Gay Men and Alcohol
What can be said about alcohol that hasn't been said already? It's a legal (recreational) drug and despite all of the chatter about poppers, crystal and coke, it is the #1 drug of choice for the gay community. It is also the most common drug used prior to HIV infection. There's a fine line between alcohol use and alcohol abuse, a line that gets blurrier with each drink. That's why the real question is why you drink.
- Do you get drunk even when you don't really want to?
- Does your drinking affect other aspects of your life, like relationships with friends, roommates and lovers?
- Does it affect getting your bills paid on time?
- Does it affect your work?
- Does your drinking lead to other risky behaviors like having unprotected sex with random strangers, or driving drunk?
If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, you just might have a problem with alcohol.
There are a number of reasons why alcohol may be abused and used as a coping mechanism in the Gay community. These include: cultural homophobia that causes undue stress and anxiety, issues relating to coming out of the closet, and/or rejection by loved ones. Those are just a few of the many reasons why Gays outpace our straight men in alcohol consumption (our rates of alcohol abuse are 2 to 3 times higher than heterosexuals).
What is Alcohol?
Alcohol is a depressant and an anesthetic. Alcohol is rapidly absorbed through your stomach and intestines. Your cognitive and motor skills take a beating and small tasks, like talking and walking, may seem a bit difficult. Alcohol also lowers your inhibitions, which is one of the main reasons people drink. Alcohol can also cause dehydration because your body needs water to absorb it. The best thing to do at the end of a night of drinking is to have a lot of water and sober up a bit before you fall asleep. You'll feel a lot better in the morning.
What are the effects of drinking alcohol?
Low to moderate amounts can produce feelings of relaxation, lower inhibitions, and increased sociability. Larger amounts can cause dizziness, nausea, slurred speech, slower reflexes, sleepiness, bad judgment, dehydration and a hangover the next day. Overdoses can cause loss of motor control, black-outs, temporary coma (passing out), and in extreme cases, death.
What are the risks behind alcohol?
Alcohol lowers your inhibitions. It can cloud your judgement and can lead to unsafe sex and experimentation with other drugs. Remember, alcohol is a depressant and slows everything down. If you start taking other drugs that speed things up it can wreak havoc on your heart.
If you or someone you know feel that they may have a problem with alcohol, please click on the following link for more information. Click here to find out more about drug and alcohol treatment programs.