alcohol addiction

A Complete Guide to Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol can quickly go from the drink you use to have fun with to alcohol addiction. Too much alcohol can lead to issues like memory loss, confusion, nausea and vomiting, and even erectile dysfunction. It can even expose you to long-term illnesses like pneumonia, liver disease, hepatitis, certain cancers, and more if left untreated. 

It can be natural to like the feeling of alcohol at first because it can take the feeling of anxiety and stress away temporarily, and you will feel like you are loosening up. But at the same time, that is the feeling that some people can grow to depend on. 

Are you questioning if you have lost control of yourself with alcohol? Have others accused you of being an alcoholic? Or, maybe you feel like you have a problem and do not know how to confirm it and take the next steps required. 

Here is your guide to alcohol addiction. 

Review Your Environment 

If you think you have problems with alcohol, you should take a step back and analyze what type of environment you are putting yourself in. Answer these questions for yourself. 

Do you ever hang out with my friends and family without drinking? Do you drink alone? Do you drink alone often? Do you feel like you NEED alcohol to tolerate certain people or aspects of your life? 

If you said yes to any of those questions, you need to take a step back and see if you are dependent on alcohol. Try to see what you are like when you are not drinking in those scenarios. 

A step further could be cutting friends off who are nothing more than “drinking buddies” if you are looking for a more supportive environment. This may take some effort, as about 1/6 of adults binge drink. 

If you said yes to these questions AND cannot take the necessary actions in your current environment, you may even have to ask, where is there alcohol detox near me?

Exercise and Meditate

One of the top reasons people drink alcohol heavily is because of stress. If people feel stressed, they could turn to alcohol because it temporarily relieves the feelings that come with stress. It can make you feel more carefree. 

Depression can also be a big reason people binge drink, which can go hand in hand with stress. 

For both of these, two of the biggest ways to counter those feelings are exercise and meditation. 

Meditation has the ability to relax your mind and get a better grip on your emotions. Exercise, especially in the morning, is a physical way to relieve stressful feelings and give you more energy to get through a day. 

These combined will help you be able to relax and boost your morale. If you can find healthier ways to counter stress, depression, or even anxiety, you will find yourself having less of a need to drink those feelings away. 

Residential Treatment

If you feel like you cannot control your addiction to alcohol on your own, the step you need to take is residential treatment. This will require a major commitment, both financially and mentally. 

You will have to relocate away from your home, surroundings, and friends, and loved ones. Most importantly, you will have to distance yourself from alcohol. 

Residential treatment centers typically have a process to get new patients adjusted to their facility. This includes putting them through detox to fight possible withdrawal symptoms, which can get very extreme. 

Other steps include therapy to talk patients through recovery, developing skills to fight their addiction, getting patients ready to go back into the real world, and relapse prevention to make sure you do not end up back there. 

Besides actually not drinking, residential treatment may be the most difficult step for an alcoholic to face. This is because it forces you to acknowledge that you have a problem and cannot face it alone. 

For those that feel like they need to stay overnight, they may need to ask, where is there an inpatient rehab near me?

Connect With Relatable People 

One of the easiest ways for two strangers to connect and become better acquainted is to share a common bond. For alcoholics, this can be finding other people that have also had their problems controlling themselves with alcohol. 

Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous have become big for this reason. It is usually the one place in an addict’s life where everyone around you can understand exactly what you are going through and exactly what you are thinking. 

Finding people you can share with, connect with, and depend on can make or break your recovery process. Some people turn to Sober Living Facilities that can have several people in recovery under one roof to support each other. 

If you have other people with this mindset, they can also help hold you accountable for your actions and encourage you to stay on the right track. The best rehab centers you will not feel alone on your road to recovery. 

Treat Your Alcohol Addiction

So reading through this, you may have seen signs that you suffer from alcohol addiction. Maybe you are encouraged by the possible results shown. 

You may be asking, where is there alcohol treatment near me? Well, if you are in the Kansas City area, check our resources out to see if our recovery center is right for you. 

Programs offered include residential treatment, detox, an inpatient program, outpatient program, interventions, family therapy, sober living facilities, and more. 

Get away from alcohol while having professionals by your side to give you the help you need. 

drink too much

Do You Drink Too Much? Signs That You Are Becoming Addicted to Alcohol

It can be hard to tell when someone drinks too much. More than 14 million Americans have alcohol use disorder. They are addicted to alcohol and cannot stop using unless they receive help. Yet people with alcohol use disorder come from all walks of life. Some experience significant personal problems, while others appear to be functioning. What do people do when they drink too much? What are the most significant signs that someone is developing an alcohol use disorder? 

Answer these questions and you can find the best rehab centers for support in little time. Here is your quick guide. 

Blackouts 

The hippocampus is the part of the brain that controls memories. Alcohol affects all parts of the brain, but it particularly impacts the hippocampus.

A person blackouts when they drink enough to block the hippocampus. Short-term memories do not transfer into long-term ones, causing the individual to forget what just happened. 

Many people think that blackouts involve unconsciousness. This can be the case.

But most people who drink to excess remain awake while their hippocampus fails to work. During that time, they can get into an accident or commit a crime and have no memory of it. 

Some people may experience a fragmentary blackout. They remember select moments or details, but they have no context for them. This can prove disorienting, especially if the details are unsettling. 

Anyone who drinks to the point of excess can experience a blackout. Experiencing just one is a sign that a person is losing control of their drinking. Someone who continues to drink after having a blackout may be dependent on alcohol. 

Irritability 

Many people drink alcohol in order to feel happy. But these feelings are fleeting. 

A person can experience extreme irritability while drunk or hungover. Minor hassles may provoke a meltdown, or they may get into a fight with someone else. Their anger may subside with little warning. 

Some people may feel irritated when someone talks to them about their drinking. A family member may be trying to help them, encouraging them to research “alcohol recovery near me.”

But the person may say that they don’t have a problem or need help. Drinking should not be a sensitive subject. If someone appears sensitive to critiques about their drinking, they may be developing a problem. 

Prioritization of Drinking 

Anyone who prioritizes drinking over any other activity is drinking too much. It is okay to have one glass of beer before a meal. But skipping meals to drink instead is not okay. 

It is never okay to drink instead of going to family events or working. It does not matter if the person is drinking on their own or with others. 

Some people make up excuses for their alcohol consumption. They may say that they are drinking so they can relax or feel normal.

This sounds logical, but it isn’t. They are admitting that they are dependent on alcohol to wind down after a long day and deal with personal problems. If this hasn’t led to excessive alcohol consumption, it will. 

Trouble With Family Relationships 

Alcohol consumption can strain a person’s relationships in several ways. Many people don’t like to be around drunk people. Even if the drunk person doesn’t harm them, they may distance themselves from them. 

Some people get talkative when they get drunk. They may confess something that they shouldn’t have, including affairs. This can cause two spouses to have a falling out. 

Prioritization of drinking over family engagements will cause tense relationships. Children can recognize when their parent is drunk, and they may feel they are no longer loved. 

In rare circumstances, people who consume alcohol may steal money from their families. They can use the money to buy alcohol or settle bets that they made while they were drunk. 

Anyone who experienced a family crisis due to their alcohol consumption should get help. They should immediately Google “alcohol detox near me.” Drug and alcohol treatment resources in Kansas City are available to anyone who wants it. 

Risk-Taking 

A person may get into dangerous situations while they are drunk. Many people walk through a dangerous area looking for a place to urinate. They may go to a riverside and fall in, drowning or fracturing a bone. 

Drinking and driving is another common instance of risk-taking. Alcohol impairs decision-making and skews a person’s ability to focus on small details. They may speed or run over an animal without noticing it. 

Some people may have unsafe sex while they are drunk. Any occasion can result in them acquiring an STD. 

Taking a risk while drunk or after drinking is never okay. An individual should immediately get help from a licensed medical professional. They should look for resources on the Internet, looking for “alcohol treatment near me.” 

Inability to Stop Drinking 

Some people recognize they have trouble drinking and they try to stop. They may go cold turkey, or they may wean themselves off of alcohol. 

Though they have the willpower to change, they are unable to do so. They may look for residential treatment centers, typing in “inpatient rehab near me” into Google. 

They may feel intense cravings for alcohol, feeling the urge from seeing a bottle or walking by a bar. They know these cravings are harmful, yet they cannot help themselves. 

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be significant. Someone may experience intense feelings of anxiety or depression. They may lose energy, or they may start vomiting or having a faster heart rate. 

Withdrawal can be fatal for people who have an extreme dependency on alcohol. Anyone should experiences significant symptoms should check themselves into a hospital. 

Where to Go If You Drink Too Much

People do a lot of things when they drink too much. They may lose their short-term memories, and they may even lose consciousness. They may become irritated, and they prioritize drinking over their responsibilities. 

Their family relationships may suffer due to their bad mood or inability to communicate. They may get hurt while taking a risk, including driving under the influence. If they try to stop drinking, they may be unable to. 

All of these signs can be reversed. Sana Lake Recovery serves the Kansas City area. Contact us today. 

Alcohol Slows Down Brain Function

Can Alcohol Affect Your Memory?

