Alcohol Abuse in College: Greek Life and Alcohol Statistics

Alcohol abuse in college has quickly become a major issue, especially among fraternities and sororities. Studies shows that members of Greek life are more likely to binge drink than college students who are not in fraternities and sororities. A Harvard University study found that 4 out of 5 sorority and fraternity members are binge drinkers. This is compared to another finding that two out of five college students are binge drinkers, as well. There are many harmful consequences to binge drinking such as higher rates of accidents, emergency room visits, and deaths.

Greek Life Drinking Statistics

Alcohol abuse is high among members of Greek life. Members of fraternities and sororities are among the most at risk for binge drinking compared with peers who aren’t in Greek life. Men are also more likely than women to practice binge drinking in college. A 10-year study about Greek life alcohol usage found that 97% of a national fraternity consisting of 3,400 members drink regularly. 64% consisted of members who identified as binge drinkers. That same study found that 60% of fraternity members started drinking at age 16. Meanwhile, 50% of frat members have symptoms of alcohol addiction.

How Does Alcohol Abuse in College Develop?

In Greek life, alcohol abuse is prevalent. Though Greek life is used for academic advancement, it is also known as being a place for partying. Since Greek life contributes to party culture, it also means that excessive drinking is treated as the norm. Some risk factors for alcohol abuse in college include:

  • History of heavy drinking
  • Lack of supervision
  • Hazing
  • Peer pressure
  • Being financially well off

History of Heavy Drinking

Students can be at risk for alcohol abuse in college if they drank heavily in high school. The Recovery Village says that students who drank in high school are more likely to join a Greek organization and keep drinking.

Lack of Supervision

A main reason why students practice binge drinking in college is due to lack of supervision. When students live in dorms, they’re usually assigned a resident assistant who enforces rules and monitors the behaviors of students. Greek housing doesn’t have resident assistants or authority to enforce rules to help avoid or keep drinking levels down. Oftentimes, the students who are in charge of supervising will even encourage drinking excessively. According to the Addiction Center, campus officials may even turn the other cheek when it comes to these activities due to the positive economic benefit that some Greek sororities or fraternities have on the school.

Hazing

Binge drinking in college is often part of a common initiation ritual in Greek life called “hazing.” Hazing is a difficult and usually humiliating initiation into a new group or organization.  It involves a range of practices including physical, psychological, and sexual assault, as well as criminal activity and outright abuse. Many times, it also involves binge drinking. This can have the potential to become dangerous as it can lead to alcohol poisoning and even death. The Addiction Center says that many alcohol-related deaths within fraternities happen to college freshmen. In fact, 15 of the 24 fraternity-related freshmen deaths since 2005 happened during or after initiation and hazing rituals.

Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is also a cause of alcohol abuse in college, especially when drinks are readily available. Students are more likely to drink or do drugs if they are living on campus, and this is even more likely if a student is living in Greek housing. Members of a sorority or fraternity often live in the same housing, and friends and peers in Greek houses serve as a family away from home. This can lead to peer pressure and wanting to fit in with their friends.

Oftentimes, sororities and fraternities provide environments where drinking heavily is normalized. While peer pressure is high among college students, it tends to be even higher in Greek organizations. Members may feel the extra pressure to keep up with their brothers and sisters. New members may feel even more pressure.

Being Financially Well Off

Though the idea is that many members of Greek fraternities and sororities come from a higher economic background, it is common that most of the members are better off financially. Being able to afford the cost of alcohol, as well as having little to no supervision, can lead to members buying alcohol.

What Are The Long-Term Effects of Binge Drinking in College?

Binge drinking in college can often lead to harmful long-term effects. The Journal of Adolescent Health shows that fraternity members who lived in a fraternity house for at least one semester had symptoms of alcohol use disorder by the age of 35. Studies have also found that 45% of males who were fraternity members at the age of 35 reported that they developed two or more symptoms of alcoholism. This is compared to 30.4% of college students who were not involved in Greek life and 33.1% of their non-college peers.

Women who were involved with Greek life and were residential members were more likely to develop two or more symptoms of alcoholism at age 35 at 26.4% when compared to female college students not involved in sororities where the percentage of developing alcohol use disorder was 18%. These studies have shown that the link between Greek life and alcohol abuse is alarming.

What Are Treatment Options for Alcohol Abuse in Young Adults?

There are options to prevent these long-term effects, and that is by helping young adults combat this early. The Discovery Institute is committed to helping young adults with alcohol use disorder (AUD). We believe that our rehab is most successful when the client, family system and social support network is integrated. This system will be successful when it comes to the goal of having individuals to overcome alcohol use disorder. There is more than one approach to help young adults successfully overcome alcohol abuse in college.

Detox and Therapy

We have included different methods such as group and individual therapy, educational seminars, and active involvement of the Twelve Steps. Our treatment plan starts with a medical, psychological, and drug and alcohol assessment, which helps us set up a baseline. Treatment then begins immediately afterward.

With family counseling, the Discovery Institute is aware that this disorder does not just affect the individual but that it also impacts those close to the individual that is suffering. Our team includes experienced counselors and therapists to help families resolve relationships that might have become strained due to this disorder. The client and their loved ones will be given the opportunity to set boundaries, express their feelings and emotions, as well as process their experiences as a family unit.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

We also recognize that many patients who suffer from alcohol abuse also suffer from co-occurring mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety. We have a team of nurses, therapists, and doctors to help provide medication and therapy to treat mental health issues and alcohol use disorder. Our staff is also experienced in providing counseling for trauma. This can change the way the brain functions as well as lead individuals to develop unhealthy coping mechanisms. Our therapists will help clients process these traumatic experiences and guide them to form new and healthy coping mechanisms that will help aid in recovery long term.

Are There Other Programs Available?

The Discovery Institute also includes programs that help young adults adjust to a sober life. With these programs, we help to provide hope for recovery. Some of the specialized programs include Vocational Training and Resume Building, Life Skill Development, and help with legal problems. 

Vocational and Resume Building help young adults identify career goals and develop the skills that they would need to succeed in the real world outside of treatment. Life skill development teaches young adults basic life skills, such as cleaning, self-care, and cooking that will lead to them living a well-rounded, and adjusted life when they are done with treatment.

We also offer help with legal problems as many of our patients make choices that may lead to legal repercussions. Our staff is trained in verifying patients’ enrollment and preparing progress reports and documentation for patients under observation by the legal system. Our counselors are also trained in helping patients through processing their emotions when it comes to legal consequences.

Find Solace at Discovery Institute

Alcohol abuse can affect a young adult’s life, and put their future on pause. It is best to treat it early so that young adults can have the future that they deserve. At Discovery Institute, we guarantee that we can help young adults recover and lead fulfilling lives. With our treatment plan, we not only provide tools for long-term recovery. We also teach skills to help them achieve a bright future. Contact us today to learn more.

What Other Symptoms Accompany Alcohol Withdrawal Dreams?

Alcohol Withdrawal Dreams

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), one out of 12 American adults suffered from a substance use disorder. That totals to almost 19 million American adults. While substance use disorders can manifest in many ways, alcohol use disorder is particularly prominent. In fact, the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) found that in 2019 over 14 million adults suffered from an alcohol use disorder. 

Individuals with an alcohol use disorder may experience alcohol withdrawal dreams when they try to stop drinking. Those suffering from alcohol use disorder make up an overwhelming majority of people with an addiction to substances. Part of the reason why many Americans suffer from alcohol use disorder is because of the symptoms they experience when they try to stop drinking or reduce the amount that they drink. 

Delirium tremens is particularly one of the factors that may keep people drinking even when they want to stop. Getting help from an addiction detox and treatment center can help, though. 

Why Do Alcohol Withdrawal Dreams Happen? 

Individuals with an alcohol use disorder may find that they are both physically and mentally unable to stop drinking. This is because psychoactive substances like alcohol have the power to change overall brain chemistry. In terms of alcohol, it alters the brain as a central nervous system depressant (CNS). In other words, it slows down or impedes some of the normal processes within the body and brain. 

For instance, alcohol increases the amount of GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) available for the brain to use. GABA is a neurotransmitter that slows down messages between other neurotransmitters. It’s produced especially after a stress response. Thus, it can make people feel more relaxed and content. Yet, GABA suppresses other functions within the body, like regulating breathing and consciousness. It should come as no surprise, then, that an alcohol use disorder affects sleep overall. 

Alcohol Withdrawal Dreams 

Alcohol Withdrawal Dreams

People who have an alcoholic drink late at night might find that they’re able to fall asleep easier. The nightcap is a concept for a reason. As said before, alcohol works as a CNS depressant, so sleep is much easier to achieve–initially. As a psychoactive drug, alcohol causes our bodies to put in more effort to maintain its regular functionality. However, this may be unnoticeable until those with an alcohol use disorder try to cut down or quit. 

Everyone’s body maintains a regular state, which alcohol can disrupt. This is especially true for individuals suffering from an alcohol use disorder. After a time, the body and brain get used to the way alcohol affects them both. So, when individuals cut down or completely abstain from drinking after long periods of regular drinking, it can affect the sleep cycle. 

The Sleep Cycle and Alcohol Withdrawal Dreams 

According to the Sleep Foundation, there are four stages of sleep. Each cycle lasts different lengths of time and serves a different purpose. There are two types of sleep stages: non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM). They are as follows: 

  • 1st Stage – The first stage of the sleep cycle, or N1 (NREM type sleep), lasts only one to five minutes. This time may vary depending on the individual. 
  • 2nd Stage – N2 (NREM type sleep) is one of the longest sleep cycles. It can last anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes, depending upon the person. 
  • 3rd Stage – The third stage of sleep is a slow-wave sleep cycle. Delta wave sleep or deep sleep makes up this cycle. This important stage of sleep is NREM type sleep and is known as N3. It lasts about 20 to 40 minutes. 
  • 4th Stage – The fourth stage of sleep is REM sleep. It lasts approximately 10 minutes to one hour. REM sleep is crucial for brain function and makes up about 25% of the sleep cycle. Dreams commonly occur in REM, rather than most of the other stages. 

