When I was in Florida last week I watched a bit of TV in the mornings as I got ready for the day.
I’d completely forgotten that in the US, pharmaceutical companies are allowed to advertise on telly.
I’m fascinated by these ads because a) they’re a bit strange and b) they’re not something I’m used to seeing. In the UK, prescription medication isn’t advertised on TV.
If you’re not familiar with these pharmaceutical ads, here’s how they tend to work:
First, the voiceover asks if a certain ailment has been holding you back. (Cue footage of sad people.)
Next, there’s an invitation to talk to your doctor about whatever the pill is. (Roll footage of happy people, playing tennis, running through fields etc.)
Finally – and this is the bit that always gets me – the voiceover calmly lists a string of potential side effects, which could be as mild as a dry mouth or as serious as sudden death.
Often, the side effects take up most of the advert! By the end of each ad, I couldn’t help but wonder why anyone would risk taking the medicine.
And this got me thinking…
What if alcohol companies had to list the side effects of drinking in their ads?
After all, alcohol is a drug too.
If we had to listen to a string of side effects at the end of every fancy booze ad, perhaps it’d make us stop and think.
So what kind of side effects would they need to mention? Well, that’s what this blog is all about.
10 side effects alcohol ads should warn you about:
1 – Drinking alcohol may cause extreme sickness and dizziness. You may find it hard to control your body, see clearly, think properly, walk or sit up straight.
2 – Whilst using alcohol your mood may suddenly change. You may feel tearful, paranoid or have the urge to pick a fight for no reason. You may make choices you later regret.
3 – Drinking alcohol can lead to the loss of personal possessions, such as your phone, keys, purse, coat or favourite handbag.
4 – Alcohol use is not recommended for people wishing to lose weight, nor is it suitable for those who want to avoid premature ageing.
5 – If this drug has been recommended to you for stress relief purposes, please note that use of this drug may make the cause of your stress worse in the long run.
6 – Drinking increases your risk of at least 7 types of cancer. Long term alcohol use is also linked to infertility, diabetes, heart and liver disease.
7 – This drug may affect your ability to sleep peacefully. Some users have reported waking up in the early hours of the morning unable to return to deep sleep.
8 – Alcohol may interfere with the way your brain makes memories. During drinking episodes, you may struggle to recall what you said, where you went or what you posted on Facebook…
9 – As you withdraw from this drug, you may experience headaches, depression, anxiety, stomach pain, sickness and strong urges for greasy food and sugary products.
10 – After heavy drinking episodes, you may find it difficult to achieve basic daily tasks such as eating, working or interacting with other humans…
Can you imagine…
If alcohol was a pill prescribed to you by your doctor? What would be your reaction to these side effects?
I’m sure most of us would be back at the doctor’s office in no time! We’d be complaining that the side effects were too much.
When it comes to other drugs, we aren’t willing to tolerate much discomfort, so why do we treat alcohol so differently?
Let me know…
I bet there are tons more side effects you can think of that I’ve forgotten. What warnings would you add to this list?