Hiding Alcohol and Other Warning Signs of Alcoholism

Hiding Alcohol | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

It is not always easy to identify an alcohol problem in a loved one. People with addiction issues can become masters at concealing and denying the severity of their addictive behavior.

One of the main signs of a severe problem is hiding alcohol. Not only will the alcoholic drink covertly, but they will also frequently have secret hiding spots for alcohol. In some cases, these may be nearly impossible to find, but there are some common places that many alcoholics regularly go to for concealment.

Hiding Alcohol

Popular hiding places are bathroom cabinets and shelves, basements, closets, clothes, bags, and suitcases. They may also hide alcohol in kitchen cabinets or drawers behind or in other items such as cans, boxes, or jars. You may find empty or full bottles under furniture or stuffed between the cushions. Outdoors is also an option; under porches or in a garage or shed.

The important thing is to find the alcohol before the loved one realizes you are looking for it. If the person knows that you are on to him or her, he or she may switch to hiding spots that are even more difficult to locate.

Warning Signs of Alcohol Addiction

The following are 12 more signs that indicate a secret alcohol addict:

Secret Drinking 

Drinking alone, especially when keeping this a secret from family and friends shows that the person realizes that their behavior is not normal and that others may criticize them for it. It’s a subtle admission of right versus wrong, and the person may not even realize they are doing it.

Look for telltale signs of being “buzzed” or under the influence, even though you did not actually see this person drink. Or, they may appear to drink very little in comparison to how intoxicated they appear. In other words, they have been drinking more than they have been revealing.

Missing or Being Late for Important Events or Occasions

The person will be absent from, or late to school, work, family functions, etc. They may more or less disappear for several days or insist that they were doing something or were somewhere they were not. 

Making Excuses

Alcoholics frequently make excuses for their drinking. Reasons may involve serious issues such as mental illness, or merely day-to-day stress or chronic pain. They may blame those around them for having to deal with relationship strain—especially that which directly results from their drinking.

Drinking at Inappropriate Times

Drinking in the morning or upon first waking and needing “the hair of the dog” may speak to their level of dependency and desire to avoid a hangover or withdrawal symptoms. But, drinking may occur for seemingly no reason at random times throughout the day.

Alcoholics often drink in situations that they should not. These situations might include drinking while at work, school, or family functions, while operating a motor vehicle, or at any time or place that it isn’t socially accepted.

Isolation and Loss of Interest

As alcohol becomes an increasing obsession for the alcoholic, they often begin to ignore other parts of their life. They may avoid people to conceal their drinking, or neglect to attend events or gatherings with family and friends. The alcoholic may also become disinterested in activities they once enjoyed or considered important, such as sports or hobbies.

Hiding Alcohol | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Mood Swings 

Alcohol abuse and withdrawal symptoms affect a person’s mood, thoughts, and behaviors. Alcoholics are notoriously unstable emotionally. Extreme mood swings are common, and a person may suddenly go from happy to unreasonably angry or sad. Hardcore alcoholics often experience personality changes when they are drinking, and crying jags or episodes of verbal or physical abuse toward others may occur.

Physical Symptoms 

Signs of alcohol intoxication are an obvious giveaway, but these are not always apparent. Severe alcoholics may have a higher tolerance and may only appear somewhat intoxicated at levels that would make others look absolutely inebriated. They may be mostly functional and exhibit only mild signs such as unusual talkativeness, slightly slurred speech, flushing of the skin, and bloodshot eyes.

Withdrawal symptoms can occur hours to days after a person has stopped drinking. As such, he or she may appear shaky, sweaty, and agitated or depressed.

Severe alcoholics may also present as unkempt, unclean, or disheveled. This is a sign that they are so focused on being intoxicated that they are neglecting routine personal care, such as bathing, eating properly, etc.

Memory Loss and Blackouts or “Brownouts”

Alcohol impairs a person’s short-term memory. Someone having a blackout or brownout (partial loss of memory) will not remember the things they did or events that happened while they were intoxicated.

Obsession With Alcohol

An alcoholic will obsess over obtaining and consuming alcohol. The person may try to seem patient, but often, it’s clear that they are agitated because they can’t drink at any given time. Most alcoholics are silently plotting the next time they will be able to have more alcohol. 

An obsession with alcohol causes a constant mental preoccupation that can very easily damage intimate personal relationships. Furthermore, an alcoholic may rush through activities haphazardly to make time for drinking, rather than enjoying their time being sober and engaging with loved ones.

Drinking Rapidly or Chugging 

Alcoholics will often quickly drink or “chug” their first few drinks. They will do this because they are seeking to get intoxicated rapidly, or perhaps because their tolerance is so high they feel like they need a head start. It may also be used as a way to evade withdrawal symptoms. Some will chug a few drinks then go on with their day as if it were completely normal.

Hiding Alcohol | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Drinking Rituals

The person is always drinking at certain times of the day, such as after getting home from work or at bedtime, or in certain places. The hallmark of an alcoholic is that they feel that they need to engage in their drinking ritual, and will likely become upset or stressed out when they are unable to do so. 

Missing Money or Valuables and Spending Excessively

Addiction is usually expensive. The addict may purchase cheap alcohol, but ultimately, it adds up. He or she will spend way too much money on drinking, to the extent that they may become financially stressed. They may then steal items, borrow money, or generally begin to hassle others to help them obtain alcohol.

While no one behavior indicates someone is an alcoholic for sure, the presence of several of them is collectively a powerful sign that this person has a very severe problem. Some of these signs may be subtle; others are more obvious. In any case, if you witness this behavior, your loved one likely has a dependence or addiction to alcohol. 

Getting Help for Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a chronic, lifelong disease that does not go away, but fortunately, it can be treated effectively. If you suspect that you or someone you love has a problem with alcohol abuse, contact us today. Recovery in Tune offers a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to alcoholism that includes services essential for the process of recovery. 

These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Individual and family counseling
  • Substance abuse education

Our skilled and compassionate staff are dedicated to providing our clients with the tools they need to break free from the chains of alcohol addiction once and for all! You don’t have to suffer any longer—professional help is available now!

Deciding to Check into an Alcohol Treatment Program

For those suffering from alcohol addiction, a lot of potential options for addressing the addiction may have been previously attempted yet failed. These might include participation in an AA group, living in a sober living home or counseling. In instances where the intake of alcohol is high for an extended period of time, tapering down may not be an option. Checking into an alcohol treatment program is often the best available remedy in such a situation. By learning more about alcohol treatment programs and how they address addiction to alcohol, starting the road to sobriety should be achievable.

