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Alcohol Awareness Month 2014

by James Heller 11. April 2014 14:08
When you work in a field that deals with alcoholism on a daily basis, it’s easy to forget the level of public awareness about the disease.  It’s very low, even among those who deal with the pain and heartache of a suffering loved one.  In the interest of awareness, with April being Alcohol Awareness Month, here are some basics.
 
 
Alcoholics are unable to stop drinking once they start, without a conflict, no matter how much you beg.  The saying goes that if an alcoholic is not drinking, he’s thinking about the next drink.  A big part of alcohol dependence is the intense craving an individual feels.  These feelings are so strong that an alcoholic in recover for 10 years could still find his mouth watering at the sight of a martini or glass of wine.  And it isn’t about the taste.

Alcohol always satisfies the craving, as promised, and is trusted to always do so.  This is due to some biological and psychological functions that need not be addressed here.  And it can’t be stressed enough that alcohol is this individual’s best friend because people can never be as trustworthy.  Alcohol dependence has its drawbacks, of course, like terrible withdrawals.  But they are easily remedied by drinking more alcohol.  So the only downside, to the alcoholic, is the people who nag him to stop drinking.

The “hole in the soul” is a good way to describe why an alcoholic drinks.  It feels like something is missing inside that would help him cope with daily life.  Alcoholics lack a coping mechanism that most people have, so they tend to dwell on little events that seem to not bother others.  Alcohol fills that hole and makes him feel like he is a part of society, rather than being different.  From the first drink on, all is okay as long as the alcoholic is drinking.
Eventually, heavy drinking leads to abuse and then dependence.  At that point the body needs alcohol to function, and cutting off the supply may be fatal.  That’s a sad fact.  

This doesn’t mean that the situation is hopeless.  It’s important, though, to find the right time to have a discussion with your alcoholic.  For some reason, spouses, parents, children, and friends will confront an alcoholic during a binge, knowing that the last attempt was a disaster.  His mind, body, and spirit will always go to defend his best friend, and you get nowhere.  The best thing to do is remain calm until he passes out.

Aside from a professional intervention, the best time to confront an alcoholic is after he sleeps off a negative experience.  Wait until he’s “come to”, and then discuss the behavior.  It’s crucial that you convey a sense of love and care.  The best thing you can do for him is to lead him to the realization that he has a problem.  That realization is known as a “moment of clarity” in recovery groups, and is often described as having a divine influence.
When that moment arrives, you need to immediately… right now …get him in to a treatment center.  Therefore, you need to do your homework before the conversation starts.  It begins with one call to a local treatment center, like the one at Tarzana Treatment Centers, where you can learn how treatment works.  You’ll find out what is needed to get your loved one admitted when the time comes, and will also get some tools to make that day arrive faster.

Successful treatment will lead to abstinence for your alcoholic.  Continued treatment and attending a support group, like AA, will help him stay sober.  The odds are, though, that your alcoholic will relapse after treatment at least once.  It’s just a fact of life and a part of recovery for the great majority of recovering alcoholics.  Ask questions, find out what happened, encourage open communication, and talk to a counselor together.  Get him right back on the horse.

Here is one final note for the loved ones.  You need help, too.  Attend at least one Al-Anon or CODA meeting in your area.  There is no shame in being associated with an alcoholic, and you need to know how to regain your self-worth.  You may even choose to enter therapy, which is also available at Tarzana Treatment Centers.
 
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides a full array of health care services including adult and youth alcohol and drug treatment.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley and specialized services for HIV/AIDS care.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders or from other services we offer, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us using our secure contact form.
   
Telemedicine services are also available with online medical care, online mental health treatment, and online alcohol and drug treatment.

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.

Vivitrol Aids Recovery from Addiction to All Drugs

by James Heller 26. October 2012 09:20
It’s very rare for addicts to be monogamous with their drug of choice.  They usually abuse alcohol as well.  Even if they don’t, alcohol use in early recovery could pave a path back to addiction with the same or another drug.  Especially when individuals have had multiple relapse issues, prevention of another could come in the form of alcohol craving reduction.
 
