3 surprising myths about alcohol

Don’t be fooled by these alcohol misconceptions.

From cracking open a beer at a backyard barbecue to sipping a glass of wine before bed, alcohol can often be a shortcut to socializing or winding down. For many Americans, excessive alcohol use is an increasing problem — and it’s a leading preventable cause of death in the United States. During Alcohol Awareness Month, we’re sharing some surprising myths about alcohol use to help you think before you drink.


Alcohol helps you to sleep better at night.

Drinking tonight might make you drowsy tomorrow. Alcohol can help you feel relaxed, but it may cause sleep problems or make them worse. Too little sleep is linked to type 2 diabetes and heart disease, so it might be worth trading your nightcap for a cup of decaffeinated tea.


Having a high tolerance means it’s safe to drink more.

Over time, drinking alcohol can increase your tolerance, so you might drink more before you can feel the effects. Drinking heavily may increase long-term health risks, including high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report.

In general, having less alcohol is better for your health than having more. If you do drink, try to do so in moderation (one drink or less for women per day and two drinks or less for men per day).


Excessive drinking is the same as alcoholism.

People who drink excessively may have 4-5 drinks at one event, or as many as 8-15 drinks per week. However, most people who drink excessively aren’t dependent on alcohol, the CDC explains. Alcoholism is a chronic disease and the stigma of addiction can keep people from getting the care they need. Those who are dependent on alcohol can have trouble stopping or controlling their alcohol use, but help is available.

How to find support

If you or someone you know needs help with alcohol use, Sharp McDonald Center can help. The center offers inpatient and outpatient programs to help you overcome addiction and get support during recovery. You can also discuss alcohol use with your primary care physician for other in-network treatment options.

Behavioral health services are covered under your benefits and can help you feel your best. We partner with Magellan Healthcare, Inc.1 to offer thousands of behavioral health providers for you to choose from and in-person and convenient video visits. No referral is needed for outpatient therapy with a provider in your network. Search for a provider here.

1. In California, Magellan is doing business as Human Affairs International of California, Inc.

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