Tag: alcohol

Is Drug Addiction Recovery Possible Without God?

Does Drug Addiction Recovery Require God?

 

So here is the thing. I just wrote a post giving atheists tips for recovery. So you might be suspecting that I, in fact, don’t believe that God needs to be involved in drug addiction recovery. Well, you would be wrong. I’ve just learned not to fight with atheists. The truth is if you work the steps of drug addiction recovery you will eventually believe in God. This is my experience and the experience of countless others.

Drug Abuse Can Only Be Solved Through a Spiritual Connection

Since AA first launched it was described as a spiritual approach to alcoholism and drug addiction recovery. It has proven time and time to be effective. People seeking drug addiction recovery have seen their lives blossom to incredible heights, many higher than if they never suffered from drug abuse in the first place. Many of these people did not believe in God or were not sure about God having a part in their drug addiction recovery. The gifts of this incredible program became so tremendous that the non-believers in drug addiction recovery looked back thought, “Wow there must be a God because this is amazing”.

Recovered Drug Abusers Who Don’t Believe in God Have an Ego Problem

Once your life has flipped turned upside down and is so amazing you are screaming from the roof tops, you will believe there is a God. If you don’t you are lying to yourself or you have the biggest ego on the planet and you need further help. Your drug addiction recovery program has produced the happiness you never dreamed you could find but you are such a control freak that you can’t admit maybe just maybe God had something to do with it? Your drug abuse was killing you and your family and today you have your own business, a wife a family and tons of money, but you really, really don’t think there is a God? At this point the non-believers are simply saying God had nothing to do with my drug addiction recovery, just to maintain their “Image”. If we could look inside their brain we would find God.

All Drug Addicts believe in God, They Just Don’t Know It Yet.

I believe that God has a plan for all of us and I did not believe this until I found the 12 steps of a drug addiction recovery program. His plan involves taking the drug abuse folks, taking the alcoholic peeps and using them to help others with their example. He uses us in this way whether we believe in him or not. So the non-believers actually do believe, they just don’t know it yet. But over time if they continue to work a program of drug addiction recovery God will seep in and eventually turn them on to him. They may never admit it or maybe they will. One chronic drug abuser named Jim T believed in Aliens, not god. Then one day after finally enough fantastic things occurred he finally agreed that God is real. So the answer after a long tirade is no, you don’t have to believe in God for drug addiction recovery to be possible, because he believes in you.

Golf, Scandal, and the Dangers of Cocaine and Alcohol

cocaine and alcohol lighthouseDustin Johnson’s Drug Abuse Highlights Cocaine and Alcohol

American professional golfer Dustin Johnson just won the 116th U.S. Open, but it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for him, especially not when it comes to his personal life. Johnson tested positive for marijuana, cocaine and alcohol three times in his pro golfing career and was suspended once as a result. In a sport that suffered from a ton of shame after the downfall of golf legend Tiger Woods, another story like this isn’t a surprise, and sports officials seem to want to sweep this all under the rug.

Tiger Woods, Golf, and Performance Enhancing Drugs

This isn’t the first time that big-time scandalous behavior has been kept quiet in the golf world. While Tiger Woods was galavanting around with scores of women and using performance-enhancing drugs, he was also climbing the ladder as the biggest star in the golf world. His reputations ended up crashing down in flames as him and his ex-wife  had a very public falling out about his extra-marital affairs and otherwise terrible behavior.

Fast forward to today, and we have Dustin Johnson who reportedly tested positive three times for illegal drugs. He has brought up that binge drinking was a big problem for him, more so than drugs, but anyone who has had experience with one knows that they can quickly go hand in hand and out of control fast.

Cocaine and Alcohol

Cocaine and alcohol addictionJohnson tested positive for cocaine three times in five years, and allegedly carried on liaisons with multiple wives of fellow players. While he has not admitted to those affairs, he talks about how his trouble with alcohol forced him to take a hiatus from pro golf and focus on bettering himself.

While Johnson does not fully admit to his cocaine use, the drug tests say otherwise. Cocaine and alcohol is a common combination, as they work as polar opposites and cocaine can serve to keep a person wide awake when alcohol would make them fall asleep. It’s a false sense of wellbeing that can actually be a fatal combination.

Cocaethylene: The Lethal Combination of Cocaine and Alcohol

Ingesting cocaine and alcohol at the same time is unfortunately common, and the combination actually produces a drug called Cocaethylene in the liver. It poses an extremely high risk for heart attack, high blood pressure, and other heart and cardiovascular issues. Over time with repeated use, cocaethylene builds up in the liver and causes long-term health effects.