Alcohol can cause an irregular REM cycle, called REM rebound. This applies to those who drink regularly and to those who don’t. That said, it more deeply affects those who have an alcohol use disorder. Alcohol withdrawal dreams are one symptom of the body and brain reacting to the lack of alcohol. Those with an alcohol use disorder experiencing REM rebound will have vivid nightmares that are hard to separate from real life. 

How Long Do Vivid Dreams Last After Quitting Alcohol?

Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal Dreams

Alcohol and alcohol cessation can make the brain go haywire. But luckily, this is only temporary. Typically sleep cycle imbalance will be resolved after 1-2 weeks of not drinking any more alcoholic beverages. However, those with an alcohol use disorder may experience up to 2-3 weeks of REM rebound before their sleep cycle gets back on track.

Most people occasionally have dreams that leave them feeling uneasy and stressed. Yet, when these nightmares are triggered by alcohol withdrawal symptoms, they can be very difficult to get through. It’s important not to give in and drink again because like the discomfort of a headache or anxiety from insomnia, this experience will soon pass with the right help.

What Other Symptoms Accompany Alcohol Withdrawal Dreams? 

Alcohol use disorder can cause a complicated series of alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol withdrawal dreams being one of them. Along with alcohol withdrawal nightmares, individuals may experience other alcohol withdrawal symptoms that can affect sleep. For example, these can include sleep disruption, insomnia, and hyposomnia. 

Other alcohol withdrawal symptoms can include: 

Depression  Anxiety  Issues with concentration  Fatigue  Jumpiness  Mood swings  Increased irritability  Bodily aches and pains  Vomiting and nausea  Irregular heartbeat  Excessive sweating  Tremors  Change in eating habits 

Unlike other drugs, alcohol can cause both physical and psychological dependence. People struggling with an alcohol use disorder may experience some or all of these symptoms as their body acclimates to the lack of alcohol in their system. Thus this makes it even more difficult to stop drinking and easier to relapse after stopping. 

Delirium Tremens 

One of the reasons why alcohol detox is crucial is because sometimes individuals with an alcohol use disorder may experience extreme alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These extreme alcohol withdrawal symptoms are delirium tremens (DTs). A reputable alcohol detox and treatment center can help members overcome the worst of symptoms in a safe environment. 

Without medical supervision, those suffering from DTs may experience: 

  • Seizures 
  • Extremely vivid nightmares 
  • Hallucinations
  • Light sensitivity 

As DTs are dangerous, these symptoms could lead to an emergency room visit. Fortunately, facilities such as Discovery can help members avoid a trip to the ER room. Of course, individuals may still experience DTs during medical detox, but medical supervisors can make sure withdrawal is free of danger. 

Detox for Alcohol Withdrawal Dreams 

alcohol withdrawal dreams

Detox is a vital process before individuals can enter alcohol addiction treatment. The medical staff at detox and rehab centers for alcohol use disorder will help clients get rid of any substances left in their system. This helps members avoid withdrawal symptoms, manage health issues arising from substance abuse, and monitor health status as they detox. Withdrawal symptoms are not something anyone should experience unnecessarily due to the life-threatening nature that some people might face without medical supervision.  

Medical staff at an addiction treatment facility can help clients avoid withdrawal symptoms through medicine. During alcohol withdrawal, benzodiazepines may be prescribed to alleviate insomnia and anxiety while a member’s body adjusts from drinking heavily for weeks or months on end. This is often more effective than using over-the-counter sleep aids that aren’t designed specifically for the effects of alcohol withdrawal symptoms in mind; however, it should be noted that benzo use comes with its own associated risks like dependency so medical professionals will usually recommend avoiding them if possible.

Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal Dreams 

Inpatient Care for Alcohol Use Disorder 

Inpatient treatment allows members to live at an addiction treatment facility as they overcome their addiction. This is beneficial, especially for those who don’t live in an environment that allows them to heal properly. There are two types of inpatient treatment: residential and standard inpatient. Standard inpatient care is almost like staying at a hospital, making it best for those with a severe alcohol use disorder. On the other hand, residential inpatient care still has members stay at the facility but allows for more holistic activities. Also, members of this kind of program will have more leisure time. 

Outpatient Care for Alcohol Use Disorder 

While inpatient forms of care arguably can offer the surest route to sobriety, that isn’t always an option for everyone. Hence, outpatient care might be the best option to overcome an alcohol use disorder. Outpatient programs allow individuals to receive treatment without the requirement of living at an addiction treatment facility for the duration of the program. There are several outpatient programs that may serve one individual more than another (partial hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient programs, and general outpatient programs). 

Let Discovery Institute Help You Overcome Addiction Today 

Alcohol withdrawal dreams can be a nightmare to overcome. Yet, the right facility can help you overcome symptoms such as these and addiction overall. Call Discovery Institute for more information on the safest way to detox and overcome alcohol withdrawal safely.

Does Alcohol Withdrawal Cause Vivid Dreams

10 Common Questions About Alcohol Detox

Alcohol detoxification (or detox) is the process that takes place in your body as it gets rid of the toxins that have built up due to prolonged alcohol abuse. There can be many side effects from the process of alcohol detox and these side effects can vary in severity. The staff here at Discovery Institute will guide you or your loved one through the stages of alcohol detox and on a path to sobriety.

Alcohol is a depressant and causes your brain to slow down. Your body becomes addicted to alcohol and craves it to avoid the side effects of withdrawal. The longer you drink alcohol and the amount of alcohol you drink during that time will determine the severity of the withdrawal symptoms. 

As you make the first steps and commit to the process of alcohol detox you will have many questions and concerns. Changes in your body and the way the detoxification process may affect your emotional well-being are possible. Common questions about alcohol detox are listed below.

1. What Is the Best Way to Treat Alcohol Withdrawal?

Alcohol withdrawal is treated in different ways depending on the severity of the addiction. In all circumstances, you need a safe, alcohol-free environment. A strong support system is also key to a successful detoxification process.

Making sure you have access to nutritious foods and lots of fluids is also important. It is also common for your doctor to prescribe withdrawal medications that will lessen the effects of alcohol withdrawal. It is important to be supervised by medical staff so that these medications and your withdrawal symptoms can be closely monitored.

2. What Happens In An Alcohol Detox?

Alcohol detox is not an easy process to go through. The detoxification process is different for each person. During the initial phase you will experience: 

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Cravings for alcohol
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Physical tremors
  • Stomach pain or vomiting

After a few days pass you may experience these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorientation
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Agitation

3. Can Alcohol Withdrawal Lead to Fatality?

Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal can lead to life-altering and, in some cases, life-threatening results. It is highly recommended that you are under a doctor’s care while going through the stages of alcohol withdrawal. The withdrawal process will cause your body to work overtime. 

There are certain factors that may cause a person to die from alcohol withdrawal. If the alcohol addiction has taken place over a long period of time it’s possible that the body will not recover. If the health of the alcoholic isn’t good the withdrawal process may be too much and the person may die.

4. How To Know If I’m Experiencing Alcohol Withdrawal?

The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Fever
  • Anxiety
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Seizures
  • Mood swings
  • Hallucinations
  • Shaky hands

5. How Long Do Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

The length of time that symptoms last from alcohol withdrawal will vary. The amount of time depends on the severity of the addiction to alcohol. The average time range that withdrawal symptoms may last is between 2-8 days.

6. How Do I Know If I Am An Alcoholic?

Will My Body Repair Itself If I Stop Drinking

A sign that alcohol has become a problem in your life occurs if you are unable to think about anything else other than when you’re going to have your next drink. It is this obsession with alcohol that indicates that you have a problem. If having the next drink of alcohol controls every aspect of your life then you have become an alcoholic.

Other indicators can include:

  • Memory loss from drinking
  • Drinking when you are alone
  • Suffering from stomach problems 
  • Hiding the amount of alcohol you have consumed
  • Feeling guilty about the amount of alcohol you consume
  • Experiencing “the alcohol shakes” when you’re not drinking

7. Will My Body Repair Itself If I Stop Drinking?

Alcohol affects the way your brain processes things. Alcohol also affects the central nervous system. Alcoholics have a greater chance of heart problems such as cardiomyopathy, stroke, arrhythmias, and high blood pressure.

Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol will also damage and weaken the liver, the digestive system, the pancreas, and other organs. Alcohol will weaken your immune system. This weakened immune system will cause you to be more susceptible to illness and diseases.

The body can repair itself if the amount of alcohol that was consumed wasn’t in large quantities, and the length of time that alcohol was consumed was minimal. It has been found that alcoholics are at a higher risk to contract pneumonia or various diseases such as cancer and tuberculosis.

8. How Can I Naturally Remove Alcohol From My System?

Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol deprives your body of many things. Due to being so focused on getting the next drink, you ignore any signs of stress and overall health problems. These warning signs should not be ignored.

There are many ways to flush your body of alcohol naturally. These tactics will also help minimize the symptoms from overindulging. Here are some strategies for ways to ease into detoxing your body of alcohol.

  • Sleep: Sleeping is a way to let your body rejuvenate. It will allow your body time to begin the process of flushing the alcohol out of your system.
  • Stay hydrated: Water is a great way to cleanse your body and flush out any toxins. Hydration is key in feeling healthier overall. Drinks that have electrolytes in them are also a good way to hydrate. The electrolytes will build and maintain the water levels in your body.
  • Eat: Do not gorge on a big, heavy meal; eat smaller and healthier meals instead. This will allow your body to regain energy. The toxins in alcohol may cause sugar levels to dip, and eating a small meal can correct those levels. Good food choices are eggs or crackers.
  • Get moving: Exercise may be the last thing you want to do, but it is a great way to flush the toxins left behind by alcohol. Physical activity gets the blood flowing which makes the toxins leave your body faster. Your liver is greatly affected when you drink, so exercise is a great way to detoxify.
  • Stay away from sugar and processed foods: Sugary foods like candy and soda are never considered a healthy option. If you are detoxifying alcohol from your body then it’s best to focus on eating healthy foods that will encourage the process.
  • Limit salty foods: Foods with a high level of salt will slow down your need to urinate. Toxins escape through urine, so it’s very important to eat foods that will not decrease the amount of urine you produce.