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a serious disease in America. In fact, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports, in 2019, nearly 15 million people age 12 and up had AUD. Unfortunately, less than half of these people received treatment for their drinking.

Alcohol misuse can significantly impact your brain and memory. However, the longer you drink and the more you consume, the more severe and lasting the effects of alcohol on memory. But, seeking treatment can help with alcoholism and memory loss. Sana Lake offers personalized programs to help you achieve recovery from alcohol and memory loss.

Alcohol and Memory Loss

Alcohol-Related Brain Damage

The brain is a delicate organ that must be chemically balanced to function correctly. But, alcohol interrupts this balance. While occasional or “social” drinking can affect short-term memory, heavy drinking can lead to long-term damage and memory loss.

Alcohol Slows Down Brain Function

Alcohol is a depressant. In short,  it slows down brain activity. In heavy drinkers, alcohol can alter a person’s mood and behavior. Alcohol also slows down the nervous system, causing various cognitive impairments. At the same time, long-term heavy alcohol misuse can lead to brain damage and memory loss.

Alcohol Affects Brain Matter

Alcohol not only interferes with memory loss, but also affects the physical makeup of the brain. The white and grey matter in the brain are linked to behavioral and cognitive functions. However, heavy alcohol misuse destroys white and grey matter leading to permanent memory loss. 

Alcohol, Age, and Brain Cells

Although we all lose brain cells as we age, heavy alcohol misuse increases the destruction. As a result, a person may experience earlier symptoms of memory loss and dementia. However, stopping alcohol use and creating a brain-healthy lifestyle can slow the progression.

Alcohol and Short-Term Memory Loss

When people drink too much, they often blackout and don’t remember details. However, during a blackout, a person may be awake and alert. The details can be minor such as, where their keys are. But, they can also forget the whole night, which is a big issue. 

Short-term side effects of heavy alcohol misuse include:

  • Trouble focusing
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired judgment
  • Lack of coordination
  • Mood swings
  • Blackouts

What is a Blackout?

Can Alcohol Affect Your Memory?

The NIAAA defines alcohol-related blackouts as gaps in a person’s memory during times of intoxication. These gaps happen because, at certain intoxication levels, alcohol blocks the transfer of memories to an area of the brain called the hippocampus.

There are two types of blackouts. With a partial blackout, things like people’s names and other minor details cannot be recalled. A complete blackout is the inability to recall batches of time. Blacking out is extremely dangerous and increases the risk of injury and death.

Alcohol and Memory Loss Long-Term

While alcohol slows the hippocampus, heavy drinking causes long-term damage. For example, Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, a severe cognitive disorder, is related directly to the effects of alcohol on memory. It develops because of a thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency related to drinking alcohol. 

Chronic misuse of alcohol stops the brain and the body from absorbing this much-needed vitamin. Without proper treatment, Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome can lead to dementia and may even be fatal.

Long-term effects of chronic alcohol misuse include:

Alcohol-Related Brain Damage

Chronic heavy alcohol misuse often leads to repeated blackouts. Additionally, these repeated blackouts can cause alcohol-related brain damage or ARBD. This condition is the direct effect of alcohol on memory and causes permanent damage.

Signs and symptoms of alcohol-related brain damage include:

  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Poor judgment
  • Lack of insight
  • Confusion about time and place
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Difficulty processing new information
  • Lack of motivation
  • Mood swings
  • Poor balance and coordination

Symptoms of Alcohol and Short-Term Memory Loss

Some effects of alcohol on memory are obvious. Individuals may wake up and not remember how they got a bruise. Or, they can’t recall anything from the night before. However, some effects of alcoholism and memory loss are subtle. 

Individuals that identify with any of the following should know they may be struggling with the short-term effects of alcohol and memory loss.

  • Forgetting making plans with a friend or family member
  • Being easily confused about where they are
  • Paying attention has become a struggle for them
  • They don’t remember things they did while drinking
  • They are in legal trouble but don’t remember what they did.

Long-Term Symptoms of Alcoholism and Memory Loss

The longer a person misuses alcohol, the more damage is done to the brain and memory. But, chronic heavy misuse of alcohol can have long-term damaging effects. If you or a loved one displays any of these symptoms, they may be struggling with the long-term effects of alcohol on memory.

  • They make up stories to fill in the gaps from alcohol and memory loss. This is called confabulation and is often seen in those with Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome.
  • Their personality changes are becoming noticeable. They are angry, frustrated, and often withdrawn. 
  • They repeatedly ask the same questions.
  • They have difficulty learning new things, such as playing a game. 

Treatment of Alcohol and Memory Loss

There isn’t much anyone can do to recall events from a night of heavy drinking. However, there are treatments to improve the effects of alcohol on memory. 

  • Thiamine supplements can help alleviate symptoms of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, which is a result of thiamine deficiency.
  • Certain medications such as memantine, used in Alzheimer’s treatment, may improve memory loss from alcoholism. 
  • Attending alcohol use disorder treatment can reverse the effects of alcohol on memory. Stopping alcohol consumption can cause mild to severe withdrawal symptoms. So, for safety reasons, alcohol use disorder should always be treated in a professional setting.

What is Detoxing from Alcohol?

Alcohol-Related Brain Damage

Detoxing from alcohol is the natural process of the body ridding itself of toxins such as those from chronic alcohol misuse. However, it’s not recommended to go through detox alone at home. Because alcohol withdrawal can cause severe side effects, it is recommended to detox in a substance use disorder treatment center.

Symptoms of alcohol detox include:

  • Feeling nervous or anxious
  • Feeling irritable
  • Depression
  • Exhaustion
  • Tremors or shakiness
  • Sweating 
  • Headache
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Extreme confusion
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • High blood pressure

Medical Detox at Sana Lake: The First Step in Recovery

People struggling with alcohol use disorder often find it challenging to stop drinking. Besides the compulsive patterns of alcohol misuse, the withdrawal symptoms from detoxing can often be severe. Withdrawal can also amplify the effects of alcohol and memory loss. 

However, at Sana Lake, we offer comprehensive medical detox to make the process more comfortable. Additionally, our medical detox program kick starts your recovery with psychotherapy to ease the mental struggles of detox.

Psychotherapy for Alcohol Misuse

Alcohol use disorder often leads to co-occurring mental health disorders. At the same time, mental health disorders can lead to alcohol use disorder. Either way, the effects can lead to challenging behavior and thought patterns. 

The mental challenges of alcohol detox often cause people to return to drinking. However, starting psychotherapy can ease cravings and the mental struggles that lead them to drink. 

Psychotherapy at Sana Lake can help you start:

  • Developing ways to cope with cravings in a healthy manner
  • Managing stress without alcohol
  • Discovering and building your inner strengths
  • Uncovering and healing past and present traumas

Medication-Assisted Treatment in Medical Detox

Depending on the individual and the severity of the effects of alcohol on memory, FDA-approved medications may help in the recovery process. Benzodiazepines or benzos such as Ativan, Librium, and Valium can reduce withdrawal symptoms and prevent alcohol withdrawal seizures. However, these drugs are also highly addictive and should be closely monitored.

Detox is Just the Beginning of Recovery at San Lake

Completing a medical detox program is only the beginning of treating alcoholism and memory loss. Together with your therapist, you will develop an individualized treatment plan that includes inpatient or outpatient treatment. Recovery is a lifelong journey, and therapy helps build the skills needed to achieve an alcohol-free life. 

Programs at Sana Lake include:

Alcohol and Short-Term Memory Loss Treatment at Sana Lake

Struggling with the effects of alcohol on your memory can be difficult. Is the stress of not remembering things is causing you to drink more? Maybe you have an older family member struggling with alcoholism and memory loss but need help talking to them. 

If any of this sounds familiar to you, it may be time to seek alcohol and memory loss treatment. Our compassionate team is waiting to answer all your questions and get you on the road to recovery. Contact us today to learn more. 

References: 

quit drinking

18 Reasons to Quit Drinking Alcohol

Do you often ask yourself, “why should I stop drinking? I enjoy it.” The voice of alcohol will tell you otherwise, but there are so many reasons to quit drinking. Let’s take a look at the top 18 reasons.

The Reasons to Quit Drinking Now

When you quit drinking, you will feel some of the results immediately. So before we look at the reasons to quit drinking, here are 5 immediate benefits when you quit drinking.

  • No more hangovers
  • You save money
  • Mental clarity
  • Reduces risky behavior
  • Improves relationships

Why Should I Give Up Alcohol?

There are so many reasons to quit drinking. And, if the instant results don’t have you thinking twice about picking up that drink, then hopefully, the 18 reasons to quit drinking will change your relationship with alcohol. So, let’s take a deeper look at why you should stop drinking.

1. You Save Money

Have you ever calculated how much money you spend a week on alcohol? Now, multiply that by 52. Are you shocked? 

The Reasons to Quit Drinking Now

When you are drinking, you lose all inhibitions. As a result, you may drink more than planned. This can add up real fast. It cuts into rent and monthly bills leading to financial stress. Unfortunately, financial stress can lead to more drinking.

But, financially, the reasons to quit drinking are endless. You can pay your bills and start the savings account you want. If you are a heavy drinker, the savings can be quite large. As a result, you could reward yourself with a vacation or a new car.  