According to several different studies, the presence of cocaethylene in a person’s system produces feelings of euphoria that are more powerful and longer-lasting than those produced by cocaine alone. However, the health risks become that much more serious, and sudden death is a true threat.

Drug Combinations Are Lethal

Golf Pro Johnson is lucky that his cocaine and alcohol habit didn’t lead to his demise. Combining any drugs with alcohol or cocaethylene lighthouse recoveryother drugs is notoriously lethal, and often leads to hospitalization, overdose, and death. This is something to be mindful of even with prescription drugs – warnings on labels exist for a reason, so make sure to pay attention to them. This is especially true with any kinds of drugs that have to do with anxiety or pain – both drugs suppress the central nervous system, so combining these kinds of drugs with alcohol or street drugs can prove deadly.

It is possible to overcome any kind of drug addiction with the right help and the right people to support you. The first step is recognizing you have a problem and educating yourself, and then getting the help you need from there.

Why I Went to Alcohol Rehab In Florida

Alcohol Rehab in Florida Was My Best Move

Alcohol Rehab in FloridaIn 2013 I made the decision to go to alcohol rehab in Florida. It wasn’t overnight, and it definitely wasn’t easy. It took a few rounds of detox in my home state of Ohio and a lot of coaxing and begging from friends and family to finally get me to agree to go. In the end, I’m grateful I did. I think that decision ultimately saved my life.

Alcohol Addiction Was A Slow Progression

My love affair with alcohol didn’t start out too bad, in fact, I never even saw the threat of alcoholism coming until it was way too late. I enjoyed beers in college and the occasional shot, and that fondness carried into my 20s, translating into happy hours and engagement parties. Sure, I would black out on occasion and be embarrassed about my actions, but didn’t that happen to everyone?

Maybe those moments happened to everyone, but while they were getting fewer and further between for my friends who were settling down, they were becoming more and more frequent for me. Not remembering my weekend nights was normal, and the struggle of getting up and making it through the day on saturday and sunday was only helped by the promise of more drinks at brunch, lunch, or dinner.

A Functioning Alcoholic

alcohol rehab south florida lighthouseFor a number of years, I functioned this way. I was, for all intents and purposes, a functioning alcoholic. I was able to get to work, albeit I was often hung over or even still drunk from my shenanigans the evening before. I was always a good employee – on time, hard working, although I often called in sick because of crippling hangovers. Well, my bubble was burst one Friday morning when I walked into my office and was greeted by the serious faces of my boss and the COO.

As they told me I was being let go, my already turning stomach got even worse and as I walked out of the office with my few belongings I stopped at the bar I normally went to on the way home and proceeded to drink so much that a friend had to come scrape me off the bar and bring me home.

And Then I Ended Up In Alcohol Rehab In South Florida

The next few months were a complete blur. I was probably drunk 95% of the time. Drunk was a way of life. I was tossed into the emergency room a couple of times after passing out in front of friends and finally agreed to go to detox. Well, five days in a detox center didn’t smack enough sense into me – by the second day after I left, I was back to drinking.

About two weeks passed when finally friends and family convinced me I needed major help. I had a moment of clarity and agreed to go to alcohol rehab in florida. I was very hesitant at the idea of being away from my regular life for 42 days, but what had become of my so-called regular life? Who was I? What was I doing?

After my stint in rehab in Florida, I returned to Ohio a new person. I learned so much while I was there and was able to hit a refresh button on my life. I recognized patterns of why I was drinking and realized that I’m just wired differently from other people. I am an alcoholic and will always be one.

I am grateful for each passing day that I’m sober, and I hope that I can give some inspiration to others who may be on a similar path.  

 

Drug Addiction Can Affect Anyone

Ex-NBA Player Talks About His Drug Addiction

Drug Addiction LighthouseEx-Boston Celtics player Chris Herren recently spoke to an audience at The John Carroll School in Bel Air, Maryland about his personal struggle with drug addiction and his recovery. He brought to light the fact that anyone can fall victim to addiction, even the most prominent and promising young athletes who seem to have it all together.

Herren was, at one point, his town’s biggest basketball star, who dreamed of going to the NBA – a goal he did achieve. However, like so many addicts, while he was rising in stardom, he was also dropping to rock bottom personally. Ultimately, he ended up driving his basketball career into the ground by becoming addicted to a variety of drugs including alcohol, cocaine, heroin, and painkillers.

Drug Addiction and Success Coexists, Temporarily

To an outsider, it might seem difficult to understand how a professional athlete can be the same person who crashes into a utility pole after overdosing on heroin and being legally dead for almost a minute. To people in and around addiction, the story is way too familiar. As a matter of fact, addicts are often over-achieving people who seem to get success with ease and love to climb their way to the top. Some argue that the passion and overzealous tendencies are what drive them to become such hardcore drug addicts.

