Science Proves Drinking is Never as Fun as You Think
Binge drinking among teens and young adults is at an all-time high, In the US, around 90% of the alcohol drunk by people under 21 is consumed while binge drinking and the numbers in the UK are not far behind. According to a new study from researchers at Miriam Hospital, the high rate of binge drinking among young people may be due to the perceived effects of alcohol.
In their tests, researchers found that teens and young adults tend to focus on the perceived positive effects of alcohol while ignoring any negatives. Young adults also confused euphoria about drinking and parties with excitement caused by drinking. While small amounts of alcohol can create a feeling of well-being, positive expectations about a party, event or even drinking can produce the same sense of euphoria as the alcohol itself. Lori A.J. Scott-Sheldon, Ph.D. and the study's lead author, said, "If you believe alcohol gives you 'liquid courage' or that drinking helps you 'fit in' or be more social, you're likely to drink more."
This mentality may help explain some of the startling figures about teens and alcohol. Each year in the US, an estimated 696,000 college-age students are assaulted by a peer who has been drinking and 1,825 die from alcohol¬-related incidents, including car crashes. To help reverse these troubling statistics, researchers have come up with a new way to re-educate people about their relationship with alcohol.
This new method of teaching alcohol awareness focuses on five simple steps that anyone can use to better understand their relationship with alcohol.
1) Identify your alcohol expectancies.
Make a list of the ways you think people feel and act when they drink alcohol. It may be surprising but most people only focus on the so called “positive effects” of alcohol without considering any of the negative consequences. Even people who have never had a drink in their life seem to gloss over negative consequences.
2) Understand the real effects of alcohol.
Remember that alcohol is a depressant. While a very small amount might result in a pleasant “buzz”, more does not mean better. When people consume more than the recommended amount of alcohol, they lose the buzz, because the alcohol is forcing their central nervous system to slow down. More alcohol also makes you tired and slows down both movements and reaction time. In fact, drinking more not only kills the buzz, it can also kill you. Too many drinks can lead to alcohol poisoning and even death.
3) Consider how you learned about alcohol’s “positive effects.”
Look at how your parents, peers and the media viewed alcohol when you were growing up. It can be easy to understand why you think the way you do by understanding who taught you. Once you understand how your views on drinking formed, it is easier to see any flaws in your own beliefs.
4) Enjoy drinking without drinking any alcohol.
Many people see binge drinking as highly enjoyable because it is associated with parties, friends and other pleasurable things. But this state of euphoria is not caused by the alcohol, it is triggered by the positive expectations that come from a social setting and a party atmosphere. This was proved when researchers gave some people at a party alcohol and others a placebo. Those in the placebo group had just as good a time as their intoxicated counterparts.