 
Tarzana Treatment Centers provides Vivitrol for alcohol and opiate craving reduction.  This monthly injection of Naltrexone has helped many who suffer from alcoholism and opiate addiction.  They have achieved long-term sobriety when they previously struggled with relapses.  Vivitrol works with brain chemistry to minimize the distraction and temptation of this major relapse trigger.

Alcohol is a drug, just like any other.  Most addicts abused alcohol before they tried the drug they eventually became addicted to, and either combined the two (or more) or cut back on alcohol.  In any of these cases, alcohol holds a psychological connection with dependence on the drug of choice.  

In recovery, the suggestion is to remain abstinent from all drugs, including those that were not a part of the problem.  This is to avoid the problem of cross addiction.  The disease of Addiction causes sufferers to seek an escape mechanism because they can’t cope with normal life occurrences.  So, cocaine addicts in recovery might think it is okay to have a glass of wine because alcohol was not a problem before drug rehab.  

The addicted mind works in such strange ways that alcohol might not be the biggest threat.  Methamphetaminemarijuana, and cocaine addicts may have a history of being prescribed opiate painkillers from a past injury.  This is a great temptation for someone who is desperately trying to remain abstinent.  The “pain” mysteriously reappears, quite often, and the addict requests another prescription.  Unfortunately, there are far too many doctors who are willing to accommodate.

Whether the hope is to avoid alcohol or opiate abuse, Vivitrol is the solution.  After the first 30 days without alcohol or other drugs, recovering addicts of any drug will see the benefits of total abstinence.  By eliminating the possibility of cross addiction with alcohol or opiates, and blocking that psychological path to their drug of choice, addicts to any drug have a better chance for long-term recovery.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides a full array of health care services including adult and youth alcohol and drug treatment.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley and specialized services for HIV/AIDS care.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependencedrug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders or from other services we offer, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us using our secure contact form.

Telemedicine services are also available with online medical care, online mental health treatment, and online alcohol and drug treatment.

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.

The Effects of Alcohol

by James Heller 31. August 2012 14:56
If you have ever had “one too many” and suffered the consequences, you already partially know the answer to the following question: What are the effects of alcohol on the body? Alcohol dependence causes much more damage that a night of drinking.  So why don’t alcoholics stop? Alcohol cravings are one reason, and there is help available to reduce them.

A hangover is nothing more than alcohol withdrawals.  The sad truth is that the most effective cure for a hangover is… more alcohol.  During a night of drinking, the body goes through a form of mini-dependence – for lack of a better term – and actually comes to need alcohol to function properly.  When you wake up the next morning, or “come to”, normal body temperature, oxygen levels in the blood, and other things you never think of, are foreign to the body.  So you sweat and feel awful, but you probably don’t crave alcohol.

Alcoholics sign a virtual contract with alcohol, early on, where they will accept the pain of hangovers in return for the relief they get from drinking.  The agreement slowly evolves into a daily relationship where alcoholics drink alcohol because the effects will be very bad if they don’t.  The effects of alcohol on women set in faster than with men.  Regardless of gender, though, alcohol cravings get stronger with dependence. 
 
 
Tarzana Treatment Centers provides Vivitrol in alcohol treatment.  Vivitrol is a monthly injection that reduces alcohol cravings in the brain.  Our patients are assessed for this treatment during medical detoxification, and will get their first injection when alcohol detox is complete if approved.  With this distraction minimized, long-term recovery is more likely to be achieved.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides a full array of health care services including adult and youth alcohol and drug treatment.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley and specialized services for HIV/AIDS care.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependencedrug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders or from other services we offer, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us using our secure contact form.

Telemedicine services are also available with online medical care, online mental health treatment, and online alcohol and drug treatment.

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.

Alcohol Dependence and Drug Addiction -Tolerance

by James Heller 18. May 2010 13:48
Tolerance, as it relates to alcohol dependence and drug addiction, is often misunderstood by many in the general public.  In the manner that drug and alcohol tolerance functions, it can be a safety mechanism to the body and, at the same time, deadly.  This makes awareness of the subject critical for anyone who engages in alcohol abuse or drug abuse, as well as those in recovery.

