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Alcohol Awareness Month - It's a Daily Thing

by James Heller 24. March 2010 08:18
Alcohol Awareness Month is more important to the general population than alcohol and drug treatment professionals.  The problem is as prevalent in our society today as ever.  So it is part of our duty to bring awareness to those who suffer, their loved ones, and to change stigmas that still exist.

In working with individuals who suffer from alcohol dependence, the disease can seem normalized.  The affect is a thought that the public as a whole understands the disease.  We, in treatment, are reminded this is not so when we meet new friends who show curiosity in the work we do.  It is often amazing that decades-old, yet false, beliefs still exist.  We must maintain the ability to convey the truth credibly throughout our careers.

While it would be nice if we could convince everyone that alcoholism is a treatable disease, especially alcoholics and their loved ones, we come to see it as an unattainable dream.  But that does not mean we should give up.  Providing facts plants a seed of information that eventually is confirmed when others know someone who suffers from alcohol dependence.

Continuing education helps alcohol and drug treatment professionals to more effectively treat clients.  That same education can be used to bring awareness to others, in most cases using less clinical terminology.  When professionals convey information in an educated manner, they are more credible to an audience.

 April is a good time for Alcohol Awareness Month being that it is spring, and a time of renewal.  It is a chance to bring awareness to the public, in an organized fashion, which will hopefully lead to saved lives.  But since alcoholism is a year-round issue we should always be ready and available to share facts, on and off the job.

This is one area where it is okay to take work home as a professional in alcohol dependence treatment.  The benefits are great.  Not only might a life be saved by one conversation, but a troubled loved one may find comfort and freedom.  And even if your audience has no life connection with alcoholism, lifting the stigma of alcoholism, one person by one, helps to advance our cause.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides education to professionals and through our Youth Alcohol and Drug Treatment Services to prevent teen alcohol abuse.  It is part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence or drug addiction, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Women in Alcohol Treatment

by James Heller 30. April 2009 07:59
April, 2009 marks the 22nd year of Alcohol Awareness Month.  

Tarzana Treatment Centers is participating with a series of articles meant to inform and educate the general public about alcohol abuse, dependence and treatment.  Considering that over 21 million Americans meet the criteria for alcohol abuse and over 53 million admit to past-month binge drinking, not to mention the many loved ones affected by each, our efforts are worthwhile.

The percentages of women who enter alcohol treatment and remain through completion are lower than for men.  Reasons for the difference appear to revolve around family and security.

Alcohol dependent mothers may know they need detox and treatment.  But some do not have the resources or family to provide child care in a time of absence.  Also, depression and false sense of reality due to alcoholism creates fear in leaving children with even the most trusted family members.

Many women with alcohol problems have histories that could make them feel uncomfortable in a coed treatment setting.  The distraction of discomfort, and inability to share feelings freely, makes treatment less effective and is a major reason for early discharges.

Tarzana Treatment Centers offers women-only treatment, including a facility for women and children.  As noted in the report excerpt below from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration this helps women enter treatment and complete it, leading to better lives for our patients and their children.

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Child Care Services

Most studies that evaluated the effectiveness of providing child care services to female clients in substance abuse treatment examined services for children living with their mothers in a residential treatment program. In one clinical trial, females who lived with their children in therapeutic community treatment programs remained in treatment significantly longer (mean length of stay [LOS] = 300 days) than females whose children were placed with caretakers (mean LOS = 102 days) (Hughes et al., 1995). Less rigorous studies also found that program changes enabling women to bring their children into residential treatment were associated with increased LOS (e.g., Stevens, Arbiter, & Glider, 1989; Wobie, Eyler, Conlon, Clarke, & Behnke, 1997). One study found that measures of depression were lower and measures of self-esteem were higher for females whose infants accompanied them to the treatment facility compared with females who did not have their infants in the treatment facility (Wobie et al., 1997). This study suggested that the earlier a mother's infant resides with her in the treatment setting, the longer the mother will stay in treatment.

