Author: Shernide Delva
There are two sides to every story, and when it comes to alcoholism, the same saying holds truth. A new study examined the changes in the brain that makes a person prone to alcoholism. What they discovered is that there are two types of alcoholic brains: anxiety-prone and impulsive.
Anxiety and impulse control issues are common among alcoholics and the difference between the two could lie in changes in the brain tissues. The brain tissue of alcoholics experience changes that are different from the non-alcoholic brain. Over time, the brain tissue changes from consuming alcohol. Researchers have discovered that there are two types of alcoholic brains: anxiety-prone (Type I) and impulsive-depressive (Type II) and brain changes are exclusive to one type or the other.
Type I Alcoholics: Type I alcoholics typically become dependent on alcohol later in life. These types are prone to anxiety and use alcohol increasingly to resolve these issues.
Type II Alcoholics: These types tend to get hooked on alcohol at a younger age and exhibit anti-social impulsive behaviors.
The brain is a complex organ so not every alcoholic fit into these two categories, the researchers noted.
“From the viewpoint of the study setting, this division was made in order to highlight the wide spectrum of people suffering from alcohol dependence,” said lead researcher Olli Kärkkäinen. “The reality, of course, is far more diverse, and not every alcoholic fits into one of these categories.”
Regardless of what “type” of an alcoholic you are, there are similarities in the brain of all alcoholic. All alcoholics have an increase of a steroid hormone called dehydroepiandrosterone that affects the central nervous system. This could explain why many alcoholics become tolerant to the effects of alcohol after chronic, long-term use.
In addition, all alcoholics showed decreased levels of serotonin transporters in brain regions. This means that alcoholics have difficulty with mood regulation. They tend to be seeking this happy chemical and have a decreased level of serotonin transporters in the brain. This could explain why many alcoholics experience social anxiety.
Researchers will be using the results from this study to come up with new treatments for alcoholism that take into account the distinct differences between Type I and Type II brains.
“These findings enhance our understanding of changes in the brain that make people prone to alcoholism and that are caused by long-term use,” said researcher Kärkkäinen. “Such information is useful for developing new drug therapies for alcoholism, and for targeting existing treatments at patients who will benefit the most.”
In Western countries, it has been estimated that around 10-15% of the population qualify as alcohol-dependent. Across the world, alcohol is causing as much damage as all illegal substances combined. It is important to note these differences so medical personnel knows how these cases can differentiate.
Most of all, it is important that those who have struggled with alcoholism to seek help as early as possible. People who drink large amounts of alcohol for long periods of time run the risk of developing serious and persistent changes in the brain. The damage could be a combination of the alcohol consumptions along with poor general health.
Often, alcoholics have deficiencies in their health. Thiamine deficiency is extremely common in those with alcoholism and is a result of overall poor nutrition. Also, it can be hard for those struggling to make staying healthy a priority. Thiamine is crucial to the brain. It is an essential nutrient required by all tissues, including the brain. Many foods in the United States are fortified with thiamine; therefore, the average healthy person consumes enough of it.
Alcoholism can cause major damage to your brain and overall health if left untreated. This article simply confirms the reason why it is so important that those struggling with alcoholism seek professional help. Trying to fix the problem on your own is not the best solution, especially when you are not aware of how your mind and body is functioning. We are here to help. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, don’t wait. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
Author: Shernide Delva
Researchers in Antarctica have garnered a reputation for boozin’ up to beat the cold and loneliness. Now, reports of possible intoxication, fights and misconduct have prompted government agencies to take action. Due to reports of “unpredictable behavior,” officials from the National Science Foundation (NSF) may begin giving their employees breathalyzer tests
The agency could be shipping several breathalyzers to areas where a total of 1,150 scientists and support staff are stationed. This comes after officials reportedly told auditors of “unpredictable behavior that has led to fights, indecent exposure, and employees arriving to work under the influence.”
Drinking in Antarctica could lead to serious problems if not controlled. For one, the closest medical care facility is at lead a few hours away from the bases. So if you were to get alcohol poisoning, it’d be a long ways before you get to a hospital. As a result, the supervisors are solely responsible for keeping people safe. In one article, a worker stated:
“It’s a fine line because you have to let people do their own thing and be responsible. The South Pole is such a small community, there’s only one person for each job.”