It can easily be assumed that tolerance means that an individual can drink more alcohol without getting drunk, or handle drug use in a seemingly controlled manner.  With this assumption comes the belief that these “abilities” are an example of the natural differences that exist from one individual to another.  While this is partially true, the nature of alcohol and drug tolerance is much more complicated.

Alcohol tolerance is the example with which most people can relate.  Consider the amount of alcohol you need to drink before you feel the effects, or “buzzed”.  Let’s say this is 2 beers.  If you drink 2 beers every day, over time you will feel less of an effect.  If you want to feel the same effect, you must drink more alcohol.  The amount of alcohol needed for the same feeling will continue to increase as you add more alcohol.  

The same concept works with drugs.  Alcohol abuse or drug abuse can result from tolerance since individuals will chase that feeling by drinking or using more on each occasion.  If the cycle continues with regular daily alcohol or drug intake, the body can become physically dependent and alcoholism or drug addiction is the result.  

On this road to addiction that we just followed, the brain has protected the body from overdose, with tolerance, by adjusting to the higher levels of substance use.  This benefit of drug tolerance can become a dangerous consequence, though, for recovering individuals who relapse.  The addicted brain still needs a large amount of drugs for an effect, but the body returns to a lower tolerance of what is essentially a poison.

At the time of first use on a relapse, the brain will dictate the most recent amount of drugs used to get a desired effect.  If the formerly recovering addict is not careful, this amount can easily cause a drug overdose or even be fatal.  Many drug addicts are not aware of this fact, and will even ignore warnings from fellow drug users because they don’t realize the consequences they face.

While alcoholics are less likely to overdose on alcohol during first use on a relapse, they may experience what is known as a lack of tolerance.  At this point, a drunken feeling may result from only 1 drink.  Lack of tolerance can actually occur with anyone who drinks alcohol, but it is typically coupled with alcohol dependence.  Of course, that 1 drink will still not be enough to satisfy alcoholics and they can become a danger to themselves through inebriation and alcohol’s effect on the body.

This information is good to share with teens, friends in recovery, or anyone you may know who engages in alcohol abuse or drug abuse.  Too many see tolerance as a benefit both early in substance use and in addiction.  Tolerance is explained in effective alcohol and drug treatment as part of addiction education groups to prevent accidental overdoses among those who may relapse.  Bringing this awareness to the general public may save even more lives.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides youth alcohol and drug treatment and addiction education.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders, 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.

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Senior Alcohol Abuse - Damaging Effects

by James Heller 12. May 2010 15:07
Senior alcohol abuse is often more difficult to correct than with any other group in America.  By age 60, most individuals are set in their ways and don’t feel the need to change anything.  In fact, many seniors are aware of the risks they face with heavy drinking and continue seemingly without care.  Loved ones may feel helpless, but solutions exist.

About 40% of those over 60 say they drink alcohol, with almost one-third of them admitting to binge drinking and heavy drinking, or alcohol dependence.  These statistics come from a 2007 report at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies website.  This means that about 1 in 10 seniors at least binge drink on occasion, which can be very dangerous to their health and that of others.  

Many external changes happen with individuals when they reach age 60.  Retirement is imminent if it has not already occurred, friends begin to move away or pass away, and family members may even suggest a change of residence.  Worst of all, the mind and body begin to show signs of aging, meaning that doctor visits become common and more medications need to be taken.  All of these can be terribly stressful on anyone when they are grouped into a few short years.

Boredom, loneliness, and a sense of powerlessness can each lead anyone to drink alcohol.  Whether it is a time-filler or an escape from negative feelings doesn’t matter.  The end result is that it works and leads to earlier drinking times and less time outside the home.  Senior alcohol abuse may even be a purposeful celebration of the golden years.  The daily party begins with joy, but can quickly turn to injury or a fatality.

