New York: Are you a heavy drinker? Well, a new study has found that people who are heavy drinkers may think that they can handle the alcohol, but they are not impaired.
It is for those that drink between 10 and 40 alcoholic drinks per week.
As per study, the tolerance to alcohol of men who take more than five drinks at one time and women taking more than four drinks, is not protective against accidents or injuries.
Though heavy drinkers showed less impairment than light drinkers on a rote fine motor test over time, but they did not perform better on a test involving more short-term memory, motor speed, and more complex cognitive processing.
Researchers said that making decisions to attempt more difficult tasks when drunk may be highly risky, because it is based on faulty information.
Ty Brumback researcher at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System in California, US said, "Overall, there is a common belief among heavy drinkers that they can 'handle their alcohol' and that many common daily tasks may not be affected by their alcohol use".
Some heavy drinkers' extensive experience with alcohol may cause increased speed of metabolism, and lower self-perceived impairment.
This behavioural tolerance in heavier drinkers may be a result of cellular adaptation within the brain, changing the sensitivity to alcohol.
The researchers said, contextual factors also play a part, as when people learn a task while drunk, they adapt to performing that task while under the influence.
Brumback added, "The results have implications for our understanding of alcohol-induced impairments across neurobehavioural processes in heavy drinkers and their ongoing risks for alcohol-related consequences over time."
In the study, 155 young adult volunteers were tested on two cognitive and motor coordination tests at the beginning of the study and again five years later.
The findings was published in the journal Psychopharmacolog.
(With IANS inputs)