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To the addict and their family, this intensity is crushing. Things can be going great and to everyone looking in seem at ease and successful. The addict uses this positivity as another reason to get high because it is a vicious cycle where the addict starts believing they won’t have the same level of success if they are sober.

Drug Addiction Encompasses Everyonedrug addiction lighthouse recovery

It is so important for parents and families to know about addiction because the truth is that everyone is at risk. Even the most prominent and promising students can fall victim, and it definitely doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with parenting skills, etc. Also – it is important not to immediately blame a children’s friends but instead to find out why your child is seeking drugs or alcohol in the first place.

It is also very important to talk to kids especially as they reach their high school years so that they know the dangers and know how devastating addiction could be to their entire future. Using stories like Herran’s is helpful because it shows a real-life example of someone that kids look up to falling to his knees.

There is Hope for Recovery

The positive message in Herran’s story is that recovery can be accomplished. He is currently going on eight years clean, and while he admits it is a daily struggle, there is nothing more rewarding to him. On sobriety and missing basketball, he says “The way I look at it, every single day I have to play in the biggest game of my life, and the reality is, I can’t lose this game. If I love one game, I might never come back.

 

The Danger of Mixing Xanax and Alcohol

Mixing Xanax and Alcohol

Xanax and Alcohol Lighthouse RecoveryWhen Brittney was a sophomore in college, she experienced anxiety for the first time. After visiting multiple doctors to rule out other causes of her ill-feelings, her family doctor determined anxiety was the cause and sent her back to school with a script for Xanax.

It wasn’t long before Brittney and her friends were popping Xanax before drinking and going out. They would jokingly wash the pills down with beer and say things like “Good night” and “See you tomorrow”, knowing how the combination would impact their memory and induce blacking out.

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Combining Xanax and alcohol may seem like a fun night out, but we’re going to shed some light on the dangers and what it actually does to your body, and ask yourself this – is it worth it?

Taking Xanax and alcohol can be deadly.

Let’s talk a little bit about Xanax and what it is used for. Xanax is categorized as a benzodiazepine, a class of drugs that does things like controls seizures, reduces anxiety, relieves insomnia, and helps muscle spasms. It is fast-acting in calming the activity of the central nervous system and depresses vital functions of the body. Because of this, if it is taken with another drug, like alcohol, that has the same effect, the consequences can cause an individual to stop breathing, their heartbeat to slow, etc.

Combining alcohol and Xanax exaggerates the effects of both, causing severe drowsiness, clumsiness, and lack of coordination. Therefore, the risks of car accidents, or any kind of accidents, including falls, goes up significantly. Taking Xanax along with any other drug increases the risk of depressing your breathing, especially once asleep, which can lead to unintentional death, or overdose.

What Happens In Your Body After Taking Xanax and Alcohol?xanax and alcohol

Cognitively, Xanax and alcohol makes your memory super foggy, so it is easy to forget how many pills you have taken, or drinks you have had, leading to possible overdose. Besides that, Xanax and alcohol are digested by the same liver enzymes, which means that when both are present in your body, it sends your liver into overdrive and it struggles to keep up. Because of this, both substances can stay in your system for longer.

Because of the serious effects Xanax combined with alcohol has on your body, there are many severe physical consequences. Addiction to both drugs is extremely likely, and both can create severe withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking them, like seizures, anxiety, and delirium.

Xanax and Alcohol – Avoid the Combo

Educating yourself on drug interactions is step one in avoiding bad consequences. Doctor labels that say things like “avoid alcohol while taking this medication” are written for a reason, because extensive research has been done to show the negative effects.

Like Brittney and her college friends – what seems like “fun” can turn into a messy situation – either accidental death or long-term addiction. It simply isn’t worth it. If you have found yourself in a situation where you are abusing multiple drugs like Xanax and alcohol, reach out to get help as soon as possible.

The Dangers of Mixing Xanax and Alcohol

A Deadly Combination

After Whitney Houston was found dead in a bathtub in 2012 from an apparent alcohol and Xanax-related overdose, the very real threat of mixing benzodiazepines with booze reemerged as a hot topic of conversation. Drug-related overdose has become the leading cause of accidental death nationwide, with death rates increasing by nearly 200% since 2000. In 2014, there were a total of 47,000 recorded overdose-related deaths – and this number only continues to climb as the years go by. Frighteningly enough, out of all the potential chemical combinations out there, few are more lethal than benzodiazepines and alcohol – as has been unwittingly and repeatedly proven by hundreds of addicts nationwide. Why is this combination so life-threatening, and why do hundreds of men and women continue to risk it all despite widespread knowledge of the dangers involved? Let’s find out.

