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

 

alcoholism and binge drinking

Alcoholism vs Binge Drinking

When it comes to understanding alcoholism, people often confuse it for binge drinking. Even though both deal with the abuse of alcohol, the two are entirely separate concepts.

Just because somebody is binge drinking doesn’t mean they’re an alcoholic. It is imperative that people know that there is a difference. 

Understanding both of these can help people better understand what treatment program is necessary for their recovery journey, as well as the different negative impacts alcohol, has as far as substance abuse is concerned. 

Alcoholism

Alcoholism is best described as an insurmountable desire to partake in consuming alcohol. It is one of the most dangerous forms of substance abuse. Those who suffer from alcoholism usually spend a lot of time thinking about alcohol; most often, it’s all they can think about. Because of this, the temptation to use or abuse escalates, and eventually, the user is seduced by the hold that alcohol has on their psychological well-being.

When somebody uses alcohol, the pleasure center in the brain is triggered. Because of this, the user’s desires are manipulated, and eventually, that desire becomes insatiable. When this happens, users place the consumption of alcohol as their top priority.

People who suffer from alcoholism make drinking their top priority, and this has a monstrous effect on family and loved ones. It could cause addicts to neglect them or even treat them poorly. Not only that, but monetary problems could come as a direct result of alcoholism. Financial stressors are difficult for families, and dependency on alcohol is expensive. That being said, alcohol addiction has the power to tear loved ones who were once inseparable apart.

Factors of Alcoholism

Some contributing factors for alcoholism include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Peer pressure
  • Marital problems
  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical abuse

Alcoholism is much more complicated than a person choosing to drink once because they felt like it and then being hooked. There is a vast array of circumstances that can lead to somebody finding solace in alcohol abuse.

Symptoms of Alcoholism

If you or your loved one are suffering from alcoholism, you may be experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Lack of interest in any activity
  • Consistently inebriated 
  • Consistently lying
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Lack of self-control with alcohol

One of the hardest parts of identifying alcoholism is the fear of calling it what it is. Those who suffer are likely aware that they have a problem, but have trouble confronting it, and could become angry if the truth is pointed out. This is why you must seek help when confronting a loved one who suffers from alcoholism. Approaching them in a loving, non-judgemental way is also important when confronting someone suffering from alcoholism. 

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is defined as the prolonged use of alcohol in one sitting causing a person’s blood-alcohol concentration to be considerably high (0.8g%). Those who are binge drinking drink a vast amount of alcohol within a short amount of time. This is different from alcoholism in that the person is not addicted, they are merely misusing the substance in a manner that lacks upright judgment.

Over 50% of alcohol that is served to people is done so for someone who is binge drinking. This alarming statistic highlights just how common alcohol abuse is in those who use it. When consuming alcohol this way, the pleasure centers of the brain are impacted greatly. Binge drinking is known to lead to damage in the pleasure center of the brain. 

Not everybody who struggles with binge drinking is suffering from alcoholism. For example, an alcoholic may have a dependency on the substance, but they’re not always drinking enough to cause the short term effects of nausea, vomiting, and memory loss. Those who binge drink are likely going to experience these symptoms and more.

Some immediate effects binge drinking may have on a person includes the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blackout
  • Hangovers
  • Alcohol poisoning

Binge drinking also could have long term effects on a person, which includes the following:

  • Heart problems
  • Depression
  • Brain damage
  • Liver damage
  • Memory damage
  • Cancer

Sometimes binge drinking can even lead to tragedies such as car accidents, domestic violence, or even death. Being aware of the impact that binge drinking can have on an individual is imperative to prevent the risks of it and also providing somebody with the help they need to stop.

There is often a misconception that binge drinking only happens at parties. Sadly, this is not the case. Binge drinking could take place in a variety of different circumstances. For example, somebody could be binge drinking alone so that they can hide their troubles from a loved one, or they might drink at a sporting event. Binge drinking could also take place when friends get together, become bored, and start playing a drinking game. 

Binge drinking can often lead to unfortunate circumstances or have long-term effects that someone hadn’t seen coming. They must recognize the symptoms, as it may lead to getting the help that they never knew they needed.

 

Key Differences Between Binge Drinking and Alcoholism

The differences between alcoholism and binge drinking include:

  • Binge drinkers are not dependent on alcohol
  • Binge drinking is defined by a specific blood-alcohol percentage
  • Alcoholism is a chronic condition
  • Those suffering from alcoholism can’t control their consumption
  • Those suffering from alcoholism have an increased tolerance

Alcoholism and binge drinking can often become grouped within the same category, but it does not mean they’re the same thing. There are vast differences between the two; understanding these differences is key in identifying which of the two somebody is struggling with, and also in combating substance abuse in any form it takes.

Consequences of Alcoholism and Binge Drinking

The consequences of binge drinking are as follows:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blackouts
  • Hangovers
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Accidents and injuries
  • Unplanned pregnancy 
  • Sexually transmitted diseases

The consequences of alcoholism include:

  • Cancer
  • Psychological problems
  • Liver disease
  • Heart issues
  • Depression

Understanding the consequences of both binge drinking and alcoholism are imperative to a person’s recovery. These two forms of substance abuse may lead to unfortunate circumstances that nobody saw coming. If you believe that yourself or a loved one is suffering from either of these two forms of addiction, it is important to seek help immediately.

How Granite Can Help

When it comes to understanding alcoholism, it is just as important to familiarize oneself with what kind of treatment is available. So that somebody understands their need for help, a person must first communicate their love and understanding for the one affected. These people require real love and compassion. This begins first with understanding. 

Once you’ve approached someone struggling from substance abuse in a caring manner and they’re ready to receive treatment, then it’s time to explore your options. Thankfully, at Granite, we offer a wide variety of treatment options to meet your loved one’s needs. 

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient care is used to treat serious cases of addiction. This treatment includes 24/7 access to medical personnel if the need arises, allows the patient to live in the care of one of our treatment facilities and lasts anywhere from 28 days to six months. If your loved one suffers from a serious addiction, Granite’s inpatient treatment program may be for them.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient care is a recovery method that gives patients access to professional psychiatrists and therapists anywhere from 10-12 hours weekly. Designed to treat mild cases of addiction, patients can recover with minimal disruption to their daily lives as this method allows them to be treated while living in their own homes. This treatment option is extremely convenient for those who have a mild case of addiction and need to stick around their home to support themselves or their families.

Detox

Detox from drugs and alcohol could include the following symptoms:

  • Hallucinations
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Seizures 
  • Nausea or vomiting

Cutting somebody off completely from drugs or alcohol who have been addicted for quite some time can lead to serious withdrawal. Drug cravings are extremely difficult to overcome and can have a frightening impact on someone who struggles with addiction. Medically assisted treatment (MAT) uses medicine wean a patient off of drugs or alcohol in a more comfortable way than cold-turkey.

Therapy

Therapy in addiction treatment helps patients evaluate their past with substance abuse, and also shapes their attitudes towards it in a more positive direction. The goal is to improve the way they cope with their drug cravings by providing them with skills that encourage self-control.

Moving Forward

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, then it may be time to seek out professional help. Throughout the recovery process, Granite’s philosophy is to guide those who wrestle with addiction to a place of sobriety and stability. We do this with the help of specially trained professionals who are experts in all of the treatment methods mentioned above. If you are interested in what Granite can offer you as far as a patient’s recovery from drug and alcohol addiction is concerned, contact us here, or call us at (877) 338-6287.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4008086/

https://www.psycom.net/binge-drinking

https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/moderate-binge-drinking

https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/mental-health/alcoholism/

https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/faqs.htm#bingeDrinking

 

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.

 

References:

 

alcoholism and depression

Alcohol Abuse and Depression: Understanding the Connection

In general, we are constantly exposed to the idea of fixing a tough week with a “happy hour” hang out on the weekends, whether it is with co-workers or friends. Binge drinking has been idealized as a way to make you feel better after feeling too stressed out or upset, so it’s no wonder that most people now do that on a weekly basis. Even though drinking a little too much every once in a while could be harmless, it is the link between emotions and drinking according to them that can be a problem if someone is dealing with a mental illness.

It is basically impossible not to come in contact with alcohol nowadays, as most social events involve drinking. So people that suffer from depression will certainly drink eventually, and if they don’t know they suffer from it in the first place, that can put them at risk of alcohol abuse. Yes, addiction doesn’t happen automatically with one drink, but since symptoms of depression don’t go away on their own either, chances are that one drink will be the first of many before a downward spiral.

Alcohol abuse and depression are also connected in the sense that they can feed off each other. Alcohol is a depressant, so as the drinking happens more often and in higher doses, the initial feeling of inhibition and relaxation will wear out and be replaced by sadness, anger, or anxiety. That, added to the other symptoms of depression, can lead to alcohol abuse and the user might not even realize that a disorder is the root of the problem.

How Do I Identify Depression?

Feeling a surge of sadness or feeling down can happen to anyone, and it is a natural reaction to anything sad in life. Having that feeling alone is a way to process bad news, big changes, losing someone, and should not be something to avoid or suppress. But depression is more than that, and one of its signs is if these feelings last for more than two weeks or even months.

If these feelings are somehow so bad that they affect your daily life drastically, that should be a cause for concern. In this scenario, alcohol abuse and depression can be more likely to happen, and will only make things worse. Contrary to popular belief, however, depression isn’t just staying in bed and/or crying or feeling only deep sadness. Some signs to look out for are also:

  • Losing interest in things that brought pleasure (i.e.: hobbies, physical activities, sex)
  • Having a harder time making decisions, big and/or simple
  • Feelings of restlessness or agitation
  • Changes in weight, either losing or gaining too much of it
  • Loss of self-confidence, purpose, and hope
  • Physical aches or pains with no apparent reason and that won’t go away even with treatment
  • Numbness or emptiness (as opposed to feeling too much)
  • Being easily and constantly irritable
  • Not being able to focus or concentrate even in mundane activities
  • Having very low energy and fatigue even without doing much

While not everyone will experience depression the same way or many of its symptoms, being diagnosed is the only way to know for sure if someone might be suffering from depression. Since there are different levels and disorders related to symptoms of depression, getting help will not just identify the problem, but will help a psychiatrist or another health care provider know what treatment should be applied.

Something else that should be taken into consideration is family history with either alcohol abuse or depression or any other mental illnesses. Genes also come into play when identifying what someone is going through, as most of these disorders can often be passed down from generation to generation. Disclose any information you might find important to share, even if there was no official diagnosis of family members you believe displayed characteristics of mental illnesses.

How Can I Get Help?

Alcohol abuse and depression are illnesses that can affect one another, but it is more than possible to break that cycle. It is scientifically proven that cutting down on alcohol consumption can help symptoms of depression, so while they are hard to deal with simultaneously, improvements with one condition can bring on improvements with the other. Even in the case of suffering from other disorders combined, a condition called dual-diagnosis, keeping on with a drinking habit can worsen or accelerate the course of the psychiatric disorder, so any suspicions should not be taken lightly. 

Dual-diagnosis can come in many forms, not just in the combination of depression and alcohol abuse, and almost 60% of addicts suffer from a second psychiatric illness. It is not uncommon, and we at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare have experience and resources to aid dual-diagnosis patients with both disorders. From alcohol abuse to opioids, we have options for many different scenarios, no matter what is being dealt with.

If you or a loved one need to get help for one or more disorders, do not hesitate to contact us. Visit our website and get all the information you need to meet with someone that will answer all your questions and explain everything that we can do to help anyone deal, understand, and free themselves from alcohol abuse, depression, and any other mental illness holding them down.

References:

https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/mental-health/alcohol-and-depression/

https://www.psycom.net/depression-substance-abuse

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3658562/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2874911/

https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mental-health/problems-disorders/depression

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml