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, or call us at  (844) 433-1101. 

References

https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa63/aa63.htm

https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-2/186-196.htm

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

https://www.dualdiagnosis.org/alcohol-addiction/functional-alcoholic/

addiction treatment plans

What Are Addiction Treatment Plans like for Alcoholism?

One in eight Americans is an alcoholic, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The majority of people have had a drink in the past year, with approximately 86% of people over the age of 18 reporting positively.

In this blog post, we’ll go over some addiction treatment plans and what it may be like to recover from alcoholism.

Remember, each person’s journey is completely different, and if you do enter rehab, what you may experience may not be the exact same as what someone else might.

Read on to learn about some addiction treatment plans that you may follow during your journey of recovery.

The First Step

The first step, as the adage says, is admitting that you have a problem. While the saying may be tired and trite, it isn’t untrue. That is, in order to earnestly recover from alcoholism, you need to admit that you are an alcoholic.

If you still believe that your drinking isn’t a problem, or that you could “quit any time,” there is still a level of denial present. As long as you feel that you are in control of your out of control drinking habits, you won’t take steps to change them.

Meeting with an Addiction Specialist or Someone You Trust

After you’ve admitted you, indeed, have a drinking problem, the first step is to get help. This can look like a variety of things, and there are many ways you can reach out.

You may want to visit an addiction specialist or contact a rehab center to make an appointment and discuss your options. Or, if you already have a therapist, you may want to discuss your options for further treatment.

If you’re unsure about where to go, you can also find your local AA, or Alcohol Anonymous, meetings and discuss further treatment with them. While AA is for people who suffer from addiction, they can also point you toward more intense resources if needed.

Alternatively, you can meet with a pastor, priest, rabbi or anyone else who has a vested interest in helping you improve as a person. All of them can point you toward resources to help you on your recovery journey.

Starting Your Journey: Inpatient Recovery

After seeking resources that are a good fit for you, you’ll likely decide if you want to enter a facility to help you recover, participate in partial hospitalization or work on an outpatient basis. There are pros and cons to all of these forms of treatment, and a health professional may recommend one over the other depending on the severity of your addiction.

If your addiction is completely out of control and you cannot function, or you have tried to become sober previously and were unsuccessful, you may enter an inpatient program.

In these programs, you will live with other recovering addicts, attend therapy sessions, workshops and meet regularly with a counselor. You may also meet with a psychiatrist to discuss and treat underlying issues.

Partial Hospitalization Programs

A partial hospitalization program, or an intensive outpatient program, works similarly to a residential or inpatient facility, but you will not live at the campus. Instead, you’ll go home at night and typically either half a half day on Saturday, or have your weekends to yourself. This is recommended if your alcoholism is severe, but not severe enough that you need to be monitored at all times.

You can also participate in this type of program after your inpatient program, as some inpatient facilities also offer a similar program for patients who are progressing.

Outpatient Treatment

An outpatient program would be for someone who is still able to function day-to-day. They may still be able to work or take care of their responsibilities, but need a little bit of extra support.

Most outpatient programs meet a few times a week for a few hours at a time. In these programs, you will likely have group therapy sessions, workshops, and your own one-on-one therapy sessions.

Withdrawal

If you’re an alcoholic, chances are your body has gotten used to frequent alcohol intake. As such, you’ll go through a withdrawal period as your body gets used to functioning without alcohol.

Most alcoholics have learned to function in day-to-day life while drinking, which has likely lead to previous problems. But they may also have maintained a baseline level of alcohol in their system and still appear to be totally sober.

Because of this, you may experience some physical symptoms, as well as mental symptoms like depression and anxiety. Withdrawal is not pleasant, and many people with addiction continue using simply to avoid withdrawal.

If you decide to check into a facility, they may be able to medically assist you to withdraw from alcohol so that it is less painful.

Choosing Between Addiction Treatment Plans

Addiction treatment plans are highly individualized. Instead of simply picking a one-size-fits-all approach, you’ll need something that is tailored to you individually.

Many people with alcoholism also suffer from an underlying issue that has created the need for them to self-medicate. Whether this is due to anxiety, depression, grief or trauma, this will influence the treatment plan.

If you or someone you love feels that they are out of control with their addiction, the time to get help is now. Don’t wait. You can, and deserve, to live your best life.

Ready to make the first step to living a new sober life? Contact us today.

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.