Why is Mixing Xanax and Alcohol So Lethal?

Benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium, are highly potent sedatives designed to reduce anxiety, induce sleep, and relax the muscles. Those who are prescribed benzodiazepines are advised to avoid drinking while taking them, seeing as combining a tranquilizer with a depressant can result in a host of serious side effects. Combining two central nervous system depressants can (and typically does) result in dangerous unconsciousness, slowed respiratory functioning, and decreased coordination. Both alcohol and benzodiazepines work to reduce the function of several major neurological capabilities, though Xanax only affects one specific brain receptor while alcohol has no limitation. Of course, people tend to pass out long before they can physically overdose on alcohol. When Xanax is involved, the potential for overdose becomes an actuality. Because the effects of alcohol are essentially amplified when Xanax is involved, drinking 3 cocktails is more like drinking 6 – and so forth.

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Risks of Xanax and Alcohol Abuse

Memory is also intensely affected when these two chemical substances are consumed in conjunction. Those who are taking both pills and drinking will often forget just how many pills they have already ingested, or just how many vodka tonics they have already thrown back. It is often common for those taking this combination of substances to feel exceedingly drowsy or disoriented, and attempt to take a shower in order to ‘wake themselves up’. Unfortunately, because they are so heavily sedated, they may be unable to keep themselves awake and upright – leading to accidental drowning. Xanax is the fastest-acting of all benzodiazepines, making it the most dangerous to use in conjunction with ethanol (alcohol). Those who struggle with dual addictions (addictions to more than one chemical substance) are at even higher risk of drug-related injury or death than those who are afflicted with only one dependency. If you or someone you love is battling a cross-addiction, please contact us at Lighthouse Recovery Institute for a comprehensive list of treatment options. Recovery is possible, and help is available.

What to Do After a Relapse on Drugs and Alcohol

Relapse Isn’t the End of the World!

signs of a drug relapse

There’s a saying in the rooms of recovery that goes a little something like “relapse is a part of recovery.” While I don’t love this saying – it oversimplifies the problem and solution – it’s often true.

Take it from me, a chronic relapser, that relapsing on drugs and alcohol after a period of sobriety is common. I started trying to get sober at eighteen years old. It took me a few years to get the hang of not picking up a drink or drug. In that time, I suffered a heroin relapse, a meth relapse, an alcohol relapse, and a pill relapse.

Today, I’ve been sober for over seven years. Still, that time was hard won and didn’t come without its fair share of struggle. With that in mind, I’ve set out to write the definitive guide to relapse and recovery.

Find information below on the signs of relapse on some specific drugs, as well as information on what to do after a relapse.

The signs are for family members wondering if their loved one is really sober. The steps to take after a relapse are for my people – addicts and alcoholics – who’re still struggling. God bless us!

The most important thing to remember about relapse and recovery is that relapse isn’t the end of the world. It has the power to destroy families, friendships, and take lives, but it’s only as powerful as we make it.

If you have any specific questions, don’t hesitate to call Lighthouse today! Many of our staff are in long-term recovery and can share their experience, strength, and hope about relapse with you. Remember, by sharing we cut the problem in half!

If you have a loved one in recovery who may be slipping, read on for vital information about how to be sure. If you’re an addict struggling with a heroin or meth relapse, or an alcoholic struggling with picking up a drink, read on for hope!

Heroin addiction is tough – you’re recovery better be tougher!

Signs of a Relapse

It’s important to point out that the following relapse signs aren’t the same for everyone. How I reacted to drugging and boozing after being in recovery may not be the same as how your loved one reacts.

With that being said, find common signs of a heroin relapse, and others, below:

Heroin Relapse

what to do after a heroin relapse

The most obvious signs of relapsing on heroin are nodding off, pinned pupils, excessive scratching, track marks, and possession of paraphernalia like needles and “cookers.”

Nodding off is when someone falls into short periods of unconsciousness. It’s called nodding off because they’ll start to slump over and suddenly jerk awake. They’ll do this again and again.

Pinned pupils are when someone’s pupils are tiny. They look like pinpricks. All opioids – from codeine to oxycodone to Vicodin to heroin – will make someone’s pupils small. Think the opposite of what happens when smoking marijuana.

Excessive scratching doesn’t always indicate a relapse, but it is a common side effect of heroin. Again, all opioids, including heroin, make users incredibly itchy. I don’t know why, but they do. If your loved one suddenly can’t stop scratching themselves, well, it may be time to take a closer look.