2. You Feel Better

People often forget that alcohol is not healthy for you. Yes, research proves that one or two drinks can prevent certain diseases such as coronary heart disease. However, binge drinking and chronic alcohol use disorder are extremely dangerous.

When you drink in excess, your body has to work harder to process the drug. To metabolize the alcohol, your liver has to work harder. And, your brain goes into overdrive trying to keep the body in balance. 

But, when you quit drinking, your body starts to repair itself. As a result, you start feeling better. Because the body isn’t affected by the toxins in alcohol, you have more energy to focus on other things. Above all, your brain and body can function the way it’s supposed to. 

3. No More Hangovers

Let’s be honest; no one likes a hangover. You have a headache, you’re nauseous, and you feel drained. You may even wonder why you drank the whole bottle of wine. 

Of all the reasons to quit drinking, this is felt immediately. Imagine waking up feeling refreshed and having a productive day. If it has been a long time since you have felt this way, then put down the drink and enjoy waking up tomorrow. 

4. No More Guilt Over Your Drinking

Do loved ones express concern over your drinking? Do your little kids look at you and ask you to stop? If so, then it is natural to feel guilty when you drink. You know you should stop. And being free from alcohol can be very liberating and powerful. If you struggle to stop on your own, seeking treatment can help.

5. No More Apologizing

How many times did you get drunk and do something stupid? Falling into people, yelling, calling people names, and being overall annoying. Having to apologize for these behaviors can be avoided if you quit drinking. 

Reasons to Quit Drinking Alcohol

6. Gain Self-Confidence

Quitting alcohol is not easy. So, when you quit, you develop a new-found sense of self-confidence. You realize you are in control and not alcohol, and that is a powerful feeling. 

7. Gain Optimism

When you stop drinking and gain self-confidence and self-worth, you also gain optimism. Without alcohol clouding your judgment, you realize life can be a positive experience. Life will bring happier experiences, and that alone is an excellent reason to quit drinking.

8. Your Brain Heals

Because of chronic alcohol use, your brain is overworked. Your brain not only controls every body function, but it is also responsible for how you respond to stimuli. When you quit drinking, the brain doesn’t have to work so hard to keep your body in balance. Additionally, alcohol consumption damages areas of the brain. But, when you stop drinking, the brain begins to heal. 

9. Your Liver Can Rest

Your liver is responsible for breaking down alcohol. Binge drinking and chronic alcohol use put added stress on your liver. As a result, you can have further serious health issues such as cirrhosis of the liver. But, one of the many reasons to quit drinking includes letting your liver rest and heal. 

10. Your Skin Clears Up

One of the top reasons to quit drinking, for women especially, is it clears up your skin. When you drink, your body becomes dehydrated and is deprived of certain nutrients. This includes your skin. Alcohol also throws off your blood sugar which affects your hormones, and eventually, you develop acne. But, your skin will show positive signs of clearing once you stop drinking. 

Adverse effects of alcohol on your skin include:

  • Broken capillaries on the face and nose
  • Inflammation
  • Dehydration
  • Jaundice
  • Loose or saggy skin

11. Regain Mental Clarity

Of all the reasons to quit drinking, mental clarity is a big one. Not only does your brain start healing when you stop drinking, but you begin thinking clearly, too. Being clear-headed at work, in your relationships, and in daily decisions are all reasons to quit drinking.

12. Improves Mental Illness

Why Should I Give Up Alcohol?

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2018, over 9 million American adults struggled with substance use disorder and mental illness. Common co-occurring mental illnesses include depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. 

Many times, people drink to cope with mental illness. However, chronic alcohol use can cause mental illness to develop. But, once you stop drinking alcohol, your thinking and decision-making skills will return. 

13. Improve Heart Health

Alcohol is hard on your heart. After a night of drinking, you can feel these effects when you lay down. For example, you may feel like your heart is going to beat out of your chest. 

Chronic heavy drinkers are particularly susceptible to heart issues. For instance, if you drink more than 14 drinks a week, you are twice as likely to experience heart disease. So quitting now before any issues arise is very beneficial for your heart health.

14. Lower Your Risk of Cancer

Info graphic - Reasons to quit drinking

Besides the effects alcohol has on your heart, it also increases your risk of developing cancer. Although it is common knowledge that alcohol can cause liver cancer, it can also lead to developing cancer in the:

  • Breast
  • Colon
  • Esophagus
  • Mouth
  • Rectum
  • Throat
  • Voicebox

To reduce your risk of developing cancer, it is crucial to quit drinking today. 

15. Losing Weight

Gaining weight is uncomfortable. It can also lead to health problems, especially if the weight gain is from alcohol use. Weight gain is typical when you drink. Furthermore, it makes losing weight even more challenging. When you cut out the empty calories of alcohol, you will start to see the pounds disappear. 

16. Get Better Sleep

Is your excuse for drinking at night is it helps you sleep? While it may help you fall asleep faster, your quality of sleep suffers. Alcohol actually blocks REM or restorative sleep. Furthermore, it can interfere with breathing and make you need more bathroom trips. Just think of how well you will sleep when you quit drinking. 

17. Improves Mood Stability

Even if you are not struggling with mental illness, alcohol typically causes mood swings. For example, you may be more agreeable and open-minded after a glass of wine. However, heavy drinking can cause negative mood changes. It is common for binge drinkers and heavy drinkers to become:

  • Easily angered
  • Violent outbursts
  • Dangerously impulsive
  • Demanding or threatening

Because your mood can change when you consume alcohol, people you love may start distancing themselves. However, repairing relationships and controlling your mood are significant reasons to quit drinking. 

18. Builds New Coping Skills

Once you take to heart the reasons to quit drinking, you will notice dramatic life changes. Depending on how often and how much you drink, it can be scary to quit. But, the long-term changes once you quit are worth it. 

When you struggle with alcohol use disorder, you develop unhealthy coping skills. But, once you quit drinking and learn healthy coping skills, you will see immediate results. 

Common coping skills learned in recovery include:

  • Being honest with yourself and others
  • Ask for support
  • Establish healthy boundaries
  • Practice meditation and mindfulness
  • Keep a daily journal
  • Join support groups
  • Exercise regularly

Reasons to Quit Drinking and Treatment at Sana Lake Recovery

Now that you understand the reasons to quit drinking and how it will benefit your life, it’s time to learn more about the types of treatment at Sana Lake Recovery. Contact us today and learn about our different treatment options. 

References: 

https://www.healthline.com/health/how-much-can-I-drink-healthy#So,-is-one-drink-better-than-none?

https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/cbhsq-reports/NSDUHNationalFindingsReport2018/NSDUHNationalFindingsReport2018.pdf

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-are-the-benefits-of-alcohol-recovery-67761

and the Immune System

How Does Alcohol Affect the Immune System?

According to research gathered by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 85.6% of American adults have drunk alcohol at some point. In other words, the overwhelming majority of Americans drink. NIAAA reports that about 70% of American adults consumed alcohol in the year surveyed. Most don’t think about how alcohol affects the immune system when they choose to drink. 

Scientists have explored alcohol’s effect on the immune system for decades. It certainly affects it, but how? We’ll explore how it does for better or worse below to bash common myths

What Is Alcohol?

Alcohol is officially known as ethanol or ethyl alcohol. It becomes an alcoholic beverage when the yeast and sugar break down. Without oxygen, it ferments. Although legal, alcohol is classified as a drug. Specifically, it’s in the class of drugs known as depressants. Unlike stimulants, they slow down the body’s systems. Yet, some literature makes the point that a certain amount can have a stimulant effect. 

The Foundation For a Drug-Free World notes the usual alcohol content for popular forms of alcoholic beverages:

  • Beer – 2-6% 
  • Liqueurs – 15-60% 
  • Ciders – 4-8% 
  • Tequila – 40% 
  • Brandy – 40% 
  • Rum – 40% 
  • Whiskey – Up to 50% 
  • Gin – Up to 47% 
  • Vodka – Up to 50% 
  • Wine – Up to 20% 

Depressants can make a person feel loose and relaxed. This is because they affect the central nervous system primarily. It slows down exchanges between the body and brain. Alcohol is no different. This can result in both desirable and undesirable effects. 

Common short-term and long-term effects include: 

  • Decreased motor function 
  • Heightened mood 
  • Confusion 
  • Blurred vision 
  • Memory loss 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Headaches 
  • Erectile dysfunction and decreased libido 

Over time, alcohol can impact the immune system severely. People often combine alcohol with other substances, which can take a serious toll on the body. The Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) says that a combination of caffeine, benzos, or even energy drinks can cause violent symptoms. For instance, these range from panic and paranoia to overdosing. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) writes that an average of 6 people dies of alcohol poisoning each day. There is no time to think of how does alcohol affect the immune system if they are dead. Alcohol poisoning is completely preventable, but thousands of Americans die from it every year. Alcohol’s effect on the immune system in a way leads to this. 

Immune System

How Does Alcohol Affect the Immune System Negatively

In short, alcohol has a negative effect on the immune system. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) describes the immune system as a system of cells that keep the body healthy throughout the body. They prevent disease and work hard to limit infection. Every immune cell is birthed in the bone marrow but appears in many other parts of the body. 

Immune cells come in different forms that act as first responders to infection: 

  • Neutrophils 
  • Eosinophils 
  • Basophils 
  • Mast cells 
  • Macrophages 
  • Dendritic cells 
  • Monocytes 

A peer-reviewed piece called, “Alcohol and the Immune System,” writes that excessive alcohol consumption can cause immune-related problems. It notes that initial studies didn’t understand the full scope of how alcohol affects the immune system. After decades of research, various scientists prove that it leads to a slew of medical issues. 

Some of the ways alcohol affects the immune system negatively include: 

  • Pneumonia 
  • Acute respiratory stress syndromes (ARDS) 
  • Sepsis 
  • Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) 
  • Certain cancers 
  • Complications after operation 
  • Slower/incomplete healing time in general
  • Greater risk of HIV
  • Hepatitis 

To surmise, research shows that alcohol interrupts immune pathways. Why this happens is complex and seems contrary at times. When immune pathways are disrupted, it makes it tough for the body to fight off infection. This is especially so because it can damage the organs. 

Chronic drinkers have a weakened immune system and usually inflammation. In summary, alcohol is consumed via the gastrointestinal tract. Constant drinking burns away healthy microbes in the gut aka the intestinal immune system. 

Then, the damage leads to an unhealthy bacterial gut leak into other bodily systems. For example, the liver detoxifies the body. With excessive alcohol consumption, bacteria leaks into the immune system within the liver. This upsets the liver, sometimes beyond repair, in the form of ALD. 

Alcohol's Affect on the Immune System

Myths On How Alcohol Affect the Immune System Positively  

Furthermore, it would be lovely if alcohol was good for you. In fact, a common popular myth says that some types of alcohol are good for the immune system. Many popular sites from Healthline to Mayo Clinic perpetuate the myth that red wine can be good for your health. On the contrary, no long-term study has ever come to this conclusion. 

According to Harvard’s health blog, the myth started from an observation. It’s that French people drink lots of wine and have low heart disease rates. This phenomenon, the French Paradox, spurred a theory that the grape skins in red wine contain enough polyphenols to boost the immune system. Polyphenols are naturally found in many fruits and vegetables. They are known as micronutrients aka antioxidants. Moreover, antioxidants might improve the immune system. 

However, the levels of polyphenols in wine aren’t enough to jumpstart an immune system. It’s particularly the case when it’s a known fact that alcohol affects the immune system negatively.  Other highlights from Harvard’s blog about alcohol are: 

  • Lifestyle and diet most likely play into fewer health issues 
  • The study that backed the French Paradox was done on mice and couldn’t be replicated on humans 
  • Men over 65 should avoid drinking more than a glass of wine 
  • Resveratol, the polyphenol in wine, has no proven benefit even as a supplement 

It’s much easier for people to go along with the lie than admit the truth. The cons of drinking outweigh the pros. Though, research also indicates that red wine in moderation leads to no ill effect on the immune system. Moderation is key when it comes to drinking. So, plug the cork into the wine bottle after a glass, however tempting it might be.

How Does Alcohol Affect the Immune System With a Substance Use Disorder?

When a person has a substance use disorder, it affects their immune system as a whole. Hauling chemical production into overdrive or slowing it down takes a toll on the body. Add in alcohol, and it can lead to even more issues. As aforementioned, alcohol on its own disrupts immune function. Putting more pressure on the immune system can lead to infections and diseases quicker. 

With this, health issues are likely to come about more aggressively and take longer to go away. More than that, research shows that mixing alcohol with other substances can lead to an untimely death. The bacterial gut leak from excessive alcohol consumption hurts the liver. 

It’s tough for a person’s liver to detoxify the body from excessive alcohol use and from other substances at the same time. A detox program at an alcohol use disorder treatment center can help get the body back to its natural state. It might never be the same without it. 

How Does Alcohol Affect the Immune System During COVID-19? 

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has created quite a storm within the medical community. Despite clashing opinions in some areas, doctors agree that people should hold off on drinking. As said before, alcohol acts as a depressant and it hurts the immune system through excessive use. Put these two together and it results in an increased risk of catching COVID-19. 

Moreover, this period in history is stressful, to put it lightly. Family members have perished. Funerals are postponed to avoid spreading the virus further. Turning to alcohol might seem like a good option. But, it’s not. Yes, alcoholic beverages may take off the edge in the short-term as a depressant. Though, stressors don’t go away when it wears off. Stress and a compromised immune system make it hard to ward off diseases and infections. It’s never been a better time to stop drinking alcohol. 

When To Worry About How Does Alcohol Affect the Immune System 

Finally, it’s time for one to worry about how alcohol affects the immune system when she can’t live without it. Generally speaking, alcohol is alright in moderation. People should drink no more than four to five standard drinks in a day. Also, they shouldn’t be drinking every day. Alcohol can be a detriment to the immune system when: 

  • Someone blacks out from drinking frequently
  • A person can’t stop drinking no matter how hard they try 
  • An individual avoids situations where they’re unable to drink 
  • They’ve begun to develop health issues as a result of drinking 

These are just a few examples. It’s time to check into a reputable alcohol use disorder when any of these red flags arise. A medical intervention can turn back the clock on immune system damage. This is applicable even in the worst scenarios. Starting today means a better, quicker chance of living life as it should be.

Sana Lake Knows How Does Alcohol Affect the Immune System 

Sana Lake specializes in showing recovering individuals the right path to a happy and healthy life. It’s not easy. How does alcohol affect the immune system plays into overcoming an alcohol use disorder. If you or a loved one is struggling with an alcohol use disorder, contact us now. We can beat this uphill battle together.  

References: 

Energy Drinks and Alcohol

Energy Drinks and Alcohol

American adolescents show that energy drinks and alcohol are popular in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that over 10% of students as young as 12 consumed energy drinks and alcohol in 2017. 

Alcohol and energy drinks are cocktails that can induce a world of hurt and legal trouble. The clashing nature of stimulants and depressants makes it so. There are a number of reasons why everyone should avoid mixing energy drinks and alcohol. 

Dangers of Combining Energy Drinks and Alcohol 

Energy drinks and alcohol is a centuries-old combination. For example, Italians back in the day combined brandy with coffee to concoct cafe correcto. Yet, modern scientific research shows that this combination can be deadly. 

Ultimately, it’s the fact that stimulants and depressants are a match made in hell. Despite this, bars and your local gas station popularize just this. A depressant is a class of drug that slows down the body’s systems. On the other hand, stimulant drugs speed up the body’s systems. 

Depressants tend to affect individuals in this way: 

  • Euphoric 
  • Confident 
  • Relaxed 
  • Friendly 
  • Trusting 
  • Nauseous 
  • Sleepy
  • Heightened mood (whatever it may be)

Stimulants have a similar effect in some ways, but act differently as a whole: 

  • Excited 
  • Euphoric 
  • Charismatic 
  • Friendly 
  • Paranoid 
  • Restless 
  • Irritable 
  • Energized 

Hence, energy drinks with alcohol may seem like a great thing. One cancels out the negative side effects of the other. Actually, this is what makes it so dangerous. Most energy drinks contain the stimulant drug, caffeine. This element is found in coffee, tea, and even dark chocolate. Caffeine makes a person feel awake and energized, contrary to what alcohol does as a depressant. For this reason, consumers aren’t able to tell how drunk they are. 

The Relationship Between Binge Drinking and Alcoholic Energy Drinks

Energy Drinks

Therefore, this deadly duo can easily lead to high levels of binge drinking. The CDC classifies high-level binge drinking as consuming six or more standard drinks within an episode. Though, binge drinking as a whole is typically five or more drinks in a day for men and four for women. 

With this in mind, younger individuals are four times more likely to engage in high-level binge drinking with an energy drink and alcohol. Drinkers who do this report more injuries, unprotected sex, and driving drunk or with a driver who is drunk. 

How Energy Drinks and Alcohol Affect Young Americans

One might think that alcoholic beverages mixed with energy drinks only does harm to American adults. On the contrary, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports differently. According to NIAAA, underage drinking is a problem in the United States. For example, around 25% of 14 to 15-year-olds had at least one full drink in 2019. In the same year, Americans 12-20 drank beyond a couple of sips of alcohol in one sitting. 

Adding to this, the CDC writes about how mixing an energy drink with alcohol is particularly dangerous for American youth. A study focused on high schoolers in Michigan saw that they were engaging in underage drinking. Students who reported binge drinking were two times more likely to mix energy drinks with alcohol. Students who illegally drank alcohol without binge drinking were 18.2% likely to engage in this behavior. The statistic for binge drinking high schoolers was 49%. 

Drinking alcohol is more dangerous for young Americans than it is for adults. Research indicates that someone is more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder if they start drinking before the age of 15. Besides this, underage drinking can: 

  • Interfere with brain development 
  • Lead to school-related issues 
  • Lead to issues with law enforcement 
  • Increases chances of physical and sexual assault 
  • Causes hospitalizations 
  • May lead to death in the worst-case scenario 

Young Americans are more likely to binge drink when they combine alcohol and energy drinks. Thus, this combination is more dangerous than alcohol on its own. The majority of underage students who mixed caffeinated drinks with alcohol in the Michigan study consumed liquor. What makes this worse is that liquor often has a higher alcohol content than something like wine and beer. 