Alcohol and General Health

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), each person 15 years or older consumes on average 13.5 grams of pure alcohol per day. It also found that half of that population doesn’t drink at all, leaving only half of that group to consume that average for the other half. America, in particular, prefers beer over liquor according to the Beverage Marketing Corp. In 2017, the average drinking age adult consumed 27 gallons of beer, 2.6 gallons of wine and 2.2 gallons of spirits. While this amount is lower than much of the rest of the world, with the United States ranking 36th in average yearly consumption, the amounts still have health concerns to be aware of.

Beer is typically saturated in empty calories. A standard drink is measured at 0.6 fluid ounces or 14 grams of pure alcohol. That typically ends up being a standard can of beer, a small glass of wine or a very small shot of spirits. With the increase in popularity of craft beers, the standard becomes less applicable. For instance, a 12 ounce can of beer would typically weigh in with 153 calories and a light beer would rate at 100 calories. When alcoholic content is changed, typically the caloric content changes along with it. India pale ales (IPAs) for instance have both higher alcoholic content and higher calories in the same can, averaging at about 325 calories, roughly the same as a McDonald’s cheeseburger. Wine has similar variances. Do you pour your glass to the rim or the actual standard which is just a bit less than half a typical wine glass? 125 calories are present in the standard ‘drink’ but that’s doubled if opting to fill up the glass as much as possible.

Discovery InstituteThis all plays into secondary health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The relationships are very complicated for these and depend heavily on how often binge drinking occurs, with binge drinking being defined as 8 drinks or more or simply ‘drinking to get drunk’. If moderating drinking with 2 to 3 drinks a week, alcohol can help older people with issues like cholesterol due to the blood thinning that can occur with alcohol use. However, alcohol is also inflammatory, so when combined with binge drinking, arterial damage can occur. This is one of the reasons for even non-fatal symptoms of heavy alcohol use like rosacea, a skin condition caused by damage arteries which results in reddening and puffing of skin in the cheeks and nose. However combined with the high calories, this inflammatory aspect of alcohol, whether from binge drinking or long term alcohol abuse, contributes in large part to heart problems and complicates cancer, which itself typically begins from inflammation.

Alcoholism is itself an illness, which can be difficult to handle alone. If you are addicted or think someone you know might be addicted to alcohol or another substance like cocaine or opioids, contact The Discovery Institute rehab in NJ at 844-478-6563 to speak to a professional counselor confidentially about diagnosis and treatment options. We are one of the highest rated Rehabs in NJ 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.

Drinking While Pregnant Can Haunt Your Baby For Life

These days, there are few people who are not familiar, at least in passing, with Fetal Alcohol Disorders. High school health class, whispered insults, warning labels placed on every container of even mildly alcoholic substances – reminders like these, among others make it nearly inescapable. A woman who seems visibly pregnant and is drinking in public is apt to get a gamut of reactions, anywhere from disapproving stares to verbal confrontations over it. But even with this breadth of awareness, there is very little depth of understanding what exactly Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is or that is only one of a family of disorders that can result from exposing a fetus to alcohol during pregnancy.  

 

The disorders that make up the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are:

  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • Neurobehavioral Disorder Associated with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure
  • Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder

 

Drinking During Pregnancy Causes Disabilities

Discovery InstituteThe National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome states that consumption of alcohol during pregnancy is one of the largest causes of developmental disabilities and birth defects in the modern world. There are a variety of symptoms that can result from contact with alcohol in utero, ranging from physical impediments, mental health challenges, behavioral disorders, and learning disabilities. The severity of disorders can depend on the timing, frequency, and quantity of exposure to alcohol. These effects on the child are permanent, irreversible, and tragically  lifelong. Some of the ailments resulting from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder can be treated with therapy and medication, but they are all chronic conditions:

  • Abnormal Facial Characteristics
  • Growth deficits
  • Brain damage including mental retardation
  • Defects of the lung
  • Defects of the kidney
  • Defects of the heart
  • Memory problems
  • Attention disorders
  • Difficulty managing judgement
  • Impaired reasoning
  • Learning disabilities
  • Motor skill delays
  • Coordination problems
  • Behavioral problems
  • Hyperactivity

 

Get Help at an Alcohol Rehab in NJ Before Endangering Your Unborn Child

Each year, tens of thousands of infants are born with a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Drinking at any point while pregnant carries some risk – even in the days before the pregnancy is even detected. If someone waits until they get positive confirmation of their pregnancy before curtailing their drinking habits, the damage may already be done. That’s why it’s important to be intentional when you begin trying to become pregnant – if there’s potential for your future child to be conceived, then the responsible thing to do is cease drinking right then and there. If you suffer from an alcohol addiction and need help call Discovery Institute, one of the best new jersey rehab facilities available. We can answer your questions about treatment and help you find a healthy way through pregnancy and through your addiction.

