It should come as no surprise that this country has developed a close relationship with alcohol. Besides a brief period in the 1920s when prohibition was enforced, alcohol has been around and freely enjoyed for centuries. It was so important to us as a culture that even during the middle of prohibition when there were severe penalties for making and distributing alcohol, thousands of people around the country continued to do it and millions more continued to drink it in secrecy.
Not many other things have quite this significant of an influence over people, which is likely why over 70% of all adults in the United States consume alcohol on a semi-regular basis. To put that into perspective, that is over three times the number of adults that regularly use marijuana, which is by far the most popular drug in the country. With so many people consuming alcohol every month, it only makes sense to explore the various high-risk behaviors that can occur when someone consumes it.
Reduces Ability to Detect Threats
As humans, like most animals in general, we instinctively can detect threats at all times. Some of us are inherently better at this than others, but the fact remains that we all have this ability. Unfortunately, when consuming alcohol, it significantly reduces our ability to detect threats, which results in inebriated people being much more likely to get into risky situations.
The problem is that alcohol can get into a person’s system and affect the region of the brain that is responsible for detecting threats. Therefore, it numbs the entire area of brain circuits and makes them unable to tell the difference between a threatening situation and a non-threatening situation.
Someone who is entirely sober might be talking to an individual, and be able to detect, based on verbal and nonverbal cues, that they mean the person harm. However, if that same person was in the same situation had consumed a few alcoholic drinks, then their ability to detect the same lingering threat would be almost nonexistent.
Increases Likelihood of Having an Accident
Since we have established alcohol reduces a person’s ability to detect threats, it makes sense that it also increases the likelihood of them having an accident. This could come in a variety of forms, including a severe car crash or even a simple case of slipping and falling.
When someone has consumed alcohol, it slowly makes it much harder for them to maintain their sense of coordination. This is frequently seen in inebriated people when they have trouble standing up or walking in a straight line.
Even basic tasks like speech become much harder the more a person drinks, resulting in their words coming out slurred and sometimes nonsensical. All of this adds up to produce an individual who is incredibly uncoordinated and lacks proper judgment, which is a recipe for disaster.
Makes Unsafe Sex More Appealing
Remembering to take all the proper precautions during sex is often hard enough for people when they are completely sober, let alone when they are inebriated. Once alcohol enters a person’s system, it completely takes over their brain and directs it to start prioritizing enjoyment over safety. While this might seem like a good trade in the heat of the moment, once the alcohol starts to leave the person’s system, they quickly realize the weight of the mistakes that they have made.
In fact, it is estimated that almost half of all people between the ages of 16 and 25 have had a one-night stand while they were drunk that they regretted once they became sober again. However, even if the individuals do not regret the person that they had sex with, they often regret not using protection. Approximately 48% of individuals between the ages of 19 and 21 stop worrying about using a condom once they start drinking alcohol. That is a large group of people who are regularly exposing themselves to contracting STDs and unwanted pregnancies.
The best way to prevent these high-risk behaviors from occurring in the first place is to avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. However, if individuals are not willing to do this, then at the very least they should make sure that they are getting themselves tested for STDs regularly.
Give yourself the peace of mind that you deserve by getting tested today.