Alcohol and Drinking Myths

There are plenty of myths about alcohol and drinking. You might be surprised by how many things you think you know that are actually false.

July 26, 2016

Myth 1

There is nothing anyone can do to help a problem drinker

Many people are reluctant to admit they have a problem with alcohol. But every year hundreds of people in England and Wales turn their lives around and take control of their drinking. There are many excellent services in Wales that can help with this. Look up your local service here.

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Myth 2

A trip to the gym will undo damage caused by a night on the tiles

Exercise can make you feel a bit better after drinking, but it’s not possible to sweat out the alcohol. Only time will get the booze out of your bloodstream. Plus your risk of pulling a muscle when you’re working out is greater if you’ve been drinking (even the night before) or if you’re hungover.

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Myth 3

An afternoon of sport just isn’t complete without a drink

If you’re aiming to excel on the pitch, court or track, lay off the sauce. Drinking before sport (even the night before you compete) will slow you down and increase your risk of injury and cramp. Plus it will dehydrate you.

And even if you’re only watching the action, in the stands or on the sofa, you might be glad you laid off the booze when you can actually remember all of the second half.

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Myth 4

Coffee sobers me up

Drinking coffee makes you feel more awake, but won’t make you less drunk or cure a hangover. Drinking caffeine may also make it harder for you to realise whether you’re still drunk, leading to poor decision-making – like driving whilst there’s still alcohol in your blood.

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Myth 5

Alcohol is a winter warmer

A shot of whisky or brandy can make you feel warmer for a bit, but alcohol actually lowers your body temperature, so it’s not always a good idea in cold weather.

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Myth 6

Drinking helps me sleep

Alcohol can make you feel sleepy, and help you get to sleep quickly. But it will also stop your body getting the deep sleep you need, leaving you tired the next morning.

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Myth 7

Alcohol gives me a boost

Alcohol is a depressant. It slows down how you think, move and react. So it’s not the best way to pick yourself up.

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Myth 8

Alcohol improves sexual performance

Temporary impotence (“brewer’s droop”) after a bout of drinking is pretty common amongst men. Long term, in both men and women heavy drinking can lead to a loss of sexual drive, and make your sex organs shrink.

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Myth 9

Drinking when pregnant is OK

Drinking alcohol when you’re pregnant can injure the foetus, particularly during the early stages of pregnancy. The best advice if you’re pregnant or trying to have a baby is to avoid alcohol altogether – which is often simpler than trying to stick to just one or two units a week.

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Myth 10

I can drink and still be in control

Alcohol dulls your brain like an anaesthetic. It clouds your judgement, makes your more clumsy and slower to react. So your risk of accidents and injuries is much higher.

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Myth 11

I can save up my alcohol units for the weekend

Spread your units out through the week, with at least two alcohol-free days in every seven. Saving them up and drinking them all at once will leave you with a nasty hangover in the morning (and maybe some embarrassing memories of the night before) as well as increasing your risk of injuries, fights and accidents.

And remember – the weekly maximum units of alcohol is a limit to stay under…not a target to reach.

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To find out more about support in your local area

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