Underage Drinking Doesn’t Have To Be Inevitable

Underage drinking seems to be taken as a fact of life. It’s the sort of thing that everyone disapproves of in concept, but at the same time it is also sort of assumed that it’s going on all the time. Perversely, much of our culture’s concept of transitioning to adulthood is wrapped up in the types of rebellion that are typified by underage drinking. In many ways it has become an American rite of passage. It has become what is expected.

Underage drinking is most associated with high schoolers, but it begins in middle school more often than you might think. There are staggeringly large numbers of underage alcohol poisoning hospitalizations and even deaths, to say nothing of the injuries and fatalities as a result of a car accident caused by underage drinking.

 

How Can We Turn The Tide?

These kids deserve more than a half-hearted winking denial. It is vital that we communicate the risks and dangers of drinking early as well as helping developing adolescents to understand their bodies and the way mind altering substances can affect them. For all the intoxicant consumption in our society there is very little understanding or discussion of addiction, and how a chemical desirability becomes a chemical dependency.  

No one is claiming this change will be easy. For generations we have built up this culture of denial around alcohol consumption and abuse. We have stigmatized addiction and blamed those who suffer from it instead of recognizing them in their suffering and seeking to help them. It is only just within the last few years that our society has begun to properly conceive of  addiction as an affliction rather than a choice. This shift is important because it means the difference between those with a problem hiding it in shame and allowing it to spiral out of control and the possibility of them accepting the reality of chemical dependency and taking reasonable steps to mitigate it.

 

Treating Addiction With Medical & Therapeutic Care Rather Than Shame

Discovery InstituteOur collective conversation around alcohol needs to transcend the legality, the cultural implications and deal with the simple fact that some people suffer from a predilection towards addiction, and that for those people alcohol presents an existential danger. Stigmatizing alcohol consumption drives it into the shadows and away from the medical professionals that can offer very real and meaningful aid. One of the major reasons a child develops a dependence on alcohol is because they have seen a parent exhibit the same behaviors. If a parent is unable to admit that they have a problem, how can a teenager feel safe doing so?

At Discovery Institute we offer a place of detoxification and rehabilitation. A place without the shadow of shame. We offer a light to shine on the anxieties and trauma that keep a person coming back to their drink over and over. Through medical detox a patient’s body will get rid of the substance in their system and through rehabilitation patients learn life skills and the kind of self confidence they need to face the world. They learn the art of sober living in New Jersey detox centers and in New Jersey rehab facilities.

To get started down your path of successful rehabilitation, contact us today.

 

How To Tell if a Friend is Addicted to Alcohol and Needs a Drug Rehab Center in NJ

No one likes to admit they have a problem. When you suspect a loved one might be struggling with an alcohol addiction, it can be hard to confront them, and even harder to get a straight answer out of them.There are many excellent recovery treatments and therapies available, but they all require the awareness of and willingness to deal with an alcohol problem. Here are some signs to watch for to help guide whether you need to confront them over their relationship with alcohol.

  1. Financial problems. Have you noticed your loved ones struggling to keep up with their bills and expenses? Alcohol is a costly habit, especially if the person is out drinking in bars. When people are succumbing to the depths of alcohol addiction, often the first place is shows is at the pocketbook. In particular, pay attention to their prioritization – are they liberal with their money at happy hour while complaining of being behind on their car payments? If a preferred type of alcohol supplanting groceries during trips to the supermarket? Alcohol addiction can powerfully skew a person’s priorities and the signs of those shifts is likely to show up in their bank balance.
  2. Mood swings. Have you noticed your loved one demonstrating much more moodiness? Volatile shifts in mood happen for everyone sometimes, but if it is becoming more frequent or more severe, especially when they’ve been drinking it may be a sign of alcohol addiction. Watch for bursts of anger, bouts of deep sadness, or even unusually effusive displays of affection – if they are persistent and frequent it might be time to talk to your loved one about their struggles.
  3. Smell. There’s no delicate way to say this – alcoholism has a distinct odor. There’s a sour smell tinged notes of their preferred spirit that lingers in their breath and even on their skin. The body is not built for processing that high of concentrations of toxins, and it’s going to use whatever means it has available to cleanse itself. If you do notice this, approach the situation with delicacy, it can be hard to hear that a person’s bad decisions are practically clouding the air. Try to maintain a compassionate and supportive tone rather than an accusatory one.

 

Treatment at Discovery Institute, One of The Top Rated Drug Rehab Centers

If you notice these symptoms, it may be time to sit down with the person and discuss seeking help. Do your research in advance and come prepared with some ideas and knowledge, but mostly make sure it is clear that you are approaching the issue out of love and concern.

As hard as it is for you to bring up the subject, it will likely be harder for them to hear. But difficult as it is, recognizing that there is a problem is the first step towards recovery. Sober living in New Jersey is possible through the help Discovery Institute can offer. Call today for more information.

Drunk Driving To Everyone’s Peril

Thousands of people die every year in car accidents due to drunk drivers. When someone irresponsibly getting on the road after having a few drinks or after getting high they can be charged with a DUI. If they end up in a fatal car crash, the charges be much worse. People venture out to drive with alcohol in their systems, at their own parel, but they also endanger others. You’d be surprised how many people think it’s no big deal, people who should know better, everyday fathers, mothers, and young people have a few drinks and then get behind the wheel. It’s a particular problem around the holidays when people are often even less thoughtful. They have a little holiday cheer and then hop in to the car to go to their next event, never imaging what they may have to regret after.

People never expect that alcohol alters their reaction speed or instincts that much. They think, it won’t be them. They won’t be the one behind the wheel when someone dies in an accident. They won’t be charged with a crime. They won’t have anyone’s death on their hands. But with the amount of drunk driving related deaths, we know very well that the moment you get in the car with a high blood toxicity you are threatening the lives of everyone else on the road.

Discovery InstituteHere’s what you need to know: it only takes a few drinks to hit the impair your abilities and make driving illegal.  In some states the laws are stricter. In some states just holding the keys in your hand and sitting in the driver’s seat can get you a DUI. You’ve got to understand how pervasive this problem is. When a large portion of the car accidents caused by DUI have been proven to be fatal, you can understand why states my ratchet up regulation on alcohol and driving.  

 

Can you imagine having to try to forget taking someone’s life because you refused to give your keys to a friend? That’s the kind of regret that haunts you. It changes your life in a way that no one ever can fully absorb. Don’t let this happen to you. Get a designated driver if you are out drinking. A great idea is to have a friend and share the responsibility between you. Take turns. If you find that you can’t stay sober when out, drink at home. And consider calling us to talk about if you think you may be an addict.

 

Are you or anyone you know are suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, and are seeking sober living in New Jersey? Discovery offers the best New Jersey rehab. We are here to listen and guide you through to the first steps of sober living. Please call us at 844-478-6563.

Binge Drinking Ain’t What It Used To Be

The idea of binge drinking has shifted over the years in the mind of the  public from a kind of drinking where people would drink consistently over a period of a few days, like Mad Men style chain smoking, or Mad Men style office drinking for that matter to a chugging contest. These days when people binge drink they drink as quickly and as much as they can.

Take the power hour for instance. Have you heard of it? The popular party game involves taking a one ounce shot of beer every minute for one hour. I remember doing it when I was in my twenties and I was never able to finish. In fact, the only person I know who ever did landed themselves in the hospital for alcohol poisoning.

 

Youth and Binge Drinking

Discovery InstituteBinge drinking is no joke! It can make you so sick that you pass out or worse, binge drinking can kill you. Binge drinking is most prevalent among students. The majority of high school students try alcohol before they turn eighteen years old and many of those engage in binge drinking. College students are even more likely to binge drink.

Consequences

There are some very real consequences binge drinking. The more you drink the more likely you are to get sick. Binge drinking almost always results in vomiting. Some people vomit so much that they coke on their own bile. It can cause you to feel disoriented and confused. This kind of drinking can cause your breathing to slow down and make your heart rate slow down as well. You may pass out, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you will stop vomiting. Binge drinking can result in a coma or even death

Are you or anyone you know are suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, and are seeking sober living in New Jersey? Discovery offers the best New Jersey rehab. We are here to listen and guide you through to the first steps of hope. Please call us at 844-478-6563.