Track marks are the puncture wounds and bruising around where someone injects heroin. They’re a sure sign of a heroin relapse. Not much else needs to be said.

Finding heroin or injection paraphernalia on your loved one is another sure sign of a heroin relapse. Trust me when I said that addicts are master manipulators and will try to talk themselves out of this one. Ignore them. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck – it’s a duck.

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Cocaine & Meth Relapse

A cocaine or meth relapse can take many forms and have many telltale signs. There are also some glaring ones. These are things like not sleeping for extended periods of time, burns on your loved one’s lips, repetitive tics, paranoia, and possession of paraphernalia like meth/crack pipes and powder dusted keys.

This first coke or meth relapse sign, not sleeping for days, is the most obvious. Think of how TV and movies depict people strung out on stimulants – a crazy look in their sunken eyes, paranoid, spouting nonsense. That’s what happens when someone stays up for a few days. Cocaine, crack, and meth are the number one culprit for this kind of lack of sleep.

Your loved one may have burns on their lips and fingers if they’re smoking meth or crack. Both meth and crack pipes become incredibly hot as they’re used. Pair that with using again – and again and again – and it’s plain to see where the burns come from.

Repetitive tics are another common behavior displayed during a relapse on meth or coke. Again, think of the common portrayal of tweakers on TV. It has a firm basis in what actually happens when someone uses stimulants.

relapsing on meth and cocaine

Paranoia goes hand-in-hand with repetitive tics and not sleeping. The longer someone stays awake, the more they think others are onto them. The stranger someone behaves, the more they think others are talking about them. It’s sad but true.

Finally, possessing things like crack pipes and bags or keys with powder residue is a 100% confirmed sign of a relapse on meth. Much like relapsing on heroin, if someone has the paraphernalia, they’re getting high. It’s that simple. Your loved one may try to talk their way out of admitting the truth – don’t let them.

Struggling with meth? Don’t struggle alone!

Alcohol Relapse

what to do after starting to drink again

The signs of an alcohol relapse are often more subtle than the signs of a drug relapse. That’s because alcohol doesn’t have as sudden and profound an effect on users as heroin, cocaine, or other hard drugs do.

Still, things like smelling of booze, disappearing for periods of time, erratic behavior, and being unable to remember certain things are common signs of an alcohol relapse.

Smelling like alcohol is pretty self-explanatory. Alcoholics drink and their body metabolizes and emits alcohol. Then they smell like it. I always tried to say that I’d been with people who were drinking, or that someone had spilled a beer on me, when I smelled like booze.

Trust me – that never happened. I was drunk. Plain and simple.

Disappearing for periods of time, being unable to remember events or people, and behaving erratically are other fairly obvious signs of a relapse on alcohol. That’s all thanks to blackouts and the strange stuff us alcoholics get into when we’re drinking.

If your loved one has started to go missing for a few hours, or even days, and they have a history of alcohol abuse, they’re drinking. If they can’t remember what they did last night, or you get a phone call saying they were standing in the street yelling, they’re drinking.

It stinks, but it’s the truth.

Learn about the best alcohol rehab in Florida!

General Drug and Alcohol Relapse

As far as general drug and alcohol relapse signs go – those are a bit more, well, general. Things like lying, losing or missing money, shady behavior, and hanging out with old using friends are all common signs of a relapse.

There’s not much more that needs to be said about this type of slip. If you have a loved one who’s been in recovery, or been trying to get sober, and they start exhibiting old behavior – they’re probably drinking or using.

slips in sobriety

If that’s the case, reach out for professional help! Call a drug and alcohol relapse hotline. Call an addiction specialist. Call a treatment center. Call the police. Call a friend or family member who’s been through the same situation.

These are all proactive steps to take that will minimize the impact of your loved one’s relapse on your emotional health.

Having looked at some of the more common relapse signs, let’s turn our attention to what us addicts and alcoholics can do after we’ve relapsed.

What to Do After a Relapse

Remember what I said at the start of this guide? Relapse and recovery are a very real deal for most addicts and alcoholics. We don’t get better overnight and, in many cases, it takes us multiple times to finally “get” sobriety.

So, what do we do after we’ve picked up a drug or a drink? What do we do after we’ve relapsed?

The answer’s actually very simple. We get our butts to a meeting. We call our sponsor, our sober supports, our therapist, and our close friends and tell them what’s going on. If the situation warrants, we tell our family or significant other.

getting sober again

In other words, we ask for help!

That’s the simplest, and also hardest, thing to do after relapsing. That’s because although it’s simple to pick up and phone and tell the truth, it isn’t easy at all.

