Alcohol-Related Dementia

What You Need to Know About Alcohol-Related Dementia: Wet Brain Disease

If you or your loved one consume large amounts of alcohol regularly you may notice signs of memory loss. The support you or your loved one needs to overcome this addiction to alcohol is available at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare. Our team of dedicated, caring and trained professionals are prepared to support you in every phase of recovery.

The area of the brain that is damaged from alcohol-related dementia is the hippocampus. This part of your brain helps form new memories and store old memories. Both short and long-term memory loss can occur with alcohol-related dementia.

Alcohol-related dementia is a serious disease. If steps are taken to treat the addiction to alcohol it is possible to reverse the damage. This process that leads to sobriety requires determination and patience.

What Is Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome?

The two terms for Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome come from

  • Wernicke’s encephalopathy – a degenerative brain disorder of alcoholics that is due to a lack of vitamin B-1. The disorder affects the thalamus and hypothalamus sections of the brain.
  • Korsakoff syndrome – a memory disorder that stems from a lack of vitamin B-1 and the effects of alcoholism. This syndrome affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord and the section of the brain that controls memory.

The common terms for Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome are wet brain disease or alcohol-related dementia. This syndrome occurs in alcoholics. It is caused by two conditions in the brain that create a deficiency in vitamin B-1.

The deficiency in vitamin B-1 can occur in someone who is addicted to alcohol because of bad dietary habits. A good supply of vitamin B-1 is necessary because it is what turns food into energy. The alcohol in your system also prevents the storage and absorption of vitamin B-1.

How Does Drinking Affect the Brain?How Does Drinking Affect the Brain?

The brain is affected by alcohol in many different ways. Drinking a glass of wine with dinner or having drinks with friends on the weekends does not have a lasting impact on your brain. The problems arise from those who are not able to control their intake of alcohol and creates a pattern of alcohol abuse.

Alcoholics suffer from many health-related issues. Your brain is severely affected in many ways. Both the processing of information as well as the way information travels within your brain cells is altered.  Oxford University Press estimated that between 10 and 24 percent of brain damage and dementia cases may be related to alcohol abuse.

The stages that your body goes through when influenced by alcohol include:

  • Subliminal intoxication – Reaction time, behavior, and judgment are affected after one drink.
  • Euphoria – Dopamine – the chemical that creates pleasure – is released by your brain. You may feel relaxed during this stage, and reasoning and memory are somewhat lessened.
  • Excitement – Stage at which you are legally intoxicated. The brain’s occipital lobe, temporal lobe, and frontal lobe are affected. Blurred vision, slurred speech, and an overall lack of control are evident. Fine motor skills and reaction times slow down a great deal.
  • Confusion –  Walking and standing are compromised due to the effect on your cerebellum. This is the stage where blackouts may take place and that creates short-term memory issues. The hippocampus is the area of the brain that is being affected. 
  • Stupor – This stage sees a blood alcohol count of 0.25 and signs of alcohol poisoning are occurring. All functions of your body are impaired at this point and the possibility of someone passing out, getting injured, or even suffocating is high.
  • Coma – Your blood alcohol count is 0.35 and the risk of going into a coma is very real. Breathing, circulation, motor control, and responses are poor. Death is very possible at this stage
  • Death – A blood alcohol count of 0.45 can cause death. Your brain may not be able to control its vital functions at this stage.

Warning Signs of Alcohol-Related Dementia

The signs of alcohol-related dementia can vary from person to person. Brain structure and the length of time that excessive amounts of alcohol have been consumed can determine the severity of alcohol-related dementia. Warning signs of alcohol-related dementia include:

  • Short-term memory problems
  • Bad decision choices
  • Difficulty in solving complex problems
  • Personality changes that cannot be explained
  • Trouble with following directions
  • Finding the motivation to complete simple chores or tasks
  • Struggling to hold a conversation without struggling to “find the words”
  • Having a hard time staying focused

Does Alcohol Abuse Cause A Decline In Cognitive Activity?wet brain alcoholism

Cognitive activity is defined as “mental activity.” The cognitive activity of someone who is addicted to alcohol can be altered in many ways. The length of time that someone has been addicted to alcohol and the quantity of alcohol consumed will determine the amount of damage to a person’s cognitive activity.

A severe consequence of alcoholism is known as “alcoholic Korsakoff’s syndrome.” The signs of this syndrome indicate that a person is only able to remember new information for a few seconds, not able to solve problems, and not able to process their thoughts.

Other indications that alcohol is affecting your cognitive activity are:

  • A decrease in the amount of time it takes to process information
  • The ability to learn new things becomes difficult
  • An inability to deal with objects in a two-dimensional or three-dimensional space

The damage to the brain that occurs because of alcohol abuse can be caused by 

  • Head injuries that may occur while you are intoxicated and unable to control your body’s motor function
  • Overall toxicity of alcohol on your brain cells 
  • The biological stress of repeated intoxication and withdrawal
  • Diseases from alcohol-related damage to the brain and the brain’s blood supply

Can Drinking Be Linked to Short-Term or Long-Term Memory Loss?

In 2018 a study found that heavy drinking increased the risk of dementia by about three times. The effects of drinking alcohol can create both long and short-term memory problems. Long-term memory is “retrospective” memory, and short-term memory is “prospective” memory. 

Short-term memory loss is more prominent in alcoholics. Heavy use of alcohol causes the brain to have trouble transferring short-term memory items into long-term memories. Blackouts can occur when large amounts of alcohol are consumed. These blackouts have an effect on your short-term memory.

Long-term memory problems also occur to those who are addicted to alcohol. You may see changes to the body such as

  • Damage to nerves
  • Permanent brain damage
  • Reduced grey matter in the brain
  • Stroke

It has been discovered that the overall intelligence of someone who is addicted to alcohol is not affected by prolonged alcohol abuse. The memories that were stored in your brain before heavy alcohol use remain intact. Because of this, you are able to maintain your intelligence level even though you may be drinking excessively.

“Wet Brain” Disease Defined and Symptoms

what is wet brain disease“Wet brain” disease is a type of brain damage and is another way to describe Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Wet brain can occur due to alcohol abuse. It is brought on due to a lack of an important vitamin needed in the body – thiamine, also known as vitamin B-1.

Eating a balanced diet can supply the average person with enough vitamin B-1. Foods such as beef, pork, whole grains, and many vegetables provide the necessary, healthy amount. If you or a loved one is abusing alcohol they may have no concern with nourishing their body, much less making healthy food choices. This lack of nourishment is what can create a deficit in vitamin B-1.

When your body lacks vitamin B-1 neither the heart nor the brain is able to function well. One organ that is affected is the liver. Your liver stores any extra supply of vitamin B-1. Alcohol abuse will drain any of that extra supply of vitamin B-1.

There are enzymes and neurotransmitters in your brain that need vitamin B-1. When there is a lack of this vitamin, brain damage develops. This brain damage is referred to as wet brain. You are at risk of developing wet brain dementia when your intake of alcohol and the length of time heavy alcohol consumption occurs increase.

What Is the Treatment for Wet Brain?

Medical assistance is necessary for treating wet brain disease. Treatment requires medical assistance in order to increase the amount of vitamin B-1 in your body. If intervention happens quickly, there is a chance that some of the symptoms of wet brain disease can be reversed. If you do not seek treatment then the damage that occurs due to the lack of vitamin B-1 can be permanent.

Treatment options can include:

  • Injecting vitamin B-1 into the body
  • Detoxification and therapy to regain your health
  • Taking vitamin B-1 supplements
  • Making changes in diet

Alcoholism is a very dangerous and potentially deadly disease. Fortunately, it is a disease that can be treated and reversed with the help of our medical staff at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare. Help is available and we are ready to take your call.

If you or your loved one is struggling with an addiction to alcohol please make that phone call today. We are ready to provide you with the care and support necessary to regain a normal, healthy life.

Resources

https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/alcohol-and-the-brain

Alcohol has an effect on your muscles

Alcohol’s Effect On Muscles

For decades, we’ve been trying to find ways to consume alcohol without gaining the adverse alcohol effects has on your muscles. But does working out and gaining muscle mean that alcohol consumption must be eliminated? 