This can all be very harmful for seniors due to interactions with medications, a higher risk of falling, and aging major organs.  If alcohol dependence sets in, the effects on the body and brain are more detrimental to seniors than anyone else.  The celebrators, in freedom, usually drive under the influence.  Yet most seniors who abuse alcohol either hide it or justify it, and accept the risks.

Family members who see the alcohol abuse will often accept the behavior as a rite of passage.  Considering the years they have lived, why would a loved one deny what seems well deserved? And if nobody gets hurt, all is okay.  That is, until somebody gets hurt or health problems develop.  Some seniors will stop the behavior at this point, but most will continue to drink heavily and probably more.

There are 2 things that loved ones can do at this point.  The first is to strongly suggest alcohol detox and alcohol treatment.  But most people in their 60’s today will see that as a sign of weakness and refuse, and family members generally won’t force the issue.  Doing so may get the elderly alcoholic into treatment, but he or she will only benefit if self-motivated.  So keep suggesting, with love, and let them make the decision.

Second, you can set boundaries and stick to them.  If they refuse to quit drinking or cut down, suggest accompanying them to the doctor so you can discuss medication interactions.  Let them know you understand that they are not concerned with their own health, but you are concerned with the health of others including yourself and younger members of the family.  It may be hard, but you must be firm, with love, and continue to suggest alcohol treatment.

To the younger generations, seniors who refuse to change these behaviors seem stubborn.  However, like any other individual who engages in alcohol abuse, the bottom line is that they are escaping from emotions.  Instead of arguing and treating them like children, it is best to discuss feelings as much as possible.  Avoid forcing the issue of senior alcohol treatment, and use gentle, loving nudges.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides alcohol and drug treatment for seniors in a culturally sensitive manner.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders, 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.

Alcohol Dependence and Treatment

by James Heller 1. May 2009 14:37
Alcohol dependence is a serious disease.  It is chronic, meaning that it cannot be cured, and fatal.  While few alcoholics actually die from an overdose of alcohol, most do from diseases that result from heavy drinking.  Alcohol’s effects on the body include heart and liver disease, damage to the pancreas that can lead to diabetes, and many other fatal conditions.

Alcoholism is also a disease of the mind, though, with one symptom being denial of reality.  This state of mind makes an alcoholic believe that mounting problems in life are not due to alcohol consumption, even when family and friends insist that they are.  And being that alcoholics can be very manipulative, the percentage that seeks treatment remains very low.

In rare cases, a simple request of the individual to seek treatment will work.  But for most, even with the alcoholic admitting there is a problem, alcohol treatment will remain on the “back burner” until serious financial, relationship, or health issues occur.  Often, an intervention is needed to force action.

Sadly, too many alcoholics destroy everything in their lives for the sake of alcohol and end up alone, broke, and even homeless.  The fear of what will happen if they don’t drink alcohol is greater than the pain of the losses they suffered.  

Anyone with alcohol dependence can recover.  The time investment only needs to be a few days of alcohol detox in a treatment center offering medical detoxification, followed by outpatient or short-term residential treatment.  A 12 step program of recovery, like Alcoholics Anonymous, can help maintain sobriety after treatment.

No group is immune to the disease.  It affects men and women; adolescents, college students, and seniors; Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanics, Caucasians, and all other races; and the homeless to CEOs.  Everyone with alcohol dependence suffers from the same withdrawal symptoms and the same ultimate fate if they don’t seek treatment.

The best way to avoid alcoholism related health problems is to get treatment at the earliest signs of alcohol abuse.  Occasional binge drinking is negative behavior that can lead to alcohol dependence.  An invisible line is crossed when an individual becomes preoccupied with the thought of drinking alcohol at times of abstinence.

It is a good idea to get information when you are unsure if you or a loved one has a problem with alcohol.  A phone call is free, and you might prevent future problems and maybe even save a life.  

Tarzana Treatment Centers offers specialized treatment programs to address the various aspects of alcohol dependence and recovery, including alcohol detox. We provide alcohol treatment in the San Fernando Valley, Antelope Valley, Long Beach, Reseda and Northridge. Please call us for alcohol or drug treatment at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

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

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.