Women-Only Treatment

Using a nonrandomized design, Grella and colleagues (1999) found that females treated in publicly funded women-only residential treatment programs in Los Angeles reported they had more problems, such as mental health issues and substance severity, than females at mixed-gender programs. However, the clients in women-only programs actually spent more time in treatment and were more than twice as likely to complete treatment than females in mixed-gender programs. In contrast, programs that treat male and female clients together are less able to attract and retain especially vulnerable females, such as lesbian women, women with a history of physical or sexual violence, women who have worked as prostitutes, and single parents (Copeland & Hall, 1992; Fullilove, Lown, & Fullilove, 1992; Grella, 1997; Pottieger, Inciardi, & Tressell, 1996).

-- Source: http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/WomenTX/WomenTX.htm#2.4.1

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the alcohol and drug treatment community.  The external content was found among other articles of equal informational and educational quality.

Senior Health Issues and Alcohol

by James Heller 29. April 2009 12:32
April, 2009 marks the 22nd year of Alcohol Awareness Month.  

Tarzana Treatment Centers is participating with a series of articles meant to inform and educate the general public about alcohol abuse, dependence and treatment.  Considering that over 21 million Americans meet the criteria for alcohol abuse and over 53 million admit to past-month binge drinking, not to mention the many loved ones affected by each, our efforts are worthwhile.

Some issues that come with aging may be slowed or even reversed by simply abstaining from alcohol use.  Of course it depends on the amount of alcohol a person consumes before they abstain.  Recovery from alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence will have a more dramatic effect on senior citizens than if they only occasionally drink.

Taking interactions with medications into account, it is probably a good idea for seniors to abstain from alcohol consumption anyway.  Add to that a habit of more than 1 drink per day, and the progression of physical or mental health problems can accelerate.  

Much worse, alcohol dependence places an added burden on vital organs that are already deteriorating.  Alcoholic senior citizens suffer higher rates of problems with the heart, liver, and pancreas, along with more severe depression and dementia.

Senior citizens can benefit from alcohol detox and treatment the same as anyone else.  Using this information can help to convince an older family member to enter treatment so their golden years can indeed be golden.  

The following paragraph is from a report from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.  If you are a senior citizen with an alcohol problem, or know someone who is, please read the report.

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The potential for drug interactions increases with greater reliance on prescription drugs, multiple prescriptions, difficulty in correct self administration, and age-related changes in physiology and is further aggravated by the use of alcohol (Williams 1988). For example, Abrams & Alexopoulos (1987) emphasize that alcohol abuse among older persons can mimic and/or contribute to major depression. Also, Larsen and colleagues (1987) discovered that some apparent dementia in older patients is actually a form of drug-induced cognitive impairment, reversible in the absence of the drugs. Thus, it is likely that reduction of alcohol consumption could improve treatment outcomes among the elderly.

-- Source: http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa02.htm --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the alcohol and drug treatment community.  The external content was found among other articles of equal informational and educational quality.

Senior Alcohol Withdrawal Dangers

by James Heller 24. April 2009 14:50
April, 2009 marks the 22nd year of Alcohol Awareness Month.
 
Tarzana Treatment Centers is participating with a series of articles meant to inform and educate the general public about alcohol abuse, dependence and treatment.  Considering that over 21 million Americans meet the criteria for alcohol abuse and over 53 million admit to past-month binge drinking, not to mention the many loved ones affected by each, our efforts are worthwhile.

As we age we become more susceptible to problems related to alcohol and prescription drugs.  Senior alcohol abuse and prescription drug abuse often is the result of self-medicating for physical and emotional issues that afflict older men and women.

One particular danger in cases of senior alcohol abuse or dependence is severe withdrawal symptoms.  There are several reasons that older men and women suddenly quit drinking, unaware of the health risks involved.  One example is quitting for a few days when family or friends visit.  

With emergency hospitalizations, lacking knowledge about alcohol withdrawal symptoms coupled with shame can lead to serious issues.  For example, if an elderly man is admitted to a hospital and a family member needs to give admitting information, they may not mention that he drinks throughout every day due to shame.  This could complicate primary treatment when withdrawals occur because of the hurdle the symptoms create for medical staff.

For those with older family members, a little knowledge about alcohol withdrawal symptoms and their impact on seniors, and alcohol detox, can save a life.  Seniors should consult with their doctors if they abuse alcohol or have become dependent.  It should be noted that older women are at greater risk of developing alcohol problems than older men.

The above examples are meant to encourage readers to seek more information.  A sample of a report by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism follows.  

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OLDER WOMEN HAVE INCREASED RISKS FOR ALCOHOL PROBLEMS

Older women tend to have longer life expectancies and to live alone longer than men, and they are less likely than men in the same age group to be financially independent. These physical, social, and psychological factors are sometimes associated with at–risk drinking in older adulthood, so they are especially relevant for older women.

Older women have major physical risk factors that make them particularly susceptible to the negative effects of increased alcohol consumption (Blow 1998). Women of all ages have less lean muscle mass than men, making them more susceptible to the effects of alcohol. In addition, there is an age–related decrease in lean body mass versus total volume of fat, and the resultant decrease in total body mass increases the total distribution of alcohol and other mood–altering chemicals in the body. Both men and women experience losses in lean muscle mass as they age, but women have less lean muscle mass than men throughout adulthood and, therefore, are less able to metabolize alcohol throughout their lives, including into older adulthood (see Blow 1998 for further information). Liver enzymes that metabolize alcohol and certain other drugs become less efficient with age, and central nervous system sensitivity increases with age for both genders. In sum, compared with younger adults, and with older men, older women have an increased sensitivity to alcohol.

Older women also have a heightened response to over–the–counter and prescription medications (Smith 1995; Vestal et al. 1977; Blow 1998). The use and misuse of alcohol and prescription medications are therefore especially risky for women as they age because of their specific vulnerabilities regarding sensitivity to alcohol and medications. For most patients, any alcohol consumption coupled with the use of specific over–the–counter or prescription medications can be a problem. For example, combining alcohol with psychoactive medications such as benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and antidepressants can be especially problematic for this population. Older women are more likely than older men to receive prescriptions for benzodiazepines in particular, and are therefore more likely to be faced with problems related to the interaction of these medications with alcohol (see Blow 1998 for further discussion). There is a paucity of data available on rates of the co–occurrence of alcohol and medication use in older people. This area needs more study.

Because older women generally drink less than older men or abstain from alcohol, health care providers may be less likely to recognize at–risk drinking and alcohol problems in this population. Moreover, few elderly women who abuse alcohol seek help in specialized addiction treatment settings. These problems stand in the way of effective interventions that can improve the quality of life of older women drinking at risky levels.

-- Source: http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh26-4/308-315.htm --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the alcohol and drug treatment community.  The external content was found among other articles of equal informational and educational quality.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

by James Heller 24. April 2009 08:11
April, 2009 marks the 22nd year of Alcohol Awareness Month.  

Tarzana Treatment Centers is participating with a series of articles meant to inform and educate the general public about alcohol abuse, dependence and treatment.  Considering that over 21 million Americans meet the criteria for alcohol abuse and over 53 million admit to past-month binge drinking, not to mention the many loved ones affected by each, our efforts are worthwhile.

Children born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) suffer at least one of many problems.  They range from physical to emotional and learning disabilities.  The sad truth is that it is very easy for a child to get FASDs, and even easier for parents to prevent it from happening.

It is not only pregnant women who need to be aware of the effects alcohol has on an unborn child.  Women who plan to get pregnant can ensure prevention of FASDs by abstaining from alcohol before conception.  Men can also be supportive of their partners by avoiding alcohol.  Alcohol treatment can help for those who engage in alcohol abuse, and detox for alcohol dependence.

Considering the harm done to children by FASDs, parents should take every precaution to prevent it.  Prevention begins with knowledge.  The information below is part of a comprehensive report by the Centers for Disease Control, which every future parent should read.

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What are FAS and FASDs?

Prenatal exposure to alcohol can cause a range of disorders, known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). One of the most severe effects of drinking during pregnancy is fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). FAS is one of the leading known preventable causes of mental retardation and birth defects. If a woman drinks alcohol during her pregnancy, her baby can be born with FAS, a lifelong condition that causes physical and mental disabilities. FAS is characterized by abnormal facial features, growth deficiencies, and central nervous system (CNS) problems. People with FAS might have problems with learning, memory, attention span, communication, vision, hearing, or a combination of these. These problems often lead to difficulties in school and problems getting along with others. FAS is a permanent condition. It affects every aspect of an individual’s life and the lives of his or her family.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These effects include physical, mental, behavioral, and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications. The term FASDs is not intended for use as a clinical diagnosis.

FASDs include FAS as well as other conditions in which individuals have some, but not all, of the clinical signs of FAS. Three terms often used are fetal alcohol effects (FAE), alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND), and alcohol-related birth defects (ARBD). The term FAE has been used to describe behavioral and cognitive problems in children who were prenatally exposed to alcohol, but who do not have all of the typical diagnostic features of FAS. In 1996, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) replaced FAE with the terms ARND and ARBD. Children with ARND might have functional or mental problems linked to prenatal alcohol exposure. These include behavioral or cognitive abnormalities or a combination of both. Children with ARBD might have problems with the heart, kidneys, bones, and/or hearing.

All FASDs are 100% preventable—if a woman does not drink alcohol while she is pregnant.

-- Source: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fas/fasask.htm --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the alcohol and drug treatment community.  The external content was found among other articles of equal informational and educational quality.

Alcohol and Women's Bones

by James Heller 23. April 2009 09:21
April, 2009 marks the 22nd year of Alcohol Awareness Month.  

Tarzana Treatment Centers is participating with a series of articles meant to inform and educate the general public about alcohol abuse, dependence and treatment.  Considering that over 21 million Americans meet the criteria for alcohol abuse and over 53 million admit to past-month binge drinking, not to mention the many loved ones affected by each, our efforts are worthwhile.

Women need to pay attention to bone health in order to avoid osteoporosis and other bone diseases that are more prevalent with them than with men.  Doctors regularly suggest supplements and dietary plans that enhance women’s bone health.  But alcohol abuse and dependence can negate any benefits from these.

Naturally, one would think that women should be cautious about drinking heavily after menopause when their bones begin to deteriorate.  However, study results show that the stage for bone loss is set as early as adolescence.  Although alcohol abuse among older women has a negative effect on bone health, it is not as bad as with adolescent alcohol abuse.

The jury is still out on studies concluding that moderate alcohol consumption benefits bone health in women.  While Tarzana Treatment Centers focuses on those in need of alcohol detox and treatment, information is provided for moderate drinkers below because it may benefit other women concerned about bone health.

The excerpts below from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism are part of a study that includes detailed statistics.  

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MODERATE DRINKING
The effect of moderate alcohol use on bone health and osteoporosis risk is unclear. (Editor’s Note: Definitions of moderate drinking vary. Federal guidelines consider moderate drinking to be no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men [U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 1995].) A few epidemiological studies in humans have indicated that moderate alcohol consumption may be associated with decreased fracture risk in postmenopausal women (Hansen et al. 1991; Felson et al. 1995). One large study (Diaz et al. 1997) found that women age 65 and over who consumed alcohol on more than 5 days per week had a significantly reduced risk of vertebral deformity compared with those who consumed alcohol less than once per week. (Crush fractures of the anterior vertebral body cause most women’s bone–related visits to the doctor.)

This apparent beneficial effect of moderate drinking on bone health has not been found in animal studies, which can control for the amount of alcohol consumed as well as for other lifestyle factors.

CHRONIC HEAVY DRINKING
Effects of Alcohol on Growing Bone
Almost all epidemiological studies of alcohol use and human bone health indicate that chronic heavy alcohol consumption, particularly during adolescence and young adulthood, can dramatically affect bone health and may increase the risk of developing osteoporosis later. Although alcohol appears to have an effect on bone–forming cells (i.e., osteoblasts), slowing bone turnover, the specific mechanisms by which alcohol affects bone are poorly understood.

-- Source: http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh26-4/292-298.htm --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the alcohol and drug treatment community.  The external content was found among other articles of equal informational and educational quality.

Adolescent Alcohol Tolerance

by James Heller 23. April 2009 08:32
April, 2009 marks the 22nd year of Alcohol Awareness Month.  
Tarzana Treatment Centers is participating with a series of articles meant to inform and educate the general public about alcohol abuse, dependence and treatment.  Considering that over 21 million Americans meet the criteria for alcohol abuse and over 53 million admit to past-month binge drinking, not to mention the many loved ones affected by each, our efforts are worthwhile.

One side effect to adolescent alcohol abuse and binge drinking is tolerance.  To put it simply, tolerance occurs when regular drinking results in a person needing more alcohol to get the effect they are seeking.  This effect ensures that when teens abuse alcohol on a regular basis, they will drink more on each occasion as time goes on.

Whether or not genetics is responsible is an interesting question.  Studies like the one sited below get mixed results.  Knowing if alcohol tolerance during adolescence is sign of genetic alcoholism could save a lot of lives.  Until we find a way to preempt the pain of alcoholism, though, awareness of adolescent alcohol abuse will help.

Both parents and teens should learn alcohol’s effect on the adolescent brain and body.  Teens that are made aware of the pattern of tolerance may be more likely to agree to adolescent alcohol treatment.  And parents armed with this knowledge can be more persuasive.

The excerpt below was found at the Addiction Technology Transfer Center website.

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Despite numerous studies in recent years, "still very little is known about the long-term effects of alcohol consumption on adolescents," said Linda Patia Spear, Distinguished Professor in the department of psychology and the Center for Developmental Psychobiology at Binghamton University. "In humans, a substantial number of studies have shown that the earlier individuals start using alcohol, the more likely they are to have alcohol-related problems in adulthood, although it is not known whether this early exposure is causal or is just a marker for problematic alcohol involvement. In studies using laboratory animals, there are likewise some initial hints that adolescent alcohol exposure influences later sensitivity to alcohol, although the available data to date are mixed, and studies often do not include adult-exposure comparison groups so it is not clear as to whether these effects are more or less pronounced than would be seen after equivalent exposure in adulthood."

Despite the lack of consistent data, Matthews said two factors – the developmental nature of adolescence, and recent national reports of growing use and abuse of alcohol by adolescents – underscore the need for additional information. He and his colleagues will next investigate the effects of CIE exposure during adolescence on genetic expression in the brain, the activity of single neurons in the brain, and the biochemical mechanisms producing these effects.

-- Source: http://www.nattc.org/explore/priorityareas/science/tools/asmeDetails.asp?ID=164

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the alcohol and drug treatment community.  The external content was found among other articles of equal informational and educational quality.

Alcohol, Women, and Cancer

by James Heller 21. April 2009 10:45
April, 2009 marks the 22nd year of Alcohol Awareness Month.  

Tarzana Treatment Centers is participating with a series of articles meant to inform and educate the general public about alcohol abuse, dependence and treatment.  Considering that over 21 million Americans meet the criteria for alcohol abuse and over 53 million admit to past-month binge drinking, not to mention the many loved ones affected by each, our efforts are worthwhile.

Studies linking breast cancer to alcohol use by women have been plentiful.  Results show the average increase in risk at about 9%.  This has lead to broader studies that look at the association with all types of cancer in women, with drinking habits of 1 drink per day to alcohol dependence.

As the scope of research has widened with women, scientists have also begun similar studies on men.  To date, the focus with men has been on alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence, in non-cancer studies, usually when they enter detox and treatment facilities.

Now the Journal of the National Cancer Institute has published a study by Oxford University that included over 1 million women. Some of the results are shown below.  Any woman who drinks alcohol should stay informed on these findings, especially if there is a history of cancer in her family.

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Million Women Study Shows Even Moderate Alcohol Consumption Associated with Increased Cancer Risk

Low to moderate alcohol consumption among women is associated with a statistically significant increase in cancer risk and may account for nearly 13 percent of the cancers of the breast, liver, rectum, and upper aero-digestive tract combined, according to a report in the February 24 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

With the exception of breast cancer, little has been known about the impact of low to moderate alcohol consumption on cancer risk in women.

To determine the impact of alcohol on overall and site-specific cancer risk, Naomi Allen, D.Phil., of the University of Oxford, U.K., and colleagues examined the association of alcohol consumption and cancer incidence in the Million Women Study, which included 1,280,296 middle-aged women in the United Kingdom. Participants were recruited to the study between 1996 and 2001. Researchers identified cancer cases through the National Health Service Central Registries.

Women in the study who drank alcohol consumed, on average, one drink per day, which is typical in most high-income countries such as the U.K. and the U.S. Very few drank three or more drinks per day. With an average follow-up time of more than 7 years, 68,775 women were diagnosed with cancer.

The risk of any type of cancer increased with increasing alcohol consumption, as did the risk of some specific types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, rectum, and liver. Women who also smoked had an increased risk of cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx, esophagus, and larynx. The type of alcohol consumed – wine versus spirits or other types – did not alter the association between alcohol consumption and cancer risk.

Each additional alcoholic drink regularly consumed per day was associated with 11 additional breast cancers per 1000 women up to age 75; one additional cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx; one additional cancer of the rectum; and an increase of 0.7 each for esophageal, laryngeal, and liver cancers. For these cancers combined, there was an excess of about 15 cancers per 1000 women per drink per day. (The background incidence for these cancers was estimated to be 118 per 1000 women in developed countries.)

"Although the magnitude of the excess absolute risk associated with one additional drink per day may appear small for some cancer sites, the high prevalence of moderate alcohol drinking among women in many populations means that the proportion of cancers attributable to alcohol is an important public health issue," the authors write.

-- Source: http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/101/5/281-a --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the alcohol and drug treatment community.  The external content was found among other articles of equal informational and educational quality.

Alcohol and Womens Health

by James Heller 20. April 2009 14:57
April, 2009 marks the 22nd year of Alcohol Awareness Month.  

Tarzana Treatment Centers is participating with a series of articles meant to inform and educate the general public about alcohol abuse, dependence and treatment.  Considering that over 21 million Americans meet the criteria for alcohol abuse and over 53 million admit to past-month binge drinking, not to mention the many loved ones affected by each, our efforts are worthwhile.

Studies have shown that women suffer negative effects from alcohol quicker than men.  As soon as alcohol enters the body, women metabolize alcohol in a way that leads to faster intoxication with fewer drinks than men.  If a woman has a problem with alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence the risk is high that she will experience serious health problems early in life.

The female stomach does not metabolize as much alcohol as the male stomach.  Women also have less water weight, so alcohol quickly concentrates in the blood.  The alcohol travels with the blood to every part of the body, affecting literally every cell.  Not only does this harm vital organs faster, but it also speeds up the development of alcohol dependence.  This is why women also find their way into alcohol detox and treatment quicker than men.  

Recent studies are supporting evidence that alcohol increases cancer risk among women.  Scientists are giving this a closer look, and taking the results very seriously.  So much so that researchers are starting to ask if there is a safe, daily amount of alcohol for women.

The following set of facts about alcohol and women’s health comes from the Center for Science in the Public Interest.  