Many adults enjoy catching a happy hour or going out to get a drink, particularly on weekends, but alcohol and muscle recovery usually don’t mix. The workweek’s middle or end is traditionally commemorated with a happy hour that generally lasts more than only one hour. But the truth is, working adults and athletes both struggle to eliminate even casual drinking on weekends only. 

Some look for ways to balance consuming alcohol and athletics; others give into the fun that comes with partying, causing them to seek an alcohol recovery program.

How Does Alcohol Have An Effect On Your Muscles? 

Research has shown that alcohol has a major effect on your muscles. This is due to the impairment of muscle protein synthesis (MPS) by absorbing the body’s optimal nutrition. The experiment included athletes binge drinking large amounts of alcohol. Because athletes are most prone to requiring muscle but are often drinking, the studies had shown an even greater decline in MPS with a more significant amount of alcohol consumption. alcohol effects on muscles

The research provided enough data to propose educational awareness to coaches and athletes about alcohol and muscle recovery. 

Alcohol and Effects on Fat Burning

Alcohol consumption has been proven to decrease metabolism and reduce our fat-burning capability. This is partly because of how the human body reacts differently to alcohol than consuming real food. The body treats alcohol like a toxin, not a nutrient, so it’s impossible to store alcohol calories the way the body holds food calories.

Alternatively, our metabolism changes to removing toxic waste from burning stored food calories. The primary poisonous chemicals created from alcohol consumption are called acetate and acetaldehyde. 

You’ll almost immediately notice the urge to use the bathroom after consuming just two drinks. Your body is tentatively converting the unwanted byproducts as fuel to release the toxins. This slows down the natural metabolic process of fat stored being burned or adipose tissue. Research has determined that alcohol substitutes fat for fuel and supplies many daily requirement calories.

So, you’re out enjoying a few drinks, the metabolism has paused its fat-burning capabilities, and it starts to break down the booze first. This causes the food consumption calories to be stored as fat. From there, the alcohol decreases our ability to burn fat, especially around the belly area, creating the ever so popular “beer belly.” 

Long-term experiments have also reported that older women who consume alcohol moderately gained less weight than women who had eliminated alcohol. It was stated these women had consumed alcohol occasionally; and on those days, they were physically active and took in fewer calories. 

So, does this mean you can’t work out and enjoy a relaxing glass of wine before dinner? Luckily, research has shown that moderate drinking can be advantageous to our health.

Alcohol and Its Effects on Fitness

Analysis of alcohol and muscle recovery revealed that alcohol consumption can cause significant setbacks in gaining muscle and accomplishing fitness goals. Studies have shown that alcohol consumption reduces muscle protein synthesis (MPS), which reduces the possibility of gaining muscle. Alcohol and its Effects on Fitness

It has also been revealed that alcohol negatively modifies hormone levels and decreases the body’s metabolism, meaning the capability to decrease body fat becomes delayed. There’s also the problem for some who just can’t drink alcohol in moderation. 

How Much Should I Drink?

Health experts advise that women only have only one alcoholic drink per day and for men, no more than two. Simply enjoying a drink has become a reward and cheat option for completing a goal or solid workout and may turn into consuming more than two.

But not all is bad with alcohol consumption; analysis has also revealed some positive health advantages associated with consuming alcohol moderately, like increasing the good cholesterol levels (HDL), reducing stress, and insulin resistance. But overall it has been proven, the negatives of alcohol consumption exceed the positives.

It boils down to making the best-informed choice about alcohol consumption and your fitness goals regarding alcohol’s effects on muscles. 

Alcohol’s Effect on Healthy Eating 

Alcohol consumption can cause lowered inhibitions, leading to mindless eating, overeating, and consuming too many calories. Research has shown that when under the influence of alcohol, drinkers cannot stay focused on healthy eating. 

Alcohol consumption and eating bad go hand in hand, and the result is usually a lack of energy and an enlarged waistline. Studies on calorie intake and alcohol consumption showed people who enjoyed a glass of wine at lunch were consuming an additional 200 calories daily. Those extra calories over time had caused immense weight gain for most participating members. 

How many calories are in each type of drink?

  • 1.5oz liquor – 100 calories
  • 5oz wine- 100 calories
  • 12oz beer – 150 calories

Alcohol’s Effect on Hormones

There seems to be inconclusive data on alcohol’s effects on testosterone levels. Research has indicated someone would have to consume quite a lot of alcohol consistently to alter testosterone.

According to some studies, roughly nine drinks consumed for a man weighing 180lb can lower post-exercise testosterone hormone levels. Reduced testosterone in men can decrease libido, diminish muscle growth, and enhance the risk of osteoporosis.

Another study has shown that elevated alcohol consumption converts testosterone into estrogen, causing massive problems. Plants utilized to produce alcohol contain phytoestrogens, which affects the sex hormone in males. It also seems heavy drinking enhances the aromatase enzyme activity. This enzyme helps convert testosterone, the male sex hormone, into estrogen, the female sex hormone. Too much estrogen in men can cause loss of erection, sore nipples, testicular atrophy, and feminization symptoms. 

So, does this suggest that men shouldn’t consume alcohol if they want to preserve their manhood? Research states that heavy or excessive binge drinking can cause health problems, whereas drinking in moderation doesn’t negatively affect lean mass gains or male reproduction. 

Alcohol’s Effect On Muscles

An examination was conducted on the effects of alcohol consumption with MPS. Participants in the analysis were eight physically active males performing interval training and weight lifting as a portion of the testing method. They drank alcohol and whey protein instantly after their exercise and once again four hours afterward. 

The men also consumed a meal full of carbs two hours after training, with the muscle biopsies taken at rest, two & eight hours after the workout.

The results determined that alcohol levels had elevated above baseline post-exercise with both carbs and protein consumption. Muscle biopsies showed decreased measures of MPS following physical exercise. Alcohol consumed with a protein had reduced MPS by 24% and then 37% when coupled with carbs. The result revealed a partial release of MPS when alcohol was consumed with protein but still negatively diminished.

Alcohol’s Effect on Nutrition

alcohol and muscle recovery,Consuming alcohol indicates you’re drinking empty calories that have zero of the body’s nutritional value. Healthy carbohydrates will have seven calories per gram as opposed to four calories per gram. Many alcoholic beverages are blended with mixers full of dyes and sugar, producing more unhealthy calories for the body. 

Consuming alcohol has been proven to reduce nutrient absorption by reducing digestive enzymes. It can also cause damage to cells in the digestive tract that affect nutrient absorption. Without a healthy digestive system, even healthy food can become unbeneficial to the body. 

Researches have shown that excessive and binge drinking can block the body from absorbing a sufficient amount of protein and additional nutrients. Humans require adequate nutrients to perform optimal fitness exercises while building and maintaining muscle mass. 

Alcohol’s Effect On Sleep

Alcohol may give the feeling of being relaxed, but it has been proven to negatively affect and disrupt our sleep. Sleep is vital for tissue repair and recovering muscles. Without a sufficient amount of sleep, we become unable to function at maximum levels. Alcohol is a depressant substance and may help you fall asleep, but remaining asleep usually becomes an issue.

Research has revealed that alcohol consumption can disrupt our restorative or rapid eye movement (REM) rest. When going without REM rest, you could experience daytime drowsiness, exhaustion, and weak concentration.

Evidence has shown that alcohol negatively affects sleep patterns, which results in increased physical stress and fatigue. Without healthy REM sleep, strength and athletic abilities become tremendously affected. 

Implications state that modest alcohol consumption, meaning one-two drinks, will not disrupt or diminish our sleep patterns. Disrupted sleep can happen with excessive or binge drinking. It’s also highly recommended not to consume alcohol as a sleep aid to circumvent the danger of alcoholism.

Is Alcohol Worth Sacrificing Your Fitness Goals?

Implementing the standard suggested guidelines of consuming no more than one alcoholic beverage for women and two for men should not affect fitness levels and muscle growth. Boozing too much, though, is extremely unhealthy and dangerous. 

Becoming in shape and growing muscle does not imply eliminating alcohol; it only means you should continuously make healthy choices. As alcohol affects your muscles, this makes burning fat and building lean mass more challenging, and superior nutrient intake is crucial. And now that we know alcohol has zero nutrient value, consuming a drink or two occasionally and moderately seems to be possible.