Addiction and alcoholism are rife with guilt and shame. Nowhere do these two monsters rear their ugly heads more than after we have a slip. That’s just how our brains and emotions work.

We need to walk through this guilt and shame. We need to do the right thing no matter how difficult it is. We need to own up and start over in recovery again.

If you’re like me – an addict and alcohol through and through – doing this feels impossible. It’s not, trust me. Still, getting that initial spark, that initial push, can be difficult.

With that in mind, call Lighthouse today. Most of our addiction specialists are in long-term recovery themselves. They’ll be able to guide you through the process of recovering from a relapse. If you need treatment, they’ll be able to get you into our doors, safe and secure, today!

More than anything else, they’ll be able to listen and understand what you’re going through. They’ve been there and come out on the other side happy and healthy. What more can you ask?

Learn about Comprehensive Addiction Treatment & how it sets patients up for long-term sobriety!

This Common Trait May Actually Predict Alcoholism

Blue Eyes = Alcohol Abuse?

Do you have blue eyes? Well, not only were you genetically gifted with a beautiful set of peepers, but you may also be at a higher risk for developing a drinking problem.

blue eyes alcoholic

At least that’s what the latest scientific research suggests. A recent study from the University of Vermont discovered that individuals with blue eyes possess a genetic predisposition to alcoholism.

If you find that a bit strange, well, you’re not alone. Can eye color really aid addiction professionals in determining if someone will grow up to struggle with alcohol abuse? According to Arvis Sulovari, the lead author of this study, it can.

Sulovari said, “This suggests an intriguing possibility — that eye color can be useful in the clinic for alcohol dependence diagnosis” (Pioneer News).

To reach this conclusion, Sulovari and his team examined genetic profiles of over 1,200 people. They then applied filters for individuals with a history of alcohol abuse and of European descent.

Their findings? Individuals with European ancestry and light colored eyes are more disposed to alcohol dependence than individuals from other parts of the world and with other eye colors. Of light colored eyes, those with blue eyes present the highest risk of problem drinking.

This latest study confirms the long held idea that Caucasian Anglo-Saxons are more prone to alcoholism than other races.

Did you know that more Americans have alcohol use disorders than ever before?

What This Mean for Diagnosing Alcoholism

It’d be easy to get carried away with this new information and make blanket statements like “you’re automatically an alcoholic if you have blue eyes.” That sort of over the top reaction helps no one and, in fact, does no good at all.

Rather than falling into hysteria, let’s take a balanced look at what this can tell us about the future of diagnosing alcohol use disorders.

First and foremost, it gives clinicians one more tool in their arsenal. Remember, addiction and mental health professionals aren’t blindly diagnosing someone as an alcoholic because they drink too much. Rather, they have a number of criteria, pulled from the DSM-5, that helps distinguish alcoholism, alcohol abuse, and heavy or binge drinking.

So, if someone is displaying signs of alcoholism, but are “on the fence,” their eye color may help clinicians make a final decision. That’s, ultimately, all this study means.

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Should I Be Worried if I Have Blue Eyes?

That’s the million-dollar question. Should you be worried if you have blue eyes and like to drink? What about if you have a loved one with blue eyes who might be drinking too much?

The answer is a resounding no! You shouldn’t be worried simply because of something one study said. As mentioned above, this is a great tool for professionals to use to help diagnose alcohol dependence.

The key words there are professionals and help. You’re not a professional, so don’t sweat it! Leave the heavy lifting to the men and women who have made fighting alcoholism and drug abuse their life’s work.

Second, blue eyes and ancestry only help clinicians. They don’t automatically make someone who’s a heavy drinking into an alcoholic. I said that before but it certainly bears repeating.

So, what does this latest study into possible genetic signs of alcohol dependence tell us? Not much more than we already knew. It’s that simple.

Was she fired for drinking too much or something else?

What’s Alcohol REALLY Doing to Your Brain?

What Happens When You Drink?

mental effects of alcohol

Alcohol is a neurotoxin. It destroys brain tissue and can cause seriously damaging long-term effects. That much is common knowledge. What isn’t so well understood, though, is how alcohol does these things.

That is to say, what makes alcohol such a potent and dangerous chemical? How does it change the way our brains operate? More to the point, how does it hurt the way our brains operate?

Well, you’ve come to the right place! We, at Lighthouse Recovery Institute, believe in the institute part of our name. We aim to be a resource for comprehensive information on all areas of addiction and recovery. With that in mind, sit back and learn the mental effects alcohol has on the brain!

A new government study says more Americans drink to excess than ever before…

Blackouts

Let’s start somewhere that (almost) everyone can relate to: blackouts. Most everybody has experienced a blackout. For some, it occurred during hazy college days. In fact, according to a government survey, 51% of college students who drink have experienced a blackout.