Diagnose the Addiction

Inpatient treatment is expensive and is an expense which is possible to avoid if the problem is addressable with other solutions. Some strategies might include group therapy in outpatient treatment, checking into a sober living house or attending several AA meetings on a daily basis. Should the use be particularly high, make an effort to taper down and attend as many meetings sober as possible.

Isolate Use

There are two schools of thought when it comes to alcoholism. One relates usage to compulsion while the other relates it to choice. Regardless of your opinion, isolating yourself from the potential to consume alcohol is an effective way to address the problem. Consider taking an extended vacation to a remote area with a loved one in order to limit access to alcohol.

Consider an Alcohol Treatment Program

If none of the above approaches help reduce or eliminate the use of alcohol, it might be time to check into an alcohol treatment program. This could be an outpatient or inpatient program, either of which is typically preferred based on the overall seriousness of the addiction.

Preparing for Entrance into A Program

There are a few steps which should be taken before deciding to enter into a treatment program to help create an optimal environment upon leaving the program.

1. Employment: Work with your employer to negotiate continued employment upon exiting the program. Failing to negotiate such an agreement could leave yourself without a viable source of income upon leaving the treatment program, which can quickly veer you back towards using alcohol. This step is usually only necessary for inpatient treatment. Sustaining employment throughout outpatient treatment is generally achievable.

2. Bills and Potential Emergencies: Arrange for all of your bills to be paid while participating in an inpatient program. If you have insurance work with the provider to find out how much money is available for the treatment. Although you will still be able to sustain contact with the outside world while in a treatment program, it typically isn’t possible to physically address any emergencies. Have a friend, neighbor or relative be responsible for your residence and other possessions such as a vehicle during this time period.

Medical Care

Most alcohol treatment programs that take place at a clinic have the capability to recognize and address symptoms related to alcohol withdrawal. These include delirium tremens and hallucinations on the higher end of the spectrum. Withdrawal symptoms can be treated as they occur at such a facility.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is an essential aspect of recovery, thus, it is prevalent within any alcohol treatment program. Expect to participate in several group sessions on a daily basis upon checking into an alcohol treatment program. According to verywellmind.com, “These sessions are designed to begin to teach you the skills that you will need to live life without drugs and alcohol. You will learn how to recognize situations in which you are most likely to drink or use drugs and how to avoid these circumstances if possible. You will learn new coping skills. The group sessions are designed to teach you the value of seeking support from others who are going through the same experiences and challenges that you are. In some facilities, these group sessions may be actual 12 step meetings. In other facilities, they may be facilitated by staff members.”

Be sure to contact us at Recovery In Tune if you have any questions about making the decision to check into an alcohol treatment program.

Alcohol and Breastfeeding

Alcohol and Breastfeeding | Is it Safe? | Recovery in Tune

Alcohol and Breastfeeding: Is it Safe? – Drinking alcohol while breastfeeding is never advised. There is no “safe” level of alcohol in breast milk for a baby to consume. Studies have shown that infants who consume alcoholic milk may feed and sleep less often and exhibit poor motor coordination.

Alcohol and Breastfeeding Facts

When a woman drinks alcohol, it is transferred to her breast milk at concentrations comparable to those in her bloodstream. Although a breastfed baby is only exposed to a relatively small amount of the alcohol that the mother consumes, newborns clear alcohol from their bodies at a much slower rate than adults.

As long as there is alcohol in a lactating mother’s blood, the milk will also contain alcohol. Alcohol levels in both a mother’s blood and breast milk peak within 30-60 minutes of consuming the last drink. After this time, factors such as weight, food intake, and hydration can affect how long it takes for alcohol to clear her body.

To avoid harmful effects for the baby, a mother who breastfeeds should never consume alcohol—ever. If she does, she should not engage in breastfeeding for at least two hours after consumption. This waiting period could help to minimize alcohol levels in her milk as well as the risk for adverse effects.

What Is Pumping and Dumping?

“Pumping and dumping” is the practice of a woman pumping her breast milk and discarding it in some way. A woman may do this believing it removes the alcohol from her milk faster, but it does not.

It does, however, allow the woman to remove the milk from her breasts in a manner that will not affect the baby. This option may be a better one, but it is also an unfortunate and unnecessary waste of essential nutrients that could benefit the child. Moreover, there are good reasons why many women choose to breastfeed and prefer not to rely on formula.

How Can Alcohol Harm a Baby?

Studies have found changes in the sleep patterns of infants who breastfed from mothers who had consumed alcohol. Two studies revealed that, while the total amount of sleep was unchanged for infants after consuming alcohol-laden milk, sleep was divided into more frequent but shorter intervals, and they experienced less REM sleep. Another study found that the infants’ sleep was 25% shorter on average after drinking alcoholic milk.

Also, in 1989, researchers investigated the association of the mother’s use of alcohol during breastfeeding to an infant’s development at one year of age. It was found that motor development was significantly poorer in infants who were regularly exposed to alcohol in breast milk.

Alcohol and Breastfeeding | Is it Safe? | Recovery in Tune

Myths and Alcohol’s Effects on the Milk Supply

Research has also found that breastfed babies may consume 20% less milk following a mother’s alcohol consumption. This decrease in feeding is not related to shorter feeding times or a change in the milk’s flavor. Instead, it has been attributed to the diminished amount of milk that a woman’s body produces after alcohol consumption.

The National Institute of Health reports that “nursing after 1 or 2 drinks…can decrease the infant’s milk intake by 20 to 23% and cause infant agitation and poor sleep patterns.” Although babies tend to drink less milk after the mother has consumed alcohol, these women often cannot recognize that there is a difference.

Women are taught in some cultures that drinking alcohol can increase a woman’s milk supply. Unfortunately, research has found that this is not the case. A report by the National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA) issues the following warning:

“…the lore of many cultures encourages lactating women to drink alcohol to optimize breast milk production and infant nutrition. In contrast to this folklore, however, studies demonstrate that maternal alcohol consumption may slightly reduce milk production.” They refer to drinking alcohol shortly before breastfeeding as “counterproductive.”

Alcohol and Hormones

Alcohol may influence a mother’s milk supply in two specific ways.

There are two pituitary hormones that are responsible for regulating the breastfeeding process: prolactin and oxytocin. Prolactin is released while the infant is suckling and stimulates the further production of milk. Oxytocin functions to contract the muscles around the mammary tissue of the breast to release the milk.