You might not overwhelm yourself with optimal fitness gains, but restricting your alcohol consumption intake is crucial to avoiding alcoholism and living a healthy, happy life. 

Get Help Today

If you or a loved one is suffering from alcoholism, we can help. Here at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare, we understand that treating someone with an alcohol addiction takes time and hands-on care. We now understand alcohol’s effects on muscles and other vital organs, but the real damage is when a disorder takes over a life. 

Do not hesitate any longer; contact us today and allow our team of specialists to help get you back on track to a healthy, happy lifestyle!

loneliness and alcoholism

Loneliness And Alcoholism

Being alone really hurts. It hurts so bad for some people that they turn to alcohol as a form of self-medication. Unfortunately, when people turn to alcohol or other substances to “feel better” it only exacerbates the problems in the long run. 

If left untreated, alcohol abuse will turn into alcoholism and will lead to damaged relationships, loss of support from friends and family, financial troubles, and eventually even serious health issues.

So why do some of us continue to drink even if we know it is harming us? This blog is aimed at understanding why loneliness can have the side effect of alcoholism and what we can do to turn our lives around. 

Loneliness: What’s The Big Deal?

Loneliness causes people to feel alone, unwanted, and empty. When we are lonely we crave human interaction, friends, family, a significant other, however, because of the feelings of loneliness, it makes it more difficult for us to actually form connections with others. So being lonely creates a pattern of loneliness.

Unfortunately, loneliness is not necessarily about being alone. Rather, when you feel isolated or alone, it is how that loneliness plays in your head that really begins to affect our mental health. 

Loneliness does not just affect our mental well being, it also affects our physical health negatively too. According to recent studies conducted by Cigna Health, loneliness could have roughly the same impact on mortality than smoking 15 cigarettes a day has. This means that loneliness has the potential to create far greater health risks than being obese! 

Studies have also shown that people who experience feelings of loneliness deal with more substance abuse problems, like alcoholism, and deal with increased mental health problems. However, it is also well known that alcoholism will only contribute to more feelings of loneliness and isolation which makes it a vicious and continuous cycle of pain.

Self Medication – Alcoholism Can Be A Side Effect Of Loneliness 

Every human on planet earth will experience the occasional feelings of loneliness, unhappiness, or anxiety but when these feelings last for long periods of time and we do not address the cause, a lot of people search for something to lessen the pain like self-medication. Self-medicating is a method that many do in an attempt to help handle the feelings or “numb the pain.”

Alcohol and drugs are the most popular form of self-medication and are used as tools because they briefly distract us from the pain we are feeling. Often our pain derives from failed relationships or relationship problems, loss of loved ones, money troubles, anxiety, or even physical pain. However, there is another feeling that isn’t widely considered and that is loneliness.

The problem with self-medicating is that the feeling we would get from alcohol and/or drugs is only temporary and they end up leaving us feeling even more drained or pained because these substances actually counteract and deplete the “feel good” chemicals in our brain that are designed to bring us pleasure and help regulate our moods. Crazy to think that we may turn to alcohol as a way to cure our feelings of loneliness but once we sober up; our feelings of sadness will only increase.

Alcoholism: The Science Behind Why It Hurts

When we drink a lot of alcohol it severely alters our behavior, mood, and neuropsychological functioning. For some of us, drinking alcohol is a way to relax. On the other hand, when we drink too much the effects of hangovers and alcohol will bring on anxiety and it actually increases our stress levels. 

Alcohol is classified as a Central Nervous System depressant. Alcohol slows down our neural activity and our brain function. Alcohol does this by enhancing the effects of the neurotransmitter GABA.

Alcohol depresses the central nervous system and results in slurred speech, imbalance, false reality, or overreacting and it takes away our ability to have quick responses or reactions. The mental side effects of alcohol are that it reduces our ability to think rationally, distorts our judgment, and lessens our inhibitions. 

If we drink too much alcohol too quickly, it will result in the depression of our central nervous system which can actually lead to respiratory failure, coma, and yes, even death.

Some of us actually drink alcohol primarily for its sedative effects which tends to actually reduce our anxiety. And it is not a surprise that most of us who drink alcohol, start drinking to experience stimulation and its other positive effects like lowering our inhibitions. 

However, once we have reached the stage of alcohol dependence or alcoholism, we now drink to experience the anxiety that comes with the sedative effect. It is a crazy thing to think that we sometimes turn towards alcohol to reduce our anxiety and in the end, it really only makes our anxiety much worse. 

Loneliness And Alcoholism: The Battle To Get Better

Since it is strongly believed that alcoholism can be the side effect of poor mental health, as a result of strong and continued feelings of loneliness. it is important to deal with both issues since they both are directly connected. 

When you feel lonely, there are some proactive steps you can take towards feeling less alone:

Volunteer 

Becoming a volunteer for a cause that you can relate to or that you believe in can give you lots of benefits and reduce feelings of loneliness. When you volunteer you get a sense of purpose and the natural “feel good” chemicals within our brains are activated by simply knowing you are trying to do something good. If you love babies, try volunteering at the local hospital to be a snuggler. 

If you like kids, try volunteering at a local school for their after school clubs or even volunteer for one of their sports teams. You can also volunteer at nursing homes to help someone else not suffer from feelings of loneliness. The list goes on and on. The additional benefit to volunteering is that when you do find something that you like to do, you will meet other like-minded people and friendships, even relationships can be formed. 

Therapy 

It is well known that the more lonely you are, the more depressed you feel, and the cycle continues. Seeking relief from loneliness through psychotherapy is a great option for anyone. Being that loneliness is often played out negatively in our own minds, cognitive behavioral therapy would benefit greatly because it can help to change our thoughts and patterns as well as our actions to assist in decreasing these feelings of loneliness and at the very least, teaching us a new way to cope with them in the future.

  • Adopt A Pet: Adopting a dog or cat carries many benefits and preventing further loneliness is just one of them! Pets bring a sense of companionship and friendship hence the often statement “Dogs are a man’s best friend!” The same thing is said about cats too; just ask your local “Karen – the cat lady” and she will be more than happy to give you a hundred reasons why owning a cat is a joy, except for the litter box. Gross!
  • Join A Class: There are lots of classes to consider; art, exercise, even your local community college will offer classes of all types. Learn a new skill, a different language, chess club, again the list goes on and on. Just like with volunteering, when you join a class that is something that is of interest to you, you will find other like-minded people and it is a great way to begin new relationships. 

Any of the above-mentioned things can help give you relief from the feelings of loneliness and can decrease the desire to drink alcohol. However, when dealing with alcoholism, you will need to focus on that part as well. Feeling less alone is great but if the addiction is not addressed, the feelings will be only temporary and will eventually have you feeling lonely and depressed again because of the side effects of alcoholism. 

Alcoholism: Time To Make A Change

We all want to believe that stopping drinking without any outside help may save whatever dignity we have left. However, depending on the severity of the alcoholism or the length of time we have battled the addiction, the chances that we should seek outside assistance to get sober becomes greater.

Many people feel shame because of their alcoholism and it prevents some of us from seeking help. There is never shame in wanting something better for your own life! There is no shame in asking for help – but there is shame in continuing to harm ourselves unnecessarily by staying in the grasps of alcoholism when there are so many treatment options available. 

Some treatment options for alcoholism include but are not limited to:

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

AA is one of the best options for battling loneliness and alcoholism since it addresses both issues because when you join AA you are always in a group of people that have had similar life experiences. AA meetings encourage everyone to speak and open up about their alcoholism and their negative experiences with their battles. This allows for a solid support system and friendships are greatly encouraged. 

Detox Programs

Detoxification (detox) programs are extremely helpful for anyone facing a serious bout with alcoholism because it allows you to stop drinking while keeping you comfortable and safe from the negative side effects of alcohol withdrawal via medication.

Inpatient Treatment Programs 

These programs are a good option for anyone that has a serious or prolonged battle with alcoholism. They usually include a detox program and then continue treatment by providing round the clock medical care and therapeutic practices to help you overcome alcoholism.

Outpatient Treatment Programs

These types of programs are a good fit for those who suffer from alcoholism but are still able to “function”. It is the same type of care you would receive in an inpatient treatment program except you are not required to stay overnight at the facility. They create a treatment program for you that gives the flexibility of keeping your daily responsibilities.

Do You Suffer From Loneliness And Alcoholism? Let Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare Help!

At Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare, our team will answer any questions you might have and tell you everything you might want to know about fighting the battle of loneliness and alcoholism so you can make an informed decision on seeking treatment.

Whether you have never asked for help before or are relapsing, anyone deserves trustworthy help. You can count on that and much more at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare.

If you want more information so that you or a loved one can get the help needed, contact us today!

References:

https://granitemountainbhc.com/addiction-programs/alcohol-recovery-programs/

 

what does alcohol do to your liver

The Effects Of Alcohol On Your Liver

Alcohol has toxic effects on your liver that can worsen over time. The effects can even have fatal consequences which are why it’s so important to stop alcohol abuse in its tracks. Regardless of where you’re at, education on the problem is the first step.

What is Alcohol?

Alcohol (ethanol or ethyl alcohol) is what is found in liquor, beer or wine that causes intoxication. Alcohol is formed when yeast ferments (breaks down without oxygen) the sugars in different food. For instance, wine is made from the sugar in grapes, beer from the sugar in malted barley, and vodka from the sugar in potatoes, beets or other plants. 

Alcohol is in the ‘sedative hypnotic’ drug class. In other words, its a depressant to the central nervous system at larger amounts. At smaller amounts, alcohol can act as a stimulant. This induces temporary feelings of happiness and excitement. 

Alcohol in small doses is easily processed by your liver, and it is generally not an issue. However, when someone ends up drinking too much, it can lead to extreme drowsiness and even respiratory depression, coma, or death.

The damage that alcohol does to the liver is another consequence that is crucial to note. Recognizing the dangers now can save you a lot of pain in the future.

What Alcohol Does to the Liver

Before we talk about what alcohol does to the liver, let’s discuss what the liver itself does. The liver works as a filter and removes substances that are bad for your body. The liver also created enzymes and different proteins that are then in turn used to protect the body from infection. The role of your liver is crucial in your body’s internal processes. It also converts vitamins, nutrients, and medicines into substances that benefit our bodies.

The liver is also responsible for cleaning our blood, producing bile for digestion and storing glycogen for energy. In order for the liver to act such an effective filter it most processes most of what your body takes in, this means your liver processes over 90% of the alcohol you drink. Everything else exits the body via your breath, your sweat, or your urine. Think about: 90 percent of this toxic substance is being absorbed in your liver. 

Intoxication occurs when the heart and brain begin to become affected by alcohol in the bloodstream. Consistent alcohol abuse causes the destruction of liver cells, which results in scarring of the liver (cirrhosis), alcoholic hepatitis and cellular mutation. 

This may even lead to liver cancer. These conditions usually progress from fatty liver to alcoholic hepatitis to cirrhosis. Although heavy drinkers may develop alcoholic cirrhosis without first developing hepatitis.

How Many Drinks Does it Take to Damage Your Liver?

The University Health Network states that a safe amount of alcohol depends on a person’s body weight, size and whether they are male or female. Women absorb more alcohol from each drink in comparison to males. This makes them at higher risk of liver damage.

If you are drinking between 2-3 drinks daily, you are at risk of harming your liver. Even worse, binge drinking, meaning 4 or more drinks within an hour can lead to even more serious damage.

You also run the risk of creating more liver damage if you are mixing alcohol with medications. With any medication you take you should always get medical advice from your doctor regarding mixing with alcohol.

Even over the counter medications like Tylenol (or acetaminophen), can produce damaging effects to your liver. There are several other medications that are dangerous to consume alcohol with such as many antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and blood thinners.

Types and Symptoms of Alcohol-Related Liver Disease

By now, you should have a pretty good understanding of what alcohol does to the liver. It is a toxic substance that is very damaging to one’s health. The symptoms of alcohol-related liver disease are broken down into three separate stages. 

The three stages of alcohol-related liver disease

  1. Alcoholic fatty liver disease: This is where fat starts to build up around the liver. If an individual quits drinking, this can be cured.
  2. Acute alcoholic hepatitis: This can lead to liver failure if not caught soon and treated. This is when alcohol makes the liver swell. The more you drink the more it swells and the severity of the hepatitis increases.
  3. Alcoholic cirrhosis: As the last stage in liver disease it is the most severe, the liver is scarred beyond treatment. Cirrhosis can not be undone and will often lead to liver failure. 

Understanding what alcohol does to the liver and the stages of liver disease can help you realize you need to quit drinking. No matter what stage you’re in, there is potential for a better tomorrow. We encourage you to call us today to learn more about how we can help you, depending on what stage you’re in.

Alcohol-Related Liver Disease Symptoms

Some people with alcohol-related liver disease don’t have symptoms until the disease is advanced. In other cases, signs are shown earlier. Symptoms of alcohol-related liver disease may show up more often after binge drinking. 

Symptoms of alcohol-related liver disease can include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Jaundice
  • Tiredness 
  • Nausea
  • Stomach/digestive issues
  • Insatiable thirst
  • Lower body swelling 
  • Loss of weight
  • Darkening or lightening of the skin
  • Flushed feed and hands
  • Dark bowel movements
  • Light-headedness
  • Easy irritability
  • Moodiness
  • Disorientation
  • Bleeding gums
  • Male breast tissue growth

Alcohol and Liver Damage: The Statistics

It helps to note that there tens of thousands of Americans affected by liver disease annually, due to alcohol. Many do not realize the severity of alcohol until it is too late. We urge you not to be one of those people.

A few surprising statistics to note include:

  • According to the 2015, National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 86.4 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime. 70.1 percent reported that they drank in the past year; 56.0 percent reported that they drank in the past month. 
  • An estimated 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States. 
  • Alcohol dependence and/or abuse rates are higher in white males than in women, although women develop ALD more rapidly than men with the same quantity and duration of alcohol consumption. 

Reducing the Risk of Liver Damage

Completely cutting alcohol out can reduce the risk of liver damage. When you take a look at all the negatives of what alcohol does to your liver, you begin to understand how toxic it is. All liver diseases improve from giving up alcohol.

You should also cut out alcohol if you experience significant liver scarring or cirrhosis. Fatty liver can be reversed and further damage prevented by not drinking alcohol. It is important to note that there is no cure for cirrhosis. However, cutting out alcohol completely gives a much better chance of survival. You can live for decades with cirrhosis if you give up alcohol in time.

There are other healthy habits one can implement to reduce the impact of liver disease. These habits include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Not smoking
  • Getting regular, adequate exercise
  • Eating a balanced diet and avoiding processed food
  • Drinking coffee
  • Getting sunlight – a low Vitamin D level is bad for liver diseases

Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

Fortunately, there are treatment options available if alcohol addiction is negatively impacting your life. It is possible to stop addiction in its tracks before it worsens. Before beginning treatment, you should understand the various services each program offers. We like to focus on treating the person as a whole, not just their alcohol addiction.

Our comprehensive treatment programs employ several or all of these factors:

Alcohol Detox

Detoxification is the first step in treating alcohol addiction. It can also be the most difficult. Within the first few days after you quit drinking, you will probably experience distressing withdrawal symptoms. For this reason, the alcohol detox stage should only be completed under medical supervision.  Once you are finished with detox, you will move on to an individualized treatment approach that’s best for you. 

Inpatient Rehab

An inpatient rehab facility is the most structured treatment environment for those overcoming alcohol addiction. Our programs typically last anywhere from 30, 60 or 90 days. Treatment specialists provide around-the-clock care and will prepare you for life after rehab. 

Alcohol Counseling

Frequent meetings with an alcohol counselor are important for patients to receive guidance during their recovery. Counseling opens a line of communication during the good times, as well as the difficult times. Your therapist will help you target the underlying roots behind alcoholism.

Call Us Today

Alcoholism is certainly serious, but it’s also manageable. People with this condition can get the medical and psychological support they need to change their drinking patterns and their lives, and that work can start right now. By reaching out for care, people with alcoholism can get better.

Remember, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Our programs offer structured treatment that can make a tremendous difference in your life. No matter how lost you may feel, you can still get better.

