Author: Justin Mckibben
Alcohol abuse is a problem more than common in our world today, and more often than not it results in disastrous forms of disease that can completely alter the quality of an individual’s life, sometimes bringing that person’s life to an abrupt end.
Most people are familiar with some of the risks associated with alcohol abuse and with the illnesses that can result from prolonged alcohol abuse, such as cancer, cirrhosis of the liver and kidney damage. But what about all the other issues that can be created with long-term alcohol abuse that people frequently wouldn’t think to connect to alcoholism or abusing alcohol?
There are several other health problems you might not know are directly linked to alcoholism, so here are 6 of those alcohol abuse related diseases you might not know.
Anemia is a condition that develops when your blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin, which is a main part of red blood and binds oxygen.
Alcohol abuse can cause the number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells to be abnormally low, thus causing anemia. Anemia can trigger a list of other symptoms, including:
- Shortness of breath
These symptoms occur because organs in the body aren’t getting what they need to function properly.
- Cardiovascular disease
Binge drinking is a huge issue when it comes to alcohol abuse, and both can cause platelets to become more likely to clump together into blood clots, which can lead to heart attack or stroke. In a landmark study by Harvard researchers in 2005, it was found that binge drinking doubled the risk of death among people who initially survived a heart attack.
Cardiomyopathy is a potentially deadly condition which can also be caused by alcohol abuse. With cardiomyopathy the heart muscle weakens and eventually fails, as well as heart rhythm abnormalities such as atrial and ventricular fibrillation, which creates chaotic twitching in the heart’s main pumping chambers (ventricles), causing rapid loss of consciousness and even sudden death.
Dementia is not a specific disease, but term that encompasses a varied range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities.
As people age their brains shrink. It is considered normal to happen on average at a rate of about 1.9% per decade.
However, alcohol abuse speeds the shrinkage of certain key regions in the brain, resulting symptoms of dementia. In addition to the nonspecific forms of dementia that result from brain atrophy, alcohol abuse can also cause nutritional deficiencies that elicit other forms of dementia.
It may not be much of a surprise to some that alcohol abuse is often associated with with depression, because it is a depressant, but the debate about which came first, the drinking or the depression, still exists.
One theory is that depressed people turned to alcohol in an attempt to cope with emotional pain. But a large study from New Zealand showed that it was probably the other way around, meaning alcohol abuse actually leads to depression, with some research showing that depression improves when those who abuse alcohol actually sober up.
Gout is an extremely painfully illness caused by the formation of uric acid crystals in the joints. It is a form of arthritis that is described as sudden burning pain, stiffness and swelling in the joint.
Although a lot of cases are largely hereditary, alcohol abuse and other dietary factors are also said to play a role in those who develop cases of gout. Alcohol also seems to aggravate existing cases of gout, so one way or the other alcohol abuse is a risk factor.
- Nerve damage
The nervous system is involved in everything the body does, from regulating breathing to controlling muscles and sensing heat and cold, so serious nerve damage is a pretty big deal. Damage can occur to nerves in your brain and spinal cord, but nerve damage can also occur in the peripheral nerves located throughout the rest of your body.
Alcohol abuse can cause a form of nerve damage known as alcoholic neuropathy, which can produce a range of devastating symptoms which include but are not limited to:
- Painful pins-and-needles feeling or numbness in the extremities
- Muscle weakness
- Erectile dysfunction
Alcohol is toxic to nerve cells, so of course alcohol abuse will sometimes lead to alcoholic neuropathy. Alcoholic neuropathy also happens because nutritional deficiencies attributable to alcohol abuse compromise nerve function. So again, not only can alcohol abuse cause these issues, but heavy drinking can exacerbate pre-existing issues with nerve damage.
While physicians around the world can give you a laundry list of the diseases and other effects of alcoholism or alcohol abuse, it is still incredibly beneficial for individuals who have drinking or drug problems to seek specialized treatment for lasting recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Uber has officially altered the way we look at transportation. Now, instead of the traditionally expensive taxi cabs, millions are opting to Uber instead. The app is estimated to be worth anywhere from 60 to 70 billion dollars.
Enter in Austin Geidt who climbed the ranks at the Uber Company. She rose from marketing intern to one of the company’s top executives. However, despite her professional achievement, Geidt believes she only has one accomplishment to be the most proud of: getting sober.
The 30-year-old spoke for the first time during Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit in San Francisco about how she spent the first half of her 20s fighting to overcome her addiction and regain control of her life. Although she did not go into detail about the specifics of her addiction, Geidt went on to say she sought help at age 19 and got sober the following year.
Geidt graduated from UC Berkeley at the age of 25 and then joined the Uber team right after. Upon starting her position, she admitted feeling out of place working with people who were years younger than her.
“It was so important to get that part of my life right so I could get the rest of my life right,” she said. “[But] I felt behind as a 25-year-old intern.”
Despite her qualms, Geidt utilized the tools she learned in recovery to her advantage. She thrived in her position at Uber. She attributes her years in recovery to helping her learn how to take small steps to tackle big problems. Recovery taught her how to be direct with herself and others as well as gain insight into what’s most important.
“I immersed myself at Uber,” she said. “But I am also able to step back considerably. I love what we do, but I also have perspective on what’s really important to me.”
Geidt says she hopes to continue sharing her story because she believes it can be a sign of hope for other young people struggling with addiction.
Overcoming Addiction Young
Geidt’s story is an example of how beneficial it is to overcome your addiction as early as possible. Although recovery should be sought after at any age, the earlier you overcome your addiction, the better. Early recovery allows you to have the rest of your life to achieve your goals with the right recovery mentality.
In addition, when we are older, drugs affect our bodies differently. With age, our bodies undergo several chemical and physical changes that alter the way we react to the world. When it comes to drug and alcohol, certain behavioral changes occur and there are correlations between substance abuse and the age of the addict.
When it comes to alcohol dependence, age is a major factor. Research reveals that when a person is over the age of 65, they have an increased risk for a myriad of symptoms due to alcohol abuse. For example, physical symptoms can occur and there is a higher risk or injury, even death.
It is also likely that the older you are, the more medication you may be taking that could be negatively affected by alcohol. Mixing alcohol with drugs like aspirin or antihistamines heighten the effect and the results can be deadly.
Furthermore, Geidt was able to address her illness at an early age and had the rest of her life to become successful and start over. She was able to finish college and eventually become the executive of a thriving company. Seeking recovery is crucial at any age, but putting it off could be costing yourself years of time to finally seek success in your own life.
The earlier you overcome your addiction, the better. Seek treatment today. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
If you’ve been to enough bars, you have witnessed the following scenario: That guy or girl that just seems to switch into an aggressive impulsive temperamental person the minute they down a few drinks. You know the type: The drinker that ends up in some sort of uncalled for unreasonable fight at the end of the night or worse, is kicked out the bar by several bouncers.
What’s that about? Alcohol affects people in many ways. While one person can light up and become a social butterfly, another person becomes temperamental and unbearable. According to new research, it turns out that aggressive behavior from drinking may be linked to a genetic mutation.
Researchers in Finland found that over 100,000 of the country’s residents, roughly 2.2% of the population, suffer from a serotonin 2B receptor gene mutation which is broadly associated with poor impulse control and aggressive behaviors.
For the study, they assessed personality questionnaires and both aggression and alcoholism screening tests for the 14 people carrying the gene, as well as the 156 non-carriers.
Their findings revealed that those with serotonin 2B receptor gene mutation “demonstrated aggressive outbursts, got into fights and behaved in an impulsive manner under the influence of alcohol. They were also arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol more often than the controls.”
Lead researcher Roope Tikkanen, of the University of Helsinki, and his team noted other personality traits in these gene carriers such as:
- Attachment Issues
Tikkanen did note, however, that their findings could be skewed due to a small sample size and that half of the mutation group was comprised of female relatives of violent offenders.