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  • Women absorb and metabolize alcohol differently than men.
  • Alcohol consumption is associated with a linear increase in breast cancer incidence in women over the range of consumption reported by most women. A pooled analysis of several studies found breast cancer risk was significantly elevated by 9% for each 10-grams per day increase in alcohol intake for intakes up to 60 grams per day.
  • Although the mean lifetime dose of alcohol in female alcoholics is only 60% of that in male alcoholics, one study noted that cardiomyopathy (a degenerative disease of the heart muscle) and myopathy (a degenerative disease of skeletal muscle) was as common in female alcoholics as in males. The study concluded that women are more susceptible than men to the toxic effects of alcohol on the heart muscle.
  • Brain shrinkage in men and women was found to be similar despite significantly shorter periods of alcohol exposure or drinking histories in women.
  • Women with chronic pancreatitis have shorter drinking histories than that of men. Women with alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis were found to have consumed less alcohol per body weight per day than men. These findings indicate that women are more vulnerable to alcoholic liver disease than men.
  • Although alcohol problems are more common in male trauma patients, women with alcohol problems are just as severely impaired, have at least as many adverse consequences of alcohol use, and have more evidence of alcohol-related physical and psychological harm.
-- Source: http://www.cspinet.org/booze/women.htm --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the alcohol and drug treatment community.  The external content was found among other articles of equal informational and educational quality.

Medication Assisted Alcohol Treatment

by James Heller 20. April 2009 10:10

April, 2009 marks the 22nd year of Alcohol Awareness Month.  

Tarzana Treatment Centers is participating with a series of articles meant to inform and educate the general public about alcohol abuse, dependence and treatment.  Considering that over 21 million Americans meet the criteria for alcohol abuse and over 53 million admit to past-month binge drinking, not to mention the many loved ones affected by each, our efforts are worthwhile.

Recovery from alcohol dependence is not easy.  In fact, very few of those in alcohol treatment will get sober and stay sober on their first attempt.  In most cases there will be at least one relapse into drinking before long-term recovery is achieved.  But for the “chronic relapser”, those who can’t seem to maintain any long-term sobriety, there is an answer called Medication Assisted Treatment.

Alcoholism is a body and mind disease, and cravings for alcohol are a major reason for relapse.  These cravings are strong throughout the early days of recovery from alcohol and tend to diminish in time, but they are a lifelong burden for an alcoholic.  

Naltrexone is one medication used to fight alcohol cravings by blocking the pleasure centers stimulated by alcohol use.  With no euphoric effect from alcohol use, there is no craving associated for the alcohol dependent brain and body.  In an alcohol treatment setting, this removes a major distraction so patients can concentrate on recovery once alcohol detox has cleansed the body.  

Vivitrol, the injectable form of Naltrexone, is offered as part of the treatment program at Tarzana Treatment Centers.  With each injection lasting 30 days on timed release, patients can focus on treatment of the mind instead of the body, and are less likely to leave treatment early and drink.

CNN.com posted a story about Medication Assisted Treatment on 4/15/09.  Some excerpts are below.  

-- Begin external content –

"It's like a little kid wanting a piece of candy. You see it, you want the taste of it." He closes his eyes and sniffs the air, remembering the feeling. "You can be by yourself, and all of a sudden get even a hint of alcohol, just the smell of it, and say, 'Oh, I need a drink.' That sensation is not something you can get rid of."

But today, Kent isn't tempted in the least. He says the credit goes to a prescription medication -- a pill called naltrexone.  It's part of a new generation of anti-addiction drugs that may turn the world of rehab on its head.

Among the findings that are causing excitement:

  • A federally funded study known as COMBINE compared cognitive-behavioral therapy alone with therapy along with naltrexone. Patients receiving both were more likely to stay abstinent and drank less if they did relapse.

These findings highlight what's become increasingly clear: Addiction is a brain disease, not just a failure of willpower. Naltrexone and topiramate have slightly different mechanisms, but both seem to block the release of brain chemicals that are linked to pleasure and excitement. Unlike earlier drugs used to treat alcoholics, neither is addictive or carries significant side effects.

-- Source: http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/04/15/addiction.cold.turkey.pill/index.html --

For more information on Vivitrol, contact us via email at vivitrol@tarzanatc.org.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the alcohol and drug treatment community.  The external content was found among other articles of equal informational and educational quality.