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Mixer-Nixers: Top 10 Drinking Dangers

Before your next drink, learn more about what doesn't mix well with alcohol.

Alcohol and Chronic Illness

"Any person with a chronic medical illness must be careful when drinking alcohol," says Ross.

People with diabetes, for instance, need to be careful because alcoholic beverages are a sugar, and sugar can be dangerous for people with this chronic disease.

Drinking alcohol can also be a risky move for people with stomach and intestinal ulcers, Ross explains. This condition can be aggravated and lead to internal bleeding if more than a small amount is consumed.

However, there's evidence that in moderate amounts, beer and wine offer protection against heart disease. What's "moderate"? For women, it's no more than one drink per day. For men, it's no more than two drinks per day.

Energy Drinks

"Energy drinks or drinks with high caffeine intake do not help a person feel less drunk," says Ross. "The old adage that drinking a cup of coffee will sober you up more quickly is not true."

Instead, pounding down a few highly caffeinated energy drinks along with a few potent mixed drinks can make a person more combative and agitated -- not a pretty picture.

If you've had too much to drink and you want to start the sobering-up process, go to something that's tried and true: water.

"I would recommend drinking plenty of water and not caffeine to try to decrease the effects of alcohol," says Ross.

Boating and Drinking

According to a study published in the December 2001 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, a person's chances of dying in a boating accident -- either as a passenger or at the helm -- soar when you add alcohol to the equation, even if the amounts of alcohol are small. After reaching the blood alcohol concentration limit of legal intoxication in most states, your odds of getting killed rise by 30%, according to the study. And when you're three times beyond the legal limit with a blood-alcohol content of 0.25, you are 50 times more likely to die than a sober boater. When you do the math, boating and drinking can equal disaster.

Alcohol and Marijuana

"The big three when you mix alcohol and cannabis are: effect on judgment, effect on motor performance, and sedation," says Christopher Welsh, MD, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Both alcohol and marijuana have sedating properties, so when the two are combined, the effects are additive, explains Welsh.

"Animal studies have shown that motor performance is significantly impaired if you combine the two, compared to each on their own," Welsh tells WebMD. "This has also been shown in some human studies."

Sedation and an impairment of motor performance together leave a person with a less than perfect sense of judgment.

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