One of the most common phrases that I have listened to like a thousand times in movies and tv shows is “I need a drink”. As if it is some sort of magical potion to deal with challenging situations.
We all love watching movies and TV shows, especially when they feature our favorite actors and actresses. But sometimes, these fictional stories can give us a distorted view of reality, especially when it comes to alcohol consumption.
In this blog post, we will explore some of the common myths and misconceptions that movies and TV have wrongly taught us about drinking alcohol. In the end, you will be surprised how these alcohol consumption patterns have infiltrated our lives and ruined them in unimaginable ways.
1: Let’s talk about it over a drink
In movies and TV shows, characters often engage in binge drinking, which is defined as drinking a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time. According to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in 2019, alcohol-related harm was responsible for $249 billion in economic costs in the United States in 2010. This included costs related to healthcare, lost productivity, and criminal justice expenses. In addition, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to broken relationships, job loss, and financial ruin. What really happens over such social gatherings is:
- Rarely a meaningful conversation, in fact, most conversations are forgotten the next day, and some bad ones are remembered by the ones who were sober while you were binging on alcohol.
- Alcohol-related harm both physical and emotional
- Loss of sense.
- Car accidents
Some of us argue to have self-control during such events but those are just a handful of people. In fact, most social gatherings happen only because there is alcohol involved.
2: There’s a bar or a bottle of whisky or wine always at home
Have you noticed that in movies when a character returns home after a stressful day? They pour a glass of wine or whisky before they retire for the day.
Normalizing Alcohol Consumption
Many movies and TV shows depict alcohol consumption as a normal and expected part of social situations. Characters often have a bottle of wine or whiskey at home and it’s not uncommon for them to pour themselves a drink after a long day at work or to celebrate a special occasion. This normalization of alcohol consumption can create a sense that it’s not only acceptable but expected to drink in certain situations.
In addition to normalizing alcohol consumption, movies and TV shows often glamorize drinking. Characters are often shown drinking expensive or exotic cocktails, wine, or spirits in beautiful and luxurious settings. This can create the impression that drinking is a sophisticated and desirable activity that’s associated with success and status.
Associating Alcohol with Fun and Relaxation
Many movies and TV shows also associate alcohol with fun and relaxation. Characters often drink to have a good time or to relieve stress, and drinking is often shown as a way to enhance social interactions and loosen inhibitions. This can create the impression that drinking is an essential part of having fun and enjoying life.
3. Date, Drink & Sex
Movies often depict characters on dates consuming alcohol, followed by the characters engaging in sexual activity. This depiction can give the impression that alcohol is a necessary component of sexual activity, and can normalize and romanticize the idea of drinking before sex. However, in reality, alcohol can impair judgment, increase the risk of sexual assault, and lead to regrettable sexual encounters.
it provokes the desire, but it takes away the performanceWilliam Shakespeare, Macbeth
4. I need a drink
Movies and TV shows often depict alcohol as a way to cope with difficult situations. Characters may turn to alcohol to deal with stress, anxiety, or depression. It always begins with a common sentence “I need a drink”. While alcohol may provide temporary relief, it can also exacerbate these issues in the long run.
When faced with a difficult situation in life, we need mental clarity. Alcohol is probably the easiest way to escape reality. Alcohol is a depressant, which means that it can worsen feelings of sadness and hopelessness. In addition, alcohol can lead to addiction, which can further complicate mental health issues.
This is one of the most common ways to fall prey to alcohol addiction. Do you remember that one person who might have said to you “I usually take a peg or two in the evening to relax and sleep”? They are the ones who are stressed or sleep-deprived and rather than resorting to some healthier way to destress and promote sleep, they surrender to alcohol.
5. Alcohol as a sleeping aid
Many people use alcohol as a sleep aid, believing that it will help them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. However, while alcohol may initially make you feel drowsy and help you fall asleep faster, it can actually have a negative impact on the quality of your sleep.