9. How Long Does it Take to Detox Your Body?

How Long Do Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Last

The process of detoxing your body and freeing it from the toxins in alcohol will vary for each person. The factors that come into play are how much you drink, how long you’ve been drinking, and if you have been through a prior detoxification process. On average the detoxification process takes about a week, but the withdrawal symptoms may last much longer.

Symptoms within the first 6 to 12 hours include anxiety, cravings, extreme sweating, headaches, nausea and vomiting, and the shakes. Anxiety occurs because your body is not feeling well at all and the urge to have a drink to feel more “in control” is intense. This intense urge is caused by cravings that are created due to alcohol being a highly addictive substance.

During the next 12 to 24 hours some of the original symptoms may increase. Additional symptoms may include hallucinations, dehydration, and an upset stomach. Dehydration is caused due to extreme sweating and the need to urinate frequently. Hallucinations may take place because there is a combination of your body producing extra dopamine as well as a decrease in your blood sugar levels.

The next stage occurs between hours 24 to 48 and is the most dangerous time period. Your body begins to go into full “fight mode” during this phase. Symptoms may include low blood sugar levels, alcohol seizures, irritability, and delirium tremens. Delirium tremens is also known as alcohol withdrawal delirium and can be fatal.

The last phase of alcohol detoxification happens in hours 48 to 168. This is the stage when the physical symptoms of alcohol detox begin to slow down or disappear altogether. At this stage, it is the mental symptoms that become prevalent. Such feelings as depression, anxiety, confusion, restlessness, and anger come to the forefront.

10. Does Alcohol Withdrawal Cause Vivid Dreams?

Drinking alcohol in excess decreases the function of your brain. When you are detoxifying your body of alcohol your brain begins to work overtime. This overtime causes a disrupted sleep pattern.

Because alcohol can alter the quality of sleep this then leads to a decrease in the quantity of sleep. Drinking any amount of alcohol lessens the chance that you will fall into a deep sleep. This deep sleep stage is known as REM sleep.

REM sleep is the stage of sleep when dreaming occurs. Because of the alcohol in your system, your body may bounce between REM sleep and non-REM sleep. This may then cause vivid dreams or “night terrors” to occur.

How Can Discovery Institute Help?

Detoxifying from alcohol can be a long, tough process. If you are looking for help for yourself or a loved one Discovery Institute is ready to talk to you. Contact us today for information about how our program can provide the fresh start that you need. We look forward to walking with you as you pursue freedom from alcohol use disorder!

alcohol and kidneys

How Does Alcohol Affect Your Kidneys?

We all know that drinking too much alcohol is bad for our health. But, this is especially true for alcohol and your kidneys. Having a few drinks now and then won’t typically affect your health. However, misusing alcohol and alcohol use disorder (AUD) can affect the kidneys and lead to kidney disease. If you are struggling with AUD, treatment at Discovery Institute can help you. 

Alcohols Effect on Your Kidneys

Your kidneys handle many vital functions for your body. For instance, your kidneys filter out toxins and other harmful substances from your blood and body. They also help your body maintain a healthy level of water. However, if your kidneys are damaged in any way, your whole body suffers.

If you drink alcohol regularly or you misuse alcohol, it affects your kidneys in many ways. Alcohol’s effect on your kidneys can limit their ability to filter toxins, including alcohol. Alcohol also causes changes to the kidneys. However, these changes reduce the kidney’s filtering ability. This change causes them to work harder. As a result, toxins start to build in your blood. 

Additionally, dehydration is another one of alcohol’s effects on your kidneys. This effect makes it hard to keep normal water levels in the body. As a result, other organs and cells in your body are poorly affected. 

Chronic Drinking of Alcohol and Your Kidneys

The chronic misuse of alcohol also increases blood pressure. If you drink more than 2 drinks a day, you are at risk of high blood pressure. And, high blood pressure commonly leads to kidney disease. 

Furthermore, if you misuse alcohol, it can lead to liver disease. And, liver disease puts stress on the kidneys. Liver disease reduces healthy blood flow in the kidneys. For this reason, the kidneys can’t filter the blood properly. Unfortunately, many Americans suffering from both liver and kidney disease also suffer from alcohol use disorder (AUD). 

Alcohol and Kidney Pain: What Are the Effects of Alcohol on Kidneys?

Your kidneys are vital to keeping your body healthy and free of toxins. Your kidneys filter waste out of your body through the urine. They also help maintain a balance of fluid and electrolytes. 

When you drink alcohol, the kidneys have to work extra hard. Therefore, one effect of alcohol on the kidneys is pain. Additionally, urinating often is another effect of alcohol on kidneys. You will typically urinate more because of the flushing of alcohol from the body. This flushing can lead to dehydration and kidney pain. 

Symptoms of Alcohol Damage to Kidneys

After drinking, you may feel soreness around your kidneys. You will feel this soreness on both sides of your spine under the ribcage. It may be sudden, sharp, or stabbing pain. But, it could be a dull pain.  Some people may feel it on one side, while others feel it on both. 

Kidney pain can sometimes be hard to pinpoint. You may feel it in the upper or lower back. However, some feel kidney pain between the buttocks and the lower ribs. Alcohol may cause instant kidney pain. But, it may not cause pain until after you stop drinking. 

Symptoms of the alcohol effects on the kidneys:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Painful urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Appetite loss 
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fever
  • Chills

The Link Between Alcohol and Kidney Disease

Although many factors can lead to kidney disease, chronic AUD is a common one. Even though your family history and lifestyle affect your risk of kidney disease, alcohol greatly increases your chance of developing kidney disease. 

If you misuse alcohol, you will start to experience issues with your kidneys. But, chronic misuse increases these issues. As a result, you can develop kidney damage and kidney disease.

Moreover, if you develop kidney disease from alcohol or any other reason, you will also have other health issues. 

Alcohol and kidney disease also leads too:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Anemia
  • Bone weakness
  • Fluid retention
  • Swelling in the arms, legs, and feet
  • Damage to the central nervous system
  • Trouble breathing
  • Damage to the immune system
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Seizures

Binge Drinking Alcohol and Kidney Disease

If you are a binge drinker, then you put yourself in the increasing danger of kidney disease. Binge drinking is consuming 4 to 5 plus drinks an hour. However, binge drinking floods your body with alcohol and increases BAC drastically. As a result, your kidneys can’t keep up and lose their function. This damage from alcohol on your kidneys causes lasting damage.

An Effect of Alcohol on Kidneys is Acute Kidney Injury

Acute kidney injury can happen if you binge drink. Acute kidney injury occurs when toxins build-up in the blood faster than the kidneys can filter. This injury to kidneys from alcohol can lead to pain and symptoms such as:

  • Decrease in urinating
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen face, arms, and legs
  • Trouble breathing
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Chest pain or pressure

Additionally, if you have acute kidney injury and don’t seek treatment, it can lead to seizures or a coma. 

Urinary Tract Infection is an Effect of Alcohol on Kidneys

Although indirectly, alcohol can cause a urinary tract infection (UTI). And UTIs typically spread to the bladder. As a result, it causes kidney pain. 

Because alcohol increases acidity, it irritates the lining of the bladder. Also, when you drink alcohol, the kidneys become dehydrated. This effect also increases the risk of a UTI. 

Besides kidney pain, symptoms of a UTI include:

  • Pain when urinating
  • An urge to urinate with very little coming out
  • Dark or smelly urine
  • Blood in urine
  • Stomach and back pain
  • A fever

Chronic Kidney Disease: Alcohols Effect on Kidneys

If you continue to drink regularly or have a chronic alcohol use disorder, you’re at risk of chronic kidney disease. The stress put on your kidneys over time forces them to work harder. This stress also damages the liver.

Chronic kidney disease is a severe condition. But, above all, it is life-threatening. If you have chronic kidney disease from alcohol, it’s essential to seek treatment for both conditions. 

The Effects of Alcohol on One Kidney

Even though most people have two kidneys, it only takes one kidney to function. But, if you have only one kidney, you must live a healthy lifestyle. So, if you have one kidney and drink alcohol, you can cause life-threatening issues. 

A healthy lifestyle includes a nutritious diet, exercise, and regular check-ups. This means no alcohol. This risk of kidney disease from alcohol is drastically increased with only one kidney. 

Although you can remain healthy with one kidney, drinking alcohol causes damage beyond your one kidney. Remember, kidney damage and disease can lead to other health issues. 

Effects of Having One Kidney: Short and Long-Term Problems

Your kidneys have a primary role in balancing fluid in your body. It also keeps the protein in the blood and controls blood pressure. However, alcohol stresses your kidneys. So, if you have one kidney, the damage could cause that kidney to fail. 

Can You Drink Alcohol With One Kidney?

Can you drink alcohol? Technically yes. But, does it increase your risk of life-threatening issues? Also yes. So, even though you can drink alcohol, it is not a good idea.

Alcohol affects all of your body’s organs. However, the effects of alcohol on one kidney lead to multiple issues. Although drinking one to two drinks a day typically won’t be an issue, if you have one kidney, it will.

When you drink, you will generally urinate more. But, your kidney is not filtering any blood. So, alcohol is still in your blood. This effect of alcohol on kidneys leads to an imbalance in fluids and electrolytes. As a result, you may become dehydrated. 

When your body doesn’t have enough fluids, you can’t function right. The cells in your organs, including your kidneys, can’t function properly. This causes damage to the kidneys. For this reason, if you have one kidney and drink alcohol, it can be life-threatening. 