The agency claims that drinking is “not out of control” and the breathalyzer measure is preventative. The NSF officials told auditors that the real problem was the “ongoing culture class” between construct works and scientists. They often eat, socialize and drink separately. Contractors are treated lower and have to abide by more rules than scientists who are put on a higher pedestal, the article notes. The agency went on to say that it feels the time is now to address the drinking issue before it becomes a serious issue.
However, there are some administrative roadblocks. Since Antarctica is not U.S territory, it makes it unclear who would conduct the breathalyzer tests and which employees would have the rights to appeal them. Even more complicated, the South Pole is at such a high altitude, the breathalyzer tests may not even function properly. The South Pole Station is at an altitude of 10,000, atop a high plateau. At that altitude, the device would have difficulty calibrating.
Other countries with research bases on Antarctica, like Britain and France have distinct rule about alcohol use. The British Antarctic Survey asserts in its detailed alcohol and drug policy that “alcohol can play a useful role in providing a diversion from the pressures of work when used in moderation,” but staff are prohibited from working under the influence.
To put it into perspective, the article describes how every winter; dozens of workers at the South Pole research station spend nine months in isolation. No airplanes can fly in or out until the base “warms” up to 50 zero ensuring the fuel does not freeze and kill the engine.
If you want to escape your problems, Antarctica is the place to go but after months in isolation, emotions can flare up. Families and friends can bring back old memories of home. Workers predisposed to seasonal affective disorder (SAD) are hit hard. The darkness and cold causes sleepiness and memory problems. Many scientists and workers fall into alcoholism as a way of coping with the depression.
Working in Antarctica can be one of the most exciting jobs on Earth. Or it can be the most depressing. And the fact is, drinking during work hours is a serious problem, just like at any big company. As of right now, there is no clear policy in place to regulate drinking behavior.
Implementing new policies on how to control the drinking will hopefully prevent the alcohol consumption from getting out of control. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-561-221-1125
Or, at least, is beer-flavored ice cream one?
Last month, well-known ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s, along with Colorado beer-brewer New Belgium, announced that the two companies would be collaborating in order to create a new flavor to add to the ranks of all the flavors that have come before: Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale. They are billing it as “an ice cream infused craft beer.”
It might sound disgusting – or at the very least weird – but, this isn’t the first time ice cream and alcohol came together in holy matrimony. And it isn’t the first time for Ben &Jerry’s, specifically. Last spring, the beloved confectioner launched a new product on the West Coast with a series of “frothy beer floats.”
Now, this isn’t just a case of beer and frozen treats coming together for the sheer sake of it. The popular-for-its-politics ice cream company is in it for more than just trend-setting. In the press release announcing the partnership, the involved parties made clear that the focus of the collaboration is meant to be on the companies’ shared efforts of “supporting sustainable agriculture” and “focus[ing] on environment awareness.”
Controversy: Is Ice Cream a Gateway Drug?
Some might argue that mixing a frozen treat that generally appeals to the younger crowd (e.g. children) with an adult treat (e.g. alcohol) is a recipe for disaster. Or, in the very least, it’s tasteless.
But, if you were to apply that logic, then you’d be remiss to overlook some of the flavors they’ve introduced over the years; flavors like Coffee Caramel Buzz and Coffee and Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz! With these examples, one could argue that the company promotes childhood caffeine addiction. That’s just starting out light.
Then there’s Chocolate Therapy, which sounds like it’s promoting self-medication with food, making it OK to self-soothe with a substance (i.e. food), leading to disordered eating and perhaps an eating disorder, such as binge eating.
Then you’ve got Karamel Sutra, which pays homage to The Kama Sutra, the ancient Hindu “sex text.” This Ben & Jerry’s flavor clearly promotes underage sex.
And, before we move on to this beer/ice cream pairing, let’s not forget that the ice cream giant already has a flavor – since 2013 – called White Russian, inspired by the vodka-based cocktail of the same name.
It’s clear that Ben & Jerry’s has been promoting alcohol use – not to mention other vices – by children for quite a while now.
