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alcohol addiction Archives - Suzanne Wallach

What Are 5 Effects Of Alcohol Addiction?

Effects-of-alcohol-addiction

Alcohol is a psychoactive, central nervous system depressant that works by slowing down vital functions in one’s body. Harvard Health explains that “alcohol directly influences the stomach, brain, heart, gallbladder, and liver. It affects levels of lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides) and insulin in the blood, as well as inflammation and coagulation. It also alters mood, concentration, and coordination.” A person that is addicted to alcohol is colloquially known as an alcoholic. Alcohol addiction, also known as alcoholism or alcohol use disorder (AUD), is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic neurological disorder. According to the Mayo Clinic, alcoholism is characterized by a “pattern of alcohol use that involves problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems, having to drink more to get the same effect, or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking.” Alcohol use disorder is a complex disease involving physical and psychological changes that directly increase one’s risk for developing an array of adverse short- and long-term effects. Five of the most common effects of alcohol addiction include the following:

  • Increases risk of certain cancers: Approximately 50% of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, and larynx in America are associated with heavy drinking. Further, according to a study in the July 13 edition of Lancet Oncology, at least 4% of the world’s newly diagnosed cases of esophageal, mouth, larynx, colon, rectum, liver, and breast cancers in 2020, can be attributed to alcohol consumption.
  • Impairs sleep: A 2014 University of Missouri-Columbia study found that drinking alcohol as a method of getting to sleep disrupts the body’s sleep homeostasis, or sleep regulator, and adversely affects one’s natural sleep cycles. The disruption in sleep patterns caused by alcohol can affect one’s energy levels and mood. 
  • Shifts hormone levels: Alcohol can lower testosterone levels in men, and can increase testosterone and estradiol levels in women. Increased hormone levels can stimulate oil glands, and increased oil can lead to clogged pores and acne.
  • Prompts weight gain: Alcohol contains calories, and although they are metabolized differently than food, they must be accounted for. Drinking alcohol can suppress the hormone leptin, which controls appetite. Research has found that the presence of alcohol can impede the release of glucose, elevating one’s blood sugar levels, which in turn can increase the risk for developing cardiovascular complications and metabolic problems (e.g., diabetes).  
  • Exacerbates anxiety: While drinking alcohol can result in fleeting feelings of relaxation, it is not uncommon for an individual to experience increased feelings of anxiety after the initial effects of alcohol wear off. Alcohol reduces the amount of serotonin (the neurotransmitter that works to stabilize one’s mood, happiness, and feelings of well-being) in the brain, and low levels of serotonin are associated with increased anxiety.

Treatment In Calabasas

Calabasas is a city in California. It is a well-known suburb of Los Angeles, located west of the San Fernando Valley and north of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the past decade, the city of Calabasas has grown in its reputation for luxury as well as for privacy which makes it a hidden gem for residential living for society’s elite, and one of the most desirable destinations in Los Angeles County. It is also home to a plethora of highly qualified mental health clinicians providing an array of therapeutic services and treatment options. 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

How To Get Rid Of Addiction To Alcohol

Rid of Addiction To Alcohol

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains “ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, is an intoxicating ingredient found in beer, wine, and liquor. Alcohol is produced by the fermentation of yeast, sugars, and starches.” Alcohol is a psychoactive, central nervous system depressant that works by slowing down vital functions in one’s body. Alcohol addiction, also known as alcoholism or alcohol use disorder (AUD), is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic brain disorder. According to the Mayo Clinic alcoholism is characterized by a “pattern of alcohol use that involves problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems, having to drink more to get the same effect, or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking.” Individuals that are addicted to alcohol will prioritize satisfying alcohol cravings above all else, which can wreak havoc in all facets of one’s life, including causing physical complications, relationship fractures, financial strain, legal problems, and more. If left untreated, alcoholism can lead to severe short- and long-term physical and psychological effects, and in some cases death.

Treatment

There are a variety of treatment options for an individual struggling with alcoholism. The first step to overcoming alcohol addiction is to undergo detox. Detox is the process that cleanses one’s body of all foreign substances. Due to some of the more severe withdrawal symptoms that commonly present when detoxing from alcohol abuse, it is advised to undergo a medically supervised detox to ensure one’s safety throughout the process. After an individual has successfully completed detox, depending on the needs of the individual, continuing the recovery process by attending a substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment program may be recommended.