“The impact of one gene on complex phenomena is typically minor,” said Tikkanen. “But it is possible to identify the impact of such a genetic mutation in the Finnish population, as our historical isolation has led to a relatively homogenous gene pool.”
Regardless, this is not the first study to discover a possible link between a gene mutation and alcoholism. A study published in 2013 in the journal Nature Communication discovered that the gene Gabrb1 regulated alcohol consumption, but can lead to a drinking problem when faulty.
Still, until there is a true answer to why some people are aggressive while drunk, the only solution is awareness. Alcohol reduces our ability to think straight. It narrows our focus of attention and loosens our inhibitions. Alcohol can result in saying what is on our mind without thinking of the consequences which can have dangerous outcomes.
The way we process information is affected by alcohol too. We are more likely to misinterpret other people’s behavior and misread social cues. That is one of the main reasons why aggressive behavior is so common. Frequently, situations are perceived in a different way because of the effect alcohol has on our brains.
Another reason for aggressive drunken behaviors lies in the fact that often we hold things in and when we are drunk, we latch on to alcohol as an excuse to act aggressively and bluntly. People believe that socially, their behavior will be more accepted since they were drinking (the “blame it on the alcohol” effect). Aggressive actions are usually more easily explained and forgiven when someone has been drinking. Therefore, if you want to be aggressive, you will do so without experiencing the same consequences you would if sober.
No matter the reason for drinking, alcohol can become disruptive to your life and hinder your success. If you feel like you are losing control, it could be time for you to talk to a professional about your drinking habits. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
Author: Justin Mckibben
A great man once said ‘cash rules everything around me,’ someone else once said ‘money is the root of all evil,’ and regardless of how you look at it, financial stability and security is essential for most people in the world today. We worry about how to pay the bills, we balance our check books and weigh in on politics concerning the value of the dollar and the status of our deficit. Almost every idea and initiative we have as a nation comes with a big discussion over the price-tag attached to it.
So it is not surprise that there is a relative interest in what mental health issues and addiction are costing us as a country. We have new programs being introduced and mass amounts of funding going to combating drug abuse and other mental health disorders in more effective ways, so we should take notice of the cost alcohol abuse alone is having.
It seems when we put alcohol abuse and addiction in the context of money, maybe we will get some more people’s attention.
Alcohol Abuse on the Economy
According to a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) excessive alcohol abuse continues to be a devastating drain on the economy in America, and that price has inflated for some time now. Most of these costs were due to a number of elements introduced by an increase in excessive drinking, including:
- Reduced workplace productivity
- Increased crime
- Cost of treating people for health problems caused by excessive drinking
Of these costs 2 out of every 5 dollars spent of, which came out to over an estimated $100 billion, were paid by governments! So financially the government pays for about half of the problem out of pocket.
- Back in 2006 excessive drinking cost the U.S. $223.5 billion, or $1.90 per drink
- In 2010 excessive drinking cost the U.S. $249 billion, which averages out to $2.05 per drink
Robert Brewer, M.D., M.S.P.H., head of CDC’s Alcohol Program and one of the study’s authors stated:
“The increase in the costs of excessive drinking from 2006 to 2010 is concerning, particularly given the severe economic recession that occurred during these years. Effective prevention strategies can reduce excessive drinking and related costs in states and communities, but they are under used.”
Binge drinking is another huge issue involved in the price of alcohol abuse in America. Binge drinking is commonly defined as:
- Drinking 5 or more drinks on one occasion for men
- 4 or more drinks on one occasion for women
Under this definition and with the estimates of costs, binge drinking was responsible 77% of the costs created by alcohol abuse! Excessive alcohol consumption is said to be accountable for an average of 88,000 deaths annually, including 1 in 10 deaths among working-age Americans between the ages of 20 and 64.
Trying to Keep Track
Alcohol abuse has been a burden on the economy for years, and the costs we are examining here are only based on the 2010 cost estimates, 5 years old at this point, which were determined from changes in the occurrence of alcohol-related problems and the cost of paying for them since 2006.
- Excessive alcohol abuse cost states and the District of Columbia a median of $3.5 billion in 2010
- In North Dakota excessive alcohol abuse cost $488 million
- In California alcohol abuse cost $35 billion
- Washington D.C. had the highest cost per person at $1,526, compared to the national average of $807 per person
- New Mexico had the highest cost per drink at $2.77 per drink, compared to the national average of $2.05 per drink
Taking that into consideration, the researchers believe the expenses and conclusions of this study still underestimates the blow to our nation’s budget from excessive drinking because information on alcohol is often underreported or unavailable, and the study did not include other costs created from alcohol abuse, such as the financial repercussions of harms attributed to alcohol related incidences.
So when we look at this big picture, alcohol abuse and alcoholism are racking up a major tab in our countries coin. As a nation we are doling out billions upon billions of government expenses to keep address issues related to alcohol abuse, and with numbers like these it is scary to even predict what the receipts for the last 5 years will look like.
Alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction are part of a terrible and fatal illness that claims millions up billions of lives. People are dying every day from alcoholism, and many more keep on suffering with no idea how to get the help they need. But there is help, and with real help from professionals like the Palm Partners recovery plan there is real change. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Intro Author: Justin Mckibben
Addiction and alcoholism infects the professional, intellectual, athletic and artistic all equally. No self-identified category or subculture has proven to be immune to the effects of substance abuse and physical dependency, and after a time emotional and mental disorders tend to develop from prolonged exposure to drugs and alcohol.
In recovery from addiction there is no short supply of individuals with amazing talents and passions they find a new hope of pursuing. Many of these people find they are again able to either rediscover the hobbies that made them happy, or even learn about new ones that open up new worlds of possibility for self-expression and self-discovery.
Sharing in these experiences and showing others who are struggling the capacity for transformation can inspire and support those who can relate to their experience.
In honor of the alumni from the Palm Partners treatment program, we like to celebrate the expressions our alumni submit to us. This poem recently given to us shows a person who is aware of how alcohol took a hold on his life, and shows how a program like Palm Partners can change someone. This kind of self-expression is just one example of how growth can come from the things we are relearning how to say.
For this I have chosen to include the initial beginning of the email because it shows the humility and hope to help someone else that went into this writing. When I first received the email from Kenneth, it read:
This is the poem I wrote for my good bye letter to alcohol. Please do what you will with it. Even if one person is inspired, I’ve done my job.
Good Bye To You Booze
You were in my life for the early years
At the social gatherings you brought many cheers.
It started off, we were just good pals,
And to many around me, even the gals.
As the years went by our bond got stronger,
Through the stress and pain I needed you longer.
My desire for you was not matched by any,
I neglected my wife, my family and many.
Isolation came quick and my life turned phony,
Just you and I now as I began to feel lonely.
This body turned week, as did the look in my eyes,
I reached for you once more near my own demise.
I realized just then as I submit,
Once a friend now foe, I throw my hands up, I quit!
Six weeks go by and better I feel,
My mind, my body, my spirit, it’s real!
Confidence builds, insecure no longer,
The connection with my wife, my family now stronger.
With the learnings I’ve taken in the past many days,
It’s clear to me now, I must change my ways.
As I hear myself now, I AM MY OWN VOICE!!
The spirit in me knows, I do have a choice.
Decisions and actions I make now are clear,
My future you define, I no longer fear.
It’s been a long ride with you in my cup,
I’m putting you down now, it’s time to step up!
So the bond that we had, like a hand in a glove,
That journey is over, IT’S ME THAT I LOVE!!!
We are exceedingly grateful for the opportunity to share this, and we wish all the best of luck and progress to Kenneth as he moves forward in his new life, along with all other alumni. Thank you for your words of hope, and for allowing us to be part of the process that brought some of this passion back to life.
We know there are so many more Palm Partners alumni out there with talents, stories and experiences to share, and we encourage you to contact us and be part of the message that may help countless others. You never know how many lives you can touch, and how many people could make the choice that saves their life because of something that you choose to share. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help. You are not alone.