Well, that’s the concern of Alcohol Justice, a California-based non-profit advocacy, research and policy organization, that sees itself as the watchdog of the alcohol industry, attempts to “hold Big Alcohol accountable for the harm its products cause.”
So, for example, Alcohol Justice advocates banning flavored alcoholic beverages, such as Mike’s Hard Lemonade, because they target “youth (especially girls).” Furthermore, it seeks to raise federal excise taxes on alcohol, and the organization wants to ban Palcohol, a powdered-alcohol product we’ve written about in the past.
Although some of their concerns and arguments may be valid – or at least understandable – groups like Alcohol Justice might be taking things a bit too far. For example, according to the non-profit organization, “daytime [wine] tastings, with little to no monitoring, in family-friendly settings, are inappropriate and threaten public health and safety” and that “children watching parents drinking alcohol when they shop for fruit or vegetables is a practice very damaging to impressionable young minds.”
After all, in far more progressive countries that embrace wine-drinking and other imbibing of spirits, alcohol use among underage youth is not as much of a problem as it is here. Perhaps not making something taboo as to tempt the younger ones into trying things is the way to go, after all.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist today. We are here 24/7 to take your call.
By Cheryl Steinberg
You may or may not be aware of this but, some of the highly-illegal drugs today were once used in virtually any kind of cough drop, tincture, or formula to treat anything from cough to nausea to insomnia. And many of these medical preparations that included drugs like heroin and cocaine we even available over-the-counter!
Nowadays, there are much stricter regulations on what have been found to be illicit drugs, as well as other drugs that are prescribed for our ailments.
But, there are some surprising ways in which illicit drugs are being used today. Here are 5 illegal drugs that will cure you…
#1. Cocaine for wound care
First, cocaine is an effective local anesthetic and, once applied, it numbs the area very quickly, usually in less than two minutes. Secondly, cocaine is effective at stopping the bleeding; it’s a vasoconstrictor, which is a drug that constricts – or narrows – the blood vessels. The smaller a blood vessel gets, the bleeding occurs.
Even many pediatricians recommend using cocaine on children’s wounds because of cocaine’s properties that make it a valuable tool for treating cuts and lacerations.
#2. LSD for Alcoholism
Studies show that your chances of staying away from alcohol will be dramatically increased after tripping on acid. There was an extensive study done in the 1960s and ’70s that revealed how recovering alcoholics are much less likely to drink to excess and how some even stopped drinking altogether for several months.
The reason why this works could be due to the LSD helping the participants to feel more confident, happy and satisfied with their lives, which, in turn, decreased the feelings they had that led most of them to abuse alcohol in the first place. The alcohol-abstaining effects from the one LSD trip lasted for about six months, at which point, if LSD were legal, the patients would be able to return to a treatment clinic for another dose, repeating the process until they were able to transition into sobriety.
#3. Heroin for women in labor
Heroin is an opiate, in the same class of drugs as painkillers, such as oxycodone and morphine. However, heroin itself is actually much more effective than morphine and takes effect in about two or three minutes. In fact, The National Health Service (NHS) in Britain recommends giving it to people in extreme pain, people in surgery, and women in labor.
Now, just to be clear, the NHS is, in fact, made up of medical professionals. The practice in Britain is to give women in labor an injection of heroin to help with the contractions as they give birth. The one-time use doesn’t do any damage and doesn’t cause dependency, because it is only administered when the baby is on its way out of its mother’s body.
#4. MDMA for PTSD
MDMA, or Ecstasy, has been shown to help treat people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The reason for this is actually the same reason that the drug is popular for recreational use: It releases large amounts of the feel-good chemicals serotonin and oxytocin in your brain, which makes you relaxed, euphoric, and feel at ease. This results in relieving the stress experienced by PTSD sufferers.
When used in a therapeutic setting, MDMA allows PTSD patients to relive their experiences more easily, which is crucial to overcoming the disorder. Ecstasy lets the sufferers do so without being overwhelmed, by activating the area of the brain responsible for controlling fear and stress. Over time, this results in long-term reduction of fear.
