Tag Archive for: addiction

signs that alcohol is killing you

Notice the Dangers of Alcohol Before it’s Too Late

Too much of anything, no matter how much pleasure it brings, can lead to harmful effects. Take anything you might enjoy—eating chocolate, shopping, playing blackjack, even working. Any of these could cause harm if it is overdone.

The adverse effects of overindulgence are well known. This can cause obesity, bankruptcy, harm to the body, mental distress, and more. The same can be said about alcohol. An occasional drink is not a problem. But if drinking takes on a major role in your life, the effects can be very harmful.

Alcoholism is a widespread problem in the U.S., with 88,000 deaths each year attributed to alcohol. Ethyl alcohol is a highly toxic substance that can cause extreme damage to someone’s life. A drinking problem can harm you both physically and psychologically. Not only yourself but others if they are hurt or killed due to drunk driving.

For many, the harmful effects of heavy drinking may not be clear for some time. But at some point, it will become obvious that alcohol is killing you.

Heavy Alcohol Consumption Defined

The CDC has set guidelines that help people to be aware of what constitutes heavy drinking. According to the CDC:

  • Excessive drinking: 8 or more drinks in a week for women; 15 or more drinks in a week for men.
  • Binge drinking:  4 or more drinks in a single session for women; 5 or more drinks in a single session for men.
  • A “drink”:  A 12-ounce beer, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces or wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.

5 Signs Alcohol is Killing You

It is mind boggling just how hard alcohol is on the brain and body. The signs alcohol is killing you may creep up slowly, with a symptom here or there. Or it may hit you all at once with a liver that has ceased to function, as in late stage alcoholism. Here are 5 signs that alcohol is killing you:

  1. Cardiac symptoms. Long-term heavy drinking takes a toll on the heart. A sign of a serious cardiac issue that could result in death is a heart arrhythmia, another term for abnormal heart rate. Alcohol can also cause alcoholic cardiomyopathy. This is when the heart muscle weakens and cannot pump enough blood to the organs. This can result in organ damage or heart failure.
  2. Cognitive problems. Excessive alcohol use can lead to brain damage, which shows up first when cognitive function is reduced. Memory problems are another sign. Thiamine (B1) deficiency often results, leading to brain damage.
  3. Gastrointestinal problems. Heavy drinking can cause excess stomach acid, such as acid reflux which can lead to gastritis. It also causes problems in the stomach lining, such as ulcers and bleeding. The loss of blood can lead to anemia, causing extreme fatigue.
  4. Liver disease. Alcohol is highly toxic to the liver. The problem with liver disease is that the signs of it may not be noticed until later stages. This happens with cirrhosis. It often begins as fatty liver disease. It is a fatal condition unless a liver transplant succeeds.
  5. Cancer symptoms. Excess drinking causes an increased risk of many types of cancer, most of them deadly. Types of cancer linked with heavy drinking include oral, throat, esophageal, colon, rectal, pancreatic, liver, and breast cancer.

In addition to these health effects of alcoholism, other very bad consequences can be caused in other ways. These include legal problems due to DUIs, loss of a job, divorce, custody battles, and money problems.

Detox and Withdrawal

The first step in recovery will involve detox. Withdrawal symptoms range from mild to severe depending on factors like drinking history, age, health, and mental health.

The detox timeline is fairly consistent. What is not so easy to predict is acute alcohol withdrawal syndrome or the DTs. This health emergency emerges on days 3-4 in about 5% of those going through detox. But of those who it affects, there is a 15% death rate.

Detox Timeline:

Stage 1: Symptoms commence 6-12 hours after the last drink. This early phase lasts only one day and includes such symptoms as hand tremors, headaches, and nausea.

Stage 2: Symptoms peak during this phase, which begins on day 2 and usually lasts two days. This stage includes such symptoms as vomiting, sweating, confusion, fever, irritability, mood swings, heart palpitations, anxiety, and insomnia. Those with a more severe alcohol problems may also have hallucinations, mental confusion, and high blood pressure. There is also a risk of seizure.

Stage 3: The final two days will see the symptoms subside as the brain becomes stable. While the intense symptoms start to decrease, some still feel the psychological effects. These include depression, anxiety, irritability, and insomnia.

Comprehensive Treatment for Alcoholism Recovery

After the detox is complete, the individual will be stable enough to begin treatment. Treating alcoholism relies on a group of therapies that are designed to work in tandem. Treatment helps them change toxic behaviors and equips them with new coping skills.

These rehab elements include:

Psychotherapy: Therapy is at the heart of treatment. Using evidence-based theories such as CBT, DBT, and motivation enhancement clients learn new thoughts and behavior patterns. Therapists will work with clients to assist them in changing thought distortions that have led to the drinking problem.

Group work: Group therapy allows clients to share about the events in their lives that have led to the problem of drinking. These peer support groups provide a safe place to help each other while in rehab.

12-step program: A.A.’s 12-step program is often added to the treatment plan, but not always. There are non 12-step recovery programs available as well, and some rehabs offer both types of meetings.

Recreation therapy: Restoring health after alcoholism is a key focus during rehab and beyond. Nutritional counseling and outdoor fitness provide ways to improve brain health and wellness.

Holistic activities: To learn how to reduce stress is key in recovery. Many rehabs today offer holistic activities that teach clients how to relax. These might include yoga classes, massage, guided meditation, art or music therapy, and mindfulness training.

