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

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/

common causes of alcoholism

The 10 Most Common Causes of Alcoholism

Since there isn’t one exact cause of alcoholism, experts instead identify “risk factors” as potentials for development. Professionals believe that these factors may play a role in the development of alcohol use disorders as they have been evident in the lives of many individuals who suffer from alcohol dependence and addiction.

Risk factors can be environmental, biological, and psychological. While the presence of these factors does not guarantee that a person will develop an alcohol use disorder, it’s important to be aware of the circumstances and components that can lead alcoholism in some cases.

1. Family History

Family history plays a large part in what causes alcoholism. You’re more likely to develop an addiction if a parent or relative has dealt with alcohol use disorder. Although there isn’t one true gene that causes alcoholism, many scientists believe that several genes are responsible for about half the risk of developing it. People with these genes are also more likely to misuse alcohol if they also deal with social and psychological influences related to addiction.

A history of alcoholism among your relatives is both a biological and genetic factor, but it can also be environmental. Alcoholism doesn’t necessarily have to run in your family for you to become addicted. Simply being around family members who drink frequently can cause you to start doing the same. They can glamorize heavy drinking and make it seem acceptable, so you’ll feel better about doing it as well.

2. Drinking from an Early Age

The earlier you start to drink, the more likely you are to develop a dependence on alcohol, especially if you’re under 15 years old. You might become used to drinking when you start young. 

This rings true for young adults who binge drink in high school and college. The general period of alcohol use begins in the late teens, then peaks in the 20s and finally slows down in the early 30s. Drinking from an early age can cause long-term problems that can even go into your 40s and 50s.

While you can begin misusing alcohol no matter how old you are, starting to drink at a young age will increase your chances of developing alcoholism. 

To prevent alcoholism from beginning at an early age, parents should encourage alcohol prevention at this time. They need to teach their children about the dangers of heavy drinking at a young age so they can avoid developing bad habits in the future.

3. Mental Health Disorders

Having schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder or bipolar disorder can be frustrating and difficult. People with mental health disorders tend to drink to mitigate their symptoms and feel better. Even if alcohol temporarily eases symptoms of depression and anxiety, drinking frequently can lead to a high tolerance and, eventually, alcoholism. On top of that, alcohol can actually make mental health symptoms worse at times. 

People with mental health disorders may also feel too ashamed to seek help. They might feel that turning to alcohol is easier since they fear others may judge them for their mental illness. 

About one-third of people with a mental health disorder are also struggling with alcoholism. People with both a mental health disorder and alcoholism end up having what’s known as co-occurring disorders. These have serious side effects that can inflict long-term physical and psychological damage on your body. To effectively treat both of them, licensed clinicians must look at each disorder simultaneously.

4. Stressful Environments

Stress at work or at home can drive people to drink. People who work long hours and have high-demand careers like doctors, nurses, lawyers and construction workers are more likely to develop alcoholism as they drink to keep stress at bay. Studies show that stressed men are 1.5 more likely to binge drink than women. Those recovering from alcoholism might also find stress to be an emotional trigger and end up relapsing. 

Drinking away stress is part of what causes alcoholism. Finding a healthier way to manage your stress is key to avoiding dependence. 

5. Taking Alcohol with Medication

Mixing prescription drugs with alcohol is a common practice among individuals struggling with substance use disorder. Alcohol can mess with medication and people can become addicted to the pleasurable effects caused by drinking and prescription drugs. 

Unfortunately, mixing prescription drugs and alcohol can lead to a variety of health problems, including:

  • Blood pressure change
  • Heart damage
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Changes in behaviors, emotions or mental state

It can also lead to loss of coordination, which leads to accidents. There is also a high risk of overdose when combining alcohol with prescription drugs. Make sure to call 911 if you ever witness this happening to someone.

6. Peer Pressure

Kids in high school and college feel the need to be “cool,” accepted and like they’re in on the fun. Heavy drinking has long been considered an acceptable practice among teens and young adults ages 18 to 34, and keeping that drinking going past this age is a factor in what causes alcoholism.  