#5. Methamphetamine for ADHD and obesity
Desoxyn, the purest form of meth, is prescribed to obese people for quick short-term weight loss. It’s only prescribed as a short-term treatment for obvious reasons, since meth is highly addictive as well as overall catastrophic to your well-being. Meth is rarely prescribed in this way and only when all other treatments fail.
Desoxyn is also prescribed by U.S. doctors to treat ADHD. Considering that sufferers of ADHD typically exhibit symptoms of jitteriness and inattentiveness, which are also associated with meth use, it nevertheless has a therapeutic effect on people with ADHD. When it comes to the brain, nothing is simple, and meth. Like other stimulants, helps regulate brain chemicals called neurotransmitters.
Drugs and dosage are carefully controlled by your medical providers who can monitor the results and adjust your medication accordingly by a medical professional who can monitor the results. In general, you shouldn’t self-medicate any medical problem with alcohol or illicit drugs and you should only take medications as prescribed. If you are struggling with substance abuse and or a psychological disorder, such as PTSD, ADHD, or depression, Palm Partners is here for you. We offer dual diagnosis treatment for people who are ready to end the cycle of drug abuse. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
As an addict and alcoholic I rarely did one drug at a time. Much like everything in my addiction, it was total chaos, balls to the wall, go hard or go home, do it all or don’t do it all, kind of living. The same applied to the way I used drugs. There are many times that I encountered lethal combinations. You know the combo of drugs I am talking about if you used the way I did; the combinations like Vodka and Xanax, Cocaine and Heroin (speedballs), Methadone and Valium etc. etc. etc. The list of deadly drug combos could go on and on.
The deadly drug combo I am going to be talking about today is cocaine and alcohol. As a drug addict I had the belief that actually the two worked well together; get drunk with alcohol and sober up some to keep the party going with cocaine. I knew very little about the “lethal party” I had invited into my body especially when mixing cocaine and alcohol. You see, when you invite cocaine and alcohol to mingle inside of you they invite a third person over without really asking you; cocaethylene.
This is the series deadly drug combos: Cocaine and Alcohol
When you mix cocaine and alcohol, something unique happens that is only known to happen when mixing these two substances. What happens exactly? Cocaine and alcohol literally form a third drug in your body known as cocaethylene. This third chemical, builds up in the liver over a number of years among those who mix the two drugs and can cause major health consequences. Few people outside the world of pharmacology have heard of the chemical, fewer still are aware of its life-threatening properties. Now, however, its side-effects, discovered in 1979, are threatening to become tragically familiar as they take their toll on users in their 30s and 40s. For not only is cocaethylene toxic in the liver, it is also blamed for heart attacks in the under-40s and a surge in social problems. But because so little is known about the drug, few experts can agree on the nature of the threat to users, and indeed society as a whole.
Cocaethylene isn’t the only deadly danger of mixing cocaine and alcohol though.
Many people find themselves able to drink for a longer period of time when they add cocaine to their night of drinking. In fact some studies have been done on it. The respected magazine Druglink reported that a 2006 analysis of 102 alcohol and cocaine users, carried out by the UK National Addiction Centre, found strong links between snorting cocaine and long, heavy drinking sessions. Almost half of regular powder cocaine users questioned for the analysis said that their last heavy drinking episode had lasted more than 12 hours.
The ability of cocaine users to consume vast amounts of alcohol is being blamed for an increase in sexually risky behavior among the young and rising levels of violence. Small studies in Manchester and Merseyside suggest that around half of all young people arrested for violent behavior were on drugs, and of these the majority were on cocaine. Many had been drinking prior to their arrest.
So not only can cocaine and alcohol create a more deadly “third wheel” it also can allow already heavy drinkers to drink even heavier. Heavier drinking can lead to many health and deadly problems all by itself aka alcohol poisoning. Ingesting large amounts of cocaine isn’t so great for the heart or the nasal lining either. Alcohol and cocaine by themselves can be lethal; mixing the two together is playing with fire.
Whatever way you look at it when it comes to deadly drug combos, cocaine and alcohol make a pretty great team. Cocaine and alcohol are definitely a potentially lethal combo.
If you or your loved one is in need of treatment for alcohol or cocaine addiction please give us a call at 800-951-6135.