Worst-case scenarios can develop quickly in situations like this, leading to fatal drunk driving accidents. 

The Deceptive Marketing Behind Energy Drinks and Alcohol 

Furthermore, it’s more than speculation that alcohol and energy drinks are deceptive. Particularly, beverages that are marketed as alcohol and energy drinks. Four Loko is an energy drink and alcohol in a tall, colorful can. Their marketing team uses popular rappers, like Riff Raff, along with sexy images to convince consumers it’s fun and hip. What the true intention behind it is to attract a younger audience. 

In fact, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York said on record that the design and marketing of this product appeal to younger customers. And he’s right. For instance, multiple colleges banned students from drinking Four Loko after several arrests and hospitalizations. Also, states began to ban Four Loko because of the dangers of alcohol and energy drinks. ABC News wrote a piece on how the state of Washington banned the malt beverage after the hospitalization of dozens of college students. 

Additionally, both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cracked down on alcoholic energy drinks. In late 2010, these governmental institutions sent out warning letters to the following companies: 

  • United Brands Co. – Joose and Max 
  • Charge Beverages Corporation – Core High Gravity, El Jefe, and Core Spiked 
  • Phusion Products LLC – Four Loko and Four Maxed 
  • New Century Brewing Company – Moonshot 

In these letters, they wrote that the combination of caffeine and alcohol was deceptively safe. Although quite unsafe, they were widely sold across the United States at that time. On top of this, they urged them to take action to protect consumers who lacked an understanding of how alcoholic energy drinks can mask feelings of intoxication. 

Phusion Products (aka Four Loko) responded by removing caffeine, guarana, and taurine from the formula. In doing so, it made its products safer for the public. Though, they’re still equivalent to five beers. 

Energy Drinks and Alcohol Combinations to Avoid

In short, people should avoid any combination of alcoholic drinks and stimulants. Though, some energy drinks in tandem with alcoholic beverages can leave one worse off than others. For instance, an alcoholic drink with a high level of alcohol will do a lot more damage than one with a lower level. The same can be said about energy drinks that contain high amounts of caffeine and other additives. 

Energy Drinks

So, the lesser of two evils would be a drink that has low levels of alcohol and caffeine. Something like green tea wine might be better than a strong alcoholic energy drink. Though, any drink that has alcohol and caffeine is dangerous. In the meantime, make sure to measure out each glass. The danger of drinks like Four Loko is that they come in a huge can. Consumers drink the entirety of it without realizing they’ve downed the equivalent of five beers or more. 

Here are examples of popular mixed drinks to stay away from: 

  • Spyke
  • Irish Coffee
  • Vodka and Red Bull 
  • Jäegerbombs 
  • White Russian 

All of these contain high levels of both caffeine and alcohol. On top of that, the sugar in these kinds of drinks can cover up the taste of alcohol. It’s a lot easier to drink beverages that don’t have any bite. If a person feels like they’re drinking soda or juice, they’re probably going to drink a lot more of it. 

At the end of the day, the best advice about drinking beverages like this is to stay hydrated. Drink one glass of water per standard drink. That way, it’s easier to stay hydrated and less drunk. Water helps rid the body of toxins. While it’s best to avoid drinking altogether, this can dilute the substances entering the body’s systems to some extent. 

Alternatives to Energy Drinks and Alcohol 

It’s no surprise that America has a drinking culture. Every movie, song, and show that glorifies American drinking further cements that Americans love alcohol. It’s easy to be a part of the herd and consume drinks like red bull and vodka. A person may rationalize the decision with low calories and an energy boost. Though, societal pressure to drink is the true culprit. 

While many opt for a drink with alcohol and energy drinks, try to go with a tasty mocktail instead. A mocktail is a drink that looks and tastes like a cocktail but isn’t. Think virgin piña coladas and virgin daiquiris. There are actually many mocktails out there that can convince the most experienced drinker that you’re imbibing at the bar. 

These drinks can boost energy and taste like a cocktail all at the same time: 

  • Mint Mojito Iced Coffee Mocktail 
  • Cold Brew Mai Tai Mocktail 
  • Red Bull and Sparkling Lime Water 
  • Caffeinated Tea Mocktail 

Otherwise, there is a wealth of mocktails without caffeine a bartender will be happy to mix up. A Shirley Temple tastes exactly like a cocktail devoid of the attached danger. Arguably the worst part of going out without drinking is getting asked about it. Although abstaining from drinking is something to be proud of, we’re well aware of societal pressure. 

Sana Lake Shows Members the Benefits of Ditching Energy Drinks and Alcohol 

There is so much more to life than drinking. Though, it’s tough to see that when you have an alcohol use disorder. Don’t be a part of the millions who have lost their lives to consumption. Contact us now to see the beauty in life without the impairment of alcohol. 

References: 

Blood Pressure

How Does Alcohol Increase Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure can result from a variety of factors. But, does alcohol increase blood pressure? Yes, the more you drink, the higher your risk of developing high blood pressure. But how does alcohol increase blood pressure? 

In the U.S., high blood pressure is a common health problem. In fact, almost 75 million adults have high blood pressure. Unfortunately, it can lead to severe medical conditions such as heart failure, stroke, and heart attack. 

What is Blood Pressure?

Each heartbeat pumps blood into the arteries. Blood pressure is the force of this blood pushing against arterial walls. Blood pressure is at it’s highest when your heartbeats. This pressure is known as your systolic pressure and is the first recorded number. Your blood pressure is at it’s lowest in between beats and is the diastolic number. 

Factors of High Blood Pressure

Some critical blood pressure thresholds include:

  • Normal – Less than 120/80 mmHg
  • Prehypertension – Between 120/80 and 129/89 mmHg
  • Stage 1 Hypertension – Between 130/80 and 139/89 mmHg
  • Stage 2 Hypertension – 140/90 mmHg and higher
  • Hypertension crisis – over 180/120 mmHg

High blood pressure is when your blood pressure stays elevated longer than usual. Also called hypertension, high blood pressure makes the heart beat harder. Over time, this can lead to kidney disease, stroke, and heart attack.

Causes of High Blood Pressure: Does Alcohol Increase Blood Pressure?

Family history and genetics increase your risk of hypertension. But your lifestyle and behaviors can also increase your risk. However, high blood pressure is a silent killer because of the lack of symptoms.

Lifestyle factors that increase your risk may include:

  • Unhealthy eating habits
  • Being overweight
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Substance Use Disorder (SUD), particularly Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

Does Alcohol Increase Blood Pressure?

Anyone can develop high blood pressure. But, certain factors can increase your risk, such as drinking alcohol. Just one alcoholic drink can increase blood pressure, although it typically corrects itself in 2 hours. 

Factors of High Blood Pressure: How Does Alcohol Increase Blood Pressure? 

Blood pressure is also indirectly affected by alcohol. This effect is because alcohol affects the entire body, which affects blood pressure. These effects include:

  • Nervous system – Although little is known about the effects of alcohol on the nervous system, alcohol can affect nerves throughout the body. And, the nervous system helps control blood pressure.
  • Change in pressure receptors – Baroreceptors sense blood pressure and make adjustments when needed. Alcohol affects these receptors and increases blood pressure. 
  • Increases cortisol – Cortisol, a stress hormone, can raise blood pressure. Alcohol increases cortisol production, therefore increasing blood pressure. 
  • Increases calcium levels – Alcohol increases calcium amounts in the muscles that line arteries. As a result, the arteries become constricted, which elevates blood pressure.
  • Weight – Blood pressure increases if you are overweight. Alcohol is empty calories that, over time, cause weight gain and increases blood pressure. 

One factor alone does not cause high blood pressure. Instead, it is a combination of factors that together leads to high blood pressure.

High Blood Pressure: Does Beer Raise Blood Pressure?

Heavy and regular consumption of alcohol can increase blood pressure. For this reason, it’s crucial to drink in moderation. Furthermore, it can lead to irregular heartbeats, stroke, and heart failure. 

Drinking in moderation means two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. A standard drink is:

  • 12 oz beer
  • 4 oz glass of wine
  • 1.5 oz of 80-proof liquor
  • 1 oz of 100-proof liquor

Binge Drinking: Does Alcohol Increase Blood Pressure?

Does alcohol increase blood pressure? Yes. In addition, drinking over several days, binge drinking, and long-term heavy drinking can cause chronic hypertension, which is a risk factor for coronary artery disease. 

Furthermore, binge drinking can lead to atherosclerosis. This condition is the narrowing and hardening of arteries, which increases blood pressure. Between the increase in sugar from binge drinking and the constant rise in blood pressure, it puts people in danger of a stroke or heart attack.

Explaining the Phases of Alcoholism and How Does Alcohol Increase Blood Pressure?

There are five phases to explain alcoholism and high blood pressure. They include:

  • Phase 1: Alcohol does lead to an increase in blood pressure. The effects of alcohol on blood pressure are independent of age, race, and sex.
  • Phase 2: Abstaining from alcohol will reduce both systolic and diastolic numbers.
  • Phase 3: Resuming the consumption of alcohol increases blood pressure again.
  • Phase 4: The continuous rise in blood pressure can lead to liver damage.
  • Phase 5: The onset of end-stage liver disease is when blood pressure is typically it’s highest.

Should You Drink With High Blood Pressure?

If you have high blood pressure, you should avoid drinking alcohol. Doctors often recommend exercise and a healthy diet for those with high blood pressure. And part of a healthy diet is avoiding alcohol. 

What is Blood Pressure

Although alcohol does contribute to high blood pressure, the American Heart Association (AHA) says those with hypertension should drink in moderation. However, the less you drink, the better it is. Furthermore, The AHA recommendations may not work for everyone, so it’s crucial to talk to your doctor.

Low Blood Pressure and Drinking Alcohol

If you have low blood pressure, does alcohol increase blood pressure? You should never use alcohol to treat low blood pressure. In fact, people with low blood pressure can still raise blood pressure when drinking alcohol.

Can Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder Reverse High Blood Pressure?

Alcohol use disorder is treatable but is it possible to reverse alcohol-induced high blood pressure?

Although there are multiple ways to treat alcohol-related high blood pressure, the most effective is to quit drinking. But, this lifestyle change isn’t easy. Above all, you are not alone. Our therapists at Sana Lake walk with you through our comprehensive, holistic addiction treatment.

It’s More than Just Treating Alcohol Use Disorder

Although treatment for alcohol use disorder will help normalize blood pressure, it takes more than just addiction treatment. A healthy lifestyle is required for normal blood pressure. So, regular exercise and physical activity can go a long way to healing your body.

Instead of sitting in front of the tv with a beer, take a walk, a bike ride, or play sports with friends. A healthy diet goes hand-in-hand with exercise. Throw out the junk food and replace it with fruits and vegetables. 

The healthier you become, the higher your motivation to maintain Recovery for Life. 

How Does Stress and How Does Alcohol Increase Blood Pressure?

A huge part of a healthy lifestyle is managing stress. Stress especially plays a role in high blood pressure. When stress and alcohol use disorder are combined, you are at a greater risk of high blood pressure.

In treatment for alcohol use disorder, you will learn coping skills to manage stress. Stress management not only lowers blood pressure but also encourages lasting recovery. 

What to Expect in Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

Misusing alcohol is a serious problem that affects your health and quality of life. We have focused on how alcohol increases blood pressure, but there is more. Alcohol also causes other adverse effects, such as work and relationship problems. 

High Blood Pressure

Depending on the severity of your alcohol use disorder and other factors, inpatient treatment is highly recommended. Even though blood pressure typically returns to normal when you stop drinking, it can sometimes increase. 

For this reason, medical detox and inpatient treatment provide 24-hour supervision. In detox, this supervision can manage withdrawal symptoms as they begin. At the same time, inpatient addiction programs offer safety and supervision to prevent the recurrence of use. 

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of alcohol use disorder can prevent you from having to ask, “Does alcohol increase blood pressure?”

  • Drinking more than intended
  • Unable to stop drinking
  • Drinking to cope with mental and physical issues
  • Blacking out from drinking
  • Engaging in risky behaviors
  • Relationship issues
  • Job loss because of alcohol use
  • Legal troubles such as a DUI

Inpatient Treatment at Sana Lake

Besides inpatient treatment providing a safe environment free from drugs and alcohol, it also eliminates distractions and fears that interfere with recovery. Furthermore, it can be challenging to find support in recovery. Maybe you pushed away your family and healthy friends when they didn’t accept your addiction. But, group therapy proves you are not alone in recovery. 

Inpatient treatment gives members the chance to receive and provide support and guidance to motivate and encourage Recovery for Life. Our inpatient program offers individualized treatment plans that include individual and group traditional and holistic therapies. Our therapies focus on ensuring members feel heard and understood as well as recover from past traumas. 

Improve Your Life and Health at Sana Lake Recovery

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol use disorder, there is hope. You deserve to be happy and healthy while living your best life. Contact us today, and start your recovery journey.

References: 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16922819/

https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/changes-you-can-make-to-manage-high-blood-pressure/limiting-alcohol-to-manage-high-blood-pressure

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/01.HYP.0000218586.21932.3c

What is a Standard Drink?

What is a Standard Drink?

When most think of what is a standard drink they might assume it’s how much fills up their glass. Yet, this is a dangerous assumption that can lead to hospitalization. A standard drink is 14 grams of pure alcohol in the United States. This statistic comes directly from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). 

Therefore, drinking isn’t inherently dangerous but can be. Since alcohol is so ingrained in American society, myths around it appear as truth. Understand the facts behind alcoholic beverages to avoid a drug dependency. 

What Is a Standard Drink of Wine?

It’s Friday night. A woman sits on the couch with two companions by her side: a cat and a nice bottle of pinot noir. Her Netflix binge has just begun and the night is young. She’s already had a glass of wine and ponders if she should drink another. Ultimately, she decides she’ll finish the bottle because wine is good for her heart. Right? 

Wrong! It’s a common misconception that wine is good for your heart, says Harvard University’s health blog. To continue, they note this comes from the idea of a debunked study dubbed the French paradox. For instance, the hypothesis was that French people have superb heart health from drinking wine despite a rich food diet. 

Facts about this debunked study: 

  • Brought in the fact that the Mediterranean diet includes red wine
  • Said the red and purple grape skins helped heart health 
  • French epidemiologists produced this research in the 1980s 
  • Health effects of alcohol haven’t been studied long-term to this day 
Over Drinking

Further, scientists concluded in this study that the polyphenols in red wine specifically ward off heart disease. The participants were mice. While mice benefit from these polyphenols, the evidence it wards off heart disease in humans is dubious. Yet the myth circulated regardless, leaving what is a standard drink a day up to the drinker. 

On that note, a standard drink of wine is around five fluid ounces of table wine. In other words, this is a little over half a cup. A good way to drink wine without self-sabotage is buying wine glasses that hold this amount or less. It’s less awkward than getting out the measuring cup on Italian night. 

Alcohol Content of Wine

First off, five fluid ounces of wine equates to around 12% pure alcohol. Another way to say this is that it has 14 grams of pure alcohol, which is what is a standard drink of wine. 

Different kinds of wines vary in terms of how much alcohol is in each bottle on average: 

  • Red – 13.5% alcohol by volume 
  • White – 10% alcohol by volume 
  • Rose – 12% alcohol by volume 
  • Wine cooler – 4-6% alcohol by volume 
  • Port – 18% alcohol by volume 
  • Sweet – 10% alcohol by volume  

In summary, a little more white wine is okay to drink than port wine. However, this can lead to overdrinking if one isn’t careful. Overall, it’s better to drink less than end up in the hospital for alcohol poisoning.  

What Is a Standard Drink of Beer? 

Many cultures celebrate beer. Oktoberfest is known around the world, which revolves around drinking copious amounts of beer and eating meat. In fact, the overconsumption of beer is so normalized that teenagers can likely describe what a beer funnel and a keg stand are. 

The diversity of beers takes up a whole section in your average grocery store. So, this begs the question: what is a standard drink of beer? One might be surprised to find it’s quite different than what they learned in college. 

A standard drink of beer according to the NIAAA, is 12 fluid ounces of regular beer. For instance, this is about an average can of beer. That is if the beer has around 5% alcohol by volume per can. But, different kinds of beer have varying levels of pure alcohol in each can. 

Does Light Beer Have Less Alcohol Than Dark Beer?

In short, light beer has less alcohol than dark beer. But, there isn’t much of a difference. The  NIAAA states that, “many light beers have almost as much alcohol as regular beer – about 85% as much.” To put it differently, beer on average has a 5% alcohol content. A light beer on average has a 4.2% alcohol content. 

What is a Standard Drink?

So, that 0.08% difference is negligible. Everything in moderation is okay. The misconception that light beer has much less alcohol can end in death by alcohol poisoning. 

What Is a Standard Drink of Liquor? 

In 2010, the LMFAO song “Shots” topped the billboard for 117 weeks. Basically, every pop radio blasted a song about getting drunk to ears both young and old. It’s no secret that Americans glorify chugging shots if this wasn’t enough evidence in itself. Liquor or distilled spirits are highly potent forms of alcohol that can be quite dangerous. 

While LMFAO clearly doesn’t understand what is a standard drink of liquor, we do. A standard drink of liquor is about 1.5 fluid ounces of alcohol. Why is it such a small amount? It’s because it’s extremely concentrated. 

Despite this, sugary drinks can mask how strong a beverage with liquor has inside. If out and about, make sure to specify how much liquor should be in a drink to the bartender. Otherwise, one won’t be able to tell how much he is drinking. They are tasty just as much as they are deadly without the right amount of caution. 

How Much Is in a Shot?

A standard shot has about 40% alcohol (usually 1.5 fluid ounces of alcohol). This equates to 14 grams of pure alcohol. The amount varies across the board as some liquors contain much more alcohol than others. 

Here are popular types of liquors: 

  • Vodka 
  • Tequila 
  • Rum 
  • Gin 
  • Whiskey 
  • Absynthe 

Only drink one shot per hour and with lots of water. A person might need to drink less depending on how strong the liquor is. It goes without saying that less is always more, especially when it comes to distilled spirits. 

How Media Distorts What Is a Standard Drink

A lesser-known fact about President Bill Clinton is that he standardized the national limit of a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to drive. A level of 0.08% or higher will land someone in jail and a suspended license. A DUI is only a small repercussion of what could happen from drunk driving. 

Although this is the law nationwide, many movies romanticize drunk driving. Protagonists are often underage and end up with a slap on the wrist. Maybe a crashed car. They rarely end up dead, unlike reality. 

These movies all feature drunk driving: 

  • St. Vincent 
  • Groundhog Day 
  • Mighty Ducks 
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas 
  • Rum Punch 
  • Leaving Las Vegas 
  • The 40-Year-Old Virgin 

The list above is just a small example of media that depicts drunk driving differently than the reality of it. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 30 Americans die from drunk driving every single day. In movies, a standard drink looks totally warped in comparison to the truth. 

The Difference Between Drinking Too Much and What Is a Standard Drink

Alcohol is legal, so many don’t realize the danger of drug dependency until it’s too late. The NIAAA reports that 14.1 million American adults suffered from an alcohol use disorder (AUD) in 2019. That’s 5.6% of the entire American adult population. Hence, alcohol can get out of control if a person doesn’t know the signs and symptoms of AUD. 

Signs and Symptoms of AUD 

 What is a standard drink legally, and what it is to an individual suffering from alcohol use disorder are two different ideas. Although, it probably didn’t start off that way. A drug dependency typically creeps up slowly. People unsuspecting can get caught in its clutches with no escape. 

Recognize these signs and symptoms of an alcohol use disorder before it’s too late: 

  • Inability to stop drinking 
  • Drinking much more than intended 
  • Engaging in risky activities while under the influence of alcohol 
  • Building up a tolerance to alcohol 
  • Drinking to mask a mental or physical disorder 
  • Blacking out from alcohol use 
  • Hurting relationships because of alcohol use
  • Inability to keep a job because of drinking 
  • Receiving a DUI or another legal repercussion as a result of alcohol consumption 
  • Feeling withdrawal symptoms when not drinking (ie: irritability, itching, drowsiness, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, etc.)

To conclude, this list isn’t comprehensive. To put it simply, if drinking interferes with someone’s ability to live a happy and healthy life, they have AUD. A drug dependency isn’t easy to kick. Most will need to seek an addiction treatment program to regain a sense of normalcy. 

Every person that suffers from AUD has a group of people that care for them deeply. If someone finds themself worried that a loved one has AUD, they should talk to them about it. Firstly, make sure they are sober. Then, ask them to meet in person at a specific time to discuss worries and the dangers of a lasting drug dependency. It’s an uncomfortable conversation, but there is no downside.  

Sana Lake Can Teach You What Is a Standard Drink and What Is Addiction 

It’s difficult to accept that you or a loved one suffers from AUD. You may have forgotten what is a standard drink and what it’s like to live a normal life. An alcohol-free life is hard to achieve when you have a drug dependency. But, you’re not alone. 

Sana Lake Recovery offers personalized programs for alcohol use disorder recovery in Dittmer, Missouri. We factor every part of a person’s life into their treatment to ensure lasting success. Contact us now if you or a loved one needs help with recovering now. 

References: 

adderall and alcohol

The Dangers of Mixing Alcohol with ADHD Medications

There are a number of different negative effects that mixing alcohol and Adderall (or any other ADHD medication) can have on the body. It is recommended on every single prescription drug on the market that medications should never be combined with alcohol under any circumstance.

The Food and Drug Administration has made multiple public warnings to deter the combining of medication and alcohol. This is because of the dangerous effects it can have on the user regarding physical and mental stressors when combined. 

What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic mental health disorder that is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. 

Typically, ADHD is diagnosed at an early age but can continue through adulthood. It is also possible to be diagnosed in adults later on as well. Some of the common symptoms of ADHD in adults are:

  • Frequent impulsiveness
  • Difficulty focusing and follow through with things
  • Disorganization
  • Restlessness
  • Poor time management and planning 
  • Mood swings

Common ADHD Medications

One of the most commonly prescribed medications for ADHD is stimulant drugs. Stimulant drugs have been used for decades to treat ADHD in children and adults. They usually last for 4 to 12 hours and come in the form of a pill, capsule, liquid, or skin patch. 

The main goal of these medications is to help the individual focus more and perform better in school and work for a better quality of life down the line. Like most prescription drugs, these medications have some side effects such as headache, stomachache, decreased appetite, and other symptoms. 

Some of the more common stimulant drugs for ADHD include the following:

  • Adderall
  • Ritalin
  • Concentra
  • Daytrana
  • Metadate
  • Dexedrine
  • Focalin
  • Vyvanse

There are also some non-stimulant drugs that are occasionally prescribed as alternatives to traditional stimulant drugs such as Strattera and Intuniv. 

Mixing Adderall and Alcohol

As a primary drug for ADHD, Adderall is a highly intense stimulant that works well when taken in the correct doses, unfortunately, when abused, Adderall can be extremely dangerous for the user. 

As a schedule II controlled substance, Adderall is the highest schedule that a physician can prescribe to a patient. This truly puts into perspective the dangers of addiction and dependency when Adderall is used non-medically.

On the other side of the spectrum, Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that has a completely different effect than that of a stimulant. Alcohol is commonly abused and causes many physical and mental issues on its own. Combining alcohol with a stimulant drug like Adderall can cause a wide range of dangerous effects, some even leading to death – this applies to not only Adderall but all ADHD drugs. 

Reasons for ADHD Drugs and Alcohol Abuse

Why do individuals mix ADHD medication like Adderall with alcohol? The answer to this question varies, but there are a few trends that can be used to answer it. 

Research shows that Adderall is very common on college campuses, and while most of these are prescribed for ADHD medication, there are a few in the minority that seem to gain access to the drug and thus misuse it by combining it with alcohol. They usually get it through a friend or relative, some even stealing or buying Adderall illegally without a proper prescription.

One of the major reasons individuals abuse drugs together is to deter some of the side effects that come with stimulant drugs with alcohol. Many college students use Adderall to improve their concentration and focus on studying. Large amounts of Adderall can cause hyperactivity and jitteriness, which can lead to the use of alcohol to undermine these effects. 

On the contrary, some use Adderall to counteract the depressant effects of alcohol (usually used to ‘party’ for longer periods of time). 

The Risks of Mixing Alcohol and ADHD Drugs

Mixing alcohol and medication tends to reduce the overall effectiveness of the medication. When you mix the two together the individual perceives the effects of both to be less noticeable instead of when using them alone.

This perception can lead to dangerous outcomes since the medication contents are unaltered even though the user isn’t feeling the true effects of the drug. This can lead to overdose on either the stimulant or the alcohol when mixed together. 

There is a number of unpredictable effects that can occur when combing a drug like adderall and alcohol. These events that wouldn’t have occurred if either was consumed alone. Potentially dangerous side effects like seizures can occur. 

If continuously large amounts of adderall and alcohol are combined, the user can begin to experience extremely problematic disorders. These include polysubstance abuse and co-occurring behavioral disorders. 

Short Term Risks

There are many intense short-term risks that come with combining ADHD medications like adderall and alcohol, some of which can be fatal to the user in time. Some of the more common short-term risks include:

  • Impaired judgment and rational thinking when under the influence of both medications and alcohol 
  • High likelihood of overdose from alcohol (or alcohol poisoning) because of the stimulant negating the effects of alcohol intoxication, which can be fatal. 
  • The enhancement of negative side effects from both drugs when combined such as dehydration, cardiovascular problems, aggressiveness, nausea, and vomiting.  
  • Intense stress on the cardiovascular system, which can lead to symptoms such as hypertension, and long-term cardiovascular diseases that can lead to strokes.
  • Extremely impaired vision, reaction time, and motor functions when under the effects of both stimulants and alcohol.
  • Significantly increased chance of suffering neurological effects, more specifically seizures. 

Long Term Risks

If a person continues to combine and abuse stimulants and alcohol together, they will inevitably experience potentially fatal long-term effects. The negative long-term effects of both alcohol and ADHD medication is severely heightened because of the negating and intense effects of both of them. 

Long-term abuse can include severe cognitive issues and damage to the central nervous system. These problems can reside with issues of attention, concentration, learning, and memory. 

Emotional effects on the central nervous system are also common. This is especially true when the individual combines the two drugs for a long period of time. This can include long-standing problems with depression, loss of motivation, potential psychosis, and apathy. 

As mentioned before, many individuals in college who mix Adderall (or other stimulants) and alcohol do so to help with concentration and cognitive function while studying. However, research shows that these individuals end up doing worse. They achieve lower academic success than those who don’t abuse the drugs. 

Mixing Other ADHD Medications and Alcohol

While Adderall is one of the more common ADHD medications, there are others that can be just as deadly if mixed with alcohol. Under no circumstance should you ever mix any kind of medication with alcohol.  

Ritalin

Ritalin is a stimulant that works similarly to Adderall and can have very dangerous effects if mixed with alcohol. Some symptoms may include, dangerously increased heartbeat, high blood pressure, problems with mood, anxiety, and trouble sleeping. 

Individuals may attempt to combine Ritalin and alcohol to counteract some of the side effects of the drug. This can lead to potentially fatal circumstances like alcohol poisoning and other health complications. 

Concerta

Concerta is a form of methylphenidate that’s usually used to treat ADHD. When mixing this stimulant with alcohol the individual will experience a severe decrease in attentional abilities, decreased impulse control, poor judgment, and possible blackouts. 

As with all ADHD medications, many people combine the two to negate the side effects of both the alcohol and the drug which can lead to overdose and death. 

In addition to some of the short-term effects come the long-term dangers of mixing Concerta and alcohol. Mixing the two can potentially cause organ damage, liver damage, cardiovascular issues, the burden on the immune system, and high risk for potential cancers. 

Focalin 

Focalin is a mild stimulant to the central nervous system that affects chemicals in the brain that interact with hyperactivity and impulse control. Combining Focalin with alcohol can cause significant cardiovascular impairment, hypertension, serious arrhythmias, coronary disease, and other issues. 

Vyvanse

Vyvanse is a common stimulant medication used to treat some cases of ADHD. As a schedule II medication, there is a high potential for harmful use and development with Vyvanse.

Combining Vyvanse and alcohol can be extremely dangerous and can have a lot of short-term and long-term risks. Vyvanse is a time-release medication that’s meant to be taken once a day. When abused it can cause changes in blood pressure, chest pains, hyperactivity and aggression. In some cases, heart attacks or seizures will occur. 

Daytrana

Daytrana is another common drug taken for ADHD. When combined with alcohol it can cause increased nervous system side effects like drowsiness, anxiety, seizures, and depression. 

When To Seek Help 

Under no circumstance should an individual ever mix ADHD medications (or any kind of medication) with alcohol. The consequences could be fatal in the long run. 

If you or a loved one is suffering from co-misuse of alcohol and stimulant medications, Sana Lake Recovery Center may be able to help. Contact us for more information or give us a call.

delirium tremens

The Association of Delirium Tremens with Alcohol Withdrawal

An individual who suffers from alcoholism has a chemical dependency on alcohol. This means that the person’s body depends on alcohol and has become tolerant of this substance. Generally, alcoholism or alcohol use disorder develops over time, after an individual uses alcohol in unhealthy amounts over an extended period of time. Due to this physical and psychological dependence, ending alcohol use can be very difficult. Withdrawal symptoms can be serious.

Truthfully, the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are far from comfortable. Some people may experience alcohol withdrawal dreams, alcohol withdrawal night terrors, or other types of sleep disturbances. Some might suffer from severe withdrawal symptoms that could even be life-threatening in some instances.

So, individuals who desire to end alcohol use should learn more about the withdrawal process and what to expect. It is also important for struggling individuals to reach out for professional assistance. With the help of clinical professionals and therapists, those who suffer from alcohol use disorder can overcome this challenge. 

A Brief Overview of Alcohol Use Disorder

Again, alcoholism (also known as alcohol use disorder) is a condition in which a person’s brain and body depend on alcohol. In simpler terms, those who suffer from alcoholism feel as though they cannot function without alcohol. This is because consistent, excessive alcohol use can physically change the structure of an individual’s brain.

After a while, those who use alcohol excessively will begin to suffer from withdrawal symptoms between periods of drinking. In an attempt to end the discomfort that comes with withdrawal, individuals who suffer from alcoholism may drink more alcohol

Delirium Tremens During Alcohol Withdrawal

Some of the commonly occurring alcohol withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and sweating. But, some individuals may experience more severe withdrawal symptoms, such as hallucinations, frightening alcohol withdrawal dreams or alcohol withdrawal night terrors, tremors, and delirium tremens.

Delirium tremens, sometimes referred to as DTs, is a type of alcohol withdrawal that is quite severe. In fact, it can be life-threatening if the individual does not get treatment for it in a timely manner. 

How Common is Delirium Tremens?

According to data provided by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, about 3% to 5% of people experience the symptoms of delirium tremens. While this number may seem small, it is in no way insignificant.

After all, those who suffer from delirium tremens endure very serious and severe symptoms and effects. So, spreading knowledge and information about DTs can prove to be helpful and effective in helping people to both understand and address symptoms of this form of alcohol withdrawal. 

How Long Do the Symptoms of DTs Last?

Although delirium tremens can last up to 8 days, the average time period is between 48 and 36 hours. The onset of this delirium tremens occurs around 48 hours following an individual’s last drink. The most intense effects and symptoms of DTs usually occur between 4 and 5 days post use.

Identifying the Symptoms of Delirium Tremens

Alcohol Withdrawal

Some of the symptoms of delirium tremens include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Convulsions
  • Confusion
  • Dehydration
  • Hallucinations
  • Restlessness
  • Sleep difficulties
  • High blood pressure
  • Increase in heart rate
  • Rapid mood changes
  • Hyperactivity and bursts of energy

Also, delirium tremens may result in changes in a person’s mental and cognitive functions. Individuals may also experience nervousness and become extremely angry. 

Delirium tremens can also result in unconsciousness or deep sleep. Some individuals who are withdrawing from alcohol use may encounter other serious effects including breathing problems. In some cases, those who suffer from delirium tremens may experience grand mal seizures.

Due to the seriousness of delirium tremens, medical attention and treatment are absolutely critical. Those who desire to overcome alcohol use disorder should seek professional help immediately.

Getting Treatment for Delirium Tremens

Individuals who experience the effects of delirium tremens must receive medical help immediately in order to prevent fatal results. Typically, those suffering from this form of withdrawal are hospitalized. This enables medical professionals to monitor the effects of DTs and administer the proper medications.

While in the hospital, patients suffering from delirium tremens may receive injections of thiamine or various vitamins. They may also receive sedative medications in order to keep them calm. This may also help to prevent seizures.

Treating Substance Use: Detox for Alcoholism

One of the first steps in the addiction treatment process is detoxification. Also known as detox, the detoxification process is meant to help those who are dealing with drug and alcohol misuse. Often, detox programs use a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) approach. This detox approach uses medications that can help to curve substance cravings or block some of the effects of withdrawal. This means individuals can work through the withdrawal period in a safe and more comfortable way. 

Detox is an extremely important part of the treatment process. This is mainly due to the fact that addiction has a physical dependence aspect which is not specifically addressed in any other phase of treatment. When a person goes through detoxification, he or she gains the ability to live without substance use. This is certainly important, as substance use must end before emotional and psychological dependencies can be addressed. 

Addiction is a complex disorder that truly affects every area of life. Those who suffer from it typically feel its impact in areas such as family life, financial status, work, school, social life, and more. So, it is best to go through each of the necessary steps in order to obtain true freedom from the bondage and negative effects of substance use disorder. By getting help from the proper resources and treatment levels of care, individuals can find their way to a life without addiction!

Addiction Treatment After Detox

Once an individual completes the alcohol detox process, he or she should continue to the next phase of treatment. This may be residential treatment, which is an intensive program in which individuals live at a treatment facility. While in a residential or inpatient program, those in recovery can attend various therapy sessions. They can also have access to medical and professional care 24/7.

Some individuals may go through an outpatient program if they are able to continue living at home while getting treatment. Or, individuals may enter outpatient treatment following a residential program. While in outpatient care, those in recovery can continue to receive help and support through therapy. Since this is a less intensive treatment approach, individuals may be able to work, tend to responsibilities at home, or attend school while still getting treatment.

There are multiple types of outpatient addiction treatment. One form of outpatient care is the partial hospitalization program. Commonly known as a PHP, a partial hospitalization program offers recovering individuals the opportunity to receive treatment for a minimum of 40 hours per week. Those who are suffering from co-occurring mental health disorders and substance use disorders can benefit from this program. 

Another type of outpatient care is the intensive outpatient program. Professionals may refer to this program as an IOP and it is often a part of the addiction treatment process. Individuals may attend treatment and therapy for 12 hours every week. But, the treatment center staff will be able to develop the best plan and amount of hours for treatment.

Contact Us at Sana Lake Recovery Center

If you have been suffering from substance use disorder, you may be unsure about what to do in order to end substance use in your life. It can be difficult to overcome addiction, especially if you have been dealing with the effects of substance use for a while. If you feel alone in your struggle or you are uncertain about where to start when it comes to recovery, there is hope for you. 

Here at Sana Lake Recovery Center, we are dedicated to helping struggling individuals to find peace, healing, and freedom. So, we offer resources and treatment services that address the needs of those who wish to begin the recovery journey.

Some of the therapies, services, and programs offered here at Sana Lake include:

Our mission is to encourage and support those who are working toward a life that is free from addiction. We strive to provide the very best of care in the highest quality to those who come to our facility for help. Each member of our program has access to the most comprehensive approach to addiction treatment. Each member is treated with compassion and concern, provided by our wonderful staff here at Sana Lake.

If you have been wondering where to begin in terms of substance use treatment, allow us to guide you! We want to walk beside you as you pursue a new life and a healthier future. You do not have to do this alone. Please let the team here at Sana Lake Recovery Center assist you throughout this new journey. Reach out to us today and begin moving forward in your life! 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482134/