Golf Drug Rehab Provides Effective Treatment for Alcoholism

Golf Drug Rehab is a unique rehab program located in South Orange County. Using a blend of evidence-based therapies and golf recreational therapy, clients balance recovery work and enjoyable pastimes. For any questions about the program, please connect with Golf Drug Rehab today at (877) 958-5320.

Health Signs of Alcoholism

How does it happen? How did something as innocuous as a drink or two after a long day at work morph into a full-blown health hazard? Alcohol is not, however, some inert, innocent substance. Instead, it has the potential, over time, to become a highly toxic danger to all aspects of one’s life, including physical health.

So how does someone know when they have crossed the line into a serious alcohol use disorder? There are several signs of growing alcohol dependency, and among them are the declining health signs of alcoholism, which can act as an important wake-up call that it is time to get some help.

About Alcohol’s Effect on the Body

When most people think of the negative health signs of alcoholism they usually think of liver disease, especially cirrhosis of the liver. While cirrhosis is indeed an effect of late stage alcoholism, there are a plethora of other health risks associated with alcohol abuse and addiction. Some of these include:

  • Cardiovascular disease. Alcohol abuse over the long term can lead to heart attack, stroke, or blood clots.
  • Cancer. Heavy drinking can lead to certain types of cancer, namely cancer of the esophagus, liver, colorectal region, mouth, throat, and larynx.
  • Dementia. Alcohol addiction can speed the shrinkage of some regions of the brain leading to memory loss and dementia. It also impacts the executive functions, such as decision-making and judgment.
  • Anemia. Alcoholism can reduce the number of red blood cells, leading to anemia and resulting in lightheadedness, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
  • Cirrhosis. As mentioned above, alcohol addiction is toxic to the liver, leaving scars that impede its ability to function.
  • Depression. Depression can be a result of the alcoholism or the driving factor for becoming addicted to alcohol, but depression and alcoholism are a common dual diagnosis. Suicide rates are very high among alcoholics.
  • Pancreatitis. Alcohol is very hard on the entire gastrointestinal tract, often causing gastritis and pancreatitis.

What Are the Deteriorating Health Signs of Alcoholism?

The signs of declining health often show up long before late stage alcoholism and the onset of the serious conditions listed above. There are early warning signs that point to toxicity and nutritional deficiency that usually appear first. These might include weight gain or loss, a distended abdomen, facial bloating, red eyes, sexual dysfunction, and gastric distress.

Nutritional deficiencies, such as B-vitamins, thiamine deficiency, vitamin A and vitamin D deficiencies, are common among individuals who abuse alcohol for an extended period of time. These are caused because alcohol can impede the absorption of nutrients in the gut. Thiamine deficiency can lead to a degenerative brain disease called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Other nutritional deficiencies among heavy drinkers include zinc, iron, potassium, and magnesium deficiencies.

How to Get Help For Alcoholism

When health issues begin to crop up, as well as hand tremors and withdrawal symptoms, the need for help becomes apparent. These are signs that the body is deteriorating and alcohol addiction is becoming a serious health threat. Taking steps to get professional treatment for the disease is imperative at this juncture. When it is time to seek help for alcoholism, the following tips can help you or your loved one take those first steps toward recovery.

  1. Have an examination. A physical exam can lead to the doctor identifying overall health status through lab results that can offer information about liver function. The doctor can offer support and guide the individual toward seeking out an addiction treatment program.
  2. Check your health insurance benefits for treatment-related coverage so you can plan ahead, knowing what you are covered for and approximately what your out-of-pocket expenses might be.
  3. If employed, make preparations for taking a leave. Legally, you cannot lose your job due to the need for detoxification and addiction treatment.
  4. Make plans for work and family obligations. Make arrangements for someone to take care of a child, pets, or other tasks while you are in treatment.
  5. Family members should become educated on alcoholism and recovery, to prepare to be supportive once the treatment program is completed.

What Does Alcohol Addiction Treatment Look Like?

Alcohol recovery begins with the detox and withdrawal stage. The body must purge the toxins of alcohol from the body in order to clear the mind and stabilize physically and emotionally before entering treatment. Alcohol detox should only be undergone in a monitored environment where sometimes dangerous withdrawal symptoms can be adequately managed.

The alcohol addiction treatment stage of recovery can last a month to a year, depending on the severity of the addiction. Most individuals spend 30-90 days in treatment, and the longer the better the outcome. Treatment consists of a variety of therapies and activities that work in tandem to help the individual change the addictive behaviors, as well as equip them with important recovery tools.

Following completion of alcohol rehab, ongoing outpatient therapy, and participation in a recovery community helps to solidify recovery and stave off relapse. Having a strong support system at home is also key to achieving a successful long-term recovery.

Golf Drug Rehab Treats Alcohol Abuse and Addiction

Golf Drug Rehab is an elite alcohol treatment program based in Orange County, California. The most important focus in treatment and recovery is restoring overall health while learning how not to reflexively revert back to drinking behaviors. At Golf Drug Rehab, our mission is to create an individualized treatment strategy for each client, built upon the important information collected during the intake process. From this background data, our clinical staff can build a tailored plan for detoxification and addiction treatment, helping clients rebuild their lives.

Our clients also enjoy the golf theme we have incorporated into the rehab program, providing golf rounds at local courses that help the client reconnect with the activities that bring them joy. Being outdoors and getting some exercise does wonders for one’s mood and outlook, which can aid in recovery efforts. If you would like more information on the health signs of alcoholism or more information about Golf Drug Rehab, please contact us today at (877) 958-5320.