So, what exactly is a blackout? Well, it’s a period of semi-consciousness when someone is awake and interacting with the world, but unaware of what they’re doing. It’s a period where the brain is working, where neurons are firing, but it’s not behaving properly. Neurotransmitters aren’t being released properly and memories aren’t being stored in the right areas.

This last part, memories not being stored in the right areas, accounts for the most recognizable symptoms of a blackout – not remembering what happened.

Why is that though? Well, the answer lies in another mental effect of alcohol. The answer lies in how booze slows down brain activity.

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Slowing Brain Activity

Alcohol works on numerous neurotransmitters, most notably glutamate and GABA. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter. This means it increases cognitive functioning, energy, and overall brain activity. GABA, on the other hand, is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. This means it decreases brain activity, slows nerve signals, and reduces energy levels.

Alcohol affects these neurotransmitters by reducing the production of glutamate and increasing the production of GABA. This, in turn, leads to the mentally and physically sedating effects of alcohol. Worth noting is that, while alcohol affects all areas of the brain, these effects occur primarily in the cerebral cortex and cerebellum.

What does that look like? Well, it looks like slurred speech, uncoordinated movements, lowered inhibitions, and a general “sloppiness.” Alcohol’s effect on neurotransmitters is also responsible for, as mentioned above, blackouts.

Another area of the brain that alcohol affects is the medulla. You may remember this funny sounding area from Adam Sandler’s film The Waterboy. All jokes aside, the medulla is the part of the brain that handles unconscious, or automatic, functions like breathing.

Remember, alcohol increases GABA and decreases glutamate. In the medulla, this leads to sleepiness. So that’s why booze makes you tired!

What’s deadlier: binge drinking or illegal drugs? The answer may surprise you

Wet Brain

Wet brain, the colloquial term for a type of brain damage known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, is a deliberating mental side effect of alcoholism. It’s a one two punch caused by a deficiency of vitamin B1 and an excess of glucose (remember, alcohol is metabolized and turned into sugar).

Lighthouse has previously written extensively on what wet brain is and how it affects individuals. For a detailed explanation, read this article on the in’s and out’s of wet brain.

Other Areas Alcohol Hurts

Alcohol is thought to disrupt the development of new brain cells. This process, called neurogenesis, is vital to long-term brain health. That is to say, our brains don’t stop developing once we reach adulthood. Rather, brain cells are periodically “replaced.”

Although alcohol’s effect on neurogenesis has never been studied in humans, animal tests show that large amounts of alcohol leads to “disruption” in forming new brain cells. Based on these findings, it looks like alcohol really does kill brain cells.

More Than Your Liver’s Cry for Help

How Does Alcohol Affect the Body?

Well, how does alcohol affect the body? We all know the obvious physical effects of alcohol, things like slurred speech and nausea, but what about the more subtle ones?

First and foremost, any discussion about the physical effects of alcohol needs to make something very clear – alcohol is a poison! Ethyl alcohol, the type of booze humans’ drink, is a poison and neurotoxin that, over time, breaks down tissue and cells.

how does alcohol affect the body

When trying to answer the question “how does alcohol affect the body,” it’s also important to make clear the distinction between body and brain. Yes, the brain is a part of the body. After all, it regulates the central nervous system and human beings would be lost without it!

That being said, the physical effects of alcohol are much different on the brain than they are on the body. For this reason, we won’t be discussing how booze affects the brain or the central nervous system. Find a separate article detailing that in the near future.

Still interested in learning how alcohol affects the body? Then read on and learn why this simple chemical is one of the most harmful substances around.

Effects of Alcohol: The Pancreas

Heavy drinking has been linked to an increase in toxic chemicals released in the pancreas. In turn, these chemicals inhibit proper pancreatic functioning and lead to inflammation. This is called pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis is a potentially deadly medical condition. If left unchecked, it will cause the pancreas to die. Trust me when I say you don’t want that to happen.

When the pancreas is inflamed or damaged, whether from pancreatitis or the general strain alcohol places upon it, hyperglycemia is also common. Hyperglycemia is when the body has dangerously high levels of glucose in the blood. It’s no fun and can lead to diabetes.

So, how does alcohol affect the body? When it comes to the pancreas, alcohol affects it very badly.

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Effects of Alcohol: The Liver

Alcohol is deadly for the liver. No surprises there. Why is ethyl alcohol so bad for the human liver though? Well, the main reason is a little something called alcoholic hepatitis.