-- Begin external content --

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, 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.

Familial Alcoholism

by James Heller 27. March 2009 13:49
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.

There is a great deal of evidence that family history plays a part in alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence.  For decades, studies have examined and re-examined the question with widely varying results.  These results point toward both genetic and environmental influences in the family structure on drinking habits.

While there is still no clear consensus on familial alcoholism trends, the data suggests that those with a family history of alcoholism should approach drinking with caution.  The information below from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism contains important information for parents with a history of alcoholism and children of alcoholics, adolescent to adult.

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A Family History of Alcoholism


If you are among the millions of people in this country who have a parent, grandparent, or other close relative with alcoholism, you may have wondered what your family's history of alcoholism means for you. Are problems with alcohol a part of your future? Is your risk for becoming an alcoholic greater than for people who do not have a family history of alcoholism? If so, what can you do to lower your risk?

What is Alcoholism?
  • Alcoholism, or alcohol dependence, is a disease that includes four symptoms:
  • Craving—A strong need, or urge, to drink.
  • Loss of control—Not being able to stop drinking once drinking has begun.
  • Physical dependence—Withdrawal symptoms, such as upset stomach, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety after stopping drinking.
  • Tolerance—The need to drink greater amounts of alcohol to get "high."

Many scientific studies, including research conducted among twins and children of alcoholics, have shown that genetic factors influence alcoholism. These findings show that children of alcoholics are about four times more likely than the general population to develop alcohol problems. Children of alcoholics also have a higher risk for many other behavioral and emotional problems. But alcoholism is not determined only by the genes you inherit from your parents. In fact, more than one–half of all children of alcoholics do not become alcoholic. Research shows that many factors influence your risk of developing alcoholism. Some factors raise the risk while others lower it.

Genes are not the only things children inherit from their parents. How parents act and how they treat each other and their children has an influence on children growing up in the family. These aspects of family life also affect the risk for alcoholism. Researchers believe a person's risk increases if he or she is in a family with the following difficulties:
  • an alcoholic parent is depressed or has other psychological problems;
  • both parents abuse alcohol and other drugs;
  • the parents' alcohol abuse is severe; and
  • conflicts lead to aggression and violence in the family.

The good news is that many children of alcoholics from even the most troubled families do not develop drinking problems. Just as a family history of alcoholism does not guarantee that you will become an alcoholic, neither does growing up in a very troubled household with alcoholic parents. Just because alcoholism tends to run in families does not mean that a child of an alcoholic parent will automatically become an alcoholic too. The risk is higher but it does not have to happen.

If you are worried that your family's history of alcohol problems or your troubled family life puts you at risk for becoming alcoholic, here is some common–sense advice to help you:

Avoid underage drinking—First, underage drinking is illegal. Second, research shows that the risk for alcoholism is higher among people who begin to drink at an early age, perhaps as a result of both environmental and genetic factors.

Drink moderately as an adult—Even if they do not have a family history of alcoholism, adults who choose to drink alcohol should do so in moderation—no more than one drink a day for most women, and no more than two drinks a day for most men, according to guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Some people should not drink at all, including women who are pregnant or who are trying to become pregnant, recovering alcoholics, people who plan to drive or engage in other activities that require attention or skill, people taking certain medications, and people with certain medical conditions.

People with a family history of alcoholism, who have a higher risk for becoming dependent on alcohol, should approach moderate drinking carefully. Maintaining moderate drinking habits may be harder for them than for people without a family history of drinking problems. Once a person moves from moderate to heavier drinking, the risks of social problems (for example, drinking and driving, violence, and trauma) and medical problems (for example, liver disease, brain damage, and cancer) increase greatly.

Talk to a health care professional—Discuss your concerns with a doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner, or other health care provider. They can recommend groups or organizations that could help you avoid alcohol problems. If you are an adult who already has begun to drink, a health care professional can assess your drinking habits to see if you need to cut back on your drinking and advise you about how to do that.

-- Source: http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/FamilyHistory/famhist.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.