Alcohol and Kidney Disease: Prevention

To help prevent kidney disease from alcohol, you can reduce how much you drink. This includes avoiding binge drinking. If you do drink alcohol, it’s crucial also to drink water. 

However, if you have chronic kidney disease, you shouldn’t drink at all. So, if you struggle with misusing alcohol, it’s vital to seek treatment. If you only treat the kidney disease and continue to drink, you will not get better. 

Treatment for Alcohol Misuse and Kidney Disease

Treatment for AUD varies depending on your needs. If you struggle with chronic alcohol misuse, treatment begins with a medical detox program. Afterward, treatment may involve a variety of therapies in either inpatient or outpatient settings.

Treatment for AUD may include:

  • Detox and withdrawal – Medical detox provides a safe place for you to withdrawal from alcohol. Detox typically lasts up to 7 days, but that also depends on the person.
  • Psychotherapy – Therapies in individual and group settings are a vital part of treatment. Therapy sessions can help you better understand yourself and your issue with alcohol. Because family is crucial in treatment, family therapy is often part of treatment. 
  • Medication management – For some people with AUD, the use of medications in treatment is vital. The changes that alcohol causes to the brain can be lethal when a person stops drinking. 
  • Treatment for other mental health issues – Many people who misuse alcohol also have a mental disorder. As a result, dual diagnosis treatment offers whole-person treatment. It also lowers a person’s relapse rate. 
  • Holistic or alternative therapies – Many treatment centers offer holistic therapies. These therapies may include yoga, meditation, mindfulness. 

Treating Alcohol Use Disorder at Discovery Institute

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, we can help. All it takes is one phone call. Our caring staff is waiting to show you how to take your life back. Contact us today for more treatment information. 

lithium for alcohol withdrawal

Can Lithium Be Used for Alcohol Withdrawal?

Several medications may be used for people recovering from alcohol addiction. Lithium is a drug that has gotten attention. A study was conducted with 18 men with alcohol use disorder who were in withdrawal. 

It was found that in mild alcohol withdrawal, lithium reduces the visible symptoms of withdrawal and normalizes performance on a motor skills task. Individuals who start taking lithium while still drinking show improvement because it takes longer than 3 days for lithium concentrations in the blood to level off. 

Lithium for Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

In 1974, Kline and associates conducted the first study of lithium therapy for alcohol use disorder was done. The researchers found that those treated with lithium for a year showed fewer episodes of disabling drinking. They were also surprised to find that lithium therapy did not reduce symptoms of (nonpsychotic) depression any better than the placebo.

Later studies have also supported the theory that lithium therapy reduces the alcohol intake of people with co-occurring AUD and affective disorders, such as bipolar disorder, depression, and other mood disorders. Further studies found that lithium therapy reduced the individual’s sense of intoxication, his desire to continue drinking, and cognitive dysfunction related to intoxication. There was no difference between people with a mood disorder and those who didn’t.

The conclusion after an 18-month follow-up was: 

  • Lithium therapy promotes abstinence for people with AUD whether they have a co-occurring condition or not. 
  •  Those who were treated with lithium therapy were much less likely to be readmitted for AUD treatment.
  • Lithium therapy didn’t reduce the frequency of drinking for relapse drinkers.

What is Lithium?

Lithium is a naturally occurring element and is actually the lightest known metal. It’s used in building aircraft and in some batteries. It was discovered in the 1790s but wasn’t isolated from other elements until 1855. 

Lithium is found in the earth locked up in minerals and salts. Those salts have the ability to affect the brain. Its mood-stabilizing effects weren’t known until late in the 1800s. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, lithium salts were the first drugs the Food and Drug Administration approved to treat mania and depression and that happened in 1970.

How Does Lithium it Work?

These days, lithium carbonate is the compound usually sold as a pharmaceutical. Exactly how lithium works to stabilize mood is not known. But studies show several effects on the nervous system. 

In 2008 researchers reported in the journal, Cell, that lithium interrupts the activity of the neurotransmitter dopamine, a chemical messenger in the brain. Dopamine plays a part in how we feel pleasure. It is also thought to help strengthen nerve cell connections in brain regions that are involved in regulating mood, thinking, and behavior. This helps decrease abnormal activity in the brain.

What is Lithium Typically Used For?

Lithium is one of the most widely used and studied medications for treating bipolar disorder, sometimes known as manic-depressive illness. It might also help relieve or prevent bipolar depression. 

Lithium also helps prevent future episodes of manic and depressive behavior. Because of this, it can be prescribed for long periods of time as maintenance therapy. Studies show that lithium can considerably reduce suicide risk. 

It is also sometimes used to treat depression, schizophrenia, impulse control disorders, and certain mental illnesses in children. Lithium can be used to decrease anger and sudden impulse decisions in people who don’t have bipolar disorder.

What’s a Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric disorder that features extreme shifts in mood, from excessively euphoric (mania) to desperately sad or hopeless (depression). It helps reduce the severity and frequency of mania

People who suffer from bipolar disorder frequently feel out of control or out of touch with their life. Being unsure of what to do or how to feel when a bipolar episode occurs makes using alcohol an appealing solution in relieving the symptoms.

The Link Between Alcohol and Bipolar Disorder

Alcohol and Bipolar disorder have a close relationship. Few mental health disorders are as closely related to alcohol use disorder (AUD) as bipolar disorder. They are commonly present together. 

Some studies have found that most individuals with bipolar disorder will develop an AUD of some kind during their lives. It has been estimated that up to 43% of individuals with bipolar disorder have some type of AUD at any given time. The Journal of Affective Disorders concluded that alcohol use disorder was the most prevalent substance use disorder (SUD) in people with Bipolar I and Bipolar II disorder.

Alcohol helps to calm nerves, particularly in social settings. It may relieve the negative symptoms of bipolar disorder temporarily. But it can increase the chances of making the disorder worse later on.

Complications of Alcohol Use Disorder and Bipolar Disorder

AUD can impair your judgment, make you more impulsive, and also increase your risk of suicide, injury, and sexually transmitted infections like HIV. Research from the Medical University of South Carolina found that suicide is nearly twice as high in people with bipolar disorder and AUD as it is in people with Bipolar alone.

In addition, the effect alcohol has on a person’s moods and judgment can make sticking to drug therapy more difficult, wrecking the very goals of treatment.

Does Lithium Have Any Side Effects?

Lithium has several side effects including:

  • Dry mouth
  • Metallic taste
  • Slight shakiness
  • Mild weakness
  • Diarrhea

As your body adjusts to the medication, these effects will subside.

Over the long term, it can cause thyroid issues and affect kidney and cardiovascular functions. Using it for withdrawal symptoms for AUD is a short-term usage and shouldn’t cause side effects that would interfere with the detoxification process. These problems typically disappear if lithium is reduced or stopped.

Is Lithium Addictive?

Lithium is not addictive. There is no craving if you stop. But when you stop taking it, it should be gradually reduced to minimize the chance of the illness coming back. People who misuse lithium will find that it doesn’t produce a “high” and might lead to some harmful side effects.

Treatment for AUD and Withdrawal

Detoxification

If you have an alcohol use disorder, you will probably need to undergo a detoxification process. Medically assisted detox is the safest way to rid your body of toxins. Withdrawal from alcohol can be extremely uncomfortable, painful, and even life-threatening, depending on the severity of your addiction. In a detox center, you will be monitored 24 hours a day by medical professionals.

Alcohol Withdrawal

Up to 71% of people who need alcohol detoxification display significant symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal is a medical syndrome that affects individuals who are used to regular intake of alcohol who have either decreased their alcohol intake or have stopped drinking completely.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms may appear within hours of stopping or decreasing alcohol intake. The most common symptoms include:

  • tremor, 
  • craving for alcohol, 
  • insomnia, 
  • vivid dreams, 
  • anxiety, 
  • agitation, 
  • irritability, 
  • loss of appetite, 
  • nausea, 
  • vomiting, 
  • headache, 
  • sweating.

Of greater concern are hallucinations, delirium tremens (DTs), and seizures. Grand mal seizures can occur in up to 25% of alcoholics undergoing withdrawal.

Common Alcohol Withdrawal Medications

You will be prescribed medications that will help ease these symptoms. Some medications that help manage severe alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Benzodiazepines—Sedatives that are preferred for alcohol detoxification.
  • Anticonvulsants—May be necessary to prevent seizures.
  • Antipsychotics—May be given to treat hallucinations, delusions, and agitation.
  • Clonidine—Can help manage symptoms of high blood pressure and high body temperature.

Medically Assisted Treatment

After completing the detox process, certain medications can be used for the treatment of alcohol dependence. Common medications include:

  • Naltrexone—This medication dulls the rewarding effects of continued drinking.
  • Acamprosate—This helps with anxiety and restlessness and helps with cravings.
  • Disulfiram—Disulfiram causes unpleasant effects like nausea and heart palpitations if you drink alcohol.

After detoxification, you will get to the hard work of getting well. Controlling your drinking is only part of the solution. With the help of psychologists, social workers, and counselors you will learn new strategies to use in your everyday life. You will learn how to:

  • Change the behaviors that make you want to drink
  • Cope with stress and other triggers
  • Build a strong support system

Levels of Care

Depending on the severity of your disorder, the length of time you have been using alcohol, and your personal situation, you may receive treatment at different levels.

  • Residential–Some people will need care in a residential facility, where they are sheltered from situations and environments that may cause a relapse.
  • Intensive Outpatient—You may be able to live at home and attend therapy sessions during the day.
  • Outpatient— you live at home and attend therapy during the day but the sessions are not as long or frequent as Intensive Outpatient.

Discovery Institute Can Help You With Proven Treatment

Recovery can take a long time so you have no time to waste. At Discovery Institute, we use evidence-based treatments that can help you get your life back on track. Nobody ever regrets that they tried their best to live a full, rewarding life.