Alcoholic hepatitis is when the liver is saturated with fatty tissue due to alcohol abuse. Over time, this fatty tissue leads to liver inflammation. Over time, this liver inflammation leads to cirrhosis (scarring and dead liver tissue). Over time, this cirrhosis causes the liver to actually die.

Once the liver is either dead or extremely marginalized, well, things get bad fast. The body can’t process toxic substances any longer. Jaundice is a common sign during this stage of alcoholic hepatitis. Once you’re at this stage, there are two choices – get a liver transplant or die.

A slightly less extreme, though no less dangerous, way alcohol effects the liver is through hypoglycemia. Much like hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia deals with blood sugar and insulin. This time, though, it’s a dangerous low blood sugar. This can result in a coma.

So, how does alcohol affect the body? When the liver’s involved, alcohol affects the body in a potentially life-threatening manner.

Effects of Alcohol: The Cardiovascular System

physical effects of alcohol

When it comes to the heart, veins, and blood cells, the physical effects of alcohol are interesting. This is due to how booze can, in moderation, actually help the heart function. If men have no more than two drinks per day, and women have no more than one, alcohol actually lowers the chance of developing heart disease. That’s kind of neat, right?

Unfortunately, the rest of alcohol’s effects on the heart aren’t positive. Heavy drinking usually leads to high blood pressure. High blood pressure, in turn, increases an individual’s risk of heart disease.

Alcohol abuse can also lead to cardiomyopathy (when the heart is actually poisoned), stroke, anemia, arrhythmia, low blood sugar, cardiac arrest, or even full blown heart failure.

So, how does alcohol affect the body? When the cardiovascular system enters the picture, alcohol affects the body in a very serious manner.

Alcohol poisoning kills six people everyday

Effects of Alcohol: Immune System

Excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to an increased risk for many different types of cancer. Of particular note is how drinking increases the risk for the following cancers: mouth, throat, liver, colon, and breast.

Alcohol also plays a major role in how the body’s immune system fights off infections. A night of heavy drinking can result in decreased immune functioning for up to an entire day. Due to this, alcoholics are at increased risk for developing diseases like pneumonia.

Again, how does alcohol affect the body? When it comes to the immune system, alcohol affects it badly.

Effects of Alcohol: Stomach & Digestive System

Alcohol abuse and addiction touch almost every area of the digestive system. This is true of the mouth, throat, stomach, pancreas, and liver. Because we touched on the pancreas and liver earlier, I’ll leave those out of this section.

Upon taking a sip of booze, alcohol irritates the tongue, gums, teeth, and even salivary glands. Over time, this irritation can actually turn to damage. It’s not uncommon for late stage alcoholics to lose their teeth due to gum disease caused by their drinking.

When alcohol travels down the throat, it irritates the esophagus. Again, over time, this irritation turns to damage. Heavy drinking can leady to esophageal ulcers. These ulcers can then cause internal bleeding.

Upon entering the stomach, alcohol can cause acid reflux and nausea. It can also cause inflammation of the stomach lining and stomach ulcers. Alcohol can hinder the stomach’s ability to absorb nutrients from food, control natural bacteria, and absorb B vitamins.

This last point, trouble absorbing B vitamins, can actually lead to something called wet brain. Wet brain is an irreversible form of brain damage caused by a severe deficiency of vitamin B1.

So, how does alcohol affect the body? When it comes to the digestive system, alcohol affects the body in numerous ways, none of them good.

Is drinking worse for your body than drug use?

Effects of Alcohol: Reproductive System

Let’s talk about sex. All Salt-N-Pepa jokes aside, the physical effects of alcohol on the reproductive system are extreme.

Starting with the less serious side effects, alcohol can, and often does, cause erectile dysfunction in men. Alcohol abuse can also lead to decreased testicular function, decreased hormone production, and even infertility (in both men and women).

Heavy drinking has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage, stillborn birth, and early delivery. Heavy drinking can also make a woman stop menstruating.

alcohol and the body

What about alcohol’s affect on fetuses? Well, there’s a reason women are told not to drink during pregnancy. Booze leads to an entire range of problems called Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. These disorders include impaired cognitive function, difficulty learning, birth defects, and severe emotional issues.

How does alcohol affect the body? When the reproductive system is involved, let’s just say that things don’t end well.

Effects of Alcohol: Skeletal System

The physical effects of alcohol on the skeletal system are slightly less severe than many of those we touched on above. That isn’t to say that alcohol abuse doesn’t damage your skeleton and muscles though.

Long-term alcoholism decreases the body’s ability to make new bones. This leads to osteoporosis and an increased risk of bone fractures. Alcohol abuse can also destroy muscle tissue.

Learn more about the dangers of drinking and pregnancy

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