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Drinking Coffee When Drunk Creates False Sense of Sobriety

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Drinking coffee not only doesn't sober you up when you are drunk but can make you reckless by imparting a false sense of sobriety, according to animal researchers at Temple University.

The BBC reported Dec. 9 that a study led by researcher Thomas Gould found that mice given a combination of alcohol and caffeine became more alert and relaxed, yet also failed to avoid shocks in a maze that alcohol-free mice were able to safely navigate.

“The myth about coffee's sobering powers is particularly important to debunk because the co-use of caffeine and alcohol could actually lead to poor decisions with disastrous outcomes,” said Gould. “People who feel tired and intoxicated after consuming alcohol may be more likely to acknowledge that they are drunk. Conversely, people who have consumed both alcohol and caffeine may feel awake and competent enough to handle potentially-harmful situations, such as driving while intoxicated or placing themselves in dangerous social situations.”

The study appears in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience.

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