When it comes to the variousimg types of alcoholic drinks, it’s often assumed that the alcohol content will differ from one drink to another. The fact is, any drink that you consume at a standard amount will have a similar effect on your system, whether it’s beer, wine, liquor or a wine cooler. Nonetheless, there’s the age-old stereotype that wine causes headaches, beer causes drowsiness and liquor caused belligerence.
Time after time, examples have shown that any type of alcoholic drink can lead to problems; it all depends on how much and how fast a drink is consumed. After all, beer, wine and mixed drinks have all been known to cause liver damage and auto accidents when ingested in vast quantities. Whether a teen is wondering if beer is safer than liquor or a recovered alcoholic is pondering a safer option, it’s important to understand that there is no difference.
The Effects of Alcohol Once It Enters the Body
So is beer safer than liquor? Consider this: As with anything that you eat or drink, alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream shortly after ingestion. Blood then passes through the liver for detoxification, and from there the nutrients of what you consume are sent elsewhere to your body. Alcohol, however, is toxic to the liver, and even though the liver is a resilient organ that handles many vital functions – producing bodily proteins, blood-sugar stabilizing hormones and fat-absorbing bile salts – prolonged abuse of alcohol can damage this organ. This can lead to scarring of the liver, which can ultimately cause the organ to fail.
The worst-case condition is Cirrhosis, which shrinks the liver and prevents it from functioning. When this happens, it’s often a case of liver transplant or death. Other problems associated with alcohol of all sorts include osteoporosis and cancers of the liver and breasts.
Alcohol’s Discriminatory Effects – It Comes Down to Size, Gender and Genes
There are various factors that can determine a person’s vulnerability to the effects of alcohol. For starters, alcohol has a much more damaging effect on children and adolescents than on fully developed adults. Alcohol also discriminates along gender lines; women have a lower threshold for alcohol consumption than do men. A person’s physical condition can also play into alcohol vulnerability; short and frail people are typically more sensitive to drinks than heavyset or physically fit individuals.
In short, alcohol vulnerability is largely determined by the following factors:
Age – Underage people shouldn’t drink
Gender – Women shouldn’t consume as much as men
Body Type – People with greater body mass are better equipped to handle alcohol
Basically, alcohol is a discriminatory thing, regardless of whether it comes from beer, wine or liquor.
Alcohol Content Per Serving for Beer, Wine, Liquor and Spirits
When it comes to alcohol, the source doesn’t matter so much as the alcoholic content in a given drink. A regular-sized drink contains 0.6 ounces (14 grams) of alcohol.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a standard drink is measured in the following serving sizes:
- 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, which contains 40 percent alcohol
- 5 ounces of wine, which contains 12 percent alcohol
- 8 ounces of liquor, which contains 7 percent alcohol
- 12 ounces of beer, which contains 5 percent alcohol
So while the alcoholic content of a single ounce of beer is less than the corresponding content of an ounce of spirits, the former’s serving size is higher; beer is generally sold in 12-ounce cans. Regardless of which drink you consume, the effects will be the same if you exceed a certain number of ounces. Spirits have the highest concentration, but that’s not to say that it’s any more dangerous than beer, wine or liquor. An overserving of any drink will lead to the same drunken behaviors and negative health effects.
Behaviors and Situations That Can Make the Effects of Any Alcoholic Drink More Severe
The effects of alcohol can also be determined by food intake and the speed of consumption. If you drink on an empty stomach, the alcohol will enter your bloodstream and impact your brain far quicker than it would when you’re full. Likewise, drinking fast will send the alcohol straight to your head with much greater impact than if you sip in moderation throughout a given meal.
If you have taken medication just before or during a glass of wine, a shot of liquor or a can of beer, the combination of alcohol and chemicals could cause side effects. Furthermore, your reaction to alcohol could be somewhat predetermined by genetics; alcoholism is more common among people with family histories of overdrinking.
Drinking in Moderation – Regardless of the Drink, It’s All Relative
For people who enjoy drinking on a casual or social basis, moderation is the key to maintaining a healthy, safe and dependency-free lifestyle. In the Dietary Guidelines for Americans – a study issued twice each decade by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services – moderate drinking is defined as one glass per day for women and two for men. These are the recommended maximums for people who choose to drink regularly, whether at meals or in social settings.
At restaurants, a glass of wine could be sipped in alternation with glasses of water and a nonalcoholic beverage, such as fruit juice, tea or sparkling water. Whether the occasion centers around lunch, dinner or a social gathering, a drink should always be consumed slowly and never on an empty stomach.
Dangers of Drinking Beer, Wine or Liquor: It Makes no Difference
One of the most dangerous things to do when under the influence is to operate a motor vehicle. Nearly 30 deaths per day are caused by drunk driving in the U.S. In 2012, nearly a third of all driving fatalities were due to alcohol. Drunk driving fatalities are most common among young adults in the 21-24 age bracket, which accounts for one-third of all alcohol-related road accidents.
