Alcohol Detox

What is the Brain?

The brain is one of largest organs in the body. It is comprised of billions of neurons, which communicate together sending messages to the body regulating breathing, thinking, feeling, sensing, temperature, hunger and all the processes that regulates one’s body.

There are three main sections of the brain: the cerebrum, cerebellum, and the brain stem. These sections are broken down into other areas, each with specific functions but for the purpose of this piece the discussion will remain with the basic brain sections.

The cerebrum is comprised of two hemispheres known as the cortex (the outer layer is called grey matter) and the deeper inner layer (called white matter). There are four lobes that comprise the cortex: the frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital. All of these areas serve to help a person, think, feel, interpret, communicate, and move.

The subcortex is below the cortex and continually interacts with the cortex to send messages about emotions. It is responsible for more primitive responses. Many psychiatric disorders are associated with abnormalities in the subcortical structure.

“The brain sends and receives chemical and electrical signals throughout the body…The brain stem sends signals to the spinal cord, while the cerebellum controls voluntary muscles movement, balance, and equilibrium.”  “New studies are exploring the cerebellum’s roles in thought, emotions, and social behavior” which may include addiction, autism, and schizophrenia.

The above is a simplified explanation of the brain structure and function. As one of the largest organs in the body, responsible for communications of every type, however, occasional, or chronic drinking involves a complex series of disruptive synaptic responses. Cells in the brain (or neurons) communicate with each other using chemicals exchanged at a synapse site. This exchange is called neurotransmission. 

Alcohols Impact on the Brain

The addictive use of any substance placed into the body has profound and widespread negative impacts on the brain and the organs, which translates into one’s emotional, intellectual, and physical functioning. Abuse of alcohol can change the brain’s ability to send appropriate signals to the body’s organs. Years of brain/alcohol studies indicate that significant changes do occur in the structure and functioning of the brain under the influence of alcohol. 

What does Alcohol do to the Brain

Alcohol is absorbed into the body quickly (more rapidly in women than men.) Alcohol reaches the brain within five minutes of consumption. Not only does alcohol impede communication pathways, but it also creates deficits in the brain’s ability to process information.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the amount of alcohol consumed determines the effects of alcohol on the brain. These other influences include:

People who drink over long periods can develop persistent, adverse changes in the brain. These changes can cause:

New types of brain scans reveal information on the impact of alcohol on the brain, whether for an occasional drinker, moderate drinker, heavy drinker, or chronic drinker. According to a recent study by the University of Pennsylvania, which analyzed data from 36,000 adults, concluded that “light to moderate alcohol consumption was associated with reductions in overall brain volume… (the grey and white matter). The link grew stronger the greater the level of alcohol consumption.” The impact was dramatic leading researchers to conclude that those who increased alcohol consumption from 1/2 a beer a day to a pint of beer or a glass of wine showed changes in aging two years.

Additionally, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (part of the government’s National Institute of Health) states that drinking a lot over time or drinking a lot on a single occasion can cause:

A False Sense of Well Being

Many people enjoy drinking a beer or two, a cocktail or two, several glasses of wine, or other types of hard alcohol. The initial feelings associated with drinking are ease and a reduction in tension due to psychological influences. But very quickly, as alcohol is absorbed into the body and crosses the blood barriers into the brain within minutes, that feeling of ease is replaced by a host of other feelings. Reaction times, decision-making, and behavior are negatively altered and slowed. Sloppy movements, slurred speech, falling, and loss of focus, are some of the immediate side effects of drinking alcohol.

Continued drinking can cause what is known as an alcohol-induced blackout. A person who blacks out from alcohol may still be walking around, talking, and engaging in behaviors that will not be remembered in several hours. Alcohol depresses the central nervous system and stops new memories from being formed—thus the blackout.

Finally, alcohol is a depressant; it depresses the central nervous system. It hinders, as stated above the body’s ability to regulate temperature, mood, breathing, etc. So, while one who is drinking may initially feel elated, the end result is the opposite.

Initially, upon consuming alcohol, part of the brain releases more dopamine, which then travels to the reward centers of the brain. That is why one feels good. Over time, that feeling is pushed aside. And the desire to drink more replaces the feel-good impulses. The sad reality of alcohol abuse is the body’s need for more. Ironically, over time the body’s ability to produce dopamine and serotonin (serotonin is needed to regulate mood, blood clotting, healing, sleep, and more) is reduced. Disrupting the normal production of dopamine and serotonin has profoundly negative results on the body’s mental, emotional, intellectual, and physical well-being. It can take years or as little as a month to become addicted to alcohol.

Getting Help

Your behavior has changed. You grow belligerent while drinking. You blackout after drinking. You cannot seem to function without a drink. Nothing feels right. Coastal Detox’s treatment facility offers professional detox, which enables you to prepare for a life-affirming treatment plan. Caring, knowledgeable staff can help you determine the best treatment approach for your needs. Don’t be afraid to reclaim your life. Call now.

Turn on a TV and you will see that “diet” alcohol is all the rage these days. Beer, seltzer, and even wine companies have begun marketing their products around calorie and carbohydrate content. They are doing this because the perception is that alcohol makes you gain weight. This perception isn’t completely inaccurate either.

Alcohol can affect the body in many ways, one of which is a person’s weight. If you suffer from alcohol abuse or addiction, maintaining a healthy weight while drinking can be a tough thing to do, especially when you factor in the other effects addiction can have on the body from a nutritional standpoint. That being said, can you drink alcohol and still lose weight? Well, let’s take a deeper look and attempt to answer that question.

Why Is There Such an Emphasis on Calorie Content?

