drinking alcohol persist, which for some can prove fatal. An estimated 95,000 people (about 68,000 men and 27,000 women) die each year from alcohol-related causes,1 making alcohol the third preventable cause of death in the United States. Scientific studies supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism provide important insights that challenge common, but incorrect, beliefs about how quickly alcohol affects the body and how long it lasts. effects of alcohol consumption.
The effects of alcohol start quickly, before you know it!
People may not recognize that critical decision-making abilities and driving skills are already impaired long before they show overt signs of intoxication.
Initially, alcohol may seem to act as a stimulant, so people who drink may feel upbeat and energized. But don’t be fooled. Alcohol lowers inhibitions and judgment and can lead to rash decisions.
As people consume more alcohol, reaction times lengthen and behavior becomes uncontrolled and sometimes even aggressive, leading to fights and other types of violence. Continued alcohol consumption causes slurred speech and loss of balance usually associated with drunkenness.
Alcohol can also cause memory loss, that is, lapses in a person’s memory while intoxicated. These gaps occur when a person drinks enough alcohol to temporarily block the transfer of memories from short-term storage to long-term storage — known as memory consolidation — in an area of the brain called the hippocampus. . At higher blood alcohol levels, alcohol acts as a clear depressant, which can cause people who drink to pass out if the dose is high enough. At even higher levels, people who drink face the danger of potentially fatal alcohol overdose due to the suppression of vital functions.
Even when you stop drinking, the effects of alcohol don’t stop
During a football match, it is easy to be mistaken about the duration of the effects of alcohol. For example, many people think they will start to get sober and be safe to drive once they stop drinking and have a cup of coffee. The truth is that alcohol continues to affect the brain and body long after the last drink is over. Even after someone stops drinking, alcohol in the stomach and intestine continues to enter the bloodstream, causing impaired judgment and coordination for hours.
Before celebrating – Plan ahead
Of course, we don’t intend to hurt anyone when we celebrate the football season. Yet the violence and road deaths associated with alcohol abuse persist and myths about alcohol consumption persist, even though scientific studies have documented the effects of alcohol on the brain and body.
Because individuals differ, the specific effects of alcohol on an individual vary. But some facts are clear: there’s no way to make good decisions when you’re drunk, and there’s no way to sober up any faster.
Here are some tips to keep in mind if you’re hosting a football viewing party:
- Offer a variety of soft drinks: water, juice, sparkling sodas. Soft drinks help counter the dehydrating effects of alcohol. Also, other fluids can slow down the rate of alcohol absorption in the body and reduce peak blood alcohol concentration. They also offer your guests alternatives to alcohol.
- Provide a variety of healthy foods and snacks. Food can slow the absorption of alcohol and reduce the maximum level of alcohol in the body by about a third. Food can also minimize stomach irritation and gastrointestinal upset the next day.
- Help your guests get home safely – use designated drivers and taxis. Anyone driving a car should not have ingested alcohol.
- If you are a parent, understand underage drinking laws and set a good example.
Have a safe football season!
Thinking of a change? Visit https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov.
1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Alcohol and public health: impact on alcohol-related diseases (ARDI). Annual average for United States 2011–2015 Alcohol-attributable deaths from heavy drinking, all ages. Available at: https://nccd.cdc.gov/DPH_ARDI/Default/Default.aspx
SOURCE National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism