The New Year is a great opportunity to start fresh. People make resolutions to do everything from lose weight to save money. This year, make the commitment to stop drinking with Dry January.

What is Dry January?

Dry January also called sober January or sometimes even Dryuary is a month of abstaining from drinking alcohol. It was originally a movement in the United Kingdom but has since increased in popularity and is now recognized across the world including the United States. People will participate in this monthly observance for a variety of reasons, but the most common is to reap the health benefits of Dry January.

 

The Benefits of Doing Dry January

While some people may just be sober curious and give dry January a try for the fun of it, going a month without drinking alcohol can have a surprising number of rewards. Especially if you are a heavy drinker or have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, the Dry January benefits can be immense.

 

Physical Health

One of the biggest sober January benefits is the positive impact abstaining from alcohol can have on your physical health. In a study of Dry January participants, 3 out of 5 lost weight.1 For people who are overweight, dropping some pounds can lead to enormous health benefits including improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol, and physical mobility. When you stop drinking, you may also reduce your risk of certain cancers and improve your liver health.

 

Mental Health

Along with improvements to physical health, one of the advantages of sober January may be better mental health. In some cases, people will use alcohol to cope with their poor mental health, but doing so repeatedly may actually make these symptoms worse, lead to addiction, and could result in the need for dual diagnosis treatment. Instead, some studies suggest that giving up drinking could significantly improve your mental health and well-being.3

 

Sleep

Although some people will use alcohol as a sleep aid, this type of behavior may decrease sleep quality. Instead, no longer drinking may be the answer. 71% of Dry January participants reported better sleep even if they were not able to make it the full month.1

 

Appearance

Along with the physical health benefits of sober January, no longer drinking may also improve your physical appearance. Studies show that drinking can lead to facial aging, dehydrated skin, skin inflammation, and other negative effects on your skin.4,5 After just one week without alcohol, you may see noticeable improvements.5

 

Money

Instead of flushing your money away on drinks at the bar or bottles of wine, going sober for January could let you spend that money elsewhere or save it for the future. Because many people who participate in Dry January end up drinking less than they normally would in the months that follow,1 you could also save money in the long run.

 

Relationships

Alcohol can sometimes interfere with your personal relationships. Common family problems related to alcohol use can include violence, infidelity, marital conflict, and divorce.6 While alcohol doesn’t always lead to these issues, a month without alcohol may help you avoid these problems in the future and let you focus on strengthening your relationships instead.

 

Self-Evaluation

Another one of the more important Dry January benefits is its ability to open people’s eyes to their unhealthy drinking habits. Not everyone will make it the full month without alcohol, but if you are struggling to go more than a few days, it may be a sign that you need alcohol addiction treatment.

 

These sober January benefits could just be the beginning. The longer you go without drinking, the more you could reap the benefits. While no longer drinking could have a positive impact on your life, make sure you quit safely. Because alcohol withdrawal could lead to complications for people with more severe drinking habits, a medical alcohol detox is advised to avoid these issues.

At Vertava Health, we are here for you. If you or someone you love wants to stop drinking but is struggling to do so alone, we are here to help. Contact us today to learn more about our various programs and begin the journey to sober living.

 

5 Things To Know About Dual Diagnosis

About half of the people with substance use disorder will also have a mental health disorder during their lives. 

Substance use and mental health disorders can interact and lead to worsening of one, the other, or both conditions. Sometimes clinicians refer to dual diagnosis as co-occurring disorders or comorbidity. 

Unfortunately there’s a lot of misinformation about dual diagnosis. A dual diagnosis is complex, and people with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders can’t receive a simple fix to change overnight. 

Here are five things you need to know about dual diagnosis:

 

  1. One Disorder Doesn’t Automatically Cause Another

Research is ongoing into the relationships between substance use and mental health disorders, and why they can often co-occur. 

Although some people believe that one disorder leads to another (substance use disorder leads to depression, for example), there aren’t any clear scientific answers about cause-and-effect with dual diagnosis.