As we mentioned, many alcohol companies are trying to market their low-calorie content to the more calorie and carb-conscious consumer. That’s because, as a whole, beer, in particular, has largely been known to be the source of what is called “empty calories.” Empty calories are calories that offer no nutritional value whatsoever. They also tend to be very filling, making you feel full even when you aren’t. It’s a big reason why people don’t feel hungry while they are actively drinking. Due to the fact that alcohol can’t actually be stored in the body, these empty calories become even worse for you because they can’t be properly processed or digested. 

The average 12-ounce beer contains 155 calories, while the healthier alternative red wine contains 125 calories in a 5-ounce glass. The more empty calories that the body takes in, the more fat it produces. Additionally, many people enjoy mixed drinks with some of the more popular mixers like sugary juices or sodas. These mixers also contain large amounts of empty calories to go along with the empty calories found in the alcohol it is being mixed with. This can also contribute to excess fat and unwanted weight gain.

How Can Drinking Contribute to Weight Gain?

While you might not get hungry while actively drinking due to all the empty calories, that doesn’t mean you won’t get hungry later on in the night. In fact, think about what happens after a big night of drinking. Chances are, if you are like most people, after a long night of drinking, you want some greasy, fatty fast food either at the end of the night, the next morning, or both. 

Not only is this food bad for you from a nutritional standpoint, but eating right before bed makes it harder for the body to properly process the food you ate, thus resulting in more fat build-up. While if you were sober, you might think twice about a late-night fast food craving and either find a healthier alternative or skip eating altogether. Alcohol affects your decision-making and can lead to poor choices such as that late-night fast food run. 

Can Alcohol Do Damage to the Body Internally?

Over time, heavy drinking and alcohol consumption can do damage to the body and the brain. One of the organs that it can do the most damage to is the liver. By design, your liver serves the purpose of filtering out bad things that enter the body, such as harmful substances like drugs and alcohol. Additionally, it also helps break down fats, carbs, and proteins as part of your overall metabolism. Over time, significant alcohol consumption can result in what’s known as an alcoholic fatty liver. When this happens, it affects the way your body breaks down and stores things like carbs, proteins, and fats which can result in unwanted weight gain.

Does Alcohol Slow Metabolism?

Another way that alcohol can have a negative impact on the body internally is with your hormones. Drinking alcohol can have negative effects on the hormonal balance of the body, specifically testosterone. Since testosterone plays a role in the body’s metabolism, including its ability to burn fat, drinking can directly affect things like:

All of these things can play a role in both weight gain as well as making it harder to lose weight.

Is the “Beer Gut” a Real Thing?

Chances are you are familiar with the term “beer gut.” Often times it is used to describe excess fat in the stomach area. However, a beer gut is more than just an expression. It is very much a real thing. All those empty calories that we talked about gets stored as fat in the body, resulting in weight gain that is often carried in the abdominal area. 

What Does Alcohol Do to the Digestive System?

In addition to everything else mentioned, alcohol can also wreak havoc on the digestive system. Drinking alcohol puts stress on the stomach and other intestines. This can lead to problems when it comes to food properly moving through the digestive tract. This can also lead to a decrease in digestive secretions. These secretions help break down food into nutrients that are absorbed and used throughout the body. By drinking, you impair the body’s ability to produce these secretions, which, in turn, affects your metabolism and your weight. 

Can I Reverse Alcohol-Induced Weight Gain?

The good news is that if you have started noticing that you are putting on unwanted weight as a result of your drinking, there’s a sure-fire way to stop gaining weight and even losing weight. That is to simply cut back on your drinking or eliminate drinking entirely. Unfortunately, that can be easier said than done, especially for those who might be suffering from a substance abuse issue or addiction. Luckily, there are still ways for those people to stop drinking and lose weight as well with the help of treatment facilities. 

The first step in this process is to detox the body and rid it of any and all harmful substances. Without ridding the body of these substances, it can’t begin the healing process. Due to the nature of detox and the side effects associated with it, detoxing should be done under the care and supervision of trained medical professionals. This can be done at either a local medical facility, a dedicated detox center, or a treatment facility that also offers detox services such as Coastal Detox. Attempting to self-detox can be very dangerous and even life-threatening. Additionally, trying to detox on your own increases the chances that you will start drinking again as a way to alleviate some of the side effects associated with detoxing. 

Plans After Detox

After you have completed detox, you can then enter into a treatment program. Whether you enter into an inpatient, outpatient, or partial hospitalization program, one of the more successful treatment methods for those suffering from weight-related issues as it pertains to alcohol abuse or addiction is behavioral therapy. With behavioral therapy, a therapist will work with you to essentially reprogram your brain so that it no longer wants or needs alcohol or any other illicit substances in order to function properly. Your therapist will also teach you healthy ways in which you can combat any cravings that might arise.

At Coastal Detox, in addition to our extensive detox programs, we also offer behavioral therapies such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). In addition, we also offer holistic treatments designed to complement our more traditional therapies, including:

In addition to these behavioral therapies and holistic treatments, another important component is learning how to live a healthier lifestyle through diet and fitness. A well-balanced diet, coupled with regular physical activity, is a great way to not only lose weight but to keep it off as well. Having a support system in place will help keep you motivated, especially on those days where you might be struggling.

Can You Drink Alcohol and Still Lose Weight?

While it might be possible to drink alcohol and lose weight, it certainly isn’t a guarantee or even likely. In fact, the easiest and safest way to not only lose weight but keep it off is to not drink at all, as well as eat a well-balanced diet and exercise regularly. If you or someone you know is suffering from uncontrolled weight gain as a result of alcohol, it might be time to get help before it is too late. Excessive alcohol use and abuse can lead to significant health problems in addition to weight gain. Seeking out help will not only help with your weight loss but also will help improve your overall quality of life since you will no longer be at the mercy of drugs or alcohol

At Coastal Detox, we want everyone that comes to see us to get the help that they need so that they can go on and live a happy, healthy, and sober life. Give us a call today to learn more about the detox services and treatment plans that we offer and learn more about how we can help you achieve your goals.

According to the 2019 national survey, 14.1 million adults ages 18 and older suffered from an alcohol use disorder. As many know, drinking heavily especially over long periods of time can affect the body adversely. An addiction to alcohol and memory loss can happen as a result.  

The brain is one part of the body that gets hit the hardest since alcohol is a depressant drug. Depressant drugs act on the central nervous system (CNS) to make people feel more relaxed. Over time, both young and old people might suffer from alcoholism and memory loss instead of relaxation. 

It’s difficult to stop drinking when people reach this stage. If so, it’s important that they go through an alcohol detox to reverse some of the harm done. Otherwise, it could result in lifetime memory loss and even alcohol-related dementia.  

Alcohol and Memory Loss 

According to the journal, Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy, about 78% of those suffering from an alcohol use disorder had abnormal brain changes. This journal also noted that heavy drinking could result in what’s known as alcohol-related dementia (ARD) and alcohol-induced persisting amnestic syndrome. The latter is known better by Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS).  

Both of these have similar characteristics to each other in the way they affect memory and are due to excessive drinking. Each causes permanent brain damage that can’t be reversed. For these reasons, they’re grouped together under the overarching term, alcohol-related brain damage or alcohol-related cognitive impairment. However, both of these health issues have their differences as well.

Memory Loss

Alcohol-Related Dementia (ARD)

ARD can change a person’s life significantly. Alcohol and memory don’t mix well together in the first place. Yet, excessive drinking over time induces a state of dementia. People with ARD may have extreme difficulty learning new things, doing semi-complicated tasks, logical thinking, and remembering things they once knew. Something which may have been simple in the past, such as driving a car, can be a foreign concept to people with it. 

Other signs and symptoms of ARD include: 

  • Trouble focusing 
  • Issues with problem-solving 
  • Difficulty controlling emotions 
  • Lack of planning and organizational skills 
  • Loss of motivation (even to do simple tasks like bathing)
  • Lack of short-term and long-term memory 
  • Inability to empathize with people
  • Difficulty balancing 

Alcoholism and memory loss issues are common with those with ARD. In cases such as these, they might be unable to stop drinking. Even when they recognize how it’s destroying their brain, their deep dependence on alcohol forces them to continue drinking. 

The signs and symptoms of ARD typically manifest based on how much damage was done to the brain through excessive drinking. Scans of the brain of those with ARD show a shrinkage of the frontal brain lobes. So, some people with ARD might display different symptoms than others. 

Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome (WKS) 

While ARD is always because of excessive drinking, WKS isn’t always. This syndrome affects memory and can be due to consuming alcohol, is due to a lack of vitamin B1, or thiamine. Thiamine is an essential supplement that the body needs in order to function properly. It helps the immune system, converts energy, and is crucial to cognitive function overall. 

Signs and symptoms of WKS are: 

  • Low blood pressure 
  • Difficulty learning 
  • Memory loss (long-term and short-term)
  • Trouble developing new memories at all 
  • Vision impairments 
  • Constant confusion 

People who drink too much to the point of hurting their brain functionality may develop WKS chronically, or an acute version. The acute version that predates the chronic version is called Wernicke’s encephalopathy. The long-term, chronic version can be called Korsakoff’s amnesic syndrome. Some medical professionals believe that WKS can be separated into these two versions. 

Swift treatment can prevent deeper brain and nerve damage. Abstaining from drinking is absolutely necessary to recovery. That said, even in the acute stage, those in recovery may still never regain their brain functionality as it once was in the past. 

Alcohol and Memory Loss in Young People 

One of the reasons that there is a law put in place to stop people of a certain age from drinking is because it can affect their brains negatively. The brain isn’t fully formed when a person is younger. Drinking can stunt the parts of their brain that have to do with memory. 

Research shows that young adults who admitted to drinking heavily had a smaller hippocampus than their peers who did not. The hippocampus is the portion of the brain that has to do with memory and learning. Young adults with this issue weren’t able to process information as well as their peers who didn’t drink heavily which leads to a learning disability overall. 

Alcohol and Memory Loss

Blacking Out From Alcohol and Memory Loss 

The effects of alcohol on memory can result in long-term, permanent damage. However, most people are aware that it can affect memory in the short term as well. For instance, when people drink too much to get to a certain blood alcohol content (BAC), they will blackout. One study shows that when people reach a BAC of 0.22%, there is a 50% chance they will experience a blackout. 

When a person blacks out they won’t recall what happened while they were drunk. Similarly, they might remember a portion of what happened, but not everything. In this case, it’s called browning out, greying out, or a partial blackout.  

Drinking excessively over time can affect the hippocampus permanently. Though, excessive drinking in the short term still affects the hippocampus, as alcohol interacts with the central nervous system (CNS). New memories can’t be formed when a person is blacked out, although they might be able to engage in conversations and drive. This isn’t always the case. 

When a person blacks out they may have trouble: 

  • Standing 
  • Not slurring their speech 
  • Making sound judgments 
  • Seeing correctly 
  • Walking 
  • Driving 

Although a person may have drunk enough alcohol and memory loss is occurring, they might not be aware of it. When this happens it can be dangerous as they might engage in risky behaviors, like driving. It’s easy to crash in this state of mind. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Intervention (CDC) estimates that there are 261 deaths per day because of excessive drinking. Alcohol-related crashes result in about one death per 50 minutes in the United States. This accounts for 28% of all deaths that have to do with motor vehicles. 

Avoiding the Effects of Alcohol and Memory Loss: Professional Treatment

Once a person suffers from alcoholism and memory loss as a result, it’s difficult to reverse the damage. Yet, some research shows promising results for those with WKS and ARD. For instance, since WKS is due to a thiamine deficiency, getting enough could help with some of the symptoms. Thiamine supplements and consuming this vitamin through an IV can help. Additionally, abstaining from drinking as a whole is important to recovering from WKS. 

Also, taking the medication, memantine, can potentially help with the symptoms of ARD. This medication helps people with Alzheimer’s, which also results in a slow progression of memory loss over time (like ARD). It also helps with symptoms of dementia in general. The way it works is by minimizing irregular activity within the brain. However, it’s important to note that it won’t cure ARD, and those suffering from alcoholism will continue to get worse if they don’t stop drinking. 

Treatment for Alcoholism 

alcoholism and memory loss

The best way to stop the slow creep of memory loss due to excessive drinking is to stop drinking. Treatment like thiamine supplements and memantine will only do so much. They won’t be effective if people suffering from alcoholism continue to drink while or after they take either. An alcohol detox is the first step to overcoming alcoholism and preventing any further brain damage in the process. 

When an individual goes through an alcohol detox, they will be able to get rid of all the toxins and traces of the substance in a safe environment. The trouble with detoxing from alcohol is that it could result in severe withdrawal symptoms. Some of these symptoms include: 

  • Anxiety 
  • Headaches 
  • Hallucinations 
  • Seizures
  • Shakiness 
  • Vomiting and nausea 
  • Excessive sweating 
  • Fever-like symptoms 
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate 

For reasons such as these, it’s necessary to be supervised when deciding to cut alcohol out after an addiction to it. If a person drinks to the point of memory loss, it’s likely they will have severe withdrawal symptoms if they try to stop on their own. Additionally, certain medications can help make the process more comfortable. 

After the detox, people suffering from an alcohol addiction will still need to learn how to stop drinking for good. Counseling and therapy can teach people how to cope with difficult situations that may trigger their urge to drink. This can be done in an inpatient or outpatient setting. People with an alcohol addiction may opt for inpatient alcohol treatment because they will be able to live at the facility, which removes external triggers. 

Coastal Detox Can Help People Overcome Alcoholism and Memory Loss 

Here at Coastal Detox, we are dedicated to helping patients get through an addiction and mitigate some of the effects that are associated with it, like memory loss. It’s not an easy process, but our compassionate team is here to provide help every step of the way. Don’t wait a moment longer to get the help you deserve. Contact us now if you are suffering from alcoholism.

References: 

When you are drinking, you have no intention of becoming an alcoholic. In the beginning, you may drink socially. With time, you might find that you drink alcohol when you are happy, sad, or anywhere in between. Eventually, you feel like you can’t get through the day without alcohol. After you drink, you find yourself intoxicated. Now you’re wondering, how long does it take to get sober?

After each drinking binge, your blood alcohol concentration increases. Your body’s makeup and the amount of alcohol that you consume determine how long it will take for you to sober up. Usually, you will feel more normal in 6 to 8 hours. But what then?

How Alcoholism Affects You and Your Loved Ones

How long does it take to sober up? Although you may wonder when the effects of alcohol are out of your system, you need to comprehend the effects that alcoholism has on yourself and your loved ones.

Physical Effects

To begin, alcoholism affects your body. Alcohol interrupts the way that your brain communicates and works. Drinking causes disruptions that alter your mood, behavior, and coordination. With time, heavy drinking can lead to liver damage. Drinking in excess can dampen your immune system as well. If you are pregnant, your substance abuse can result in fetal alcohol disorders.

Alcoholism affects your behavior as well. Obviously, when you are under the influence, you may slur your speech, experience motor impairment, and suffer confusion. For these reasons, you are likely to behave violently and to get into accidents. In fact, alcohol is the cause of more than half of this country’s drownings and homicides.

Also, alcohol is responsible for approximately 40% of fatal car accidents. When you drink heavily, you will not think twice about engaging in risky behavior, including sexual activities. You may have unprotected sex, which can lead to pregnancy or the transmission of sexually-related diseases.

Alcoholism and Relationships

Besides the physical effects of alcoholism, drinking takes an emotional toll as well. Abusing alcohol causes great damage to relationships. Drinking affects your family. It causes strain between husbands and wives. Also, it affects your children. Alcohol creates emotional distance between you and your loved ones. You may fight more or become violent. The worst part is that dependency causes you to drink more as a means of relieving the stress of your unhappy situation.

Who is Most Affected by Alcoholism?

Since female bodies metabolize and absorb alcohol differently than male bodies, women are more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol. For women, binge drinking means consuming four or more beverages during a single session. Heavy drinking means consuming eight or more drinks during an average week. For men, binge drinking is classified as consuming five or more drinks at a single session. Heavy drinking is classified as consuming 15 or more drinks in a week.

Effects of alcohol can have a serious impact on older individuals. Also, abusing alcohol can intensify health problems. Conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure are made worse from alcohol consumption. Also, a person is more likely to suffer slip and fall accidents that can lead to injuries.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Alcohol

how long does it take to get sober

How long does it take to get sober? Before you can answer this question, it is important to identify withdrawal signs of alcoholism. When you decide to quit drinking, it will be challenging. The first step is admitting that there is a problem. It takes time to recover, especially since alcohol cravings pop up frequently. Also, alcohol is everywhere, so it is difficult to avoid.

After a certain point, you may feel like you can have one drink without any problems. However, a recovering alcoholic never has full control. Many times, one drink leads to a full binge.

When you depend on alcohol to function, you probably feel hopeless. Since there are many withdrawal symptoms, it is essential to detox in a professional environment. In severe cases, withdrawal from alcohol can cause death. A professional detox program offers a safe environment. Also, the severity of your symptoms will be lessened. You are monitored to make sure that nothing bad happens to you.

Common Withdrawal Symptoms

No two people are alike. However, there are common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

How Long Withdrawal from Alcohol Lasts

How long does it take to get sober? To begin, it is important to understand how long withdrawal lasts. If you have a severe addiction to alcohol, your symptoms will begin 5 to 10 hours after your last drink. The acute withdrawal phase lasts up to one week.

How long does it take to get sober? In the case of alcohol delirium tremens, or DTs, you may suffer extreme withdrawal that takes a few days to evolve. Delirium tremens occur 48 to 96 hours after your last drink. DTs are extreme shakes that can last up to five days. They are a result of your nervous system adjusting without alcohol. It is essential to have help with delirium tremens. They can lead to seizures. Your body may be extremely fatigued, and you may hallucinate.

After acute alcohol withdrawal ends, you are not finished. Next, you experience post-acute withdrawal. This surfaces a few months after your last drink. This withdrawal is more mental than physical. Here are the most common symptoms of post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).

How Long Does it Take to Get Sober in the Long-Term?

PAWS symptoms may last several months or years. Depending on the severity of your addiction, your symptoms will appear and disappear without warning. Usually, they are less intense than in the early stages of recovery. When you enter our detox center here at Coastal Detox, you will receive assistance managing post-acute withdrawal. You will learn how to deal with symptoms so that you have the knowledge and the tools to continue the fight.

After you have finished detoxing and have started on the road to recovery, cravings are still challenging. Although they lessen with time, it will take many years to shake them completely. Like some individuals, your cravings may never disappear. However, relapse-prevention skills are essential to learn and to execute so that you do not fall victim to old bad habits. If you have a severe problem, your cravings may last longer than with a mild problem.

How Long Does it Take to Sober Up in the Short-Term?

After you drink a large amount of alcohol, you become buzzed. Normally, you feel alcohol effects for 12 hours. Many times, you end up with a hangover. There are a number of factors that dictate how long alcohol remains in your system.

You will feel the effects of alcohol differently than others. Generally, you experience negative symptoms when you consume large amounts of liquor.

  • Thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Racing heart
  • Impaired cognitive function

With a few drinks, you may experience mild impairment. As you drink more, you will likely suffer from blurred vision, loss of balance, and slurred speech. When you become extremely intoxicated, you will likely experience nausea and confusion. When you drink to the point of unconsciousness, your actions may be fatal.

Just because you sober up in the short-term, it does not mean that you can “handle” alcohol. One drink can set you over the edge. If you frequently suffer from hangover symptoms, you may need professional help to detox.

Quickest Ways to Get Sober

There are many myths about the quickest ways to sober up. Some say you should take a cold shower. Others swear by drinking a lot of black coffee. In fact, there are no shortcuts when it comes to hangover cures. The best way to return yourself back to a normal state is to eat and hydrate your body.

Seeking Professional Help for Detox

If you are ready to take the first step toward battling your alcohol abuse and the symptoms that it brings, it is essential to seek professional assistance. When you detox under the supervision of a trained expert, your safety is ensured, your comfort is increased, and the likelihood of relapse is lowered. Detox is only the first step. It is recommended to seek help from a long-term rehabilitation program as well.

At Coastal Detox, we want to put you on the path to recovery. How long does it take to sober up? The answer depends on your individual circumstances. We want to keep you sober in the long-term. We will assist with the detox process and provide treatments and therapies that help to kickstart your recovery. In our Florida facility, we will help you get past the struggles that come when you try to overcome your alcohol dependency. Perhaps you may feel like you can handle addiction and detox without help. But, you have a higher likelihood of success with professional assistance. To learn more about how we can help you get back on the right track, reach out to us today.

Reference:

https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohols-effects-health/alcohols-effects-body

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) notes that 14.1 million American adults suffer from an alcohol use disorder. That’s about 5.6% of American adults. On the other hand, American adults over the age of 20 deal with obesity and being overweight. An alarming 71.6% of American adults are overweight.

Both sugar and alcohol addiction go together. They correlate, in other words. Research gathered by Current Obesity Reports (a journal within the National Institutes of Health) highlights the fact that heavy drinking is synonymous with weight gain. Alcoholism and sugar contribute to the obesity epidemic in the States. Alcoholics switch to sugar addictions, trading one addiction for another.

Alcoholism and Sugar 

First off, neither sugar nor alcohol on their own is dangerous. The moderate use of either isn’t a cause for concern. However, a person can develop both sugar and alcohol addictions. Now, some may believe that alcoholism is the more dangerous addiction out of the two. So, when an alcoholic stops drinking but consumes an unhealthy amount of sugar, most won’t think twice about it. 

Yet, sugar can be much more dangerous than alcohol. While a sugar high doesn’t cause a large chunk of car accidents and destroyed childhoods, it hurts deeply. The leading cause of death in America is heart disease. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention writes that 655,381 people die annually because of it. Most people contract this disease because of a poor diet (aka lots of sugar). So, yes, trading one addiction for another can be just as problematic if not more. 

