Category Archive Addiction

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Alcohol And Effects On The Body

Alcohol and health effects of alcohol on the body can be short term or long term effects. The consumption of alcohol and health related problems can occur over a short time frame, while other conditions and long term effects of alcohol on the body may only happen following years of alcohol abuse.

Alcohol comes into direct contact with the mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach and intestines as well as being absorbed into the bloodstream. Health problems can begin as headaches…

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Alcohol and health effects of alcohol on the body can be short term or long term effects. The consumption of alcohol and health related problems can occur over a short time frame, while other conditions and long term effects of alcohol on the body may only happen following years of alcohol abuse.

Alcohol comes into direct contact with the mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach and intestines as well as being absorbed into the bloodstream. Health problems can begin as headaches, feeling nauseated, sore throat or indigestion. However, if alcohol abuse continues, these and other alcohol and health symptoms can develop into more serious illnesses and diseases.

Here are examples of short term health effects of alcohol on the body:

Nausea, Vomiting, Dizziness, Hangovers – excessive alcohol consumption can result in the body trying to protect itself by getting rid of the alcohol and vomiting. Alcohol and health and the central nervous system are related since alcohol affects a person’s sense of balance and orientation, leading to a feeling of nausea and/or dizziness. Hangovers are partly due to the body’s dehydration caused by alcohol consumption, and hangover effects of alcohol on the body may be felt a few hours after consuming alcohol.

Loss of Muscle Control – slurred speech is one of the effects of alcohol on the body. Impaired judgement and poor coordination are alcohol and health effects that can lead to falls and accidents.

Adverse Interactions with Medications – alcohol is known to interact negatively with at least 100 medications. For example, antihistamines taken with alcohol can increase the drowsiness that this medication by itself can cause. Large doses of the painkiller acetaminophen taken together when consuming alcohol increases the risk of liver damage.

Pregnancy Risks – alcohol can cause numerous birth defects, the most serious being fetal alcohol syndrome. Babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome will have physical abnormalities, mental impairment and problems with behavior. To avoid negative alcohol and health effects during pregnancy, do not drink alcohol during pregnancy as no one knows exactly how much alcohol causes birth defects.

Because alcohol and health effects can involve many organs in the body, long-term heavy drinking puts you at risk for developing serious health conditions and illnesses. Here are examples of long term effects of alcohol on the body:

Liver Inflammation and Cirrhosis of the Liver – liver inflammation symptoms include abnormal yellowing of the skin, eyeballs and urine, fever and abdominal pain. And in the case of cirrhosis, as many as one in five heavy drinkers will develop cirrhosis of the liver. Alcohol is especially harmful to the liver since the liver is needed to metabolize alcohol. Alcohol destroys liver cells, and it destroys the ability of the liver to regenerate new cells.

Cancer – long term heavy drinkers increase their risk for certain forms of cancer such as cancer of the mouth, throat and esophagus and colon.

Heart disease – long term heavy drinking increases a person’s risk for developing high blood pressure and heart disease.

Pancreatitis – long term heavy drinking can result in developing inflammation of the pancreas, called pancreatitis. The pancreas are needed for food digestion, and pancreatitis symptoms include severe abdominal pain and weight loss. Pancreatitis can be life-threatening.

Additional long term negative alcohol and health effects on the body include damage to the brain, nerve damage, bleeding in the esophagus, erectile dysfunction in men, insomnia and depression. If you’d like to learn more about alcoholism stages and warning signs, there are proven resources available that can help. It is never too late to begin recovery from alcohol addiction.

Copyright 2006 InfoSearch Publishing

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ByAnxious Minds

Alcohol Addiction: Debunking the Myth

Many people have their beliefs about alcohol addiction. However, most of these beliefs stem from a lack of experience, understanding and perhaps tolerance.  So let us correct some of these common misconceptions.

Myth 1: Addiction is only a bad habit and the only reason addicts can’t quit is because they have no willpower.

At the start of drinking, perhaps it could be a voluntary decision. Consider it a much-needed respite from work, bills, relationship and all the drama. However, the more they choose to turn to it, the more dependent they become on it to relieve stress and in the end, they become addicted. This addiction happens because alcohol alters the brain and now the alcohol is in control of the addict.

Myth 2: Addicts are people with mental problems.

The statement is untrue. Addicts began as ordinary people who only started on one or two drinks to relieve stress. The more they seek this as an outlet, the more addicted they become. As we said in myth #1 alcohol alters the brain, creating a need in the user to be drinking all the time. This leads to bad life decisions.

