At some point in our lives we’ll inevitably wake up with a pounding headache, wondering why we did something that we wouldn’t usually do the night before… all thanks to alcohol. Everyone who has drunk alcohol knows the feeling it can give you: you feel invincible and that nothing you do will have consequences – that’s because alcohol lowers your inhibitions.
Alcohol is a depressant. That doesn’t mean it makes you feel depressed, but rather it means it slows down your central nervous system and disrupts the normal balance of neurotransmitters. That’s why your speech becomes slurred, it can be hard to keep your balance, your short-term memory is suddenly shot and you feel 10ft tall and bulletproof… but this feeling of distorted self-perception and confidence can be very dangerous.
One night stands are quite common and almost a rite of passage among young people. They are more often than not fuelled by alcohol, but having sex while uninhibited can have its consequences. Practising safe sex usually goes out the window when two drunk people have sex and this opens the door to pregnancy and the transmission of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) like genital herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhoea and pubic lice (crabs) – not to mention the feeling of regret and shame the next morning. If you’re going out and consuming alcohol, always carry protection and don’t let alcohol get in the way of your judgement.
Another bad result of impaired judgement from alcohol-induced inhibition, especially among young men, is fighting. As soon as some people get alcohol in their system they have this illusion that they’re tough and will instigate fights as a result. Lately the media has been in a frenzy over what has now been dubbed a ‘coward punch’, which is characterised by a ‘dog shot’ ending in sometimes severe injury or death – as we have all seen. When you go out, don’t get into fights. Fighting is not cool or tough and you could wind up in jail for a very long time if someone you hit dies as a result.
Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle is another common practice when inhibitions are lowered. Many people think their driving skills are not impaired, that they will not get caught and they will arrive at their destination without incident. Drink driving is a major cause of premature death on our roads and it’s not always the driver who is affected; often the driver is unharmed and passengers or pedestrians are the ones who pay the ultimate price. Whatever you do, do not get behind the wheel or be a passenger when alcohol has a role. You could get caught and lose your licence or much, much worse.
Once some people get a taste for alcohol it’s hard for them to stop. With each drink our inhibitions are lowered, which can lead to the overconsumption of alcohol or other substances. Drinking too much alcohol can result in more problems than just a hangover: there’s alcohol poisoning, getting hit by oncoming traffic and choking on your own vomit to name a few. Alcohol also magnifies in danger when coupled with other illicit substances and many people are likely try drugs like ecstasy for the first time while intoxicated. You never know what effect a certain drug will have on you so when having a drink, stick to alcohol – but don’t overdo it.
Now that you know some of the consequences of impaired judgement associated with alcohol you can arm yourself against being caught up in situations like these. Just because you feel like nothing can hurt you or you are out of the law’s reach definitely doesn’t mean you are. When drinking, do it responsibly so you can avoid waking up with more than a throbbing headache.