However, experts have identified three potential reasons why mental health and substance use disorders often co-occur:

  • common risk factors, including stress, trauma, and family background
  • mental health problems may lead to substance use to alleviate symptoms, which is sometimes called “self-medication.”
  • substance use disorders change the way the brain works, potentially leading to mental health issues

 

  1. Symptoms Of Each Condition Are Similar

There are many unique, individual circumstances when substance use and mental health disorders co-occur and warrant a dual diagnosis. 

Some of the warning signs that a mental health disorder could be present along with a substance use disorder include:

  • extreme mood changes
  • confused thinking or problems with concentration
  • avoiding friends and previously enjoyed activities
  • thoughts or statements of self-harm

People previously diagnosed with a mental health disorder who could be at risk of alcohol or drug misuse may exhibit symptoms that include:

  • sudden behavior changes
  • risky behaviors
  • high tolerance and withdrawal symptoms
  • dependency (needing drugs or alcohol to get through the day)

 

  1. Both Conditions Should Be Treated Simultaneously

Both substance use and mental health disorders impact your health and influence one another. In order for treatment to be effective, both conditions need to be treated at the same time. 

Treatment for dual diagnosis can include different behavioral therapy models and prescribed medication.

Peer support can also help to improve recovery from dual diagnosis. Many people who participate in peer support groups receive help from sharing with others and learning they’re not alone.

People with dual diagnoses may also benefit from detox programs, and then they can consider other forms of treatment to improve both conditions. 

Inpatient treatment centers where staff are experienced and familiar with treating dual diagnosis can help. Having care available 24 hours a day, seven days a week can benefit patients, particularly in the early stages of treatment.

 

  1. Behavioral Therapy Can Help

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that is proven to be effective for treating dual diagnosis. 

Other types of therapies, including dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and group therapy with others who share similar experiences, can help improve both conditions as well.

 

  1. A Multidisciplinary Approach Is Best

Integrated or multidisciplinary treatment teams that address both diagnoses are the most effective choice for patients. 

An experienced treatment team aware of the unique challenges of dually diagnosed people can integrate treatment and offer holistic ways to improve both disorders. Effective teams are likely to include professionals across various disciplines, including psychiatry and counseling.

Patients with dual diagnosis can risk relapse or worsening symptoms if they’re part of substance-use only treatment programs, or if they receive treatment only for their mental health condition and fail to address addiction or substance use.

 

Support, understanding, and compassion provided by a multidisciplinary, integrated treatment team is the best way to help patients with dual diagnosis strengthen their mental, emotional, and physical health.

Even a single incidence of driving while under the influence can lead to the necessary use of a court-ordered breathalyzer. Research has shown the use of court-ordered breathalyzers cuts recidivism rates by more than 65 percent. And with an average of more than 35 fatalities occurring each day in the United States relating to alcohol use, these devices save lives and prevent the unintended consequences associated with drinking and driving.

How Breathalyzers Work

Typically, breathalyzers work by measuring the acetic acid remaining after alcohol is oxidized which provides an estimated measure of an individual’s overall blood alcohol concentration (BAC). An individual blows air through a small tube, any alcohol on their breath begins to oxidize, releasing acetic acid molecules.

These molecules are then detected by the device. The amount of alcohol oxidizing on someone’s breath is in proportion to the liquid alcohol in their bloodstream, giving law enforcement a fairly accurate measure of a person’s BAC.

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An Ignition Interlock License Following A DUI

Requirements for how often or when to test vary with each conviction, however, some states allow an individual to apply for an ignition interlock license before they suspend a license, allowing a person to continue working as they face a hearing or enter treatment. (An interlock device may also be required after the license has been suspended.)

During this period, a driver may be required to test before starting the car and later, while driving. These “rolling retests” are designed to prevent someone from having a friend utilize the device in place of the driver.

In some cases, a driver may fail the first test, in which case the device disables the car for a period of time, usually up to 30 minutes. At that time, the driver is permitted to retest. If their BAC remains above the set limit, the car will be disabled for a longer duration. In other cases, a person who blows over the legal limit may face arrest. The severity of the consequence depends on the individual’s state and prior convictions. If you are still drinking and worried about blowing over your limit with your interlock system, you may wish to carry a portable unit with you. These units usually cost about $100.

Interlock devices cost as little as a few dollars a day and will not harm your vehicle. Installation takes less than an hour and will be completed by a professional. Depending on your state, you may either be required to let law enforcement or the monitoring authority know you have installed the interlock system by submitting a certificate provided by the installer, or the installer may submit this information electronically.

Electronic Home Detention Following A DUI

If you are facing electronic home detention for a DUI arrest, you may not have a choice in when you test for BAC. Electronic home detention is monitored using a bracelet which allows a person’s movement to be tracked via satellite. Additionally, an in-home breathalyzer may also be utilized. These devices have an alarm that sounds at certain periods of the day or at random, depending on the severity of the sentencing. An individual must take the test within minutes of the alarm, or face arrest.

Beware Of Alcohol In Other Substances

The law does not recognize excuses for alcohol readings that may come from other sources. If you are sick and taking cold medication, notify your monitor about the best course of action. Otherwise, wait 15 minutes after eating or drinking to ensure no false positives, which may result in legal consequences.

How Long Will I Be Required To Use A Breathalyzer?

After the restoration of your driver’s license, a breathalyzer may be required for testing for as long as three years, though again, much depends on the severity and nature of the sentencing. In the long run, though inconvenient, breathalyzers protect the safety of other drivers and your safety as well. Driving while intoxicated carries a risk of devastating consequences like death and unintentional manslaughter.

More than an estimated 15 million individuals struggle with an alcohol use disorder in the United States, and approximately 88,000 people die from alcohol each year. While these statistics are alarming, only a small percentage of individuals get the treatment they need to cope with and overcome alcohol addiction.

Struggling with an alcohol use disorder can be incredibly hard, and many people try to hide their alcoholism as long as possible. However, the sooner a person seeks help, the more likely he or she is to make a full recovery and prevent potentially harmful and even deadly consequences of alcohol abuse.

The following are eight signs that may indicate you need professional help for an alcohol use disorder. If you relate to these, you can call an Vertava Health’ treatment specialist to discuss your options and better understand your condition.

1. You Have Health Problems Caused By Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse and addiction can significantly impact a person’s physical health. There are several conditions that can be directly caused by chronic heavy drinking, including liver damage, heart damage, anemia, various types of cancers, and brain and nervous system problems.

Alcohol abuse can also cause or worsen symptoms of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. Other mental health disorders, like dementia, can be caused by alcohol abuse as well. If you are experiencing health problems as a direct result of alcohol abuse, it may be time to consider treatment.

2. You Experience Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms When Not Drinking

Experiencing symptoms of withdrawal when not drinking is a significant sign that you may be physically dependent on alcohol. Common withdrawal symptoms include nausea, shaky hands, vomiting, headache, insomnia, and sweating.

People who are severely addicted to alcohol may experience more dangerous symptoms, including delirium tremens (DTs). Symptoms DTs include fever, confusion, high blood pressure, and heavy sweating. If you believe you are experiencing DTs, it’s important to seek medical help immediately, as this condition can be fatal.

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3. You Have Injured Yourself Or Others While Intoxicated

Alcohol can lower inhibitions and make people more likely to participate in dangerous activities like drunk driving. This is especially true for individuals who drink heavily or who cannot control their alcohol intake. The more alcohol a person consumes, the more likely he or she is to get injured or injure others.

Multiple DUIs, injuries, or participating in other potentially dangerous situations may be a sign that you could benefit from alcohol abuse and addiction treatment.

4. Your Work Or School Performance Has Suffered As A Result Of Your Drinking

People who can control their drinking typically don’t experience issues with work, school, or other responsibilities as a result of alcohol consumption. However, individuals who have trouble controlling their drinking or who regularly abuse alcohol often find themselves calling in sick to work, missing school, or performing poorly. A person may even lose his or her job or get kicked out of school as a result of drinking.

5. You Regularly Lie About Or Hide Your Alcohol Consumption

Hiding or lying about one’s alcohol consumption is often a key indicator that the individual is struggling with alcohol abuse or addiction. A person may drink in private or consume alcohol before meeting up with friends. Individuals with an alcohol use disorder may also lie about how much alcohol they drink or even avoid social situations where their drinking will be noticeable.

If you find yourself lying about how much alcohol you drink or hiding your alcohol consumption, this may be an indication that you are struggling with an addiction to alcohol.

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6. You Regularly Blackout From Drinking

A blackout occurs as a result of drinking more alcohol than the body can handle. When a person blacks out, he or she loses the ability to form short-term memories and is unable to recall periods of time. Blacking out can be incredibly dangerous and put individuals at a heightened risk for injury. Experiencing blackouts is often a sign that a person is abusing or addicted to alcohol.

7. You Experience Negative Consequences As A Result Of Your Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse and addiction can increase a person’s risk of experiencing a variety of negative consequences. For example, a person may have problems with friends or family or even run into issues with the legal system as a result of his or her actions while intoxicated. The more negative consequences someone experiences as a result of alcohol abuse, the more likely he or she is to benefit from treatment.

8. You Have Tried To Limit Or Quit Drinking To No Avail

Many people who struggle with an alcohol use disorder have tried to limit or quit drinking on their own but are unable to do so. While this can be frustrating, it isn’t a sign of failure. Alcohol addiction is a disease and often requires professional help to manage and overcome. If you have tried and failed to quit drinking, it may be time to consider a formal alcohol addiction program.

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Getting Help For Alcohol Addiction

If you find yourself relating to a few or many of the signs discussed above, you may benefit from an alcohol addiction rehab program. Seeking help for an alcohol use disorder can be scary, but it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Vertava Health has several treatment options available, and all of our programs are customized to the unique needs of each person who walks through our doors.

To learn more about the signs that may mean you need alcohol addiction rehab treatment, contact a treatment specialist today.

Currently in the U.S., approximately 17 million adults have an alcohol use disorder. This means that one in 10 children live in a home with a parent who drinks too much. It can be challenging to address active alcoholism, especially with someone that you love.

Constantly worrying about someone’s drinking can also take a toll on family members. If an alcoholic you love is refusing treatment, you have options that will benefit both you and the person suffering from addiction.

One of the most important things you can do is to educate yourself on the disease of alcoholism. You may gain insight into the signs of addiction, and get a deeper understanding of why alcoholics act certain ways. While familiarizing yourself with the signs and symptoms of alcoholism is key, you also may want to share different treatment options with your loved one.

If they have refused to attend inpatient treatment in the past, consider researching outpatient treatment options available to you. For extra support, many families also work with an intervention specialist. Vertava Health offer these treatment services throughout the U.S.

Is My Loved One Really An Alcoholic?

Alcohol addiction can manifest in many different ways. For some people, what begins as an occasional social drink can morph into daily drinking. Some people become dependent on the substance before they even realize what’s happening. When a person is dependent on alcohol, they require the substance in order to function normally.

Other people may feel that as long as their job and home is intact, they must not “be that bad.” That said, if alcohol has caused a person to experience emotional difficulties or problems at work, home, or school — they are likely struggling with alcohol abuse.

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People who are not yet physically dependent are still at risk for alcohol-related health concerns. Additionally, just one instance of alcohol abuse can cause a person to put themselves in a dangerous or illegal situation.

Alcoholism is a disease that can result from alcohol abuse. Alcoholism often leads people to consume large, frequent amounts of alcohol. This can lead to cravings, physical dependence, and an inability to control how much alcohol a person drinks.

People who suffer from alcoholism may hide drinks or lie about the amount they consume. These types of behaviors are “red flag” indications that a person is struggling with alcoholism.

Additional signs of alcohol abuse and alcoholism include:

  • memory loss while drinking, or “blacking out”
  • drinking alone
  • disinterest in events that do not involve alcohol
  • financial problems
  • relational issues at home or work
  • inability to focus
  • dishonesty
  • anxiety or depression
  • unsuccessful attempts to reduce the amount they drink
  • alcohol withdrawal symptoms, including shaky hands, sweating, or pounding heart

What Does Addiction Treatment Mean?

At Vertava Health’ rehab programs, addiction treatment refers to a spectrum of therapies aimed at helping a person recover from alcohol abuse. It can be difficult to realize that someone you love is battling alcoholism. Fortunately, there are rehab centers that offer addiction treatment services to help the alcoholic as well as their family.