Myth 3:  Treatment never works. Look at how many people relapse

The public thinks that it will be easy to quit alcohol cold turkey however it is not that easy. The rehabilitation of alcoholics or treatment for them is not a one size fit all. The programme has to be tailored to suit the needs of alcohol addicts. Different individuals have different issues that they are dealing with, and they also respond differently to various treatment.

Myth 4: The addict has to be willing to quit for treatment to be effective.

Most of the time, they do not want treatment. They only seek therapy because the court ordered them or concerned family members referred to them. Wanting to quit has little effect on the effectiveness of the procedure.

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Alcoholism and Marriage: Does it go together?

According to statistics, more than one in four of the families in the UK have an individual who is abusing alcohol or addicted to it. Be it the husband or the wife, the effects of it on a marriage can be damaging. S0, what are some of the impact of it?

It causes anger. Imagine having all the tension simmering under the guise of a happy marriage. As the saying goes, still water runs deep. Heavy alcohol use does not yield warm communication. It produces more negative and hostile communications. There is more hostility in everyday conversation, and all these factors decrease the couple’s satisfaction in the marriage.

There’s marital distress. Negative and hostile communication yields to marital trouble in the non-alcoholic spouse. It adds to the strain and the tension of the matrimonial ties. There is less problem solving, more damaging communication. The problem just keeps on piling up. This may lead to a higher potential for marital violence or divorce.

Being absent in the family. The alcoholic spouse is continuously absent in the family. They are unable to shoulder the everyday family responsibility or daily household tasks. This inability leads to a diminished role in the family as a husband or a wife to the non-alcoholic spouse and as a father or a mother to the children.

Physiological distress on the family especially the children. An alcoholic father or mother figure increases the children’s social, emotional, behavioural and academic problems.

Marital violence. The more men are frequently intoxicated, the more likely they are to vent their anger on their wives. Alcohol abuse is linked to increased aggression, and more physical violence as their ability for rational thinking is reduced. Besides, the intoxicated spouses are more likely to act on impulse and unable to exert self-restraint

In conclusion, no good can come out of it. Alcoholism and marriage are like oil and water. Both can never mix.

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ByAnxious Minds

4 Powerful Remedies for Sobriety Success

The brain will tell the addict that they need alcohol. Otherwise, the individual will be unable to function correctly. So before you pick the keys and head off to the nearest bar, go through our four remedies to help you survive the day.

Firstly eat food. Ignore the demand for alcohol and feed your body with food instead. Most problem drinkers tend to drink alcohol as one meal of the day. Take that away and substitute it for a filling and nutritious meal. Eat a good solid dinner and the best way to fight your alcohol cravings is to have three square meals in a day. Enjoy your breakfast, lunch and dinner, and you’ll be surprised to find that the urge to drink alcohol gets less or almost non-existent.

Secondly, a temptation to drink alcohol may be a body’s cry for sugar. If you eat a few sweets a day, your body may be addicted to sugar. Your body is sourcing it from various foods including alcohol. Perhaps it would be best to cut back on the sugar and juice and source your sugar from natural products such as fruits. If you do feel the temptation to drink, try eating a sweet. However do not turn this new habit into a full-fledged addiction.

Thirdly, drink more water. Every time your brain screams out for alcohol. Silence its demands with a glass of water. It has been recommended that a healthy individual consume 6-8 glasses of water. This does not include normal beverages such as coffee, tea, juice but just plain old water. Start the habit of drinking lots of water daily. Buy a 2 L water bottle. Fill it up at the start of the morning and promise yourself by the end of work, that 2 L water bottle will be finished.

Fourthly, remember to exercise. Give yourself the burst of endorphins and the adrenaline rush through exercise. Just take at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. This will improve your self-esteem and increase your self-confidence. If you are bored at home and feel the urge to drink, go out and stretch a little and then go for a bit of a walk around the neighbourhood. Get the oxygen flowing in the brain. This will silence the body’s urges for alcohol.

So remember all these steps, and try it. Do not give up so quickly because the best things in life are the ones worth fighting for and taking control of your life is one of them.

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ByAnxious Minds

Baby steps to sober living

Society seems to think that kicking an addiction is easy, what more an alcoholic addiction. The easy part may be getting sober. However, the most challenging part is the one that comes after that, staying dry. So here are five little basic ideas to get you through the day.

1. Positive activities. Say it has been your childhood dream to be an underwater explorer. Now here is your chance. Enrol in a class, get your license. Find friends who love diving and start a new experience together. Love cooking? Take classes. Choose activities or the things that you like that will increase your self-esteem and self-confidence. This will increase your chances of staying sober.

2.  Trying new things. Just as taking a driving license, now is the time to discover that other side of you. Who says you will honestly know yourself by the time you are an adult. Continuously try new things,     visit new places. Take a holiday. With that new diving license, start diving in the beautiful islands of the world. By getting interested in new experiences, you are taking your mind off your addiction and staying sober will be just a piece of cake.

3.  Always be wary. Pay attention to little triggers that might set you off on a drinking spree again. Stressful triggers like deaths, anniversaries may depress you, and that is when the urge would kick in. Write down a list of these triggers and also list downs what you could do when you are faced with such triggers. One such example is you could go for AA meetings when at that time of the year.

4. Make resolutions. Sit down and list down a list of things that you have always meant to achieve and give yourself a timeline for it. Before the age of 30, I would like to have a good job; I would like to visit the majestic Taj Mahal. Anything. But most importantly, work towards your goals.

5. Lastly, do not give up. Yes if you relapse once, it is a mistake. However, do go easy on yourself. If you fall down, pick yourself up and try again. At the end of it all, you know it will be worth it.

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ByAnxious Minds

How to Quit Drinking without Full Abstinence

You may have a problem with drinking but may be too embarrassed to enter an AA meeting. Here a few simple steps to help you kick the habit without going cold turkey.

Firstly, as cliche as it may sounds, acknowledge that you have a problem. You need first to accept that you are an alcoholic. Then we can proceed to the next step. You need to understand why you drink. Do you start drinking when you had a bad day at work? Do you have an argument with your spouse? Identify the little triggers that set you off and have a game plan of what you will do when faced with that trigger. Be it, when having an awful day at work, going for a spa or a message or calling a friend out for a coffee. Know your triggers and know yourself.

Secondly, commit yourself to the goal of ridding yourself free of alcohol. You are a smart human being who does not need juice to function. Yes, it may be difficult for you to get through the day at first. Do not listen to the little cravings or little commands that your brain sends to you demanding for alcohol. You are the master of yourself. You had lived once before and functioned perfectly well without alcohol. There is no reason you could not do it again. Make your mantra: I will quit for good. Repeat it to yourself every time a trigger presents itself to you.

Thirdly, learn to say NO. If a friend asks you out for a drink, be entirely ready to be firm in your reply. Say no thanks; I’m quitting. Tell your friends about your intentions and tell them that you need them to be there for you. If you have to avoid your group of drinking friends for a specified period, do that. Tell them you are not burning bridges, you are just trying to quit alcohol. They will respect you for it and help you in your road to sobriety.

Fourthly, be patient. Enjoy your recovery from your addiction and do not be afraid if you relapsed. If you lapsed once, that does not mean you will fall all the way down and hit rock-bottom. It takes time and patience. Do not be hard on yourself if you relapsed after a certain period. After that relapse, say to yourself, I will try harder, and this time I will succeed.

Most of all, remember that you are doing all these for yourself and your family. These should be the biggest motivation and inspiration of all to keep on moving forward.

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ByAnxious Minds

Dual Diagnosis

A person who suffers from alcohol abuse/alcoholism, drug abuse/drug addiction and an emotional/psychiatric problem is said to have a dual diagnosis. To recover fully, the person will require addiction treatment and psychiatric treatment for both problems.

Dual diagnosis is a common diagnosis. Thirty-seven percent of people with alcohol abuse and fifty-three percent of people with drug abuse also have at least one serious mental illness.  Of all people diagnosed as mentally ill, 29 percent suffer from alcohol abuse or drug abuse.

The following psychiatric problems can occur in Dual Diagnosis Anxiety disorders, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and phobias and other psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and personality disorders. Bipolar disorder and depression are often present.

Often the psychiatric problem develops first. In an attempt to feel calmer, peppier, or more cheerful, a person with emotional symptoms may drink or use drugs; doctors call this “self-medication.” Frequent self-medication may eventually lead to physical or psychological dependency on alcohol or drugs. If it does, the person then suffers from not just one problem, but two.

In a perfect world, both problems should be treated simultaneously. For any substance abuse problem, however, the first step in treatment must be detox – a period of time during which the body is allowed to cleanse itself of alcohol or drugs. Ideally, detox should take place under medical supervision. It can take a few days to a week or more, depending on what substances the person abused and for how long.

Until recently, alcoholics and drug addicts dreaded detox because it meant a painful and sometimes life-threatening “cold turkey” withdrawal. Now, doctors are able to provide those people with a drug addiction or alcohol addiction carefully chosen medications while in detox, which can substantially ease withdrawal symptoms. Detox done under medical supervision, is safer for the dually diagnosed.

ByAnxious Minds

Addiction and Personality Disorder

Substance abuse and dependence (alcoholism, drug addiction) is only one form of the recurrent and self-defeating pattern of misconduct. People are addicted to all kinds of things: gambling, shopping, the Internet, reckless and life-endangering pursuits. Adrenaline junkies abound.

The connection between chronic anxiety, pathological narcissism, depression, obsessive-compulsive traits and alcoholism and drug abuse is well established and common in clinical practice. But not all narcissists, compulsives, depressives, and anxious people turn to the bottle or the needle.

Frequent claims of finding a gene complex responsible for alcoholism have been consistently cast in doubt. In 1993, Berman and Noble suggested that addictive and reckless behaviours are mere emergent phenomena and may be linked to other, more fundamental traits, such as novelty seeking or risk taking. Psychopaths (patients with Antisocial Personality Disorder) have both qualities in ample quantities. We would expect them, therefore, to heavily abuse alcohol and drugs. Indeed, as Lewis and Bucholz convincingly demonstrated in 1991, they do. Still, only a negligible minority of alcoholics and drug addicts are psychopaths.

What has been determined is that most addicts are narcissistic in personality. Addictions serve his purpose. They place him above the laws and pressures of the mundane and away from the humiliating and sobering demands of reality. They render him the centre of attention – but also place him in “splendid isolation” from the maddening and inferior crowd.

Such compulsory and wild pursuits provide a psychological exoskeleton. They are a substitute to quotidian existence. They afford the narcissist with an agenda, with timetables, goals, and faux achievements. The narcissist – the adrenaline junkie – feels that he is in control, alert, excited, and vital. He does not regard his condition as dependence. The narcissist firmly believes that he is in charge of his addiction that he can quit at will and on short notice.

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ByAnxious Minds

Alcohol and Exercise

On Friday afternoon after you leave work, you think about going out and having a few drinks with friends to relax and wind down. Even though you may think you deserve to go out and have a few drinks, there are some things that you should certainly keep in mind.

Like any other day, tomorrow is going to be a day for exercise, and since you are exercising on a regular basis, a few drinks of alcohol won’t really hurt anything, right? Before you decide to rush out to the local bar, there are a few things below that you should think about before you make your choice about going out to drink some alcohol.

Research has proven that even small amounts of alcohol with increase muscular endurance and the output of strength, although these types of benefits are very short lived. After 20 minutes or so, the
problems will begin to surface. All of the negative side effects associated with alcohol will easily
outweigh any possible benefits that it can have.
No matter how you look at it, alcohol is a poison that can really harm your body if you aren’t careful.

The negative side of alcohol can reduce your strength, endurance, aerobic capability, recovery time, ability to metabolise fat, and even your muscle growth as well. Alcohol will also affect your nervous system and brain. If you use it long term, you can cause severe deterioration of your central nervous system. Even with short-term use, nerve-muscle interaction can be reduced which will result in a loss of strength.

Once alcohol reaches the blood cells, it can and probably will damage them. With alcohol users,
inflammation of the muscle cells is a very common thing. Over periods of time, some of these cells that have been damaged can die which will result in less functional muscle contractions. Drinking alcohol will also leave you with more soreness of your muscles after you exercise, which means that it will take you a lot longer to recuperate.

Alcohol will also have many different effects on your heart and circulatory system as well. When you drink any type of alcohol, you may begin to see a reduction in your endurance capabilities. Anytime you drink, your heat loss will increase, due to the alcohol simulating your blood vessels to dilate. The loss in heat can cause your muscles to become quite cold, therefore become slower and weaker during your muscle contractions.

Drinking alcohol can also lead to digestive and nutrition problems as well. Alcohol causes a release of insulin that will increase the metabolism of glycogen, which spares fat and makes the loss of fat very hard. Due to alcohol interfering with the absorption of several key nutrients, you can also become anaemic and deficient with B type vitamins.

Because your liver is the organ that detoxifies alcohol, the more you drink, the harder your liver has to work. The extra stress alcohol places on your liver can cause serious damage and even destroy some of your liver cells.

Since alcohol is diuretic, drinking large amounts can put a lot of stress on your kidneys as well. During the diuretic action, the hormones are secreted. This can lead to heightened water retention, and no one who exercises will want this to happen.

If you must drink alcohol, you should do it in moderation and never drink before you exercise, as this will impair your balance, coordination, and also your judgement. Think about your health and how you exercise – and you may begin to look at things from a whole new perspective.

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