The Physical Effects of Alcohol

The physical effects of alcohol can be dangerous.

The Physical Effects of Alcohol Explained

Alcoholism is a disease that affects millions of people worldwide. To better understand the physical effects of alcohol, it is vital to know how alcoholism starts and progresses.

Alcohol can cause mental and physical addiction. Sometimes, there are fatal consequences as a result of consuming alcohol. Alcohol affects some aspects of a person’s life, including finances, legal, relationships, and personal life.

A dependence upon alcohol should always be taken seriously.

 

Early Stages of Alcoholism

Consuming alcohol is common in the United States. Most people have had at least one alcoholic beverage in their life. Some will drink moderately. Others may binge drink or begin to drink alcoholically. Heavy drinking does not always indicate alcoholism however. A person also does not need to down half a bottle of scotch or more every night to be an alcoholic.

Alcohol impacts a person’s judgment quickly. For some people, just one alcoholic beverage can affect their ability to make healthy decisions. Almost everyone who has an alcohol use disorder diagnosis began their drinking safely.

How Does Alcoholism Start?

What can cause someone to become an alcoholic? The shift from normal drinking to alcoholism generally happens when someone changes why or how they consume alcohol. For example, someone might go from drinking with their friends to drinking to relieve pain. When the change occurs, there is usually an increase in cravings. From there, the person will likely start drinking more and more.

It has as much to do with their relationship with alcohol as it does behavior. A true alcoholic will not put down the drink in the face of consequences. Many people drink to excess in college for example. Someone who binge drinks in college may be exhibiting an alcohol use disorder at the time, but if that person is able to simply quit on their own or cut back substantially and drink only lightly after that, then that person isn’t typically what you’d call and alcoholic.

Many people don’t get the effects they are looking for when drinking alcohol, so they turn to harder liquor or increase their alcohol intake. A lot of people that struggle with alcohol abuse slowly increase the amount they drink. When someone drinks a lot of alcohol, especially for a longer time, they will likely start experiencing the physical effects of alcohol use.

If someone doesn’t get addiction rehab help, the physical effects could cause significant health issues. Alcoholism could take their life via drunk driving or deterioration of body organs, as well.

 

Immediate Effects from Abusing Alcohol

Alcohol can consume a person’s life. It can lead to severe health issues. Some of the health issues will take longer to develop. However, other effects can happen right after someone starts drinking.

Some immediate effects from abusing alcohol include:

  • Getting into an accident or having an injury
  • Having an arrest for reckless or irresponsible behavior
  • Higher chance of engaging in risky sexual behaviors
  • Relationship damage
  • Severe dehydration
  • Blackouts
  • Damage to fetus
  • Alcohol poisoning

These are just some immediate effects of abusing alcohol. Some long-term effects could occur with alcoholism, as well.

 

Long-Term Physical Effects of Alcohol Abuse

If someone keeps abusing alcohol for longer, they will start experiencing more severe health effects. In addition to the effects above, long-term abuse of alcohol can lead to:

  • High risk of neurological issues
  • Increased risk of having a stroke
  • Digestion issues
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Cancer
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased risk of developing mental health issues
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Alcoholic hepatitis
  • Brain damage

These are just a few of the many long-term physical effects that could occur from alcohol abuse. If you or someone you know has alcohol addiction, don’t wait. Getting treatment now could help to prevent some or all of these long-term effects.

 

Other Issues Caused by Alcohol Abuse

The immediate and long-term effects above can happen to anyone.

There are some other issues caused by alcohol abuse, as well. Some of these issues may include:

  • Malnutrition
  • Higher risk of getting anemia
  • Immune system function issues
  • Higher risk of getting pancreatitis
  • Seizures

The only way for someone to fight against these health problems is to quit drinking. The best way to overcome alcoholism is to get professional rehab help. The rehab team members can help you work through obstacles, triggers, personal issues, and much more. They can help you manage any health issues you already have, as well.

 

Most people who succeed in an alcohol addiction program don’t miss their drinking days. They may have cravings and triggers, but they realize their life is better in recovery than drinking. It may take some time before you feel like this. However, once you start getting treatment, you can find more meaning in life when you are sober.

Get Help for the Physical Effects of Alcohol

Millions of Americans are living with alcoholism or an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).  A lot of the people who have an alcohol addiction experience immediate physical effects of alcohol use. The people who continue drinking for years may start experiencing the long-term effects, as well. Alcohol addiction comes with serious psychological effects as well.

Even if you don’t have any of the long-term physical effects of alcohol yet, it is still best to get treatment now. Many of the physical effects of alcohol which occur later are irreversible. Other than these effects of alcohol there are the consequences of behavior while drinking. Driving while intoxicated, fights, destroyed relationships, high-risk sexual behaviors. The results can be tragic. But they don’t need to be. You can also take back control over your life with the right kind of help.

Contact us at Harmony Treatment and Wellness today. We can answer your questions and explain how our alcohol treatment program can help.

 

Rebuilding Foster Care Families in the Aftermath of Addiction

Foster Care and Addiction

It’s no secret that addiction tears families apart, this is especially true in the case of foster care. Studies have shown one in three children in the program were admitted due to parental substance abuse. But what happens when parents are in recovery and their children are able to come home. How do you heal the trauma that tore the family apart? 

 

Communicate 

Talk about what has happened, apologize, listen to their feelings. Depending on their age, this may be the time to have an open discussion with them and communicate honestly. Make sure they know that their feelings are valid, that you hear them, and of course, that you love them. 

 

Create a “New Normal” 

Children and families thrive on consistency. Try to create routines in your everyday life, maybe every night you have dinner at 6pm together. Or every morning you listen to the radio. Small things can make a difference in creating a feeling of consistency. Consider creating new traditions. Maybe every Saturday morning you take a walk together as a family or every Sunday you make pancakes. Making traditions make ordinary days feel special and make memories that last. 

 

Be Patient and Don’t Play the Guilt Game

Just because you’re in a different place now doesn’t mean you can expect things to change overnight. You may feel closed out or be frustrated by how your relationship building is going, but remember to be patient. This process takes time, particularly with older children. Don’t guilt them for holding a grudge or not responding the way you want them to. With time and consistency you can rebuild, but don’t put your expectations onto them. 

 

Keep Showing Up

It might be hard to face the circumstances, and new requirements such as supervised visitation however no matter what, continue to be there for them. It might take weeks, months, or even years for them to recover, feel safe, and accept the “new normal.” Regardless of how distant they may be, even when they act out or misbehave, stay with them. They need you and are likely testing your limits to see if you are here to stay. Be truly there for them. Show up, every day, in whatever way you can. 

 

Every scenario looks different. The ultimate goal is to heal, and let go of resentments and the shame. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and their children have been placed in foster care our case managers might be able to help. Contact us below or click here.

Telehealth: Addiction and Mental Health Conditions

Telehealth visit for addiction and mental health conditions therapy

What is Telehealth? 

Telehealth is a healthcare service available through a virtual platform. Visits occur on a device such as a phone, tablet or computer.

Telehealth also referred to as Telemedicine or Teletherapy,  has reduced the barriers to receiving care. Often used for those who are unable to travel for treatment. Patients can receive quick, on-demand counseling for medical conditions that do not require an in-person assessment or in mental health support like therapy. 

Is Telehealth Right For Me? 

Telehealth offers quick, on-demand support when you need it most. Telemedicine is for a patient that would benefit from care that does not require travel or time off. However, for some, it can feel impersonal compared to an in-person mental health experience. It is always down to the individual.

Privacy and Telehealth:

The concerns with privacy risks involve a lack of control over the collection, use, and sharing of data. According to Hall and McGraw, “The primary security risk is that of unauthorized access to data during collection, transmission, or storage.”  This is why the software used to conduct telehealth visits is HIPPA compliant and has special end-to-end encryption.

“Currently, the Health Insurance Portability and Accounting Act (HIPAA) contains the primary set of regulations that guide the privacy and security of health information. HIPAA requires that identifiable health information be encrypted so that only those authorized to read it can do so.”

Thinking about telehealth for yourself or a loved one facing addiction and mental health conditions? Give us a call with any questions.

Recent Alcohol Statistics

Alcohol Statistics

Alcohol abuse and addiction impacts people of all ages, genders, races, and walks of life. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), an estimated 88,000 people die each year in the U.S. from alcohol-related deaths. In fact, alcohol continues to be one of the country’s top preventable causes of death, taking second place only to tobacco and a poor diet/sedentary lifestyle.

Alcohol abuse has a significant effect on the entire body, particularly the brain, mouth, heart, pancreas, liver and immune system. Despite its adverse impact, more Americans than ever before in the country’s history consume alcohol on a regular basis.

Understanding the hazards of alcohol use and its effect on society can help you, and your loved ones make healthier and better-informed choices.

Alcohol Statistics and Facts – United States

Prevalence of Alcohol Consumption

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH, 2015):

  • More than 86% of individuals aged 18 or older reported that they consumed alcohol at some point in their lives.
  • 70% reported that they drank in the past year.
  • 56% reported that they drank in the past month.

Prevalence of Binge Drinking and Heavy Alcohol Consumption (NSDUH, 2015)

In the past month, nearly 27% of individuals aged 18 or older reported that in the past month they engaged in binge drinking and 7.0% reported that they engaged in heavy alcohol consumption.

Moreover, at least 65 million Americans report past-month binge drinking, which is more than 40% of current alcohol consumers.

Prevalence of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

According to NIAAA, alcohol use disorder is a “chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using.”

According to the 2015 NSDUH, more than 15 million adults aged 18 and older – 6.2% of this age group – had an alcohol use disorder. This number includes 9.8 million men (8.4% of men in this age group) and 5.3 million women (4.2% of women in this age group).

Less than 7% who had AUD in the past year received treatment. This stat includes 7.4% of men and just 5.4% of women with an AUD in this age group.

Women and Alcohol Consumption

  • More than 45% of adult women reported consuming alcohol in the past month, and 12% of these reported binge drinking.
  • Around 2.5% of women who consume alcohol meet the criteria for alcohol dependence.
  • Approximately 50% of child-bearing age drink, and 18% of women in this group binge drink (defined as an average of five drinks per binge.)
  • Women who binge drink are more likely to engage in unprotected sex, therefore increasing the risk of accidental pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
  • Women who consume alcohol while pregnant increase the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome, a condition characterized by mild to severe mental and physical congenital disabilities.
  • Binge drinking substantially increases the risk of sexual assault on women, especially those residing in a college setting.

Men and Alcohol Consumption

  • Nearly 60% of adult males report drinking in the past month, and of those, 23% report binge drinking five times per month at a rate of eight drinks per binge, on average.
  • Men are twice as likely to binge drink as women and nearly twice as likely to be intoxicated while driving or be involved in a fatal traffic accident.
  • An estimated 4.5% of men met the criteria for alcohol dependence in the past year.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption by men increases aggression, thus raising the risk of committing a physical assault on another person.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption is also a common factor in sexual assault and raises a man’s risk of engaging in unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners, and contracting an STD.
  • Men are more likely than women to commit suicide while consuming alcohol.
  • Among men, alcohol consumption increases the risk mouth, throat, esophagus, liver and colon cancers.

Underage Drinking

Frequency of Underage Alcohol Use

  • Nearly one-third (33.1%) of teens of the age of 15 reports having consumed at least one alcoholic drink.
  • According to a 2015 survey by the National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), roughly 623,000 teenagers from ages 12 to 17 had an AUD.
  • Of the 623,000 teens, 298,000 were male, and 325,000 were female, representing 2.3% and 2.7% from each 12 to 17 age group, respectively.
  • Around 5.2% of teens with an AUD underwent treatment within the past year, including 5.1% of males and 5.3% of females with an AUD in each respective age group.
  • Approximately 20.3% (7.7 million) of teens and young adults ages 12 to 20 report having drunk alcohol within the past month (19.8% of males and 20.8% of females in each age group).