The Science Behind Sugar and Alcohol Addiction 

To continue, sugar and alcohol addiction commonly occur together or predate one another because they interact with the same parts of the brain. Both of these substances interact with the pleasure potions of the central nervous system, among others. The central nervous system is mostly made up of the spinal cord and neural network within the brain. 

The central nervous system is in charge of: 

  • Sends chemical messengers throughout the body 
  • Plays a role in thinking, feelings, and homeostasis
  • In charge of conscious, physical sensation and movement
  • Acts as the regulator for the endocrine system (the hormone master control) 

Throughout the nervous system, little chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) tell the brain and body how to feel. Different neurotransmitters relay different messages. In particular, dopamine is known as a “feel-good” chemical. In short, it’s a pleasure chemical that induces a feeling of happiness and relaxation.

The Australian Spinal Research Foundation writes that the same dopamine receptors that light up with alcohol consumption are the same with sugar. This specific portion is the D2 dopamine receptor. Dopamine levels increase in the portion of the brain known as the Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA). Both a sugar and alcohol addiction change the brain’s chemistry in this area. This area is known by scientists as the pleasure reward system. 

It’s worth noting that the brain rewards the body with dopamine through activities like exercise and sex. It’s the brain’s way of saying, “good job!” However, both a sugar and alcohol addiction hijack the brain. Since alcohol is a depressant, it slows down certain parts of the body’s systems, but not the production of dopamine. Sugar and alcohol addiction can produce dopamine, which the brain gets addicted to in a sense. It reacts with withdrawal symptoms when it doesn’t get enough of either. 

How Alcoholism and Sugar Is Trading One Addiction for Another 

To begin, sugar is found in alcohol. Dopamine production goes into overdrive because of the two. Hence, there is a common link between sugar and alcohol addiction. What’s more, is that recovering alcoholics turn to sugar in recovery if given the chance for this reason and others. 

For instance, the Australian Spinal Research Foundation says multiple studies prove that recovering alcoholics suffer from a sugar addiction. Compulsive eating habits, like a sugar addiction, light up that pleasure network within the brain. In the past, some programs have given alcoholics as much sugar as they craved if it meant they would hand over the bottle.

Now, science says this mode of recovery is just trading one addiction for another. The same parts of the brain that light up when an alcoholic drinks are the same for those who consume too much sugar. Hence, this prior method may work in the short-term, but won’t forever because the brain still wants that same sensation. 

There are other reasons why swapping sugar for alcohol is a terrible idea: 

  • It further hurts an alcoholic’s health 
  • A healthy diet means less of a chance of relapse
  • A recovering alcoholic can have a sugar withdrawal 
  • Sugar is considered to be more addictive than cocaine 
  • Trading one addiction for another instills maladaptive behavior 

Sugar might be more addictive than alcohol. A study with rats filled one water bottle with cocaine water and another with sugar water. Surprisingly, the rats abused the bottle with sugar more than the one with cocaine. This isn’t to downplay the danger of stimulant drugs or alcohol. However, this small scale example proves that sugar can be extremely dangerous. 

Of course, sugar is legal for all ages, so society turns a blind eye to the danger. But a sugar addiction is very real. 

What Sugar and Alcohol Addiction Means for Children 

Around 13.7 million American adolescents are obese. Another way to say this is that 18.5 percent of American adolescents are dangerously overweight. The CDC also notes that 13.9 percent of two to five-year-olds in America are obese. To continue, excessive sugar consumption is linked to obesity. It’s also what many alcoholics turn to when they are drinking and when they are in recovery. 

Thus, American children who consume excessive amounts of sugar are at risk for alcoholism. Further, a journal from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) confirms that a sugar addiction in American youth correlates to alcohol dependence. Particularly, a familial history of it. This piece states that both alcohol and sugar release endorphins that can make a person feel euphoric. 

How Sugar and Alcohol Addiction Can Hurt American Youth 

A sugar and alcohol addiction huge issue for two reasons for children. A child’s body craves those endorphins from a sugar addiction. This could escalate to alcoholism and sugar to get the same high. Also, an individual builds up a tolerance when they binge on sugar or alcohol. A sugar addiction encourages them to find these pleasure chemicals in other forms (aka alcohol). 

Alcoholism and Sugar

Secondly, when a parent is an alcoholic, a child is naturally predisposed to addiction. There are shared gene markers between alcoholics and people with a sugar addiction. This only further perpetuates a new generation of Americans that are easily addicted to substances. The study within NIH also points out this puts American children at a bigger risk for eating disorders, like binge eating and bulimia. 

How to Kick a Sugar and Alcohol Addiction 

Individuals suffering from a sugar and alcohol addiction can take certain actions to ween off both. The first step is consulting a detox clinic that can break the bonds from both. However, individuals can start the healing process with healthy habits and behaviors. 

When a person is an alcoholic they don’t care about what they eat or drink. All they care about is staying drunk. Addiction means that they aren’t in control of their actions anymore; the alcohol is. So, they tend to have super sugary diets. This makes them further addicted to sugar and alcohol. It also wreaks havoc on the body in many ways. 

Beat Alcoholism and Sugar With a Nutritious Diet 

A good diet involves lots of food packed with vitamins and minerals. Leafy green vegetables are a sure way to help the body get back in shape. It also helps with withdrawal symptoms from both a sugar and alcohol addiction. Spicy food is known to release endorphins, just like sugar. Individuals can spice up their food to maintain a healthy weight and help beat addiction. Drinking lots of water is extremely important, too. 

Exercise To Beat Both a Sugar and Alcohol Addiction 

Exercising regularly helps addiction in a wide variety of ways. The first is that it releases “feel-good” chemicals just like sugar and alcohol. In contrast, it makes a person look and feel good. Many people turn to alcohol and binging sugar because of low self-esteem. Exercising is a healthy way to deal with these issues. Additionally, it will rid the body of toxins quicker and lower the chance of heart disease. 

Keep a Journal to Track Patterns Around Resorting to Alcoholism and Sugar 

People slip into addiction. While it can happen quickly, it doesn’t normally happen in a short period of time. Individuals may turn to substances that make them feel good to mask other issues. Commonly, this is subconscious. Once a person recognizes they have a sugar or alcohol addiction they can see what turns them to either with a journal. Over time, they can track common patterns that lead them to bad behaviors. 

Coastal Detox Can Help With a Sugar and Alcohol Addiction 

Binging on sugar instead of alcohol is trading one addiction for another. Detox is an important part of recovering from both a sugar and alcohol addiction. Our programs allow members to recover in a comfortable setting from alcoholism and sugar. Our residential detox program in Stuart, FL is effective because we provide a healthy diet. Contact us now to find a sustainable way to sobriety. 

References: 

There are few things in life as painful as passing kidney stones. Because of how painful it is to have kidney stones, people should try to do everything that they can to avoid them. One thing that you can do to stop your body from forming kidney stones is to minimize the amount of alcohol that you drink and maximize the amount of water that you drink. This is because kidney stones and alcohol often develop an unwelcome yet unavoidable pair in some people’s bodies. 

Unlike alcohol, water in the body often results in the absence of kidney stones. This is because your kidneys (and the rest of your body, for that matter) need a certain amount of water in order to function properly. Water also hydrates your body and helps your kidneys flush out harmful substances from your blood. 

Alcohol has the opposite effect on the kidneys and body. Not only does your body consider alcohol a harmful substance that needs to be flushed out, but alcohol also dries up parts of the body such as your kidneys. While kidney stones and alcohol are often synonymous with one another, the question now becomes, can alcohol cause kidney stones?

What Are Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones are crystals that form from some materials in your urine. The most common materials that form kidney stones include calcium, urate, cystine, phosphate, oxalate, and xanthine. 

Although kidney stones are typically quite small in size, they cause your body to experience enormous amounts of pain to get through your body’s system. Sometimes, your body will have so much trouble passing kidney stones that the kidney stones will form a blockage in your body’s system or cause your body some irritation. Once this happens, you must consult a doctor. 

When kidney stones are small, they can pass through your urine naturally. But when kidney stones are larger in size, they can cause blockage or irritation in the body and such an excruciating level of pain that emergency attention from a doctor is necessary to remove them. Untreated kidney stones heighten the chances of a person developing chronic kidney disease. 

Exploring the Cause of Kidney Stones

The cause of kidney stones is having too much waste and too little liquid in your body. As a result, parts of your urine join together and create the crystals that we call kidney stones. Once these kidney stones form, you must pass them through your urine to get rid of them. It is this passing of kidney stones through your body’s system that causes the body excruciating pain. 

Types of Kidney Stones

There are four main types of kidney stones. These four types of kidney stones include calcium oxalate, uric acid, cystine, and struvite. 

Calcium oxalate is the most common type of kidney stone. This type of kidney stone forms because of calcium deficiency or dehydration. Uric acid is also a common type of kidney stone. Uric acid forms because of high purine intake. 

Cystine is a rare type of kidney stone. Cystine forms because of a person’s hereditary genes and thus, genetic predisposition to form it. Struvite is also a less common type of kidney stone. Struvite forms due to infection. 

What Role Do Kidneys Play in the Body?

The human body has two kidneys. Your kidneys are about the size of your fists and are located on each side of your spine, below the rib cage. 

The purpose of your kidneys is to filter out toxins and harmful chemicals from your blood and body. Kidneys also remove some waste and extra fluid from your body, along with acid that the cells of your body produce. 

Your kidneys remove and flush out all of these substances from your blood and body is to keep a healthy balance of water, salts, and minerals in your blood. Your kidneys even create hormones that help control your blood pressure, make red blood cells, and maintain bone strength and health.  

The amount of fluid in your body and how fast that fluid moves through your bloodstream impacts how well your kidneys will work. Thus, it’s good to have a solid amount of fluids in your body at all times. 

Although the human body has two kidneys, a person can technically survive with just one. (That’s why you often hear about people donating a kidney to another person in need. By donating a kidney to someone, you’re ensuring that you each have at least one healthy kidney that you can function with.) 

Some people with only one kidney must take certain medications or stick to a certain kind of diet. Having to do so isn’t common though. 

Kidney Stones Symptoms

As we briefly mentioned, the pain that a person feels when passing kidney stones is excruciatingly painful. In fact, many women say that they would rather go through childbirth than pass a kidney stone. That’s how painful passing kidney stones can be. 

Some of the specific symptoms of kidney stones include:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Cloudy urine
  • Blood in urine
  • Poor smelling urine
  • Pain when urinating
  • Severe lower back pain
  • Severe pain below ribs
  • Pink, red, or brown urine
  • Unrelenting stomach pain
  • Pain in the abdomen or groin
  • Urinating a lot more or less than normal

These symptoms are especially apparent when kidney stones form a blockage or irritation in the body. 

alcohol and kidney stones

Kidney Stones and Alcohol

Since kidney stones can develop due to a lack of hydration in the body and alcohol dries out bodily organs, it only makes sense that there is some correlation between kidney stones and alcohol use. When excessive alcohol consumption dries out your kidneys, it causes the kidneys to work less efficiently.

As a result, your kidneys struggle to regulate your body’s water intake and flush out all of the appropriate toxins from your blood and body’s system. The dehydration of your kidneys that excessive alcohol use causes combined with the excessive amount of toxins and materials in your body due to the kidneys not working efficiently makes it easy for your body to develop kidney stones. 

The ingredients in some alcoholic beverages can also contribute to the correlation between kidney stones and alcohol. For example, beer and grain alcohol are high in purine count. A high purine intake just so happens to be the cause of uric acid kidney stones. Thus, it makes sense that consuming numerous alcoholic beers while being dehydrated can lead to the development of uric acid kidney stones. 

Excessive alcohol consumption can also result in weight gain, which can, in turn, increase a person’s chances of obtaining kidney stones as well. Alcohol abuse over an extended period of time can even lead to kidney disease. This too can increase a person’s chances of obtaining kidney stones. On the other hand, a moderate amount of beer and wine consumption can help prevent kidney stones. 

Can Alcohol Cause Kidney Stones

Although there is a correlation between kidney stones and alcohol use, when asking the direct question, can alcohol cause kidney stones, the answer is … no. This is because consuming alcohol alone cannot cause kidney problems. If consuming alcohol was all that was needed to cause kidney stones, then many more people would’ve developed kidney stones by now. Thus, it’s excessive amounts of alcohol use combined with other factors that create the perfect environment for kidney stones to develop. 

How to Prevent Alcohol-Related Kidney Stones

kidney stones and alcohol

To prevent alcohol-related kidney stones, use moderation when consuming alcohol. You should also drink tons of water and foods that aren’t salty throughout the day that you plan on drinking. This is so that your body and kidneys don’t become dehydrated. 

Another way to prevent alcohol-related kidney stones, you should make sure that you’re getting an adequate amount of calcium each day. This is because the most popular type of kidney stones, calcium oxalate, can develop due to a calcium deficiency. 

To further avoid forming calcium oxalate kidney stones, you should also try to avoid foods high in oxalate. Oxalate high foods include beets, french fries, nuts, potato chips, and spinach. You should also avoid foods that are high in phosphates. High phosphate foods include milk products, beans, and nuts. These foods can contribute to the development of kidney stones. 

How to Medically Treat Kidney Stones

Whether they’re caused by the correlation between alcohol and kidney stones or something else, when kidney stones are large or block or irritate parts of the body, people must obtain hospital assistance to get rid of them. To medically treat kidney stones, you can receive noninvasive surgery. Noninvasive surgery breaks down kidney stones so that they can easily pass through your body’s system. 

There are two main types of non-invasive procedures for the removal of kidney stones. One is shock wave lithotripsy and the other is laser lithotripsy. Shock wave lithotripsy breaks kidney stones down into tiny pieces from the outside of the body. Laser lithotripsy occurs when a long, thin telescope gets put in your urethra, bladder, and kidneys. Once the telescope is in your kidneys, the laser will shatter kidney stones into many pieces.  

Are Men or Women More Susceptible to Alcohol-Related Kidney Stones?

Men are more susceptible to alcohol-related kidney stones than women. In fact, men are more susceptible to kidney stones in general than women. This is simply because of how the male and female bodies are made.

Alcohol Detox

Alcohol is one of the most abused substances in the world. If you chronically abuse alcohol so much that it’s caused you to develop kidney problems, you likely have an addiction. To overcome an alcohol addiction, the first step is to attend an alcohol detox program. 

When conducting chronic alcohol abuse, It’s imperative that you receive detox and addiction treatment immediately. Alcohol detox will help you get rid of all the toxic alcohol in your body. That way you’ll be clean and ready to receive addiction treatment. 

During alcohol detox, you’ll experience severe withdrawal symptoms. To help you manage such withdrawal symptoms, you can take medications such as benzodiazepines, acamprosate,  disulfiram, or Antabuse, and naltrexone.  

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

While it may be more effective to attend inpatient treatment for alcohol addiction after detox, outpatient alcohol addiction treatment is also an option. During alcohol addiction treatment, you’ll attend different treatment programs and therapy sessions to help you gain skills and coping mechanisms that will help you maintain sobriety once you complete rehab. 

Through alcohol addiction treatment, you’ll also learn your triggers for addiction and change any unhealthy thoughts and behavior patterns that could cause you to start abusing alcohol again. 

If you suffer from a co-occurring mental illness along with your alcoholism, you should attend dual diagnosis treatment. 

By the time that you complete alcohol addiction treatment, you’ll create a support group for yourself that’s filled with therapists, addiction treatment specialists, and other recovering alcoholics. To further grow your support group once you leave addiction treatment, attend aftercare services. 

Coastal Detox Can Help You Overcome Your Addiction and Better Your Overall Health

Coastal Detox is a medical detox facility off the Treasure Coast of Florida that combines medical protocol and knowledge with holistic beliefs to help treat every aspect of the patient’s mind, body, and soul. At Coastal Detox, you can not only attend high-quality and individualized detox programs, but you can also attend high-quality and individualized addiction treatment. Thus, no matter who you are and what substance you’re addicted to, we can help you. 

To learn more about Coastal Detox and the services that we offer, contact us today! 

External References:

https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/alcohol

https://www.hackensackmeridianhealth.org/HealthU/2020/09/09/why-people-get-kidney-stones/#:~:text=Men%20are%20more%20likely%20than,are%20identical%20regardless%20of%20gender.

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/kidneys-how-they-work#:~:text=Healthy%20kidneys%20filter%20about%20a,Your%20bladder%20stores%20urine.

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