When babies consume less milk, less prolactin is released. Because a baby’s amount of suckling influences the amount of prolactin that is released, if the baby begins feeding less, the mother will produce less prolactin. This signal tells the body that the woman needs less milk for the baby, thus her milk supply will be reduced.

Studies have also found that alcohol consumption may interfere with oxytocin. This effect could further decrease the mother’s milk level and impair the infant’s ability to feed.

Studies conducted on lactating rats demonstrated that acute alcohol administration “significantly inhibited suckling-induced prolactin and oxytocin release as well as milk production and, consequently, the pups milk intake.”

The Bottom Line

Alcohol and Breastfeeding | Is it Safe? | Recovery in Tune

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that the best way to ensure a baby is not harmed by alcoholic breast milk is to avoid drinking while breastfeeding. But, for those who insist on imbibing, the important thing is to be aware of your alcohol intake and to avoid feeding alcoholic milk to your child.

Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirm that “not drinking alcohol is the safest option for breastfeeding mothers” and that “exposure to alcohol above moderate levels through breast milk could be damaging to an infant’s development, growth, and sleep patterns.” The CDC also stresses that drinking alcohol in excess may “impair a mother’s judgment and ability to safely care for her child.”

Experts recommend planning ahead and to not breastfeed a baby while consuming alcohol or soon after drinking. It can take several hours for a woman’s body to clear all the alcohol from her blood and milk supply. Conversely, a woman can pump and store her milk and feed it to the baby while she is drinking or after she has consumed a drink. The use of formula during this time is yet another option.

Of note, if you feel you have to go to great lengths in planning your drinking habits around breastfeeding, this could be a sign that you have an alcohol use disorder. The stress of having a child can compel some mothers to drink, or continue drinking, but this may not always be the responsible action to take.

Moreover, if you are often worried about what effects your alcohol use might have on your child, the stress alone is probably not worth it. It’s best to quit drinking entirely, at least while you are breastfeeding, and seek help if you feel you need to do so.

Getting Help for Alcoholism

If you find that you are struggling to stop drinking, you should consider seeking treatment for alcoholism. If you are a lactating mother in this situation, Recovery in Tune may be the perfect place to get help.

Our center offers outpatient treatment for those who need flexibility in their schedule to take care of their families. Our comprehensive programs include a wide range of evidence-based services, such as the following:

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism, we urge you to contact us today and speak to one of our caring addiction specialists. We can provide you with the support, resources, and tools you need to overcome substance abuse. You deserve to be healthy, so allow yourself the opportunity to enjoy long-lasting sobriety and well-being.

We are dedicated to helping those who need it most to renew their hope and foster happy and fulfilling lives!

Risks of Using Steroids and Alcohol

Steroids and Alcohol | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Risks of Using Steroids and Alcohol – Steroids and alcohol can be a dangerous combination that can affect vital systems in the body, including the liver, kidneys, heart, immune system, gastrointestinal system, and can even result in mental health problems.

Alcohol Use Statistics

The use of alcohol is widespread among adults. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH, 2015) reported that among persons aged 18 and older, 86.4% had reported consuming alcohol at some point in their life.

Alcohol abuse can quickly lead to addiction and pose a danger to the individual and other people. An estimated 88,000 Americans die from alcohol-related causes each year. According to the 2015 NSDUH, 15.1 million adults and 623,000 children aged 12-17 suffer from an alcohol use disorder.

Steroid Use Statistics

Anabolic steroids are drugs that simulate the hormone testosterone and are sometimes prescribed to help patients with certain kinds of anemia or men who don’t produce enough testosterone on their own. Recreationally, they are used to increase muscle mass and bolster athletic performance. Approximately 3,000,000 people use anabolic steroids in America each year.

Those who abuse anabolic steroids recreationally may use quantities up to 100 times higher than normal dosage amounts. Most professional sports organizations prohibit the use of anabolic steroids. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that the largest single group of anabolic steroids users is male weightlifters.

Why Do People Combine Alcohol and Steroids?

Some people use alcohol and steroids without knowing the potential health risks. They may take a prescribed steroid medication for a health problem, and perhaps drink occasionally without considering the possibility of side effects. However, whether deliberate or accidental, regularly drinking alcohol while taking steroid medications for any reason can increase the risk of adverse health consequences.

Some people who use anabolic steroids may suffer from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) or have a distorted perception of their body and size. In general, however, people who abuse steroids are seeking physical results, such as increased muscle mass, improved athletic performance, and reduced body fat. Many people on steroids may shun alcohol due to its high-calorie content and ability to slow metabolism, but others with BDD or other mental health issues may turn to alcohol as a means to self-medicate.

If a person begins combining steroids and alcohol as a way to numb the adverse emotional effects of the steroids, they are doing more harm than good. Some of the potential side effects of using steroids by themselves can include aggressive mood swings, emotional instability and volatility, hallucinations, and paranoia. These symptoms can all be exacerbated when alcohol is thrown into the mix.

Potential Side Effects

Steroids and Alcohol | Recovery in Tune Addiction TreatmentThe prolonged use of steroids and alcohol can compound the risk for certain side effects and health complications. On their own, both alcohol and anabolic steroid abuse can have an adverse impact on a person’s health and well-being.

Steroid Side Effects

Common anabolic steroid side effects include the following:

  • Acne
  • Fluid retention
  • Pain during urination
  • Hair loss or growth
  • Infertility
  • Changes in libido
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Tendon rupture
  • Osteoporosis
  • Stunted growth in children
  • Testicle shrinkage
  • Low sperm count or sterility
  • Male breast growth
  • Deeper voice for women
  • Breast shrinkage
  • Menstrual cycle changes
  • Mood disorders
  • Psychological dependence

Possible Combined Side Effects

In addition to the aforementioned steroid side effects, combining steroids and alcohol increases a person’s risk of:

  • Liver damage
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Psychological disorders

Serious Health Dangers

The most significant risk a person faces when they use steroids and alcohol is a high level of liver toxicity. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA long-term steroid abuse can result in damage to the liver and kidneys—two vital organs that are commonly known to suffer damage when an individual drinks alcohol excessively. Thus, mixing steroids and alcohol can overwhelm the liver ever quicker, leading to cirrhosis or liver failure.