Alcohol can disrupt the sleep cycles that are necessary for restorative sleep. Alcohol can suppress rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is important for memory consolidation and emotional regulation. Additionally, alcohol can increase slow-wave sleep, which is associated with feeling groggy and disoriented upon waking.Dr. Matt Walker, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley
As a result of these disruptions to sleep cycles, alcohol can have a negative impact on the quality of your sleep. While you may fall asleep faster after consuming alcohol, you’re more likely to wake up during the night and experience fragmented sleep. This can leave you feeling tired and groggy the next day and can have negative impacts on your mood, cognitive function, and overall health.
Dr. Walker also explains that alcohol can worsen sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, which is a condition where a person’s breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. Alcohol can relax the muscles in the throat, making it more likely for a person with sleep apnea to experience episodes of interrupted breathing during the night.
Alcohol can also lead to increased nighttime awakenings, as it can cause a person to wake up frequently to use the bathroom. This is because alcohol is a diuretic, which means it increases urine production and can lead to dehydration.
Alcohol is a sedative, not a sleep promoter.
6. Alcohol as a body warmer
One of my friend drink used to drink rum in winter because he thinks that it keep the body warm. I don’t blame him. One common myth perpetuated by movies and TV shows is that alcohol can help keep the body warm in cold temperatures. However, this is not actually the case. While alcohol may initially cause a feeling of warmth or flush in the body, it does not actually raise body temperature.
In fact, alcohol can have the opposite effect on body temperature. According to Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, alcohol can cause vasodilation, which is the widening of blood vessels in the skin. This can cause heat to escape from the body more quickly, leading to a drop in body temperature.
Excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of hypothermia, which is a condition where the body’s core temperature drops below normal levels. This is because alcohol can impair judgment and lead to poor decision-making, such as failing to properly dress for cold weather or spending too much time in cold environments.
Conventional methods to stay warm like fire, warm clothes, etc is always a better choice.
7. A little alcohol is actually beneficial
For many years, there has been a popular myth that moderate alcohol consumption, typically defined as one to two drinks per day, may actually be beneficial for health. This idea is often based on studies that have found associations between moderate alcohol consumption and a lower risk of certain health conditions, such as heart disease.
However, more recent research has shown that the relationship between alcohol and health is much more complicated than previously thought. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, even moderate alcohol consumption can have negative impacts on health, including an increased risk of certain cancers, liver disease, and mental health problems.
Alcohol is metabolized by the liver, and excessive alcohol consumption can lead to liver damage and inflammation. This can disrupt the liver’s ability to process toxins and other substances, including those produced by bacteria in the gut. When this balance is disrupted, harmful bacteria can proliferate, leading to gut inflammation, leaky gut syndrome, and other digestive issues.Dr. Andrew Huberman. Neuroscientist and professor at Stanford University. Huberman Podcast.
I bet you know what rubbing alcohol or alcohol sanitizer does to your hands. It kills germs and bacteria. When you ingest alcohol it also kills your gut bacteria and sadly it can not differentiate between the good and bad ones.
8. Alcoholics are cool
Another way that movies and TV shows depict alcohol consumption is through the portrayal of alcoholics. Alcoholism is a serious disease that affects millions of people around the world. However, in movies and TV shows, alcoholism is often portrayed as a comedic or dramatic plot device. Characters who are alcoholics may be depicted as funny or tragic figures, but the reality is that alcoholism is a devastating disease that can lead to job loss, financial ruin, and broken relationships along with serious health-related consequences.
9. Alcohol and wounds
It is a common trope in movies and TV shows to depict alcohol as a makeshift antiseptic, used to clean and disinfect wounds in the absence of proper medical supplies. However, there is limited evidence to support the idea that alcohol is an effective or safe wound treatment.
While alcohol may have some disinfectant properties, it can also damage healthy tissue and delay the healing process. Moreover, using alcohol to clean wounds can be painful and may increase the risk of infection if the wound is not properly treated afterward.
According to a study published in the Journal of Wound Care, there is no evidence to support the use of alcohol as a wound treatment, and it may actually do more harm than good. The study found that alcohol can cause irritation and damage to the skin, delay wound healing, and increase the risk of infection.
Overall, while alcohol may be portrayed in movies and TV shows as a makeshift antiseptic, there is limited evidence to support its use as a wound treatment.
No amount of alcohol is good for our health. Alcohol consumption on rare occasions may not have serious consequences but so long as it does not become a pattern.