Frequency of Binge Drinking

According to the NSDUH (2015), an estimated 5.1 million youths (about 13.4%) aged 12–20 (13.4% of males and 13.3% of females) reported binge drinking in the past month.

Prevalence of Heavy Alcohol Use

According to the NSDUH (2015), around 1.3 million youths (about 3.3%) ages 12–20 (3.6% of males and 3% of females) reported heavy alcohol consumption in the past month.

Consequences of Drinking Alcohol Underage

Studies suggest that alcohol use during the teenage years could interfere with normal teenage brain development and increases the risk of developing alcohol use disorder later in life. Also, underage drinking contributes to a variety of short-term consequences, including injuries, sexual assaults, and even fatalities, such as those caused by car accidents.

Teen alcohol consumption kills 4,700 people each year. That’s more than all illegal drugs combined.

Alcohol and College Students

Prevalence of Alcohol Use

According to the NSDUH (2015), 58% of full-time college students aged 18–22 consumed alcohol in the past month compared with 48% of other people the same age.

Prevalence of Binge Drinking

According to the NSDUH (2015), nearly 38% of college students ages 18–22 reported binge drinking in the past month compared with 32.6% of other people the same age.

Prevalence of Heavy Alcohol Use

According to the NSDUH (2015), 12.5% of college students aged 18–22 reported heavy alcohol consumption in the past month compared with 8.5%t of other people the same age.

Consequences—Researchers estimate that each year:

More than 1,800 college students between the18 and 24 years of age die from unintentional injuries related to alcohol use including motor-vehicle crashes.

Also, 696,000 students between ages 18-24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking, and 97,000 students of the same age reported being the victim of sexual assault or date rape related to alcohol.

Around 1 in 5 (20%) of college students meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder, and about 1 in 4 report academic consequences related to drinking, such as missing class or falling behind, doing poorly on papers or exams a receiving lower grades.

Economic Burden of Drinking

Alcohol abuse cost the United States an estimated $249 billion in 2010, and around three-quarters of the total cost of alcohol was related to binge drinking. What’s more, drinking and driving cost the U.S. $199 billion each year.

Alcohol and the Body

In 2015, of the more than 78,500 deaths due to liver disease among individuals ages 12 and older, 47% involved alcohol.

Among males, nearly 49,700 liver disease deaths occurred and 49.5% involved alcohol. Among females, 28,834 liver disease fatalities occurred and 43.5% were related to alcohol.

Among liver cirrhosis deaths in 2013, nearly 48% were related to alcohol. The proportion of alcohol-related cirrhosis was greatest (76.5%) among deaths of people from ages 25–34, followed by deaths of people ages 35–44 (70%.)

In 2009, alcohol-related liver disease was the main cause of almost 1 in 3 liver transplants in the U.S.

Alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, esophagus, larynx, pharynx, liver, breast, and colon, and rectum.

Alcohol-Related Fatalities

In 2014, alcohol-related driving deaths accounted for nearly 10,000 fatalities or 31% of overall driving deaths.

Alcohol poisoning kills six people each day. Of those, more than three-quarters (75%) are adults aged 35-64, and three of every four people killed by alcohol poisoning/overdose are male.

The group with the most alcohol poisoning fatalities per million people is American Indians/Alaska Natives at 49 per 1 million.

Treatment for Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a devastating and life-threatening disease, but fortunately, it can be effectively treated using a comprehensive, evidence-based approach that includes psychotherapy, counseling, and group support.

Treatment programs are available in inpatient, partial hospitalization, and outpatient formats. Regardless of program design, professional staff who specialize in addiction help patients by providing them with medical and mental health care, as well as the tools they need to achieve a long-lasting recovery.

If you or a loved one are suffering from alcoholism, please contact us as soon as possible. No one should have to do this alone – we can help!