Other physical dangers of mixing these two substances include:

  • Dehydration
  • Chest pain
  • Hypertension
  • Allergic reactions

Finally, there are also a number of psychological side effects that have been associated with the combined use of steroids and alcohol. Prolonged steroid use can cause mental instability, mania, and even psychosis. Even short-term steroid use can make a person’s mood unpredictable, and can precipitate the infamous “roid rage.” When this volatile mindset combines with the lowered inhibitions of an intoxicated person, the potential for dangerous or violent behavior is much more likely.

Treatment for Abuse of Steroids and Alcohol

Discontinuing the use of anabolic steroids is the first step to preventing many of the unwanted and hazardous side effects of these substances. If alcohol is used in combination with steroids, however, it is recommended that individuals seek treatment at a specialized facility such as Recovery in Tune.

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction and steroid abuse, we can help. Comprehensive treatment, including psychotherapy and counseling, is available for these disorders.

Contact us today to speak with one of our representatives to learn more about our treatment options!

Alcohol and Depression

Alcohol and Depression | A Vicious Cycle | Recovery in Tune

Alcohol and Depression: A Vicious Cycle – The abuse of alcohol and depression are closely correlated. Many people who experience depression, especially those who have not been properly diagnosed and treated, turn to alcohol in an attempt to feel better or numb the pain. In fact, at least 30%-40% of alcoholics also suffer from a depressive disorder.

Unfortunately, heavy alcohol consumption ends up having the opposite effect. Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that reduces activity in the brain and body. Studies have revealed that alcohol use increases both the duration and the intensity of depressive episodes. It also increases the likelihood of having suicidal thoughts.

Alcoholism can lead to the development of other stressors in life, such as financial, legal, and family problems that exacerbate depression. Moreover, if a depressed person than turns to alcohol in an effort to make themselves feel better, a vicious cycle has begun that can be extremely difficult to break.

Alcoholism can result in depression in many circumstances. Prolonged alcohol abuse can dramatically alter and rewire the brain, as well as affect other chemical balances in the body. This is especially true regarding the brain’s neurotransmitters—chemical messengers that regulate emotions and other important bodily functions. These widespread changes can ultimately lead to depression.

Alcohol Addiction

Prolonged, heavy alcohol consumption can lead to alcohol use disorder (AUD). Alcohol use disorder is hallmarked by problematic drinking and includes a broad spectrum of instances of alcohol abuse.

Some symptoms of alcohol use disorder include:

  • Considerable time spent drinking
  • Neglecting other activities to drink
  • Having cravings for alcohol
  • Repeatedly drinking too much or for too long
  • Continuing to drink despite adverse effects on relationships
  • Continued drinking despite emotional consequences, such as depression

Depression

Alcohol and Depression | A Vicious Cycle | Recovery in Tune

Depression is a potentially serious mental health disorder that is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or worthlessness. It can infiltrate every aspect of an individual’s life and dramatically affect those around them. It often leads to problems with friends and family as well as difficulty in the workplace. Depression increases the risk of developing other health conditions and places the person at a higher risk for suicide.

Unfortunately, depression is a remarkably prevalent disorder. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), it affects about one in every 15 people.

The APA states that an individual can be diagnosed with depression if they present with some of following symptoms for at least two weeks:

  • Sadness
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Erratic sleep patterns
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Concentration problems
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Feelings of guilt

The development of depression is related to a multitude of different factors. Some people are genetically prone to depression. Personality can also play a role, as those with low self-esteem or who are more likely to be negative are also more likely to develop some level of depression.

In addition, environmental factors, especially those in childhood, play a fundamental role in the development of depression. While all of these factors can contribute to the likelihood that a person will experience depression, their presence does not guarantee he or she will get the disorder.

How Depression Leads to Alcohol Abuse

Some people drink alcohol in an attempt to cope with their depression. People can be attracted to the sedative and euphoric effects of alcohol as a kind of self-medication that distracts them from continual feelings of sadness. While alcohol may temporarily alleviate some symptoms of depression, it ultimately serves to exacerbate the condition when used on a chronic basis.

Alcoholism is associated with a myriad of adverse effects on nearly every aspect of life. As a person begins to encounter financial and legal consequences as a result of alcohol abuse and their relationships start to incur damage, depression can worsen. This fact often results in a disturbing cycle of alcohol abuse as a means to self-medicate symptoms of depression.

All the while, though, the depression is actually worsening with continuous use. Some people have overlapping genetic predispositions that make them more susceptible to both the abuse of alcohol and depression. What’s more, the onset of one disorder can trigger the other.

Those with depression who use antidepressants to manage the condition can experience additional adverse effects due to alcohol abuse. Alcohol consumption makes antidepressants less effective, and the depressant effects of the alcohol will further exacerbate the now inadequately managed depression.

How Alcohol Abuse Leads to Depression

Alcohol and Depression | A Vicious Cycle | Recovery in Tune

While depression can place an individual at a higher risk of developing an alcohol problem, the inverse is equally common. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), depression can manifest and increase while a person is suffering from alcoholism. As noted, this increase in depression can then result in more drinking, thus continuing this cycle from the other side.

According to one study, individuals dealing with either alcohol use disorder or depression double their risk of developing the other condition. Furthermore, the researchers concluded that this phenomenon is not merely a correlation. Indeed, alcohol use disorders and depression are bound up in a reciprocating causal relationship.

The study also found that alcohol abuse is more likely to cause major depression than the other way around, though the causality could go in either direction. There were links found between the neurophysiological and metabolic changes brought about by alcohol abuse and the mechanisms for depression to occur. Altogether, the findings demonstrated that abuse of alcohol puts an individual at a significantly higher risk to develop depression than that of a person who is not abusing the substance.

It is clear that alcohol abuse can cause depression, and depression can also contribute to alcohol abuse. This relationship can be cyclical, and a person can get caught up going back and forth between abusing alcohol and then using alcohol to try to relieve the resulting depression.

This can prove to be a challenging set of co-occurring conditions to address, and professional help is direly needed. If a person encounters feelings of depression as a result of alcohol abuse, it’s likely that these symptoms will subside some time after alcohol use has ceased.

Treatment for Alcohol Abuse and Depression

Alcoholism and depression can both be harrowing predicaments. For a person suffering from both conditions simultaneously, though, life can be especially troubling and often results in much poorer outcomes. Fortunately, due to the frequent co-occurrence of depression and alcohol abuse, many addiction treatment centers, such as Recovery in Tune, are clinically prepared to treat both disorders concurrently.

