If you drink, chances are you have tripped your way to at least a few mysterious bruises at one point or another. As coordinated as alcohol might make you think you are, the reality is that the most common drunken injuries are often the result of... well, basically nothing. You might be able to deftly avoid the mountain range of dirty laundry piles on your floor while sober, but as soon as alcohol enters the equation, last week's jogging outfit turns into a wipe-out waiting to happen — and don't even get me started on stairs, because they're basically deathtraps. (Admittedly, as a hopelessly uncoordinated disaster, I feel that way even while sober, but they're positively terrifying after my weekly Iron Chef America-and-Chardonnay parties.)
If you don't believe me, believe DrugAbuse.com, which analyzed emergency room injuries over the past six years to learn more about the injuries people receive while intoxicated. Unsurprisingly, drunk people manage to turn even the most innocent objects into menaces to their health: Stairs, floors, and bicycles topped the list as the most common causes of drunken injury, but even bathtubs and alcohol bottles themselves (oh, the betrayal!!) caused their share of trips to the ER.
According to the analysis, head and face injuries are most common, especially for people in their late teens and old age. Interestingly enough, men are significantly more likely to injure themselves while drinking — at certain times of life, they have more than twice the rate of injury compared to women, and more than 70 percent of overall injuries happened to men. However, both men and women follow the same pattern of drinking-related injuries, which peak in early adulthood (around age 21, natch) and middle age.
It's also important to note that it's not just adults getting sent to the ER while under the influence; the study found an alarming spike in injuries for toddlers and young children, which the authors write is most likely the result of "inadequate supervision" or the children taking drugs parents left out by accident.
Admittedly, it's easy to find drunken injuries funny. One of my favorite memories, in fact, is the night my roommate and I tripped down a hill during our first week of college — nothing builds a friendship like landing in a heap in the grass at 4 a.m., deciding you're too lazy to get up, and deciding to just sleep outside. However, stories like that are only funny because they're harmless, and intoxication makes the chances of serious injury to yourself or others skyrocket. Luckily, there's a simple solution: Try to control your drinking. As funny as The Hangover may have been before all the sequels marred our love for the franchise, it's significantly less fun in real life.