Formal substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment programs provide customized recovery plans that are developed to incorporate the best possible treatment methods which are specifically geared to address each person’s nuanced needs. An alcohol addiction treatment plan may be comprised of different types of therapeutic modalities, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), expressive arts therapy (e.g., play therapy, art therapy, music therapy, drama therapy, sand therapy, etc.), interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR), and more. To further improve one’s overall health and wellbeing, treatment plans could also include refining one’s daily habits (e.g., practicing mindfulness techniques, exercising regularly, developing healthy sleeping habits, eating nutritiously, etc.). Some may benefit from integrating certain medications into one’s treatment plan. For example, Vivitrol (generically known as naltrexone) is a prescription medicine that was originally approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006 to be used for the treatment of alcohol dependence.

 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

Am I Addicted To Alcohol?

am i addicted to alcohol

Alcohol was legalized in America in the 1930s, and since then there are many people who drink alcohol regularly, without any problems. However, there are also many individuals who suffer from alcohol abuse and addiction. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that works by slowing down vital functions in one’s body. Alcoholism, also known as addiction to alcohol or alcohol use disorder (AUD), is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic brain disorder. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) explains that “alcohol use disorder is a medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.” There are several warning signs that can be indicative of alcohol addiction. Individuals that are addicted to alcohol will prioritize satisfying alcohol cravings above all else.

Quiz: Am I An Alcoholic?

The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) is a 10-item questionnaire that “is a simple and effective method of screening for unhealthy alcohol use, defined as risky or hazardous consumption or any alcohol use disorder.” It was published in 1989 and was based on a multinational collaborative study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO). To answer the following questions accurately please note the definition of one standard drink, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, includes one of 12 ounces of regular beer with approximately 5% alcohol content; 8 – 9 ounces of malt liquor with approximately 7% alcohol content; 5 ounces of unfortified wine with approximately 12% alcohol content; 1.5 ounces of 80-proof hard liquor with approximately 40% alcohol content.

  1. How often do you have a drink containing alcohol?
    1. Never (score 0)
    2. Monthly or Less (score 1)
    3. 2-4 times a month (score 2)
    4. 2-3 times a week (score 3)
    5. 4 or more times a week (score 4)
  2. How many alcoholic drinks do you have on a typical day when you are drinking?
    1. 1 or 2 (0)
    2. 3 or 4 (1)
    3. 5 or 6 (2)
    4. 7-9 (3)
    5. 10 or more (4)
  3. How often do you have 6 or more drinks on one occasion?
    1. Never (0)
    2. Less than monthly (1)
    3. Monthly (2)
    4. Weekly (3)
    5. Daily or almost daily (4)
  4. How often during the past year have you found that you drank more or for a longer time than you intended?
    1. Never (0)
    2. Less than monthly (1)
    3. Monthly (2)
    4. Weekly (3)
    5. Daily or almost daily (4)
  5. How often during the past year have you failed to do what was normally expected of you because of your drinking?
    1. Never (0)
    2. Less than monthly (1)
    3. Monthly (2)
    4. Weekly (3)
    5. Daily or almost daily (4)
  6. How often during the past year have you had a drink in the morning to get yourself going after a heavy drinking session?
    1. Never (0)
    2. Less than monthly (1)
    3. Monthly (2)
    4. Weekly (3)
    5. Daily or almost daily (4)
  7. How often during the past year have you felt guilty or remorseful after drinking?
    1. Never (0)
    2. Less than monthly (1)
    3. Monthly (2)
    4. Weekly (3)
    5. Daily or almost daily (4)
  8. How often during the past year have you been unable to remember what happened the night before because of your drinking?
    1. No (0)
    2. Yes, but not in the past year (2)
    3. Yes, during the past year (4)
  9. Has a relative, friend, doctor, or health care worker been concerned about your drinking, or suggested that you cut down?
    1. No (0)
    2. Yes, but not in the past year (2)
    3. Yes, during the past year (4)

Your score: Add up the points associated with the answers. A total score of 8 or more indicates harmful drinking behavior. If you scored 8-10 or higher, there is a significant possibility you are addicted to alcohol, and it may be advantageous to pursue professional support.

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, or give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.