Our staff of professionals has one job—to help you improve your life. You should contact us now. We are available to you 24-hours a day.

alcoholism and the pandemic

Alcohol Consumption and The Coronavirus

Amid the current COVID-19 pandemic crisis, there has been one product leaving shelves more frequently than all the others, and we are not referring to toilet paper. 

The government has deemed alcohol sales as an essential business, and also has loosened restrictions concerning home-delivery and carry-out drinks. Consumers are buying more alcohol amid this current crisis than ever before. The concerning part about all of this is that it could lead to higher rates of alcoholism than there has been in the past. 

How Much Alcohol is Being Consumed During COVID-19?

Some studies have been done over the past couple of months to analyze the sales of alcohol, and they’ve shown that grocery stores saw an increase in the following:

  • Wine – 27%
  • Spirits – 26% 
  • Beer and Cider – 14% 

These sales increases were compared to that of a year earlier the same week of March 14th. As far as more specifics are concerned, boxed wine increased over 50%, 24-packs of beer just under a quarter percentage (24%). And also, online sales of alcohol have increased by 42% on the year.

Some reasons that these percentages are so high may be due in large part to bars and restaurants being closed because of the pandemic. However, that’s not to say that this couldn’t also be influenced by the current state of economic and psychological stress. 

Because of the mental and financial stressors, the pandemic is having on others, people are buying large amounts of cheap alcohol in order to cope with their stress. The more alcohol they have, the more they’re able to use it in an attempt to forget about their problems or process them in a more lucid state of mind. This kind of behavior is inevitably what leads to alcoholism

Some of this increased drinking and drunk behavior may come to have both short and long-term effects on the health and safety of individuals. This kind of impact is imperative to consider not only when consuming alcohol in a more tranquil, normal point-in-time, but especially in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Short-Term Effects of Increased Alcohol Consumption

Increased alcohol consumption in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic has many short and long-term effects when it comes to the health and safety of individual consumers. Short-term effects pertain to resulting action in the near rather than distant future.

As far as the short-term is concerned, consuming alcohol has dangerous potential to compromise one’s immune system during a pandemic. Alcohol misuse weakens the body’s immune system responses, and in the case of COVID-19, these responses include the lungs’ ability to fight off COVID-19.

Not only that but the increased sales and consumption of alcohol as a result of the Coronavirus could also have a detrimental impact on interpersonal conflicts/violence. This is never a good thing obviously; adding alcohol to violence or conflict only intensifies dangerous situations.

Long-Term Effects of Increased Alcohol Consumption

When something is considered long-term, it has either happened for a long time or will continue for an extended period of time in the future. As far as the long-term effects of increased alcohol consumption are concerned, some studies have shown that dependence and substance use disorder can increase well into a person’s future. This is due to the factors of quarantine, the pandemic, and alcohol purchase/consumption. 

In other words, during the pandemic, those who are participating in large amounts of alcohol consumption are building a foundation for alcohol dependence and addiction. 

For example, after Hurricane Katrina, alcohol consumption increased in Louisiana. Later, when Hurricane Rita came around, the amount of young people misusing alcohol also increased. All of that points to an increased likelihood that those who are consuming more alcohol in the midst of this pandemic are more likely to suffer from alcohol addiction

Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol use disorder is characterized by alcoholism, the insatiable desire to consume alcohol. 

It is immensely difficult for some people to refuse alcohol because they may have developed a dependency. Dependency on alcohol influences not only the decisions of individuals who suffer from alcoholism, but it also influences their thoughts. So much so that their thoughts dwell heavily on when and where their next drink is coming from. 

Misusing alcohol impairs one’s judgment. Not only that, but their decision-making skills are compromised as well. When someone drinks a moderate or large amount of alcohol, their pleasure center is triggered, heightening their drinking experience. Because of this, desires become more and more difficult to satisfy over time. When this happens, dependency arises. 

Dependency is characterized by one’s sole focus and health being centered around their drinking habits. It is also characterized by the priority that drinking has over their lives. Those who are affected indirectly also suffer; this includes family members, friends, loved ones, and even coworkers. This is what is commonly referred to as neglect. Neglect has been known to dismantle the well-being of many families.

Alcohol use disorder has the power to dismantle even the strongest of family structures. Because of this, it is imperative that people recognize the signs of alcoholism and its destructive potential. Doing so could save family members and loved ones an immense amount of heartache. 

Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder

Some signs of alcohol use disorder include the following:

  • Lack of interest in activities
  • Lack of self-control
  • Consistent lying
  • Consistently under the influence of alcohol
  • Poor mental health (depression, anxiety, etc.)

Factors of Alcohol Use Disorder

There are many factors that could influence someone to suffer from alcohol use disorder (including a global pandemic such as COVID-19). Some of these factors include the following:

  • Marital problems
  • Peer pressure
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Emotional or physical abuse

Treatment Options for Alcohol Use Disorder During COVID-19

There are many options to help people treat their substance use disorder, even in the midst of a global pandemic such as COVID-19. Some of these options are referred to as telehealth options. Telehealth refers to when modern technology such as video conferencing, texting, or web-based live chats are used to treat those suffering from substance use disorder conveniently when options like a doctor’s office are inconvenient or unavailable. 

Telehealth options can include the following:

  • Phone-centered Care
  • Video Calling
  • Virtual Reality
  • Texting
  • Mobile Apps
  • Web-centered Care

Don’t Walk Alone On the Road to Recovery

At Discovery, our goal is to meet individuals where they’re at in their recovery journey. Individualized care is at the center of what we do. If you would like to learn more, you can contact us here

alcohol awareness month

Alcohol Awareness Month

With 1 in 12 Americans dealing with alcoholism or alcohol use disorder, alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the U.S. Founded in 1987 by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), Alcohol Awareness Month (April) highlights the stigma of alcohol addiction.

Now that the world is suffering from the coronavirus epidemic, alcohol sales have risen since people are in quarantine and can’t go to bars and restaurants. In these times of uncertainty and unpredictability, alcohol awareness is more important today than ever before. Learn more about Alcohol Awareness Month in 2020, and how you can maintain recovery during the coronavirus epidemic. 

Why Do We Need Alcohol Awareness Month?

As mentioned earlier, Alcohol Awareness Month brings the stigma of alcoholism to light. Many people struggling with alcohol use disorder are in denial that they have a problem and don’t admit that they need help. Their family members and loved ones may also have difficulty addressing this uncomfortable situation. Alcohol Awareness Month provides resources to families of alcoholics so that they can get them the help they need. 

The Prevalence of Alcohol Use Disorder in the U.S By the Numbers

In 2018, more than 14 million people in the U.S. ages 18 and older suffered from alcohol use disorder. It’s also the third leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. About 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes each year, and in 2014, deaths involving alcohol accounted for 31% of driving fatalities.

Binge drinking (five drinks for men and four drinks for women in two hours) is also a large cause of heavy alcohol use; more than 26% of people ages 18 and older reported binge drinking in the past month. In this same age group, 6.6% reported heavy drinking (binge drinking for five or more days) in the past month.

Alcohol use disorder also takes a financial toll on our country’s economy. In 2010, drinking-related costs reached almost $250 billion, and binge drinking made up three-quarters of this amount. It turns out all Americans are paying this cost, too — federal, state and local governments paid $2 of every $5 that year. Even if you don’t drink a lot, you’re paying for everyone else’s irresponsibility.

Because alcohol is legal and so widely available at restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and liquor stores, it’s easy to purchase and abuse. Its abuse potential can also be attributed to the fact that drinking has been a socially acceptable practice. This can easily be seen on TV shows, movies, and advertisements.

What to Expect During Alcohol Awareness Month

Alcohol Awareness Month gives educators and advocates a platform to share statistics on and speak about the dangers of alcohol use disorder. You’ll see how much alcohol use disorder can affect your finances, physical and mental health, current and future career, and relationships.

Earlier this month, the NCADD held the 10th annual National Drugs and Alcohol Facts Week, during which industry experts teach teens and families the myths of alcohol use disorder through educational events. 

This month, count on your local hospitals and healthcare facilities to provide resources on how to talk to your loved one about his or her alcohol use disorder, as well as risk factors for alcoholism.

Alcohol Awareness Month and Coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has left many businesses closed, and concerts and sports have been canceled until further notice. On top of that, it’s also led to much higher alcohol consumption. The New York Post reported that alcoholic beverage sales in the U.S. rose 55% in the week ending March 21. Compared to this time last year, spirit sales have jumped 75%. 

Even though liquor stores have been declared essential businesses in states like New Jersey, New York, and Florida, online liquor sales have increased by 243%.

“With routines out of the window, we might well find ourselves reaching for a drink more often,” said Dr. Richard Piper of Alcohol Change UK. 

The World Health Organization has declared alcohol consumption during this lockdown to be “an unhelpful coping strategy,” and they’re right. This rise in drinking can be detrimental to people recovering from alcoholism and alcohol abuse. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is advising people who do drink to do so moderately during this time. Men should keep their limit to two drinks per day, and women should keep to one drink per day.

During times of disaster like earthquakes, the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina and this current epidemic, it’s common for people to want to reach for a drink. However, now is the time to closely watch your alcohol consumption.

How Alcohol Affects the Immune System

Drinking too much can also affect your body’s ability to fight off infectious viruses and diseases like COVID-19. Alcohol can specifically mess with your gastrointestinal system, which contains microbes that are linked to the immune system. Although coronavirus mortality rates are mostly among seniors, young people are also at risk of contracting the disease. Almost 40% of those hospitalized in the U.S. right now range from ages 20 to 54. 

Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings Amid Coronavirus

Many Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings have become virtual in light of the coronavirus epidemic, which has already thrown people’s lives out of a normal routine. Rolling Stone reported that addiction support groups like AA are critical for addicts in their first year of recovery. However, some people suffering from alcoholism are vowing to keep going to in-person meetings as long as they can. This does pose a risk since the U.S. government and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discourage gatherings of 10 or more people.

For others who prefer to stay inside during the epidemic, virtual meetings have been lifesavers. Depression and loneliness can set in when people are forced to self-isolate, and having people to talk to right now is critical. Check the Alcoholics Anonymous website in your area to see where virtual meetings are happening.

How to Maintain Recovery During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The COVID-19 crisis is happening in the middle of Alcohol Awareness Month. It can be difficult to maintain your sobriety when you’re forced to stay inside or when you’ve lost a job. People in recovery usually depend on the company of their fellow addicts to stay clean. Boredom and self-isolation can be triggers for alcohol use disorder. In stressful and uncertain times like these, it might be tempting to reach for an alcoholic beverage. However, you shouldn’t give in to your cravings, as strong as they might be. Here are a few ways to hold on to sobriety during the coronavirus.

  • Learn a new hobby. Have you ever wanted to learn how to draw, knit or practice a dance? With YouTube, you can learn almost anything from the comfort of your home. There are plenty of hobbies you can develop that don’t involve drinking. If you have a partner or roommates, get them in on the fun, too. 
  • Join an online AA meeting. Many Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are moving online to video platforms like Zoom and Google Hangouts Meet. This can help you stay on track during recovery but letting you interact with others who are in isolation. You can see how they’re dealing with it.
  • Keep a journal of your thoughts and emotions. Since you don’t have any place to go or any immediate responsibilities, take some time to look inside yourself and write down your thoughts in a journal. What’s the point of being sober? What do you believe? By reaffirming why you stopped drinking, you’ll be more likely to avoid relapse and keep on your recovery path.
  • Work out a plan for arguments. When you are inside with your family for long periods, tensions can rise, and you’ll most likely get into fights. Have a strategy in place for moments like these, like going into separate rooms when you start to get upset.
  • Keep tabs on your friends and loved ones suffering from alcohol use disorder. Now is the time to have some meaningful conversations with your fellow friends in recovery. Give them a call, write them a letter or send them a message letting them know you’re thinking about them and that you’re around if they need anything. Even if you aren’t suffering from alcohol use disorder, you might know someone who is, and they could be having a hard time right now. 

It’s hard to maintain a routine right now. However, recovery is all about preparing for the unexpected. In times like this, when triggers can pop up at any given moment, turn to the things that give you comfort: family, friends, and inner peace.

Resources for Alcoholism Recovery

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has provided a list of online resources that you can while on lockdown. This Alcohol Awareness Month, find a resource that can help you during recovery.

Get Help for Alcoholism at Discovery Institute

Are you or a loved one suffering from alcohol use disorder? Alcohol Awareness Month can be the perfect time to evaluate your drinking. Discovery Institute can provide you with the tools and skills you need to be rid of harmful substances for good. You have the power to regain control of your life and rediscover your potential. Contact us today to speak with one of our representatives and learn about how we can help you conquer addiction.

Alcohol and the Liver

The Effects of Alcohol on Your Liver

Unfortunately, individuals who are suffering from alcohol abuse also face the risk of developing physical health problems. Although it’s not likely that these issues will develop right away, continued alcohol abuse can negatively affect the body in the long run.

The liver is one of the most important organs in your entire body. It sits alongside the gallbladder and the pancreas, and together these organs keep the digestive tract running smoothly. The main role of the liver is to filter the blood coming into the digestive tract before passing it through the rest of the body. Known as the great detoxifying organ, the liver is an extremely valuable organ. This is why a poorly functioning liver can pose serious and dangerous health complications.

A large proportion of those suffering from alcohol addiction or binge drinking disorders will develop serious alcohol-related liver diseases as a consequence. When too much alcohol is consumed, the liver is unable to properly detoxify the blood before letting it pass through the body. This causes the liver and eventually other bodily functions to shut down. A reputable detox program and long term rehabilitation plan will help anyone suffering from alcohol addiction detoxify their body and begin to rebuild a healthy lifestyle. 

How Does the Body Process Alcohol? 

When the liver is functioning properly, it filters and converts toxic substances to be safely distributed to the rest of the body through blood. Most of the alcohol people drink will go through this process, and the potentially dangerous chemicals in alcohol will be metabolized before entering the bloodstream. 

Although it varies from person to person, it typically takes an hour to process one alcoholic beverage. This time will increase as the person keeps drinking since the liver isn’t designed to handle a large amount of alcohol at a time. 

In small doses, the dangerous ingredients of alcohol will be removed before reaching other parts of the body. If the liver can’t filter everything out properly, these toxins will reach the brain, the heart, and the rest of the body.

How Much Alcohol is Too Much? 

The basic guide to follow is that individuals should limit themselves to one or two alcoholic beverages per day. This should be measured not by the number of cups, but by the amount of pure alcohol in each serving. For example, a double shot in one glass is not one drink; it’s two. 

At the same time, servings should not be averaged over a period of time. Having seven drinks in one night but remaining sober the rest of the week does not equal “one drink per day”. Heavy consumption in a short period of time is considered binge drinking and increases your chances of developing liver disease. 

Again, these numbers may vary based on a lot of different factors. Some people may be much heavier in weight and larger in size and could hypothetically “handle” more alcohol — but sticking to one per day (if any!) is the safest bet. 

Types of Liver Diseases

Although there are many different kinds of liver diseases, there are 3 main types when relating to alcohol consumption. Risk factors for developing all three include the severity of alcohol addiction, family history, and other health conditions. While mostly treatable, some may cause permanent damage. The three most commonly developed alcoholic conditions include fatty liver, hepatitis, and alcoholic cirrhosis.

Fatty Liver 

Fatty liver is the most common alcohol-related liver disease, and the most easily developed. Most patients with alcoholic fatty liver disease make a strong recovery if they receive treatment early enough. Sometimes for a variety of reasons, patients do not seek treatment and this can result in permanent damage. Risk factors include excessive alcohol use, family history, co-occurring addictions, and the use of prescription medications. 

Hepatitis

Hepatitis is a liver disease that can form in different levels of severity. Alcoholic hepatitis is an inflammatory condition of the liver caused by heavy alcohol consumption over an extended period of time. Binge drinking will also aggravate the condition, which can be life-threatening if left untreated. 

Continued drinking can lead to additional health problems such as fatal liver damage or co-occurring kidney failure. 

Alcoholic cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is developed after prolonged liver damage and is considered irreversible. Cirrhosis is a deep scarring of the liver tissue which leaves the liver unable to process and detoxify the blood properly. There is no proven cure for cirrhosis, and typically in order to survive, individuals will require a transplant. Reducing and stopping all alcohol use is the only preventive measure for alcoholic cirrhosis. 

Symptoms Of Liver Disease 

People suffering from alcohol addiction or binge drinking disorder are at a much higher risk of developing a serious liver condition than the average individual. People who abuse alcohol and have a co-occurring infection or health issue that involves the liver have an even higher risk of developing a dangerous liver condition.

On average, consuming more than two drinks on a daily basis puts you at risk for liver disease.

Symptoms that could be caused by liver disease include :

  • Yellowish skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Swelling in legs and ankles
  • Dark urine
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Itchy skin
  • The tendency to bruise easily
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Fever
  • Disorientation
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pale, bloody, or tar-colored stool

These symptoms can resemble a lot of health conditions, so if you are experiencing any of the above and also drink more than the recommended amount, be sure to talk to your doctor about the possibility of liver damage. 

Complications of Liver Disease

For those who continue to drink, the prognosis for any liver condition will worsen. The longer the individual drinks, the more serious complications will become. 

Alcoholic hepatitis can lead to hepatic encephalopathy which occurs when there is a mass buildup of toxins in the body. This level of toxicity can reach the brain and lead to coma, stroke, and death. Prognosis will also worsen if you develop cirrhosis. This condition itself is considered life-threatening. 

Treatment Options for Liver Disease 

Liver disease isn’t only caused by alcohol consumption, but drinking more than the daily recommended amount increases your chances of developing a liver condition by more than 50%. Depending on the severity of your liver disease, there are some treatment options available.

The main goal of treatment plans for liver disease includes repairing the damage already done to the liver, and then strengthening it so it can process more toxins. 

Treatment for early diagnosed fatty liver disease is typically achieved through a combination of nutritional and lifestyle changes, along with quitting drinking completely. This will include drinking more water, developing an exercise routine, and replacing fatty foods with lean meats,  fruits, and vegetables. 

More serious conditions like hepatitis and cirrhosis require a much more complex treatment plan. These plans will likely include medications to reduce high levels of inflammation in your liver to help it run more smoothly. Alongside these medications, your doctor may also recommend a variety of holistic supplements. Holistic supplements will be easier on the body and less taxing than intense medications since everything needs to pass through the liver to get to the blood.

Some supplements that are helpful for liver conditions include:

  • NAC
  • Artichoke Leaf
  • Turmeric Root. 
  • Dandelion Root
  • Yellow Dock Root
  • Beetroot
  • Ginger
  • Milk Thistle 

Always check with your primary doctor before trying supplements to be sure they are safe to take with any health conditions or pre-existing prescriptions. 

If you have end-stage or serious liver failure, you may need a liver transplant. Liver transplants require alcohol abstinence for at least six months prior to the transplant. 

Treating Alcoholism: Detox, Treatment, and Therapy

When it comes to treating alcoholism, it’s important to consider the components of a good treatment program. If you are suffering from alcohol use disorder (AUD), there are many treatment options and resources available.

As you begin treatment, it’s likely that you will start with a detox program. This process will help to cleanse your body from the toxins of alcohol and any other harmful substances. Then, you will continue your treatment process by engaging in various therapies and holistic treatments.

You may take part in group therapy in order to gain more interpersonal skills and develop a support system. Individual therapy will also be a part of your treatment. Through this type of therapy, you can discuss any challenges and difficulties you are experiencing. Your therapist can help walk you through the healing process and help you to establish relapse prevention methods.

Also, the journey to recovery may include family counseling, which can help you and your family to learn more about and work through the effects of alcoholism.

Get Treatment for Alcohol Abuse Disorder Today

Liver damage can pose life-threatening health concerns that may or may not be responsive to treatment. To truly prevent the development of liver disease, it’s important to stop drinking and begin the path to sobriety. At The Discovery Institute, our trained professionals can help you get the best treatment to ensure you can live a sober life. Call us today at (844) 433-1101  for more information about our recovery and prevention programs.  

blackout drunk

Do You Get Blackout Drunk? Here’s What is Actually Happening

Blackout Drunk 

Getting blackout drunk is undoubtedly a sign of alcoholism. However, the number of drinks it takes to get to that point varies according to the individual. Regardless of whether it takes three drinks or ten, there’s no doubt that blacking out is a detrimental result of drinking far too much.

Suffering from a blackout is no walk in the park. In fact, those who suffer are often enslaved to the magnetic nature of the substance. Because of this, drinking becomes the person’s priority number one. Blackouts are born as a direct result of the insatiable hold alcohol has on a person. However, it is worth mentioning that not everybody who suffers from a blackout also suffers from alcoholism.

What Happens When You Are Blackout Drunk?

According to Medical Daily, when you black out, “your brain loses its ability to form short-term memories and commit information to long-term storage.” In other terms, you are walking and talking, but nobody’s home. This is why people who are drunk tend to repeat the same things over and over, or forget something they did and try to do it again a few minutes later. The next morning they’ll wake up with no recollection of what actually happened. 

Binge drinking is one of the biggest causes of blacking out. Binge drinking is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as “rapid alcohol consumption that raises blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent or more.” This is the legal limit in most states. This is the point where blackouts are possible, especially for people with a lower tolerance. 

At 0.16 and higher BAC, blackouts are much more likely to occur. 

Blackouts happen to some people more so than others depending on genetics, mood disorders, and medical conditions. It can also matter what you ate that day, and certainly if you are taking any medications. ALWAYS consult with a physician before drinking with medication because this combination can be deadly. 

Short and Long-Term Effects

Have you ever seen someone look for something in the fridge, forget and look for it a few minutes later when they are drunk? Or someone who is constantly misplacing their beer even though they had it in their hands a few minutes before? This is because a blackout is blocking memory receptors in the brain to help them know what happened in the last few minutes. 

As far as long-term memory is concerned, there are people who wake up in the morning after a night of drinking with no recollection about what happened. This is a rather terrifying experience. It is impossible to remember everything that happened the night before a blackout.

As far as the long-term effects of frequent blackouts, it does have an impact. It can lead to issues with memory loss and retention. There is evidence to suggest that it can also be a contributing factor to Alzheimer’s and dementia. 

Alcohol and Memory Loss

Those who have suffered from blackouts in the past are more likely to forget very simple things than those who don’t drink at all. Alcohol creates a barrier to converting short-term memory to long-term storage in the brain. Someone impacted in such a way just can’t remember things the right way. This is most obvious when a person is drunk, but blackouts over a long period of time could make memory loss obvious even when somebody is sober.

Heavy drinking plays a large role in memory loss and retention, and it can also cause a particular region of the brain known as the hippocampus to become smaller and cause changes to neurons within that region. The Hippocampus is the center of emotions and memories. People who drink heavy regularly can damage to the Hippocampus. As a result, brain cells shrink. 

Brain chemicals are vulnerable to even the smallest amounts of alcohol. These chemicals are referred to as Glutamate. Glutamate has an impact on memory and often is the cause for temporarily blacking out. This also has an impact on day-to-day functions such as paying bills on time, showing up late to meetings, or forgetting about appointments that have been set. In fact, people who suffer from blackouts are more likely to suffer from these symptoms than somebody who does not.

Blacking Out in Social Environments

In a decent social environment, it is likely that people don’t plan on blacking out. However, intention and followthrough are two completely different things. Alcohol has the ability to impair a person’s judgment or memory even after a few drinks. The more someone drinks, the more impaired they become. 

When alcohol is consumed quickly without having eaten anything all day, blackouts can become that much more likely. Not only this, but the potential for memory loss grows even more. All of that to say there could be any number of reasons someone blacks out without having intended to do so. 

Interestingly enough, blackouts are more common among drinkers in social environments. This should motivate casual drinkers to be more aware of gradual, acute intoxication. Blackouts are no respecter of good intentions, nor do they respect age or different life circumstances. In fact, a person who is casually drinking could be tempted the least of anybody to abuse alcohol and still potentially blackout. It is imperative that people undergo proper precautions when drinking even in the most relaxed of environments.

How to be Sure it Doesn’t Happen Again

Some reports have shown that avoiding alcohol altogether from the time-span of a few months to a year may help the brain function normally again. Abstinence also helps reverse the negative impact blackouts have on a person (i.e. memory loss, problem-solving, retention, etc.). For somebody who blacks out more frequently than others after only drinking a small portion, abstinence from alcohol might be the best way to treat it. However, there are more strategies than just abstinence. 

Food

In the human body, the stomach is a very small muscle and has minimal capacity in absorbing liquids. The small intestine, however, has much more room to absorb liquids because the small intestine is covered by villi; villi increase the surface area of a membrane. The key is in the valve between the stomach and the small intestine. When someone eats, they allow that gap to close so that the alcohol takes a lot longer to move into the person’s bloodstream.

Water

The more alcohol somebody ingests, the more likely they are to become dehydrated. When people are well-hydrated, they don’t drink alcohol as quickly as they do when they aren’t. This encourages the person to take sips of their beverage less often.

Rest

Not enough is said about rest and the impact that exhaustion has on the body. Blackouts become more likely if somebody is sleep-deprived. Making a habit of resting well for every day of someone’s life can help them avoid blackouts.

Cutting Back

The more straight shots of alcohol a person consumes, the more likely they are to blackout. Cutting back on the amount of alcohol in a drink helps them slow down their consumption. Changing up the ratio of non-alcohol to alcohol in a drink could mean the difference between a fun time and a bad morning as a result of a blackout.

Pacing

The faster someone drinks, the more likely they are to become drunk quicker. However, it won’t happen gradually. Drunkenness is more likely to sneak up on someone if they’re not careful enough in their pacing. One way to slow down the pace is to come up with a ratio for non-alcoholic drinks to alcoholic drinks. For example, every glass of beer equals two glasses of water. 

Discovery Wants to Help You

Discovery Health is committed to helping those who struggle with alcoholism and blackouts. Our team wants to provide their patients with the utmost care so that we can guide them to a place of stability. The last thing we want is for somebody to blackout and have long-term damage without getting the help they deserve. These kinds of services require the care of medical professionals that know how to treat the effects of blackouts and alcoholism.

It is so important to us that we stand with those who want to be free from the impact blackouts have had on their lives. We want to help them function healthily in their day-to-day lives. However, treating patients can become difficult due to the uniqueness of each individual. There is no one-size-fits-all formula for treatment, but thankfully, our treatment options at Discovery are equipped to handle the most complex of circumstances. 

Every patient who walks through our doors deserves a life of sobriety and stability. Regardless of how long they spend their time here, patients can be absolutely certain that they are being treated with the best care available. If you or a loved one are suffering from blackouts and are seeking help, ask us about our treatment options. You can contact us here.

Functioning Alcoholic

Why Being a Functional Alcoholic is Dangerous

What is a Functional Alcoholic?

Nowadays it is not uncommon to see many binge drinking, making jokes that they are “alcoholics,” or even seeing binge drinking glorified as a culture in media. However, with addiction rapidly becoming one of the biggest problems our nation faces, maybe this is not the best approach. 

Using the phrase “alcoholic” to describe enjoying drinking is extremely harmful, and it is ignorant to the real problems people go through. Today, we will be discussing the idea of a functional alcoholic. We will discuss what it is, why it is dangerous (or misunderstood), and why people who suffer from alcoholism should not permit themselves to just “be functional.” Furthermore, we at the Discovery Institute want to help you. If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction, we are here for you. Hopefully, this article will help you become more educated on these subjects and better help you seek treatment.

Being a Functioning Alcoholic Isn’t a Positive Thing

An “alcoholic”, or a person who has an alcohol use disorder, is a person who is unable to control their drinking and become dependent on alcohol throughout their day. These people may start their day with a drink, drink at work and other inappropriate places, and feel withdrawal symptoms when they stop.

Worst case scenario, a person who struggles with alcoholism cannot function at all in society. They may have lost their job, income, family, and even their home. They may even be living on the streets or in and out of hospitals and other facilities because they can’t manage their own life. Clearly, this is not a situation anyone wants to find themselves in.

A functional alcoholic may have many of the same habits as the person described above, only they are still able to hold on to their work and home. Their relationships may be affected, but the person is still able to be a decently productive member of society.

For the functional alcoholic, it is only a matter of time before their perceived well-kept secret is brought to light. It just takes one wrong move for their world to come crumbling down, and they will quickly enter the dark world of a person who struggles with alcohol abuse despair.

How a Functional Alcoholic Takes a Turn for the Worse

Individuals in these conditions are walking a tightrope, trying to keep up their charade of a normal lifestyle. Inevitably, something will happen to change things and make alcoholism worse. Common things that can happen include:

  • A car accident and DUI
  • Getting caught drinking on the job and fired
  • Having your alcohol stash found by a family member who disapproves
  • Drinking too heavily at a social function
  • Having health issues as a result of drinking

There are so many things that are likely to happen once a person is drinking daily. No matter how long a person has been drinking to get through their day and getting away with it, they are bound to eventually crash and burn. Instead of waiting for that to happen, it is important to realize that to “functional” can be taken out of “functional alcoholic” in the blink of an eye. Why wait to find out?

Why Being a Functional Alcoholic is Dangerous

People throw around the term “functional alcoholic” with little thought to what it actually means. In a sense, it is a way of sugar-coating a condition that there’s nothing sweet about whatsoever. Granted there are varying degrees, but it is a slippery slope that can easily lead to a path of destruction, pain, legal issues, health problems, and even death.