Peer pressure doesn’t just happen at a young age, either. Drinking has been a socially acceptable practice all over the world for many years, and adults can feel pressure to be part of this. Media also glorifies drinking among people of all ages. 

7. Frequent Alcohol Consumption Over Time

What causes alcoholism can be as simple as drinking too much over time. Building up a tolerance to alcohol requires you to drink more and more to get the same feeling. When you start drinking too much over time, you’re at a higher risk of developing alcoholism. This can start with binge drinking as a teenager or young adult. 

8. Trauma

Childhood abuse and domestic or sexual abuse are likely to mentally scar anyone, and these are high-risk factors for alcohol use disorder. When you don’t properly address past abuse in therapy, you might turn to heavy drinking to temporarily feel better about your situation. This is a dangerous practice, as it turns into a destructive cycle. 

To better deal with trauma and move past it, talk to a therapist. He or she will talk to you about how these incidents have affected you long-term, and you’ll learn how to cope with trauma without turning to alcohol.

9. Self-Medicating: Drinking to Cope

If you’ve lost a loved one, gotten divorced or got fired from your job, you’re likely dealing with grief, pain and loss. These are all emotions that can cause people to drink. For the time being, alcohol might make you feel joyful and carefree, but if you develop alcoholism, your grief and pain will get worse. 

People tend to self-medicate because it’s convenient and less expensive than going to a doctor or psychologist. In addition, the internet has become a widely available resource for information. People visit websites like WebMD to research their symptoms, but this is not how they should go about a self-diagnosis. 

Self-medicating also happens when people are too scared to confront their feelings and talk to someone about them. This is part of what causes alcoholism.

10. Lack of Family Supervision

Someone who didn’t have present parents in their childhood or had a poor family foundation is a prime candidate for alcoholism. A lack of support can lead to abandonment issues in children, and they may turn to alcohol for comfort. 

Preventing Alcoholism

When thinking about what causes alcoholism, you have to observe how people feel before they drink. People will try to drink away their problems and negative feelings, but this will only temporarily ease their pain. If you find that you’re feeling down, take a healthier route to feel better. Try meditating, talking to a friend, watching a movie, going for a walk or journaling.

If you have a mental health disorder, it’s also tempting to use alcohol to mask your symptoms. The proper course of treatment is to speak with a therapist and determine if medication will help you tackle life’s daily challenges. Therapy can also help you sort out your feelings and assist you in steering your life in a positive direction. It can help you address what causes alcoholism in your life.

Do you still want to hang out with your friends who drink, but don’t want to partake? Offer to be the designated driver the next time you’re at a party.

There are some negative situations in life that you can’t prevent, like having a dysfunctional family, being emotionally or sexually abused by a family member, or growing up with a relative who had alcoholism. However, you can control how you react to these situations, and there is help if you seek it. 

Find Treatment for Alcoholism at Sana Lake Recovery Center

You don’t have to struggle with your alcoholism by yourself. Sana Lake Recovery Center is filled with people who know exactly what you’re going through. We’ll help you figure out what caused your alcoholism and get you back on track to a healthier life. Contact Sana Lake today for a free consultation, and learn how we can help you.

alcohol rehab for seniors

Alcohol Treatment for Seniors: A Growing Problem of Alcoholism in Senior Citizens

Alcoholism is no stranger to our world. Most countries have encountered cases of alcohol dependence. Most communities are currently seeing the negative effects this substance has on some people’s lives. And most families have been impacted by alcohol use disorder. Many younger individuals have struggled with alcohol misuse. But, while it’s certainly important to make sure these individuals have helpful resources can be detrimental as there are many seniors who also suffer from alcoholism. This means alcohol rehab for seniors is absolutely necessary for our communities.

What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder, is a condition in which a person excessively and uncontrollably uses alcohol. Those who suffer from alcohol use disorder depend on alcohol and feel unable to function properly without this substance. Often, individuals who struggle with alcoholism drink far more often and in larger doses than others. 

Although alcohol is a legal substance and many people tend to enjoy a drink from time to time, some individuals struggle to limit themselves. This could be an indication that alcoholism is developing.

Some of the common signs of alcohol dependence, alcohol use disorder, or alcoholism include the following:

  • Irritability
  • Moodiness
  • Memory loss
  • Recklessness
  • Inability to stop or limit drinking
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Drinking first thing in the morning
  • Secrecy (i.e. drinking in private or alone)
  • Loss of interest in once enjoyable activities
  • Prioritizing drinking alcohol over responsibilities
  • Defensiveness when approached about drinking habits
  • Drinking in dangerous situations (i.e. before driving, along with medications, etc.)

Individuals who experience some or all of these signs and symptoms are likely suffering from alcohol dependence or misuse. If you have noticed any of these signs in the life of an older adult that you know, it may be time to intervene and help the individual to enroll in an alcohol rehab program for seniors.

Alcoholism in Seniors: Statistics and Effects of Senior Alcoholism

It’s easy to assume that alcoholism and other substance use disorders are mainly prevalent in the lives of younger individuals. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 11.0 million adults aged 26 or older had suffered from an alcohol use disorder within the past year. But, many of those adults who suffer from alcoholism are over the age of 65. 

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) states that “one-third of older alcoholic persons develop a problem with alcohol in later life”. Research states that alcohol is the most commonly used substance in the older population. The AAFP also states that approximately 6% of aging adults can be classified as heavy alcohol users.

Why Does Senior Alcohol Dependence Develop?

Alcohol use disorder occurs as a result of many different factors. Each individual is different and has varying experiences. So, the causes of substance dependence will be different from case to case. However, when it comes to older individuals, several factors may contribute to the development of an alcohol use disorder. 

Grief/Loss

Many seniors who suffer from alcoholism have experienced great loss. They may have lost a spouse to illness. Or, their long-time friends may pass away. Many older individuals may lose adult children due to illnesses, violence, or other causes of death. In some cases, even the loss of a dear pet could be very difficult for older individuals. Any other type of companion or caregiver who passes away could also cause a very serious and overwhelming sense of grief to occur in the lives of senior men and women.

Loneliness

The loss of a loved one can leave older individuals alone. This is especially the case in cases where a close companion or caregiver dies. Also, as adult children get older and begin to move away from home, their older parents may feel lonely or empty. Even those who live in facilities or communities that are specially designed to accommodate the needs of older adults may begin to feel severely lonely. 

Retirement/Inactivity/Boredom

Many older individuals are simply unsure about what to do as life changes. Retiring from the workforce can lead to inactivity and, frankly, boredom. It can be hard for people to find a new “normal”, especially after having worked or been extremely active in previous years. Transitioning into a life of retirement can cause older people to feel unsettled or leave them feeling empty.

Depression

Loneliness, uncertainty, and grief can all lead to the development of depression. Physical health conditions can also be another contributing factor. Many older individuals suffer from depression. In fact, the American Academy of Family Physicians reports that approximately 5 million Americans who are 65 years or older have clinical depression. According to the same report, about 1 million adults in this age range have major depression.

The same report says that depression has been seen in 17%-37% of older patients who received treatment in primary care settings. About 30% of these individuals have been diagnosed with major depression.

Depression can worsen, its symptoms becoming more and more severe. This can lead to many challenges and effects, including:

  • Worry
  • Self-harm
  • Restlessness
  • Helplessness
  • Hopelessness
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Overwhelming dissatisfaction
  • A lack of interest in interpersonal activities
  • An overall loss of motivation or inspiration

These symptoms and effects of depression can become overwhelming and decrease the quality of a person’s life. It can become even more challenging for older individuals to cope with these symptoms if they are also faced with physical illness, loneliness, or grief.

Stress/Anxiety/Fear

Unfortunately, many elderly individuals suffer from immense fear and worry. Anxiety and severe concerns may plague the hearts and minds of older people. Sometimes, this fear can come to older individuals who live alone. Or, elderly men and women may be overcome by concern or worry for their family members or for their own safety. Financial concerns might also become overwhelming for senior citizens as they are no longer working. 

Turning to Alcohol for Help

Sadly, countless older adults are unsure about where to turn for help. They may not know how to get the support or companionship that they need as they suffer from the challenges we mentioned earlier. As a result, many individuals turn to substance use in order to cope with these difficulties. Alcohol is often to “solution” in many people’s lives. Unfortunately, this can cause damaging and life-altering effects to occur.

Alcohol often seems to provide relief and rescue from the negative emotions and obstacles that life presents. It’s not uncommon for people to drink alcohol in order to relax or feel more at ease. But, the truth is that this behavior can lead to alcohol dependence and cause people to develop alcohol use disorders. 

When a person becomes dependent on alcohol, he or she may not feel able to cope with or manage the difficult situations that may arise. This might just lead to even more harmful habits and behaviors, including prescription drug misuse or illicit drug dependence. 

Health Complications Due To Alcohol Use in Seniors

Many older individuals who suffer from alcohol misuse develop very serious health complications as a result of excessive alcohol use. Alcohol use disorder can contribute to, cause, or worsen the following health problems:

  • Stroke
  • Ulcers
  • Diabetes
  • Confusion
  • Osteoporosis
  • Forgetfulness
  • Memory problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver diseases (i.e. cirrhosis)
  • Depression and other mood disorders

Some older individuals who misuse alcohol may engage in risky or harmful activities. This might include driving or trying to manage machinery or equipment while under the influence of alcohol. Also, some elderly individuals may develop very serious problems if they mix alcohol with medications. Many individuals do not intentionally use alcohol along with prescriptions. For example, a person may forget that he or she took medication and may drink alcohol. This could lead to adverse and severe effects, some of which could be deadly. 

Since the effects of alcoholism and excessive alcohol use can be so harmful, those who suffer from alcohol use disorder should seek help immediately.

Alcohol Rehab for Seniors

It is highly important for seniors who suffer from the effects of alcohol misuse to have access to treatment services. Again, alcohol dependence can have a very major negative effect on the lives of older individuals. So, finding the right resources can help to prevent further physical damage and end substance dependence altogether. Here are some of the treatment services that may be a part of alcohol rehab for seniors:

Detox

The detoxification process usually involves a medication-assisted treatment process. A professional detox program can help to cleanse the body from the toxic and harmful properties of drugs and alcohol. Throughout this process, individuals can work through the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal in a safe environment. These symptoms can be very difficult to deal with and may even lead people to relapse in order to avoid them. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms might involve:

  • Fevers
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Sweating
  • Seizures
  • Headaches
  • Moodiness
  • Loss of appetite
  • High blood pressure
  • Sleeping disturbances
  • Inability to think clearly

It’s best for those in recovery to go through a detox process as they work through withdrawal. This will ensure that recovering individuals have access to professional and medical assistance should withdrawal become overwhelming or even dangerous. Also, the medication involved in MAT can help to block or lessen the effects of withdrawal symptoms. This may make the process more comfortable for those who are working to recover from alcohol misuse.

Residential Treatment

Often, those who are working to end addiction can benefit quite a bit from inpatient treatment, Also known as residential care, this approach to addiction treatment offers people the option to live at their addiction recovery facility.

Doing so can allow people to have access to 24/7, around-the-clock care. It also helps to create a healthy distance between individuals and any outside factors that could lead to a relapse. This enables people to develop relapse prevention skills and the other experiences they will need in order to remain free from substance dependence after treatment. 

Residential treatment involves therapy programs, such as individual therapy and group therapy. These approaches can help people to work through the effects of addiction and find healing.

Intensive Outpatient Program

Also known as an IOP, an intensive outpatient program can be considered as a step down from residential treatment. Although individuals do not live at their treatment center, they still have access to care and treatment on an intensive level. Individuals may receive treatment between 9 and 12 hours every week. 

Those in an IOP may continue living at home while getting treatment. This might allow them to go to work or enjoy life with family while they are not in treatment. Intensive outpatient programs usually involve therapeutic services, like those offered in residential care.

Outpatient Treatment Program

Just as is the case with intensive outpatient treatment, outpatient care does not require people to live at a treatment center. Instead, individuals may continue living at home while getting treatment several hours per week. 

Outpatient treatment enables people to hold jobs, tend to various responsibilities, or comfortably live at home while still benefitting from addiction treatment services. However, this approach is not usually recommended for those who have what might be considered “severe” cases of addiction. Instead, people may enter outpatient programs after going through detox and residential care.

Therapy is also involved in this type of treatment. Individuals can continue to benefit from individual therapy, group therapy, and even family counseling. Individuals in an outpatient addiction treatment program can continue to receive care and even transition through a sober living program. 

How to Help an Older Loved One Who Is Struggling

If you’ve noticed signs of alcoholism in the life of an older loved one, you may be unsure about how to help. It can be difficult to know how and when to intervene. But, there are several things you can keep in mind in order to make the best choices as far as this matter is concerned.

It’s important to take special note of negative or unhelpful terminology when it comes to substance dependence. It is imperative that you and your family avoid referring to your struggling loved one as an alcoholic. Also, be sure that you learn more about addiction and how it affects those who suffer from it. The idea that substance dependence is a choice rather than a disease or a disorder can be extremely harmful. It can also prevent you from being able to truly help your family member.

Continue to respect your elderly loved one. Those who suffer from substance use disorders often experience quite a few physical and emotional changes. But, if you continue to offer love and respect to your older family member throughout his or her transitions, you will find that it tremendously helps your loved one to feel supported.

Be honest with your family member about your concerns. If you’re concerned about his or her safety, it’s best to say so. Inform the individual of the effects his or her alcoholism is having on your family. Bear in mind, though, that the person may not be aware of these issues. So hearing about them may cause the individual to feel guilty, ashamed, or even upset by these conversations. Be prepared to offer support and reassurance. But, also, be prepared to offer solutions. 

One of the main and most helpful solutions to addiction is professional treatment. Be sure to present this option.

Finding the Support and Guidance You Need

If you have an older loved one who is suffering from alcohol use disorder, there is no time like the present to help him or her to find hope. Here at Sana Lake Recovery Center, we are committed to offering individuals the resources they need in order to end substance use and dependence. 

Programs that offer alcohol rehab for seniors can be extremely helpful and even necessary for elderly individuals. Alcohol use disorder affects seniors differently than it affects younger individuals. So, it’s important for older adults to get treatment from a program that takes their individual and unique needs into account. 

At Sana Lake, our goal is to assist our members in finding support and guidance that will address their physical and emotional needs throughout recovery. So, whether your aging loved one needs detoxification services, residential treatment, outpatient treatment, or an intensive outpatient program, we can help! 

To learn more about our services or how we can assist you and your family, just contact us today. Our trained and knowledgeable staff is here and ready to help bring hope and healing to the situation your loved one is facing. Now is the time to bring a positive change to your family member’s life. We are dedicated to helping throughout this process!

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5439499/

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

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4146436/

https://www.aafp.org/afp/2004/0515/p2375.html#afp20040515p2375-b4

https://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0315/p1710.html

https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/harmful-interactions-mixing-alcohol-with-medicines

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5439499/

alcohol and obesity

Craving Alcohol: The Link Between Alcohol Use Disorder and Obesity

Alcohol use disorder and obesity can both be linked to cravings. Craving alcohol can lead to continuous drinking, and it can also lead to obesity in yourself or loved ones. Eating high-calorie foods and drinking are both linked to reward centers in your brain, and people like feeling good, so they’ll usually indulge these cravings. However, suffering from both alcohol use disorder and obesity can greatly harm your body and well being.

Alcohol use disorder and obesity are linked, and we’ll break the connections and how you can be free of both conditions at Sana Lake Recovery Center.

What is Alcohol Use Disorder?

Alcohol use disorder occurs when you can no longer control your drinking and experience withdrawal symptoms when not drinking. About 15 million people in the U.S. have alcohol use disorder, and alcohol is one of the most misused substances out there. This is due to the fact that it’s cheap and widely available in bars, restaurants, and supermarkets.

Craving alcohol can lead to alcohol use disorder. Binge drinking often can also lead to this, and unfortunately, this practice is common in the U.S., especially among young people. Binge drinking is defined as five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women in two hours.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder

Signs and symptoms of alcohol use disorder include:

  • Continuing to drink even though it impairs your relationships and interferes with work
  • Experiencing frequent memory loss or blackouts
  • Making excuses to drink to feel normal
  • Drinking alone
  • Isolating yourself from family and friends
  • Feeling irritable

Craving alcohol, while initially harmless, could also be a warning sign for alcohol use disorder. 

If alcoholics don’t have a drink for a few days, they go through withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms of alcohol use disorder include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Delirium tremens (DTs), which involves shaking, fever, hallucinations, and high blood pressure

Delirium tremens is rare, but it can happen in serious alcoholics.

Risk Factors for Alcohol Use Disorder

There are a few factors that may make you predisposed to developing alcoholism.

  • Family history of alcoholism
  • Having a mental disorder such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder
  • Having low self-esteem
  • Experiencing peer pressure as a young adult

Why Do We Crave Alcohol?

We often crave alcohol when we are stressed and when we’re feeling strong emotions. Alcohol releases endorphins, which make us happy and give us feelings of pleasure. Low blood sugar can be another cause of alcohol cravings, and in other situations, alcohol cravings occur after not eating for a long time. On the whole, people mostly crave alcohol because it makes them feel good. 

The more alcohol you drink, the happier you feel. This leads you to feel intoxicated, and it also dulls your senses.

Alcohol is common and parties and weddings because they are times of celebration and joy. Drinking is also common after the death of a loved one or after a long week of hard work. Some people are able to drink in moderation even when craving alcohol, and some others who crave alcohol end up binge drinking. If you can seem to control your drinking after having one or two beverages, you may be dealing with a form of alcoholism.

How Craving Alcohol Can Lead to Alcoholism

It’s common to crave alcohol after a long, hard day at work or after a stressful day. Alcohol dulls our senses and releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that produces feelings of happiness and satisfaction. However, these feelings are temporary, as alcohol is ultimately a depressant. The more you give in to alcohol cravings, the more toll they can have on your physical health.

Giving in to alcohol cravings can also lead to tolerance, which requires you to drink more and more to achieve the same feeling. Drinking more can then make you dependent on alcohol, leading you to develop alcohol use disorder.

How to Cope with Craving Alcohol

There are going to be times when you have a craving for alcohol. The good thing about cravings, though, is that they are temporary. If you learn how to ride these out, you can control them and keep on living a life of sobriety.

  • Recognize your triggers: There are two types of triggers: external and internal. External triggers are people, places, and things that may remind you of drinking, while internal triggers are emotions and thoughts that may set off alcohol cravings.
  • Avoid risky situations: Don’t keep alcohol in your house. This will keep you from drinking whenever you feel an urge to. You should steer clear of activities with friends that involve drinking. Once your cravings subside, you can begin to hang out with your friends again and suggest alternate party activities.
  • Deal with unavoidable triggers: There are some triggers that you have no control over. Here’s how you can cope with them:
    • Do a short-term activity. Call or text someone, listen to music, go to the gym, or meditate to clear your head.
    • Talk it out with someone you trust. Talk to your sponsor or a trusted friend who you can call on the phone.
    • Ride out the trigger. Accept the feeling you get from the trigger as normal and temporary instead of trying to fight it. The feeling will go away eventually.

What is Obesity?

Obesity is the state in which someone has so much body fat that their health is in danger. People who are obese have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30. Being overweight is not the same as being obese. If you are overweight, you’ll usually have a BMI between 25 and 30.

With the rise of fast-food restaurants and processed foods, obesity has rapidly increased over the years. From 2011 to 2014, more than one-third of adults aged 20 and older were obese. 

Dangers of Obesity

Obesity can cause you to develop many harmful health conditions.

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Certain cancers, including liver, kidney, and esophageal

Causes of Obesity

A major cause of obesity is consuming more calories than you burn through exercise and regular physical activity. Other common causes include: 

  • Eating high-calorie foods often
  • Not exercising
  • Having certain medical conditions like hypothyroidism and polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Eating when you’re sad or depressed
  • Slow metabolism
  • Excessive drinking
  • Family history of obesity

Women who have gained weight during pregnancy may also be more susceptible to obesity. This weight can be difficult to lose after you’ve had the baby.

The Connections Between Alcohol Use Disorder and Obesity

We already know that having a family history of alcoholism can make you more likely to develop the same disease. Obesity rates are now higher than ever, and this has also been shown to be linked to alcoholism. If you abuse alcohol, you could cause a loved one to become obese without meaning to do so.

If someone sees a family member misusing alcohol, they may avoid drinking. However, rather than craving alcohol, they may turn to other substances to make them happy. In many cases, these are high-calorie foods, which taste good and are a cheaper, more accessible option for dealing with their problems. 

In some cases, alcoholics are almost malnourished since they depend more on drinking than eating. Alcoholic drinks, especially mixed ones with juices, usually have a lot of calories. For example, a pina colada packs about 650 calories, and a gin and tonic has up to 300 calories. Since alcoholic drinks don’t satisfy hunger, people will end up eating more on top of the drinks to feel full. As a result, they’re probably consuming much more calories than they should.

Finding Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

Sadly, less than 10 percent of people with alcohol use disorder get treatment for it. Before finding treatment for alcoholism, you need to realize that you have a drinking problem. This may come after an intervention or a bad experience that you had with alcohol. Once you find the right treatment program, you can begin your journey to sobriety. 

Medical detox will be the first step for your alcohol use disorder treatment. Detox is crucial because it rids your body of alcohol and helps lessen your withdrawal symptoms. Licensed clinicians at Sana Lake Recovery Center monitor these symptoms and keep close watch over you as you recover. Once detox is complete after 30 days, you will begin the process of rebuilding your life without alcohol dependence. Although you may still be craving alcohol at this point, these cravings will be managed under our care.

Holistic treatment is effective in treating both alcohol use disorder and obesity. With holistic treatment, you can not only overcome substance use disorder, but you can also exercise, practice mindfulness and conquer your food cravings. Individual and group therapy can also help change the way you think about craving alcohol. 

Below are some examples of holistic treatment that we offer at Sana Lake.

  • Yoga: Yoga enhances your fitness and mental well being. This ancient Indian practice provides a well-rounded mix of breathing techniques, poses, and meditation. 
  • Guided meditation/mindfulness: Meditation is known to calm the mind and “rewire” the brain. It can relieve anxiety and put difficult emotions at ease.
  • Journaling: Writing down your thoughts and feelings can be therapeutic for people suffering from alcohol use disorder and obesity.

Besides practicing mindfulness, the best way to fight obesity is to eat right and exercise. 

Cure Your Alcohol Use Disorder at Sana Lake Recovery Center

Why wait to change your life for the better? Let the licensed medical staff at Sana Lake Recovery Center treat your alcohol cravings and get you back to your old self. We know how hard it is to take that first step, but once you do, you’ll know you made the right choice. Contact us today to learn more about our programs.

References:

https://www.livescience.com/10371-craving-alcohol-linked-obesity.html

https://www.healthline.com/health/alcoholism/basics#risk-factors

https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/tools/Interactive-worksheets-and-more/Stay-in-control/Coping-With-Urges-To-drink.aspx