Person sitting on the floor, thinking about the connection between abusing alcohol and falling

The Link Between Alcohol and Falling

The connection between drinking alcohol and falling is well known. Anyone who has ever consumed an alcoholic beverage can attest to how it can impair balance, coordination, and judgment. Alcohol is one of the leading causes of falls, particularly among older adults. 

If you or a loved one experiences falls or other injuries when drinking alcohol, it is normal to feel concerned. Not only can you end up with bumps and bruises, but some falls can be especially hazardous and even fatal. If your alcohol consumption has led to frequent injuries, it is time to seek help. Promises Brazos Valley is here to help you regain control of your life. Contact us at 979.426.0086 to learn more about our alcohol detox program. 

What Is the Connection Between Alcohol and Falling? 

The risk of falls and alcohol consumption are closely linked. If you have not experienced trips or falls yourself while drinking alcohol, you likely know someone who has. And these falls can lead to more than bruises, skinned knees, or broken fingernails. Many people end up in the hospital with sprained ankles, concussions, or broken bones due to alcohol-related falls. A person can suffer a fatality in the most severe cases, such as falling down a flight of stairs. 

So why are people more prone to falling when drinking alcohol? The answer lies in the way alcohol affects how your body and brain work. The two primary alcohol-related causes of increased risk of falls are: 

Impaired Motor Skills 

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that slows down your body’s functions. This can include slowed breathing, reaction time, and impaired motor function. When you have been drinking, it is more challenging to maintain your balance and respond quickly to changes in your environment. So, if a person or pet crosses your path, you are more likely to bump into them or trip over them. 

Alcohol can also affect depth perception and visual acuity, causing you to misjudge distances and making it that much more likely that you will trip or stumble over something. This is a common issue when navigating stairs while under the influence of alcohol. 

Impaired Judgment 

Not only does alcohol affect your motor function, but it also interferes with cognitive function. Your decision-making skills may be hampered, making you more likely to engage in risky behaviors or put yourself in unsafe situations. This can include climbing stairs or ladders or participating in sports or other physical activities while intoxicated.  

How to Protect Yourself from Falls and Alcohol-Related Injuries 

Some alcohol-related falls are minor, resulting in minor bruises and scrapes. But others can be dangerous, especially for older adults. They are much more likely to suffer serious injuries such as broken bones or head trauma when they fall. Regardless of age, it is essential to know how to reduce the chances of alcohol-related falls and other injuries to keep yourself safe. Here are a few tips to protect yourself: 

  • Abstain from alcohol or drink in moderation. 
  • Avoid drinking when you plan to engage in any physical activity. 
  • Be mindful of your surroundings and avoid walking on wet or uneven surfaces. 
  • Hold on to the railing and go slowly if you must climb stairs. 
  • Opt for flats or low-heeled shoes rather than high heels when you know you will be drinking. 

You do not have to forgo drinking altogether to lower your risk of alcohol-related falls. Taking precautions like those above can help you stay safe and reduce the chances of falling or experiencing another injury while consuming alcohol. 

Get Help for Alcohol Dependence at Promises Brazos Valley 

The connection between alcohol and falling is a serious issue with devastating consequences. Taking steps to limit your alcohol intake can reduce your risk, but if you find it challenging to reduce your drinking, you may need help from an alcohol addiction treatment program. Contact Promises Brazos Valley at 979.426.0086 to schedule an intake assessment. 

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