In most states, the maximum blood alcohol legal limit for operating a motor vehicle is 80 mg/dL, or 0.08 percent; anything above that can lead to a DUI or DWI in scenarios where a pullover occurs. Anyone under 21, however, is prohibited by law from having any trace of alcohol in their system. Still, the legal limit doesn’t indicate the safety threshold for drinking and driving; even after a single drink, it’s best to wait until the alcohol has cleared your system before getting behind a wheel.
Binge Drinking Is Highly Dangerous No Matter The Drink
A lot of risky, unhealthy behavior related to alcohol stems from binge drinking. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s definition of binge drinking says it occurs when blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels go above the 0.08 percent mark. This generally occurs with the quick consumption of multiple drinks – at least five for men and four for women – within a two- or three-hour period. Binge drinking can lead to various health risks, including alcoholism, liver damage and vomiting. It can also lead to risky social behavior, such as belligerence, daredevil stunts and promiscuity. Worst of all, a binge drinker will often end up behind a wheel at the height of his or her drunken state, potentially endangering multiple lives in the process.
Binge drinking often occurs among high school and college students, particularly at parties, where underage youth tend to engage in brisk alcohol consumption, sometimes in fear of raids or arrests. In most cases, underage drinkers start with beer, in part because the taste and smell aren’t as strong as those of harder alcohol, but a couple cans of beer can be just as intoxicating as a few shots of liquor.
Heavy Drinking – An Easy Line to Cross With Beer or Liquor
Consequently, a young person under the influence is more likely to engage in the following behaviors after a couple of drinks:
Handling dangerous equipment
Picking fights at whim
Driving motor vehicles
Performing stunts on high ledges
Getting sexual with random strangers
Many teens may wonder: Is drinking beer safer than hard liquor? Studies have shown that teenagers who drink any kind of alcohol are far likelier to become alcoholics at some point in life than people who wait until age 21. An underage drinking problem can also lead to poor academic performance, which in turn leads to fewer job opportunities and a less stable academic future. When you consider the type of alcoholic beverages consumed at most underage gatherings – such as frat parties and keg parties – it becomes readily apparent that beer isn’t safer than liquor.
The Supposed Health Benefits of Alcohol – Dubious and Inconclusive
Some studies have indicated that people who drink in moderation are less prone to heart attacks, diabetes and gallstones. What isn’t clear is whether this is due to the alcoholic or additive contents of drinks, or the accompanying lifestyle choices of the individuals studied. There has also been speculation that the antioxidants of red wine can help reduce cardiovascular problems, but this too has been inconclusive. Furthermore, no wine has ever been endorsed for any remedial benefits.
Alcohol and Medication – A Dangerous Mix With Any Drink
The consumption of alcohol with medication can be very dangerous, regardless of whether the latter involves painkillers, prescription drugs, dietary supplements or over-the-counter medicine. Therefore, it’s crucial to check warning labels on medication to know if the pills in question will cause side effects if taken with beer, wine or liquor. If you’re prescribed a medication but do drink alcohol, you should ask your pharmacist about how long it’s best to wait between consuming one and the other.
Other Myths About Alcohol
There’s no evidence to suggest that alcoholic content is affected by the addition of antioxidants, coloring, grains or hops. However, such additives can affect the taste of an alcoholic beverage, which in turn might affect the speed of its consumption. If anything, the stronger taste and higher concentration of mixed drinks has led to the assumption that such drinks are the most dangerous, when in fact alcohol is alcohol, whether it comes from beer, wine, liquor or spirits.
The Bottom Line Regarding Beer and Liquor Dependency
Across the world, there are more people who become addicted to alcohol than any other substance. Whether the problem stems from the overconsumption of beer, wine, liquor or a combination of all three, it’s a problem that can easily spiral out of control and be a tremendous source of grief. People from all ages and walks of life have fallen victim to alcohol dependency, which often takes a toll on their health, finances, productivity and relationships. If alcohol dependency has taken over your life, the residential alcohol recovery and detox programs at 12 Keys Rehab can help you regain control and put things back in order.
Alcohol Recovery and Detox at 12 Keys Rehab
When you enter our residential alcohol recovery program, you will receive individualized treatment based on the 12 Keys model. In the comfort of its Florida waterfront facility, certified staff will monitor your recovery and build a plan around your unique needs as a client. At 12 Keys Rehab, staff is comprised of medical and behavior experts, as well as counselors who have experienced addiction firsthand and therefore understand what each client is going through.
People who engage in a long term, 12-step plan are likelier to triumph over alcohol or drug addiction and achieve lifelong sobriety. Over the course of the 30-, 60- and 90-day programs, the clients at 12 Keys Rehab get full treatment and advanced care in mind, body and spirit. Everyone who enrolls is a unique individual with his or her own issues that led to dependency, and with a low client-to-counselor ratio, programs are tailored to suit the needs of each individual. So if you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol addiction, call 12 Keys Rehab today to learn more about our recovery program and get started on a path to happiness and sobriety.