The Problem With the Term “Functional Alcoholic”

The problem with the phrase “functional alcoholic” is that it completely misunderstands what alcoholism, addiction, and “functional” really are. When properly understood, one will see that addiction and functional have nothing to do with each other. A person who says they are a functional alcoholic has an idea of addiction in their head that is completely false, and the method to which they discuss it is not only harmful to them, but to the wider stigma of addiction in general.

The problem with using these two phrases together is that it implies that alcoholism is something the individual can turn on and off to perform various tasks. The “functional alcoholic” thinks they can turn off their alcoholism to function when it’s necessary and have fun partying when they are done. However, addiction is not a switch you can turn on or off. With addiction, that switch is always turned on. When you are suffering from alcoholism, the switch is always telling you that you crave alcohol and need it. You’re counting down the moments until you get it. Even if that means you are able to work, have a family, and be “normal,” the functional alcoholic is most likely constantly thinking about the next time they can drink.

Functional alcoholics assume something completely incorrect, but the reality is that addiction is a disorder. This means the person is constantly craving their alcohol, since it takes the brain’s pleasure meter to places it could never go normally. The problem is that normal good experiences can never measure up to the synthetic experiences given by alcohol. Thus, by assuming you can turn off your alcoholic side and switch back and forth, you are placing yourself in a position to become continually more dependent until finally, normal is not enough. 

Why People Say They Are Functional Alcoholics

Functional alcoholics can sometimes not know they have a problem. As previously stated this setting is their new “normal.” Sometimes it is difficult to know when you have begun to drink too much. For men, binge drinking is defined as having more than five drinks in two hours, and four for women. Moderate drinking is defined as one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. We at the Discovery Institute have a guide to see if you qualify as an alcoholic. All in all, if you are questioning whether you are struggling with alcoholism, it may be time to seek help and cut back on drinking.

In other cases, functional alcoholics worry they are not really themselves without the substance. Again, a misunderstanding of addiction makes us think that the substance is just a choice, thus people do not understand why they are different without it. However, this misunderstands the way substance abuse changes the brain. The brain makes being under the influence the new normal. Thus, those suffering from substance abuse may be different when they are not under the influence. Thus, they use the term “functional alcoholic” as a crutch, because they worry people will leave them if they get the help they need.

More About the Harmful “Functioning Addict” Mentality

A perfect example of what not to do is Fun Bobby from Friends. Monica dates a guy named Fun Bobby who everyone loves. However, once they discover he has a drinking problem, they urge him to get clean. Fun Bobby isn’t fun anymore, and the group dislikes him. This is one of the most harmful depictions of addiction in media. We at the Discovery Institute want you to know that you will be loved for who you are without the substance. Your loved ones, friends, and family will all support the real you.

The last reason is very difficult to swallow. Functional alcoholics do not realize that they need to sacrifice the world’s “normal.” The way the media, friends, and society in general present drinking is that it is fun, normal, and encouraged. If one does not drink, they are no longer normal. For many people, one of the hardest things to give up is the idea of having a normal life. They just want to be normal, have fun, and drink like everyone else. Thus, they are functional alcoholics, balancing normalcy and alcoholism. The problem is, those who have alcohol use problems cannot feel normal. The disorder has tragically taken a sense of “normality” away from them. Until an individual realizes this, they cannot be successful in cutting out the substance and seeking treatment.

Better Than Normal

If you are a functional alcoholic, it may be extremely difficult to give up the concept of normal. However, recovery is better than normal. It means that you are free to be your own person, and not constantly obeying the demands of alcohol, narcotics, etc. When we give up normal to pursue recovery, we are getting a better life than what is presented to us, because true connections, real experiences, and genuine happiness are all only possible outside of addiction. For this reason, individuals cannot be functional or normal, we need to be better than that.

Contact us

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol, and think that it is okay since you are functional, it is time to reach out. We at the Discovery Institute want to help you. We are here for you with any questions you might have. Alongside this, we have a contact page just for you so you can reach out regarding anything you need. We also have a number you can call 844-478-6563. It is never too late to take your life back. Please consider getting treated today.

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/moderate-drinking.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/prevention.htm

Heavy Drinking Alters Genetics

Alcohol was recently rated as one of the top five most addictive substances in a survey involving addiction experts, psychiatrists, psychologists and physicians. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that in 2016, more than three million people died as a result of alcohol abuse and was responsible for 5.1% of the global burden of disease and injury. New research reveals some insight into why it commands such a position among physical health and mental health professionals and results in such devastating effects on public health.

Most people are aware what genetics are and are familiar at least somewhat with what DNA is and how these things affect everything from baseline health to arbitrary physical traits such as hair color and skin tone. However, epigenetics is lesser known and refers to the situation that occurs when dormant genes are triggered into activity, active genes are shut down or a typical genetic function is displaced or otherwise changed.

The study found that binge and heavy drinkers had epigenetic changes that resulted in more cravings of alcohol and risk of addiction to the substance. The research findings, which were published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, were accompanied by experiments involving a variety of participants exposed to images and alcohol.

The subjects were evaluated based on their motivation to drink provided beer after being shown images ranging from general alcohol related images to stress related images. Their responses backed up the studies made into epigenetic changes occurring from heavy alcohol use.

Alcoholism continues to be a widespread problem, with over 2 million Americans yearly going untreated for their alcohol abuse. Socially, it’s acceptable for many behaviors which are clinically discouraged such as heavy drinking in social situations that lead to hangover, drinking in times of sorrow as a medication, drinking to minimize social anxieties and other situations. On top of that, alcohol-related deaths aren’t as attention grabbing as overdoses such as with other drugs. Long term use leads to irreversible liver damage, contributes to various kinds of cancer because of it’s inflammation properties on tissue, and even contributes to heart-related illnesses. In addition to these, alcohol-related incidents that result in injuries or fatality are not socially seen in the same league of overdose, despite the end results being virtually identical.

Alcoholism continues to be a part of the discourse around whether addiction is a disease or not. It’s evident that because alcohol is sold in most grocery stores and gas stations, then it feeds on biases within people’s perceptions that alcoholism is a choice and that bad decisions are the beginning and end of what they think it is. This study, however, just piles onto overwhelming evidence that all addictions share the same space as chronic diseases and require treatment and therapy to overcome when it manifests into a severe condition.

Addiction is a chronic illness. If you or someone you know is seeking rehabs in NJ, call Discovery Institute at 844-478-6563. Discovery is the top rated drug rehab center promoting sober living in New Jersey.

Do You Ever Wonder If You Are An Alcoholic?

Have you ever felt concerned that you are an alcoholic? Maybe you find yourself drinking at lunch time a little more than you mean to, or maybe you even slip a little liquor into your morning coffee, at first in the spirit of easing a rough day, and then more and more until you are drinking at eight in the morning almost every single day. Alcohol is exceptionally prominent in our society.

It has gone from being something that is a little rebellious at work functions, to something that feels almost mandatory at not just work functions, but work itself sometimes, and other places in our society as well. The way alcohol has become a staple in everyday life can make it very difficult to tell if your experience is normal or if you possibly have an abusive relationship with the substance. Just having the introspection to ask that question is a good place to start.

You have probably seen signs of alcohol’s destructive potential in the lives of others and maybe you have even been concerned about repeating that fate. With any kind of mind-altering substance it is important to be very wary to ensure that you don’t cross a line over into abusive behavioral tendencies. Here are some questions to keep in mind as you reflect on your drinking habits.

  1. Do you start to feel desperate for a drink if you have not had one in a while? If you are suffering from a chemical dependence on alcohol, you will more than likely experience withdrawal symptoms any time you go without a drink for a longer than normal period of time. You may start to shake, feel significant swings in your moods, experience a sense of desperation, like you would do anything to have it. If you cannot go without it, if you have difficulty breaking your routine and cannot manage taking a week or even just a weekend off of drinking, you should consider that to be a red flag.
  2. Do you feel like your irritability is rising over time? Alcohol can amplify any underlying emotional issues you may already suffer from, so if you have been feeling angrier or more depressed lately – especially when drinking – it might be time to look into your drinking habits more closely.
  3. Ask yourself, if someone or something prevents you from getting a drink – how do you react? If you find yourself enraged when an obstacle between you and alcohol appears, you can take that as another sign that you might have an unhealthy relationship with the substance. Are you willing to do dangerous things, hurtful things to get to your intoxication? What will you risk?
  4. Discovery InstituteHow are you sleeping? Late night drinking can interrupt REM sleep, which can lead to compounding exhaustion over time. Do you notice that when you are exhausted you drink more alcohol, which only makes you more tired? This cycle will not end in your favor. If you are unable to stop drinking enough to get a quality night sleep it is important to seek help.
  5. Do you feel like your staying on track with your appointments? If you feel like things are slipping lately, with more and more obligations getting postponed or missed altogether, or if your friends and family have started to make comments about your increasing flakiness and undependability, that’s a definite red flag.
  6. If you have concerns about your physical health and wellbeing under the influence of of your drinking habits then you should see your doctor. They can test your liver and make sure you are well. And then it may be time to look into addiction treatment in New Jersey.

 

You are your own first line of defense – if there’s a problem you will be the first one to experience the negative effects. It is important to stay vigilant about what you take into your body and how it is affecting your life. Keep your eyes open for these signs, and always remember to listen to your loved ones and medical professionals. Catching yourself before you plummet into the abyss of addiction will make if much easier for you to return to a healthy normalcy.

 

If you find that as you answer these questions that it confirms something that you’ve thought for a while, that you are abusing alcohol and likely have an addiction to the substance then you should know that there is hope. At Discovery Institute, one of the top drug rehab centers in NJ, we offer alcohol recovery programs that are made to be retrofitted to accommodate and effectively treat any unique needs or struggles of the individual patient. After medically supervised detox and rehab you will leave with a sober body and a mind enriched with the life skills you need to be healthy.

Call us the moment you’re ready to leave alcohol behind.