Integrated treatment is the most effective way to achieve recovery from both disorders. If only one condition is treated without addressing the other, relapse is highly likely.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy and counseling are two of the most effective ways to combat both alcoholism and depression. We offer these services in intensive-outpatient and outpatient formats and may include medication-assisted therapy to aid in recovery from both conditions. Our highly-trained staff of addiction specialists is dedicated to providing every client with the knowledge and support they need to fully recover and foster the healthy and satisfying lives they deserve.

If you or someone you love is suffering from alcohol abuse and depression, contact us today. Discover how we help people escape the clutches of addiction and enjoy long-lasting wellness and sobriety!

Mental Effects of Alcohol

Mental Effects of Alcohol | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Mental Effects of Alcohol – Alcoholism is a potentially life-threatening disease that can wreak havoc on a person’s life, mind, and body. While all effects of alcoholism can be devastating, one of the most tragic things to watch is how alcoholism impacts a person’s mental functioning.

The Mental Effects of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol Alters Brain Chemistry

Our brains depend on a stable balance of chemicals and processes to function optimally. Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, which means it can interfere with that balance and affect a person’s thoughts, feelings and actions. This effect is primarily due to alcohol’s effect on neurotransmitters, chemicals such as dopamine that transmit signals from one neuron in the brain to another.

The relaxed or euphoric feeling that people may encounter if they have an alcoholic drink is caused by the aforementioned chemical changes that alcohol induces. For some, one or two drinks can help them feel more social, confident, and less anxious. This relaxing effect occurs because the alcohol is starting to depress the parts of the brain responsible for inhibition.

But as a person drinks more, more of the brain starts to be impacted. When high amounts of alcohol have been consumed, instead of pleasurable effects increasing, negative emotional responses may occur, causing one to become angry, aggressive, anxious, or depressed.

Alcoholism and Mental Health Disorders

Sometimes people drink as an attempt at self-medication for a mental health condition. Other times, drinking appears to instigate or exacerbate such disorders. In either case, alcoholism and the mental illness fuel one another, perpetuating a vicious cycle of drinking to feel better, feeling worse, and then opting to drink again while hoping for a different result.

Anxiety

For those without serious mental health issues, a little bit of alcohol may serve as a stress reliever because it induces an increase in the feel-good chemical dopamine, and also reduces other brain activity that could make one anxious or agitated. However, alcohol use can also increase anxiety and stress and make these and other problems more difficult to deal with. This is, of course, because regular, excessive drinking interferes with the balance of brain neurotransmitters that is needed for good mental health.

When a person consumes a significant amount of alcohol, their perception of any given situation may narrow. Moreover, if a person is prone to anxiety and notices something that could be construed as threatening, he or she may focus on that and miss other information in the environment that could contradict or temper that perception. For example, someone might see their partner talking to someone and assume that he or she is flirting, but in reality, it’s just a friendly conversation that could be properly analyzed if only the intoxicated person was in a right state of mind.

Depression

Mental Effects of Alcohol | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

If a person drinks excessively on a regular basis, he or she is likely to experience some symptoms of depression. Regular drinking reduces levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that helps to regulate mood.

People who experience clinical depression are more likely to be heavy or problem drinkers that others without mental health problems. For some, the depression came first, and they’ve resorted to alcohol use for the relief of negative thoughts and feelings. For others, however, drinking came first, and so it may be the primary cause of their depression.

Drinking heavily can also affect one’s relationships with significant others, family, and friends. It also can impact work or school performance, and these problems can also contribute to depression. Severe depression that is coupled with alcohol’s ability to lower inhibitions can result in self-harming or suicidal behaviors.

Alcohol’s Effect on Memory

People may joke about heavy drinking that leads to blacking out and an inability to remember the night before. The truth, however, is that alcohol abuse at this level is anything but funny and is actually extremely dangerous.

While one or two incidents of blacking out don’t necessarily inflict irreversible damage memory, regular and excessive drinking to the point of blacking out can eventually lead to permanent memory impairment. Memory problems are associated with difficulty learning and retaining new information and can also have an adverse impact on concentration.

Increased Risk of Dementia

Dementia is most often associated with the elderly, but alcoholism can contribute to the development of at a younger age and increase the risk of dementia even in those who would not have otherwise developed it. This increased risk is based on the fact that alcoholism accelerates the normal shrinkage process of the brain that occurs as we all age. Among other problems, dementia is hallmarked by a declining ability to plan and make sound judgments and decision.

Treatment for Alcoholism

Most often, some of the mental effects caused by alcoholism can be reversed if a person discontinues alcohol use. Unfortunately, this can be incredibly challenging, and professional help will likely be necessary for a successful recovery that has the potential to stop and reverse elements of mental deterioration.

Recovery in Tune offers a wide range of evidence-based services that include psychotherapy, counseling, group support, and aftercare planning. We employ caring addiction professionals who deliver these services to clients with patience, compassion, and expertise.

If you or someone you love is suffering from the effects of alcoholism, contact us today. Discover how we help people free themselves from addiction and cultivate healthy, fulfilling lives for themselves!

Effects of Alcohol on Blood Pressure

Effects of Alcohol on Blood Pressure | Recovery in Tune

Effects of Alcohol on Blood Pressure – Although alcohol consumption is enjoyable for many, even moderate use can increase certain health risks. Having more than three drinks in a single event will temporarily cause a person’s blood pressure to rise, but prolonged binge drinking or regular alcohol use can cause a chronic increase in blood pressure.

What Is Hypertension?

The heart pumps blood throughout the body every time it beats. For the blood to sufficiently circulate, a certain amount of pressure is needed. A healthy heart that is functioning optimally will pump blood throughout the body at relatively low pressure.

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a disorder in which the heart is forced to pump harder to circulate the blood through the entire body. This puts a strain on the arteries, as they have to work harder to move the blood that’s now flowing throughout the body at a higher pressure.

High blood pressure, however, is frequently asymptomatic for many people for some time. One of the most dangerous aspects of this condition is that those who have it may not know it. In fact, about one-third of people who experience high blood pressure are unaware of it, meaning that it can remain undiagnosed until a significant health complication occurs.

Signs and symptoms of profoundly high blood pressure may include the following:

  • Severe headache
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Vision problems
  • Chest pain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Blood in urine
  • Pounding neck, ears, or chest

Effects of Alcohol on Blood Pressure

Drinking heavily over time can produce an increase in blood pressure. When a person drinks alcohol above an amount the body can efficiently process, this causes blood pressure to rise. For the duration of a drinking episode, and for some time after, blood pressure will stay elevated.

Indeed, continued, excessive drinking can adversely impact blood pressure. If drinking persists, over time these effects will compound, and perilously high blood pressure can develop. For this reason, alcohol addiction is a dangerous circumstance for those who suffer it.

Dangerous Complications of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure has been linked to many different health issues, including kidney damage and retinal disease. High blood pressure can also lead to potentially life-threatening complications, including the following:

Stroke

High blood pressure puts stress on the arteries and blood vessels throughout the entire body, including those of the brain. The continued strain will result in blood vessels clogging or weakening. When this occurs, there is a blockage of blood or bleeding in the brain, also known as a stroke.

How much a person is affected by a stroke depends on where the stroke transpires and how much the brain has been compromised. Someone who had a relatively mild stroke may only have inconsequential problems, such as transient weakness in an arm or leg.

People who have massive strokes, on the other hand, may become permanently paralyzed on one side of the body or entirely lose their ability to speak. Some people completely recover from a stroke, but more than 2/3 of those who survive will encounter some form of disability.

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Heart Attack

The presence of hypertension substantially increases the risk of a heart attack. Because high blood pressure forces the heart to work harder and increases overall stress, there will be an increased risk of breathlessness, chest pains, and heart attack.

A heart attack is characterized by an abrupt blockage of the network of coronary arteries that surround the heart muscle and provide it with oxygen and blood rich in vital nutrients. This condition prevents blood flow to the heart muscle and damages it.

Aneurysm

Hypertension is a significant risk factor for a cerebral aneurysm (brain aneurysm), which is a weak or thin spot on an artery that balloons out and fills with blood. The bulging aneurysm can put pressure on nerves and brain tissue and may rupture or burst, spilling blood into the surrounding tissue (hemorrhage). A ruptured aneurysm can result in severe health complications, such as hemorrhagic stroke, brain damage, coma, and death.

Other Factors

There are other factors in addition to alcohol consumption that can contribute to the development of high blood pressure. These include hereditary factors, being over the age of 65, being overweight and/or physically inactive, tobacco use, and eating a diet high in sodium or low in potassium.

Treatment for Alcoholism

To lower blood pressure to a normal range, it’s essential to decrease the amount and frequency at which alcohol is consumed. Some heavy drinkers can find ways to reduce their consumption to moderate levels over a sustained amount of time, but for many, decreasing alcohol intake to healthy levels is extraordinarily challenging and medical intervention is necessary.

Recovery in Tune uses a comprehensive, research-based approach to addiction treatment that includes services vital to the recovery process, such as psychotherapy, drug counseling, and aftercare planning. Our highly-trained addiction specialists are dedicated to providing clients with the tools and support they need to achieve abstinence, avoid relapse, and sustain long-term sobriety and wellness.

Contact us today and discover how we can help you begin your journey to recovery!

What Is a Functioning Alcoholic?

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What Is a Functioning Alcoholic? – A functioning alcoholic is an individual who can still attend to necessary responsibilities and maintain a livelihood despite routine excessive abuse of alcohol. This concept may sound like it includes contradictory elements, but in truth, many alcoholics may be considered “functioning” in one way or another, depending on the circumstances.

The Functioning Alcoholic

One of the many stigmas associated with alcohol addiction is steeped in how well the alcoholic can manage his or her life. For instance, compare the homeless “gutter” alcoholic to an upper-middle-class family man in the suburbs. They may appear very different on the outside, but they have at least one very defining trait in common.

Another possible difference between the functioning alcoholic and others who suffer is the level of acceptance. At some point, many severe alcohol abusers admit that they have a problem, mainly because they have no choice in the face of their lives crumbling around them. Moreover, they are made to sit by and watch, seemingly helpless, as their lives and relationships are slowly destroyed by drinking.

Functioning alcoholics, however, are often the last ones to know. As long as the bills are paid and the alcoholic feels as if he or she is in relative control of his or her life, it’s remarkably easy to remain in denial. Family members who see things more clearly may say things like “Grandma got really drunk last night,” but these incidents may be disregarded and remain unaddressed in the big scheme of things.

Finally, rather than admit they have a problem outright, many functional alcoholics will joke about it instead. These individuals are quite often happy to meet other people who like to drink and even encourage it, and always have alcohol available for those who would like to partake. Because functioning alcoholics often have disposable income, they use some of this money on things like keeping their bars well-stocked or having an impressive selection of wines.

Functioning alcoholics are often out in the open about their drinking, because they are so well accepted by their loved ones and have only minor difficulties in their lives as a result of drinking. Others, however, may sometimes drink in secret or drink at inappropriate times when they know they can easily get away with it.

Who Is an Alcoholic?

Experts believe that alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction (also known as alcoholism) exist on the same spectrum and both fall under the classification of alcohol use disorder. The Mayo Clinic defines an alcohol use disorder (AUD) as “…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.”

Unhealthy alcohol use is further defined as including “any alcohol use that puts your health or safety at risk or causes other alcohol-related problems.” This unhealthy behavior also includes binge drinking or “a pattern of drinking where a male consumes five or more drinks within two hours or a female downs at least four drinks within two hours.”

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Signs and Symptoms

A functioning alcoholic is a person who…

…holds down life-sustaining employment or is undergoing education.
…typically can afford food, shelter, and other necessities of living.
…may financially support a family.
…may be well-educated, well-regarded by others, and a high-achiever.
…may hold a position of authority or power.

Yet that person…

…consumes alcohol to excess regularly and frequently and can’t control their drinking once they have started.
…minimizes and/or conceals the severity of their problem, and reassures others, when necessary, that everything is okay.
…may be quick to identify others whom he/she deems to be a more severe and less-functional alcoholic.
…occasionally fails to meet important responsibilities as a result of drinking.
…may have encountered some legal problems or family conflict as a result of drinking.
…may have been hospitalized for heavy alcohol use and/or is experiencing health-related problems such as liver disease.
…others have noticed there is a problem but are afraid of a confrontation.

Example: The Case of Ryan

Ryan, 35, is an assistant manager at a high-tech firm and has a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. He shares a home in the suburbs of a medium-sized city with his wife and young son.

Ryan has been drinking heavily since college, including both daily and binge-style alcohol use. He rarely misses work as a result of his drinking patterns, however, despite regular late-night binges after his son has gone to bed.

Ryan’s wife knows that he is an alcoholic, but rarely confronts him. She has discussed the problem with his family, who continue to insist that his excessive alcohol use isn’t a problem and that she should learn to appreciate better the long hours he works and the nice things he provides for the family.

Still, Ryan had a DUI five years ago, and yet occasionally engages in drinking and driving as he sometimes comes home from after-work gatherings completely inebriated. Ryan has no plans on stopping drinking, cutting back, or seeking help for his problem despite escalating problems with his wife and repeated risky behavior.

All Alcoholics Need Help

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Functioning alcoholics, despite their outward image of relative normalcy, still encounter the same risks as anyone who regularly engages in alcohol abuse, such as damage to and loss of relationships, employment, and security, along with dependence and withdrawals if they try to quit.

They continually endanger themselves and others when inebriated, and are possibly just one DUI away from long-term incarceration. They also incur the same increased risk of liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis, brain damage, and cancers of the throat, esophagus, breast, liver, and colon.

Moreover, functioning alcoholics are by no means exempt from the harmful effects of alcoholism. Unfortunately, functioning alcoholics are often the last to admit they may need help, and due to their family and social status, also the last ones that loved ones will bother to confront.

Treatment for Alcoholism

All alcoholics, regardless of their level of functioning, should seek help in the form of professional and comprehensive addiction treatment. Alcoholism is a severe and oftentimes devastating disease that can result in many physical and mental health issues, financial or legal problems, and tremendous undue strain on interpersonal relationships. The longer active alcoholism remains untreated, the greater the chance that these adverse consequences, among others, will occur.

Alcoholism is considered to be a chronic disease, and, as such, there is no single, surefire cure. Rarely can anyone who has an alcohol use disorder return to something resembling “normal” drinking or functioning. Alcoholics are hardpressed to fully reclaim and control their lives if they are engaging in any form of alcohol use, however minor it seems.

Fortunately, alcoholism is very treatable. Contemporary treatment options, such as those facilitated by Recovery in Tune, employ approaches that are clinically proven to increase the chances of a successful recovery. These approaches include psychotherapy, drug counseling, group support, and medication-assisted treatment. We provide our clients with the tools, resources, and support they need to achieve abstinence, prevent relapse, and enjoy long-lasting wellness and sobriety.

If you believe that you or someone you love is suffering from alcoholism, please contact us immediately to discuss treatment options. We help clients make their lives better, and ensure that they have the support they need to look forward to a fulfilling, alcohol-free future!

Alcohol Treatment

Alcohol Treatment | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Alcohol Treatment – According to recent data, more than 16 million adults have an addiction to alcohol. Alcohol use is the 4th leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. and is responsible for the deaths of around 88,000 people per year. Indeed, more than 40% of all substance abuse treatment admissions in the U.S. are related to alcoholism.

The sad truth, however, is that very few people who need treatment ever receive it, and this problem is not due to a lack of treatment centers or available beds. In fact, alcohol abuse treatment options are more accessible to the general public than ever before. Unlike just a few decades ago, there are now thousands of programs that address a variety of addictions and treatment facilities that cater to many demographics.

The reasons why people do not seek or receive treatment vary, but often include one or more of the following:

1. Affordability – People without insurance, inadequate insurance, or with high deductibles are likely unable to afford care. Furthermore, many alcoholics still hold down jobs and cannot take time off of work.
2. Motivation – Some people are simply not motivated to quit drinking.
3. Stigma – There is still a stigma associated with addiction, and coming forward and admitting that one needs help can result in a backlash from loved ones who contend that alcoholism is a problem of morals or willpower, and not related to mental illness or disease.

One of the most challenging hurdles to overcome is getting a person into a treatment program in the first place, and if treatment is not available at the exact time they decide to seek help, the opportunity for recovery may be lost indefinitely.

Principles for Effective Alcohol Treatment

No two alcohol abuse treatment centers are the same. Although most programs combine some form of therapy and education, and perhaps a detox program, the way in which they are conducted may be very different from one facility to the next.

Specialized treatment for alcohol use disorder can be performed in either an inpatient, partial-hospitalization, or outpatient format. Inpatient treatment lengths vary, but they typically last between one to three months and may have the potential to continue for longer if necessary.

Cost is an important concern with inpatient treatment because the cost of these programs are usually more than outpatient, and this is because they provide 24/7 supervision and a higher level of care. Treatment centers that customized their programs to patient needs and goals have the highest rates of success. Each patient is unique, and an individualized treatment plan should reflect these differences.

Effective alcohol treatment programs address a wide variety of physical, emotional, psychological, and social issues. People that solicit help for alcohol abuse tend to have many underlying problems that also need to be addressed. Without attention to all elements of a person’s life, the chance of long-lasting success diminishes significantly.

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Alcohol treatment of any length has the potential to help a person achieve a recovery. According to research, however, patients that participate in treatment for more prolonged periods display higher success rates than those who receive shorter periods of treatment. To motivate patients to stay in treatment for an adequate amount of time, program facilitators must employ tools that engage and encourage patients to participate actively in the program.

Alcohol treatment facilities that do not include behavioral therapies and counseling services are unlikely to adequately provide patients with the tools and support they need to address the motivation behind their addiction, implement coping mechanisms, and develop problem-solving skills. These capacities become vitally important after patients complete treatment and wish to reestablish healthy and productive lives without the use of alcohol.

Many specialized addiction treatment centers, such as Recovery in Tune, combine behavioral therapies with other evidence-based services and medication. Pharmacotherapy may be even more essential for those with a drug or alcohol abuse problem and a co-occurring mental health condition. In most cases, the integration of several diverse treatments is needed to facilitate successful outcomes.

As with any chronic condition, the potential for relapse exists, especially during the initial rehab period. Alcohol treatment programs monitor their patients closely, allowing addiction professionals to identify what is or is not working effectively for a patient and adjust treatment if necessary.

Pharmacotherapy for Alcohol Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a therapeutic approach increasingly incorporated into the management of alcoholism as well as other substance use disorders. To reduce cravings or withdrawal symptoms during detox, patients may be administered certain medications and be monitored by a health provider or trained addiction professional. Medications that are indicated for the treatment of alcohol abuse include the following:

  • Acamprosate (Campral)
  • Disulfiram (Antabuse)
  • Naltrexone (ReVia, Vivitrol)

Getting Alcohol Abuse Treatment

Recovery in Tune is dedicated to helping clients by providing them with the tools and support they need to achieve abstinence and experience long-lasting sobriety and wellness. If you or someone you love has an alcohol use disorder, please contact us today to discuss treatment options and begin the journey to recovery!

Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Drug and Alcohol Abuse | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Drug and Alcohol Abuse – Alcohol use disorder is a chronic disease that when present, may also increase the likelihood of a person developing co-occurring substance abuse problems such as addictions to prescription medications or illicit drugs. Combining alcohol and other drugs, however, can result in serious health and behavioral complications. Not only can excessive drinking and drug use compound the effects of each substance, but it can also lead to unpredictable and dangerous interactions.

What Is Substance Abuse?

Substance abuse is constituted by the chronic and problematic use of alcohol and/or drugs. A person who abuses alcohol has a higher risk of using at least one other substance, such as marijuana, heroin, or cocaine. Prolonged consumption of drugs and alcohol increases tolerance, therefore requiring increasing amounts of the substance to achieve the same effects.

A co-occurring alcohol and drug abuse problem can begin as mild to moderate use then gradually develop into a more severe condition. For example, a person may initially combine small amounts of alcohol with some other drug that has a relatively low potential for abuse or addiction. Over time, however, their body may develop physical dependence and begin craving more of one or the other substance, or both.

Once a person has built a tolerance to both substances, he or she may be forced to increase the amount(s) consumed in order to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms. As a result, some individuals may resort to using more addictive substances, such as heroin, cocaine or meth, to experience the euphoric effects they are seeking.

Being able to identify the warning signs of alcoholism and substance abuse is key to recognizing the need for professional help as early as possible. If left unaddressed for a long period of time, problems with drinking and drugs can intensify and become life-threatening.

Recognizing a Drug and Alcohol Abuse Problem

While some signs of alcohol and drug abuse are prominent and may be caught early on, others may not be as obvious. Warning signs are sometimes overlooked when a person conceals their drinking habits and drug use problem.

Due to the shame and negative implications associated with drug and alcohol abuse, many people deny they have a problem, at least initially. In these instances, it can be challenging for close friends and family members to arrange an intervention and attempt to get their loved one the help they so desperately need.

Identifying Substance Abuse

Here are several questions to ask that may help you to identify whether you or a loved one may be suffering from a drug and alcohol abuse problem:

1. Have you felt annoyed by the concern or criticism of your substance use by those around you, such as family, friends, or co-workers?
2. Have you ever thought that you should reduce your alcohol or drug consumption?
3. Have you felt guilt regarding your drug and alcohol consumption?
4. Do you ever find yourself craving alcohol or other substances regularly throughout the day?
5. In the last year, have you neglected any obligations due to drinking and/or drug use?
6. Have you or someone else been physically or emotionally harmed as a result of your substance abuse?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, you should seek help from a medical professional, mental health provider, or addiction specialist. Positive answers to these questions are not meant to serve as an official diagnosis. However, they may indicate that there is a substance abuse issue at hand and motivate you to get help.

The Dangers of Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Depending on the volume of alcohol and type drug(s) consumed, a person can encounter a host of adverse side effects. Since alcohol is a depressant, combining it with another psychoactive substance can be dangerous and lead to unpredictable and even-threatening side effects.

Some of the most common drug and alcohol combinations include the following:

Cocaine and Alcohol

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Cocaine and alcohol used together is one of the most popular combinations among drug users because of the intense high that both substances induce. Cocaine is a stimulant that increases blood pressure, heart rate and alertness, and also helps alcohol reach the brain quicker. Mixing cocaine and alcohol produces a chemical called cocaethylene, which contributes to intense feelings of pleasure. Severe risk factors of combining alcohol and cocaine include heart attack, overdose or death.

Methamphetamine (Meth) and Alcohol

Like cocaine, meth is a powerful stimulant that is most often used recreationally. The effects of cocaine, however, wear off quickly, whereas meth remains in the body for much longer. If someone drinks excessive while on meth, they will not initially feel the effects of alcohol poisoning, and in their euphoric state, they may consume much more than their body can handle. If meth begins to wear off before the alcohol, the person can die from acute alcohol intoxication.

Heroin and Alcohol

Both heroin and alcohol are central nervous system depressants that can cause comparable side effects. One of the most dangerous risks of using depressants is dramatically depressed breathing. When a person uses heroin with alcohol, breathing problems can become even more serious and life-threatening. The combined use of heroin and alcohol can result in an extremely slow heart rate and profound respiratory depression.

Ecstasy and Alcohol

Ecstasy is a stimulant and hallucinogen that can cause severe reactions when used with other substances, including alcohol. The intense high experienced while taking ecstasy can influence a person to drink large amounts of alcohol in a brief period of time. This can cause extreme dehydration, among other side effects, such as excessive sweating, heat stroke, nausea, and vomiting.

Prescription Painkillers and Alcohol

Prescription painkillers, such as Vicodin, Xanax, and OxyContin, are commonly prescribed in the U.S. to treat moderate to severe pain. When used in conjunction with alcohol, these substances can produce dangerous health conditions. When used separately, both painkillers and alcohol can cause liver damage. However, when the two are combined, it significantly increases the risk of liver problems and liver disease.

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Side Effects of Substance Use

The consumption of an excessive amount of alcohol and drugs over the course of weeks or years can take a serious toll on the body. Some effects may be temporary and mild or moderate. Other effects may last much longer and be responsible for irreversible damage.

Several short-term alcohol and drug use side effects include the following:

  • Short-term memory loss
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Respiratory problems
  • Markedly accelerated or decreased heart rate
  • Muscle control and motor skill impairments
  • Reduced inhibitions leading to risky behavior
  • Intensified emotions and mood swings

In addition to the temporary side effects of alcohol and drug abuse, there are also complications that can be chronic. Some of these conditions can put one at a higher risk of developing further health issues later on.

Long-term effects of alcohol and drug abuse may include:

  • Damage to internal organs
  • Muscle and bone damage
  • Loss of coordination
  • Increased risk of disease
  • Long-term memory impairments
  • Malnutrition and marked weight loss or gain
  • Nasal damage from snorting drugs such as cocaine or meth
  • Skin damage, sores, and infection related to injecting drugs such as heroin

Treating Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Excessive alcohol and drug abuse can destroy relationships with family and friends, professional and academic prospects, and health. While many in the grips of substance abuse feel as though there’s no end in sight, help is available. Alcohol and drug abuse are treatable conditions that can be defeated with the help of addiction specialists and medical care and support.

Recovery in Tune offers comprehensive, evidence-based treatment programs that include services vital to the recovery process, such as behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, counseling, group support, aftercare planning, and more.

If you or someone you love is suffering from alcoholism, drug abuse, or both, please call us today to discuss treatment options and discover how we can help!