Whether it’s you or a loved one struggling, an IOP can help today. From individual therapy to medical care, treatment will be tailored to your unique needs. Call Granite Mountain today at  (928) 756-0694 or contact us here

References:

https://www2.hse.ie/wellbeing/alcohol/physical-health/alcohols-effect-on-the-body/the-liver.html

https://www.uhn.ca/

https://liverfoundation.org/liver-disease-statistics/#alcohol-related-liver-disease-and-cirrhosis

 

Warning Signs of Alcoholism

Exploring the Warning Signs of Alcoholism

Have you ever wondered where alcohol comes from, and why people drink it? Well, we are here to tell you. Whatever your drink of choice is, whether that be wine, beer, vodka, tequila, or a mixed drink, these all have something in common, they contain alcohol. After all, it is 5 o’clock somewhere right? The question is, how does someone know they or their loved one has a substance abuse problem, and realize they need professional help at an alcohol recovery program?

When making alcohol, there are different processes are depending on what you type is being brewed. Grains, fruits, and vegetables are put through a specific anaerobic process called alcoholic fermentation, which in Latin means, “To boil.” During fermentation, yeast mixed with micro-organisms convert sugars such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose into cellular energy, producing and releasing the by-products of ethanol and carbon dioxide. For example, wine and cider are created when fruit is fermented, grain barley and rye are used as the bases to produce beer and spirits. 

Whether you drink alcohol or not, the Internet is filled with advice and mixed messages. On one side of the discussion, research states that drinking alcohol such as red wine has health benefits, and on the other side of the spectrum, we hear more often about those drunken stories and that drinking is bad for you. 

Truth is, both sides of the story are not wrong, but there is a point where moderation doesn’t exist anymore, and it becomes more than just partying, and defined as a problem. The specialists of Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare are here to help. 

What is Alcohol, and Why Do We Drink It? 

Alcohol also known as ethyl alcohol is a substance produced by yeasts that digest sugars in carbonate-rich foods, such as grapes when making wine, or grains to brew beer. Ethanol is the main psychoactive ingredient in the popular alcoholic drinks we consume and is responsible for making you feel that tipsy and drunk sensation. Many people enjoy drinking alcohol for a variety of reasons including:

  • Celebration
  • Socializing 
  • Reduce anxiety and shyness
  • Self-confidence increases
  • Taste
  • Sense of identity and belonging
  • Likes the way it makes them feel

While drinking alcohol may be a social norm and is used as a symbol of celebration or for comfort, we tend to forget that alcohol is also a form of the drug, the one most consumed worldwide. For many drinking is as much as a part of daily life as getting dressed or eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Although, since most people consume it so regularly, we don’t know what it does to us, or why it causes (some of) us to suddenly think that dancing on a bar or stripping your clothes off a brilliant idea. 

The truth is, that this social acceptance and normalcy of drinking, makes us forget and ignore the harmful effects that alcohol has on our brain and body, but most importantly, how drinking can ruin someone’s life if it becomes out of control, which it often does. 

How Alcohol Affects Our Brain and Body

 The way alcohol affects the body, and the way they act when they consume it is different for everyone. In addition to all the reasons mentioned above, people also use alcohol to reduce anxiety and to relax. Although, drinking can induce anxiety and increase one’s stress levels. 

What some people fail to realize or remember is that alcohol is classified as a depressant. In other words, when we drink alcohol, it slows down our central nervous system (CNS) along with our inhibitions. 

Our brain functioning and neural activity, meaning drinking can have extremely powerful effects on the brain and body, both neuropsychological and physiological, due to the release of GABA, the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter within the brain. GABA is responsible for controlling fear or anxiety. Functioning, behavior, mood, and mental state are affected the most, including vital functions, such as decision making, movement, reaction time, etc. 

Alcohol: A Depressant and a Stimulant

Alcohol is categorized as a depressant. But it also produces both sedative and stimulating effects. The amount of alcohol someone drinks, and how they act when they do, determines the type of effect one will experience. 

As evidence has proven, most people drink for the stimulant effect, in other words, to “loosen up,” or reduce anxiety. In other words, a few drinks can spark energy, elation, and excitement; it gives you a buzz. This proves that there is more to alcohol’s effects, and it may be defined as more than simply a depressant. 

When a person consumes more alcohol than their body can handle or their tolerance becomes higher than usual, they will become drunk. They’ll experience the other effects of alcohol (sedation), such as cognitive impairment. Alcohol produces feelings of relaxation. At lower doses, alcohol is a stimulant, producing the feeling of euphoria. It may make a person more talkative and social. 

Understanding the Effects of Alcohol

To some, it may seem normal for people to become drunk once in a while. Also, it’s natural for people to experience the stimulating effect of alcohol. But studies suggest that drinking slowly is more likely to cause relaxation and reduce anxiety. In a sedative state, drinking quickly tends to increase the effects of stimulation. This is what most people want. However, those with alcoholism, dependency issues, and substance abuse, it is the other way around. They drink to experience the feeling of relaxation/sedation or becoming drunk. 

Consuming alcohol can depress someone’s central nervous system to an extreme extent, that it results in slurred speech, stumbling, and loss of balance, disturbed perceptions, and inability to react quickly. Mentally, alcohol reduces a person’s ability to think and make rational decisions, due to distorted judgment. Drinking too much too quickly not only makes a person intoxicated but, the more a person consumes, the more they depress their CNS, which can result in severe health complications, including slowed heart rate, respiratory failure, coma, alcohol poisoning, or worse death.

Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse Disorder (AUD)

Whether you go to happy hour with your friends or co-workers, drinking at home, or going out to a bar or club, alcohol is omnipresent. Whether you are a partier or not, drinking is just a part of life. What is even truer, is that research has shown that alcohol affects everyone differently, this includes both mood and behavior. 

There is a clear difference between getting drunk most of the time when you go out drinking, and drinking excessively most days, where it hinders your ability to function. Most people when they go out like getting drunk, but there is a thing called limit and moderation. Drinking “in moderation” means having no more than one drink if you’re a woman, and no more than two if you’re a man. Unfortunately, moderation does not register in some individual’s brains, and they do not or cannot control how much and how frequently they are drinking. 

In other words, everyone has heard the saying, “Know Your Limit,” and while it is true that some people can drink in moderation or get tipsy/drunk and be able to maintain a somewhat normal demeanor, other people cannot. This is called substance abuse or alcoholism. 

What is Alcoholism? 

When a person binges drinks or cannot live without drinking alcohol, they become so dependent on it, meaning their body craves it, so much so, that it impairs their ability to function in their daily life. This is when casual drinking becomes a substance abuse issue that needs attention. Often, however, people who drink excessively may not realize they have an issue, are too embarrassed to admit they have a problem, or want to ask for help, but think they can’t afford it due to the known perception that healthcare is expensive. 

Alcoholism is also known as Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is defined as a chronic disease or addiction to drinking alcohol, specifically categorized by uncontrolled drinking habits. Addiction is a monster that controls the brain, especially those struggling with substance abuse. Those with this disorder do not know what moderation is. They drink to feel good and cope and get drunk, and before they know it, they don’t know how to stop. 

Further Information About Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is an extremely serious problem in our world today. It affects approximately 16 million adults in the United States, meaning one in thirteen adults abuse alcohol or have alcoholism. While the drinking age in the United States is 21, that is often not followed. Research shows that people who begin to drink before the age of 15 are twice as likely to abuse alcohol. They’re four times more likely to develop a dependency on it.

Having alcoholism and being dependent on it are two different things, but one leads to the other. Binge drinking alcohol leads a person to become dependent on the substance. But, in an extreme case that is harmful and starts to ruin their livelihood. So, how do you know if you or a loved one is an alcoholic? Truth is, looking out for specific warning signs and understanding the symptoms is very important. Knowing more about the effects alcohol has on the brain and body can help. 

The more people are educated on these matters, the better. It can reduce the statistics that show the increase of incidents, overdoses, and deaths related to alcohol use and binge drinking. 

What Are the Warning Signs of Alcoholism? 

Ask yourself these questions below:

  • Have you continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or contributing to other health problems?
  • Do you find yourself in situations where you end up drinking much more than you intended?
  • Do you no longer have an interest in other activities and hobbies since you started drinking?
  • Have you experienced symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal?
  • Have you felt an urge or craving to consume alcohol?
  • Do you into situations while drinking that increase your chances of harming yourself or others (i.e., drinking and driving)?
  • Has alcohol use caused you to get in trouble with the law? (i.e. DUI) 

If you or your loved one’s answers to a majority of these questions above is yes, it is time to get help. You can consult with our substance abuse specialists at Granite Mountain for information. The bottom line is how alcohol affects you. If your drinking is causing problems in your life, then you have a drinking problem. 

More About Alcohol Use and Alcoholism

It is important to note, that just because you drink, does not mean you have a problem. But it is important to know the warning signs of alcoholism, and what you can do to help or get help. Not all alcohol abusers become alcoholics, but it is a big risk factor that requires attention. 

It’s not always easy to tell when you’ve crossed the line from moderate or social drinking to problematic drinking. Drinking is very common in many cultures. Also, the effects of alcohol use vary widely from person to person. So, it’s not always easy to figure out if you have a drinking problem. 

While alcoholism is genetic, it can also develop suddenly in response to life occurrences. Some people may develop alcoholism due to stress-producing changes, including:

  • Changes at work
  • Relationship problems and breakups
  • Retirement
  • Death of a loved one

Other times, it can creep up on a person. The more one drinks, their tolerance to alcohol increases, and the body eventually continue to crave it. Those who binge drink or drink every day may be at risk for developing an alcohol use disorder. They may also be at risk of becoming an alcoholic. 

There are several warning signs to help identify if an individual has potential alcohol abuse. While many of these signs are recognizable, for some, it may be more difficult to identify. Then again, everyone and their situations are unique. 

Also, the severity of alcohol abuse may play a role in the warning signs a person exhibits. Some people try to cover the fact that they drink a lot by isolating themselves, which often makes it hard for friends or family to intervene and get them help. So, how do you know when you’ve crossed the line to alcohol use disorder (AUD)?

Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare Will Help You Recover

Alcohol is the most common form of substance abuse among those who seek help from addiction treatment centers. At Granite Mountain, our specialists help those who are struggling with alcohol use disorder. Not only do we help people quit drinking, but we also help them to develop coping mechanisms. These skills help individuals to overcome the strong desire to use again. They also enable people to build healthy relationships and prevent relapse. Most importantly, individuals can enter a life of happiness, health, and long-term sobriety.

Our alcohol recovery programs include: 

  • Stabilization Programs
  • Structured Sober Living Homes
  • Transitional Living Programs
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs
  • Dual Diagnosis (Co-Occurring Conditions)
  • Life Skills & Coping Mechanisms Development

To learn more about the warning signs of alcoholism and how to help a loved one, or help yourself become sober, contact us today at (928) 756-0694. 

References 

Alcohol Detoxification

What to Expect Going Through Alcohol Detox in Yavapai County, AZ

Alcohol Use Disorder

Doctors are always coming up with new names for one thing or the other. What we grew up calling alcoholism, some call alcohol addiction. Now, the proper term when addressing alcoholism is Alcohol Use Disorder. People often search for different treatment options for AUD, let’s discuss alcohol detox in Yavapai County, AZ.

Risky behavior such as drinking too much alcohol can be an indicator of a medical condition now known as alcohol use disorder. It is a chronic disease that changes your brain. There are approximately 16 million people residing in the U.S. that have been documented to have this disorder.

Alcohol can be consumed responsibly and leave mild effects. Becoming educated on the facts about alcohol can help you drink responsibly.

Quick Facts About Alcohol:

  • Over 216 million Americans have at least experimented or tried alcohol.
  • Around 28 % of all road or traffic accidents resulting in loss of life involve alcohol.
  • 1 standard-sized drink can remain in your bloodstream for around an hour.
  • Drinking alcohol is more popular than using tobacco, marijuana or any illicit drug. Around a fourth of Americans use alcohol for the first time before the age of 18.
  • 136.7 million people ages 12 + drink alcohol in the US.
  • 2.3 million adolescences ages 12 to 17 consume alcohol.
  • 65.3 million Americans 12 + also binge drink.
  • How Many People Experience Alcoholism?

Alcohol addiction holds a spot for being one of the most common kinds of substance abuse in the US. The proper name or medical term for addiction is Substance use disorder, so alcohol use disorder means alcoholism. Alcohol use disorder affects approximately five percent of Americans every year.

Alcoholics cannot be defined by the number of drinks they consume every day. Medical specialists diagnose this condition with criteria that measure behavioral and physical changes that alcohol causes. There are some kinds of alcoholics who consume over 12 beers daily, and then there are some people that can consume that much without ever developing an alcohol addiction or use disorder.

The majority of alcoholics die due to long-term health complications caused by abusing alcohol, complications like heart problems, liver disease or cancer.

Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline of Symptoms

During detox, you will experience what’s called alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can transpire as soon as 2 hrs after your last alcoholic beverage. Normally, symptoms peak around the first 24 – 48 hours. It’s during this time that you will experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms include:

  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Fever
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Changes in blood pressure

Some people may only experience only a few withdrawal symptoms. But other abusers might suffer symptoms on a more severe side of the scale. One example is that you could experience something called delirium tremens. This is one of the most severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Long-term effects include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Cirrhosis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Stomach problems
  • Cancer
  • Heart problems
  • Permanent memory loss
  • Brain damage

When abusing alcohol your risks increase of:

  • Drowning
  • Homicide
  • Suicide
  • Car accidents

AUD can affect the people around you, too. Your drinking disorder will more than likely damage relationships with family, friends and loved ones due to lashing out, neglect, violence, and abuse. Pregnant women are risk experiencing a miscarriage. If a woman carries to term, the baby will probably have fetal alcohol syndrome and an increased risk of dying due to SIDS.

Alcohol is quite literally one of the most popularly consumed substances worldwide. For this reason, it’s also often abused. Luckily, there are facilities out there that help people get sober and stay sober. But one of the things you encounter on the long road to recovery is first going through detox. Detoxification from alcohol or any substance isn’t pleasant but needed.

Why Should You Get Treatment in Yavapai County?

Yavapai County, AZ is home to quite a number of alcohol rehab and detox centers. With the spike in addiction cases over the years, more facilities and organizations have risen up in an effort to fight against this disease.

There are two main types of treatment centers out there.

Inpatient or Residential treatment within Yavapai County, AZ involves 24-hr medically supervised care while in a live-in facility. All treatment services, as well as behavioral therapy and medical, are included at this one location.

Outpatient treatment programs in Yavapai County, AZ offer flexibility in treatment. This is helpful for people who are not able to stop their regular lives, due to something school or work-related. Outpatient treatment may require meeting at the clinic a few times each week. These meetings typically last a couple of hours at a time.

There are also programs available in Yavapai County, AZ that offer sort of a combination of these two approaches: they have the Inpatient aspect available for medical, or partial hospitalization if needed, and then more rigorous outpatient programs involving follow-up at outpatient clinics.

Life After Detox

Going through a treatment program and successfully detoxing should make anyone proud. However, it’s not the end of the battle. In fact, detox is just the first step. Next, you will have to stay sober and on your road to recovery. Here is where counseling and therapy come into play. You will be taught the skills, tactics, and techniques to avoid triggers and sidestep relapse.

That’s why finding the right program and facility is vital. It should be well rounded and offer the education you need to stay safe, clean and sober. Yavapai County has a lot to offer when you’re looking to turn your alcohol use disorder around and experience a life of recovery. Contact us today to learn more!

alcohol detox in arizona

Alcohol Detox In Arizona

If you have decided to put down that drink and get clean, you have taken a crucial step on your path to sobriety.  Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare in Prescott Valley, Arizona, is here to walk with you on that journey to clean living and freedom from alcohol dependency.

How Long Does It Take to Detox

The process of ridding the body of toxins, such as alcohol, is called detox.  For people with mild to moderate alcoholism, the detoxification process typically starts within eight hours after the last drink but can last up to seven days.  For those battling severe addiction, withdrawal can last for two weeks or more.

The length of alcohol detox in Arizona depends on many factors, including the severity of the individual’s alcoholism.  The more severe the alcohol use disorder, the longer the detox process will take.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

When you are going through detox from alcohol abuse, withdrawal symptoms are expected, and you should be prepared for them.  Withdrawal symptoms happen when a person has been drinking too much alcohol regularly and then suddenly stops.  Alcohol withdrawal happens more in adults but can occur in teenagers or children.  If you have existing medical conditions, this can cause the withdrawal symptoms to be more severe.

Symptoms can occur as soon as 8 hours after the last drink but can appear days later.  They usually peak during the first 24 to 72 hours but can last for weeks.

Some of the more common withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Anxiety ( nervousness)
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Jumpiness ( Shakiness)
  • Mood Swings
  • Nightmares
  • Not thinking clearly

Some other symptoms you may experience are:

  • Sweating ( clammy skin)
  • Enlarged (dilated) pupils
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pallor
  • Rapid Heart Rate
  • Tremor of the hands or other body parts

A more severe form of alcohol withdrawal is called, delirium tremens.  It occurs in about 5% or 1 out of every 20 people that experience withdrawal symptoms.  In delirium tremens, the brain has difficulty readjusting its chemistry after alcohol is stopped.  This results in a state of temporary confusion and leads to dangerous changes in the way the brain regulates circulation and breathing.  Vital signs, such as heart rate or blood pressure, can change unexpectedly, creating a risk of heart attack, stroke, or death.  Symptoms of delirium tremens are:

  • Agitation
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Severe Confusion

Diagnosing

There are no specific tests that are used to diagnose alcohol withdrawal.   The evidence of withdrawal symptoms after heavy habitual drinking has been stopped is easy to identify.  Individuals that have a history of withdrawal symptoms, then you are likely to experience them again if they began drinking heavily again and stopped.

If you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms from alcohol abuse, then you may have also caused damage to other organs.  You should schedule an appointment with your doctor to do blood tests and check for alcohol-related damage to your liver, heart, the nerves in your feet, blood cell counts, and gastrointestinal tract. Poor nutrition is typical in an individual with alcohol dependence, so your doctor will probably check your diet and any vitamin deficiencies.  Supplements, a healthy diet, and a regular sleep schedule may improve withdrawal side effects and help the body heal faster.

Being honest about how much alcohol you have been consuming can be hard when battling alcoholism, but it is crucial in getting the right treatment for your withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment Options

Depending on the severity of your alcohol dependency and withdrawal symptoms, some treatment options are:

  • Medical Detox
  • Weaning ( Alcohol Use Reduction)
  • Hospital Treatment
  • Group and Individual Therapy Sessions

Monitoring and controlling the physical symptoms to reach a stable point is usually the first step in the detoxification process.  Medical detox is often used to accomplish this.  It uses medications to treat symptoms such as nausea, dehydration, seizures, and insomnia.

Sometimes alcohol use is slowly reduced over a period of time through a detailed tapering schedule that should be set up and supervised by your doctor or another medical professional.  In this method, the patient is weaned off of alcohol in a controlled manner to avoid more severe withdrawal side effects.  Your doctor may also go over medications that can help to lessen alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

As previously stated, alcohol abusers tend to have a shortage of several vitamins and minerals.  Nutritional supplements can help with this deficiency.

If you are experiencing severe symptoms such as vomiting, seizures, or delirium tremens, you should look into hospital treatment.  Treatment in an intensive care unit (ICU) may is often required for delirium tremens, because your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing need to be monitored closely.

The physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are just part of the detoxification process. You may also experience the more emotional side effects of withdrawal.  Medications, coupled with therapy and counseling sessions, are used to treat anxiety, depression, and potential suicidal ideation.  One of the main goals of any alcohol detox center is to prevent relapse.  Group sessions like 12-step groups and individual therapy can serve as continued support through this stage and beyond.

Seeking Help

There is alcohol detox in Arizona available to help you or a loved one recover from meth addiction.

All you have to do is click here to start your search for alcohol recovery.  Remember that being honest about your alcohol consumption and the severity of your symptoms is key in getting the right treatment for your condition.  We have specialists at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare that can talk to you or your loved one through this process and get you started on your way to clean living.  Contact us today to learn more.

References:

alcohol addiction prescott valley

Alcohol Addiction in Prescott Valley, Arizona

Alcohol is a part of our society, often associated with celebrations, dining, and nights out on the town.  It is rare to attend a social event where alcohol is not present.  Battling an alcohol addiction, or the disease known as alcoholism, can have physical, psychological, and social effects, but it can be treated and overcome with the right assistance and resources.  You can find helpful resources and treatment for your alcohol addiction right home at Granite Behavioral Healthcare in Prescott Valley, Arizona, at www.granitemountainbhc.com.  We are here to help you defeat this battle.

The Breakdown on Alcohol

Alcohol (ethanol or ethyl alcohol) is the ingredient found in wine, beer, and spirits that can lead to drunkenness.  Alcohol is the result of yeast fermenting the sugars in food.  It has a sedative-hypnotic effect in the body, which means it acts to depress the central nervous system at high doses.  In lower doses, it can act as a stimulant, causing a feeling of euphoria and talkativeness.  Consuming too much alcohol at once can lead to drowsiness, respiratory depression, coma, or even death.

Why Is Alcohol Addictive

Alcohol makes people feel good.  The need to feel good or normal through alcohol consumption is what leads to addiction.  Studies show that alcohol affects the brain, but new research focuses more on areas of the brain that are most likely affected.  There are specific differences in how the reward center of the brain responds to alcohol in heavy and light drinkers.  In both groups, alcohol consumption caused naturally occurring endorphins, feel-good opioids, in two main areas of the brain that are associated with reward processing.

Heavy drinkers tended to release more endorphins and reported feelings of more intoxication compared to lighter drinkers after consuming the same amount of alcohol.  Dr. Jennifer M. Mitchell from the University of California in San Francisco said that people whose brains release more of these natural opioids in response to alcohol might experience more pleasure from drinking.  As a result, they are more likely to drink and potentially become alcoholics.

What Is One Drink Too Many

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says that most people don’t realize or consider how much alcohol is in their drink.  The amount of liquid in a drink is not a determining factor as to how much alcohol it contains.  Different types of wine, beer, malt liquor have varying amounts of alcohol.  A standard drink, or one alcoholic drink equivalent, contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol, which is found in the following:

  • 12 ounces of regular beer which usually has approximately 5% alcohol
  • 5 ounces of wine which generally has about 12% alcohol
  • 5 ounces of distilled spirits which contain about 40% alcohol

When attending social functions, people will go over the standard drink amount without a second thought, often consuming a few drinks in one evening.  Occasionally, you may have one too many drinks.  It is when this habit becomes your standard or means of coping that can lead you on a path to alcohol addiction.

Some Signs That You May Have An Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol Addiction can start with an occasional drink here and there that leads to an increase in daily alcohol consumption over time.  Signs to look for if you suspect that you or a loved one may be battling alcohol addiction are:

  • Increase in frequency or quantity of drinking
  • Depending on alcohol to function in everyday life
  • Hiding your alcohol or drinking
  • Using alcohol to deal with stress and other issues
  • Your amount of alcohol consumption has affected your physical and mental health
  • Experiencing an increase in depression and emotional issues
  • Unhealthy changes in your relationships based on your alcohol dependency

National Alcohol Abuse Statistics

Millions of people in the United States battle with some form of alcohol abuse or addiction.  Here is a list of statistics on the effects of alcohol addiction from the Addiction Recovery Centers:

  • An estimated 15.1 million adults in the United States, aged 18 and over, had alcohol use disorder in 2015. This is about 6.2% of the population.
  • Alcohol use disorder affects more men than women, with 9.8 million men and 5.3 million women battling with the disease.
  • Teenagers are also affected by alcohol abuse. An estimated 623,000 teens between the ages of 12 and 17 had alcohol use disorder in 2015.
  • Less than 10 percent of people with alcohol use disorder choose not to receive professional drug rehab treatment.
  • Every year, about 88,000 people in the U.S. die from alcohol-related causes, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the U.S.
  • Alcohol misuse cost the U.S. $249 billion in 2010.

In addition, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that past studies show that an average of six people per day die of alcohol poisoning in the United States.  Three out of four, or about 76%, deaths from alcohol poisoning are among adults between the ages of 35 to 64.  About 76% of those deaths from alcohol poisoning are men.

On Your Way To Recovery

We have discussed how alcoholism is treated as a disease, but it does not have to be a fatal diagnosis.  There is hope for you or your loved one that may be battling this alcohol addiction.  You are not alone. Reports indicate that an estimated 16 million people in the United States struggle with alcohol use disorder.  This condition can be safely and effectively treated at drug rehabilitation centers that offer medical detox and therapy that show proven results. It is important to search for a treatment center that specializes in healing the struggles of individuals suffering from alcoholism.

Do not let alcohol take over your life.  Take the necessary action today to regain power over your life and speak with one of our specialists at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare on your first steps at (928) 756-0694.

References:

youth drinking

Youth Drinking in Arizona: Is This A Serious Problem?

Underage drinking in Arizona is a very big problem. In 2017, 30% of high school students were found to have been drinking in the thirty days leading up to the survey. For someone with an addictive personality, one drink might be all that it takes for the person to get addicted to a substance. For addictive personalities it does not matter what age they are exposed to the substance, the risk is there. Alcohol addiction or alcoholism may even require treatment

What is an Addictive Personality? 

People who do not have an addictive personality can still develop addictions but it might take longer to develop the habit. An addictive personality is a range of personality traits, not one set component. A person with an addictive personality might develop an addiction after only one sip of alcohol. 

What Can Influence an Alcohol Addiction in Underage Drinkers?

Other things can lead an underage or an of age person to develop an alcohol addiction. While some things like personality can influence a person when it comes to addiction, several other things influence the situation like:

  • Social support system
  • Who the person spends time around
  • Education
  • Environment

 While these things matter to people of all ages, the environmental factor is especially relevant to minors. Children have little to no say in what environment they are introduced to. They often cannot leave their environment if they want to, even if it is extremely unhealthy.

Does Genetics Play a Role in Alcohol Addiction in Teens? 

Genetics is also a factor in addiction. It is no less a factor for underage drinkers. Having family members who are addicted to substances influences any person’s susceptibility to addiction. It may also increase the minor’s exposure to alcohol. Having a family member who drinks will also model a very unhealthy lifestyle for the child. A child with at least one alcoholic parent is four times more likely to develop alcoholism themselves.

Drinking Alcohol: Can it Really Lead to Death?

14% of high school students binge drank within the 30 days before the survey was taken. A teen does not have to binge drink to be at risk for dying while driving under the influence. They can also be part of an alcohol-related violent crime. In a survey of 4,358 deaths of underage drinkers:

  • 1,580 died from car crashes
  • 1,269 died from homicide
  • 245 died from alcohol poisoning, burns, falls or drowning
  • 492 died from suicide

Why Do Teens Drink? 

One of the reasons so many underage people drink is the desire for more independence. As a child grows it often steadily starts taking steps to become more, and more independent from its mother, father, and other caregivers. Some teens feel as though they do not have enough independence and they will rebel by drinking or participating in other risky behaviors to feel more independent. Independence is vital for a child’s success as an adult. Drinking is not a necessary part of this process though.

Other teenagers and other underage drinkers have more independence than ever and like to enjoy this newfound sense of freedom. Often the causes that motivate underage drinking vary from person to person.

What is Alcohol Poisoning? 

Narcan is a nasal spray that can reverse an opioid overdose. Unfortunately, there is no equivalent to alcohol poisoning. 

Alcohol poisoning is often fatal if the people around the person who has overdose do not seek help for them. Alcohol poisoning is essentially an alcohol overdose. Alcohol poisoning is when too much alcohol passes into a person’s bloodstream from their stomach and intestines. Alcohol can still pass into the bloodstream after a person has stopped consuming alcohol. As long as there is still alcohol in the stomach or intestines it can get into the bloodstream, even if the person has stopped the act of drinking alcohol.

What are the Signs of Alcohol Poisoning?

 You should never assume that a person who shows signs of alcohol poisoning will be able to recover from the overdose on their own. Signs of alcohol poisoning are:

  • confusion
  • difficulty remaining conscious
  • vomiting
  • seizures
  • slow breathing or gaps in breathing
  • slow heart rate
  • clammy skin
  • dulled responses, such as no gag reflex (which prevents choking)
  • extremely low body temperature

What Do I do if Someone is Experiencing Alcohol Poisoning?

While some of these symptoms like difficulty remaining conscious might seem like they might be a normal part of simply being very drunk things like seizures, slow heart rate, and slow breathing are not. If a person shows more than one of the above signs, they might be experiencing alcohol poisoning. The person does not have to show every symptom on the list. Here are the steps to follow if someone you are around is or seems to be experiencing alcohol poisoning: 

Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Never assume that a person will sleep off alcohol poisoning.

Be prepared to provide information. If you know, be sure to tell the hospital or emergency personnel the kind and amount of alcohol the person drank, and when.

Don’t leave an unconscious person alone. Because alcohol poisoning affects the way your gag reflex works, someone with alcohol poisoning may choke on his or her own vomit and not be able to breathe. While waiting for help, don’t try to make the person vomit because he or she could choke.

Help a person who is vomiting. Try to keep him or her sitting up. If the person must lie down, make sure to turn his or her head to the side — this helps prevent choking. Try to keep the person awake to prevent loss of consciousness.

Can Alcohol Poisoning Kill You?

Alcohol poisoning can cause brain damage, coma, and death. Some other dangers of alcohol poisoning are: 

  • Choking

A person who is experiencing alcohol poisoning often has no gag reflex and can choke on their own vomit.

  • Asphyxiation

Someone who is experiencing alcohol poisoning can die from a lack of oxygen to their brain. This can happen when their vomit gets into their lungs.

  • Dehydration

Someone can become severely dehydrated from vomiting too much while they are experiencing alcohol poisoning. This can lead to dangerously low blood pressure and a fast heart rate. 

  • Hypothermia

A person with alcohol poisoning is at risk of hypothermia. Hypothermia is when the body temperature drops too low. This can lead to cardiac arrest.

  • Irregular heartbeat

Alcohol poisoning can cause someone’s heart to beat irregularly, or sometimes even stop beating at all.

Any of these things can cause severe brain damage and/or death.

It is important to remember that in the survey mentioned above it was found that 90% of the alcohol consumed by teenagers was consumed in a binge drinking session. Binge drinking is the most likely way that a person will experience alcohol poisoning. Other causes of death and injury are not directly linked to binge drinking in particular. 14% of teenagers were found to have ridden in a car that was driven by someone who had been drinking. The survey did not indicate how much the drivers had been drinking. 

Using a Fake ID to Purchase Alcohol

It is illegal to use fake identification to purchase alcohol in Arizona. If a teen is caught trying to use a fake ID, they can be charged with a class 3 misdemeanor and they could go to jail. Underage drinkers who are under 18 years old might be sent to juvenile detention.

Besides very possible legal trouble if an underage drinker is caught with alcohol or found to be under the influence of alcohol by the police, a minor needs to have to follow up after they are found to be drinking. Because the brain isn’t developed until age 25 brain damage might be even more worrying. Underage drinkers sometimes do not have their high school diploma yet. Alcoholism and/or trouble with the law can either stop a person from attending school or at least encourage them not to.

What are the Effects of Alcohol Addiction on a Teen?

When someone forms an addiction no matter what age the most important thing to that person becomes the substance they are addicted to. One of the indicators of addiction is that if someone has an addiction they stop keeping up with their responsibilities. One of these responsibilities could be school.

What is Truancy?

Truancy in Yuma county, Arizona, for example, is defined as a child between six and sixteen years of age with five or more unexcused absences from school. Arizona takes truancy very seriously and there are criminal repercussions for a child who does not attend school.

One reason that a child might not attend school is to drink. Many schools have zero tolerance for drinking on school premises. If a student is caught drinking on school grounds then the student might be expelled depending on the school. Some of the legal consequences for truancy are a fine up to $500 and possibly a thirty-day jail sentence.

Your child’s life and future are at risk when they choose to drink to find help please contact us. Or call (877) 389-0412.

 

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