Addiction treatment programs can be inpatient (residential) or outpatient. While no one type of treatment is best for everyone, experts agree that treatment lasting at least 90 days is associated with better health outcomes.

Many people who suffer from alcoholism need to detox from the substance before they begin treatment. People who are alcohol-dependent should not just stop drinking suddenly, as this can lead to dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Medically supervised detox programs are the safest way to detox from alcohol. Vertava Health’ rehab programs offer on-site detoxification.

In an inpatient treatment program, patients temporarily live in the rehab center’s structured, stable environment. During the day, patients engage in treatment therapies like group counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Vertava Health also provide alternative treatment approaches, including mindfulness and wilderness therapy.

Outpatient treatment programs often utilize similar therapies, and are offered on a more flexible schedule. These programs are a helpful alternative for those who cannot attend inpatient treatment due to personal or professional commitments.

How To Approach Your Loved One About Alcoholism Treatment

Researchers state that addiction treatment does not have to be voluntary, in order to be successful. As challenging as it may be, your loved one needs to hear about your concerns from you. If you are afraid that someone close to you is suffering from alcoholism, tell them how you feel and what behaviors are causing you concern.

If your friend or family member is unwilling to listen to the treatment options you share, it may be time to utilize an intervention technique. Interventions are supportive confrontations, in which people ask their loved one to seek professional help. There are several types of interventions, including:

Friend And Family Interventions

In this type of intervention, a group of friends or family members sit down with the person struggling with alcoholism. They may begin by voicing their love for the person, and the concerns they have about their drinking.

A family member may share specific situations that have been scary, or discuss how the person’s drinking has impacted the family. These conversations can be emotionally difficult, so try to keep the discussion as straight-forward as possible. Let the person know that you love them, that you are worried about their substance abuse, and that you have treatment options available.

If your loved one refuses addiction treatment, simply reiterate what you’ve already stated. While your love and support will not be withdrawn, there may be new financial boundaries or living situation requirements. Be clear, stick to your plan, and let the person know that the intervention comes from a place of love.

Professional Interventions

Because interventions can be difficult to navigate, many families find it helpful to have a professional therapist present. These are trained counselors who specialize in bringing families together for recovery purposes.

A professional interventionist helps to keep the conversation solutions-based. Because the interventionist is not intimately connected to the person, they are able to be an objective guide throughout the conversation.

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Finding Help And Support For Your Family

After an intervention, your loved one may still refuse to enter treatment. This can feel devastating for the family. As difficult as it may be, the best thing you can do is remain patient and hopeful. Unfortunately, sometimes people suffering from alcoholism delay treatment until they have a social or legal consequence (like an arrest).

While you are waiting for your loved one to consider getting help, there are things you can do to take care of yourself. Alcoholism is a disease that impacts the entire family, and finding support is a key part of recovering from alcohol addiction. Twelve step support groups like Al-Anon can be extremely helpful for family members of alcoholics.

At Vertava Health, we acknowledge the deep pain that families feel for loved ones suffering from alcoholism. Our compassionate treatment teams regularly work with friends, spouses, and family members to ensure they get the help they need as well.

You do not have to carry the burden of family alcoholism alone. To learn more about what to do if an alcoholic refuses addiction treatment, reach out to one of our specialists today.

Alcohol intolerance is an inherited metabolic disorder that will cause unpleasant sensations and digestive upset. When alcohol is consumed, those who have alcohol intolerance will experience a variety of symptoms that tax their bodies. Combining heavy alcohol use or addiction with alcohol intolerance can result in painful and potentially long-term effects on the body.

What is Alcohol Intolerance?

Alcohol intolerance is an adverse reaction within the body when alcohol is ingested. The body tries to rid itself of alcohol before fully processing it. The body cannot process the alcohol because it lacks the aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) enzyme.

ALDH2 is used by the body to break down acetaldehyde, which is a compound that builds up within the body as a person drinks. Without the enzymes to break down acetaldehyde, a person will experience a variety of uncomfortable and often painful symptoms.

Symptoms of alcohol intolerance include:

  • facial redness (flushing)
  • red and itchy skin bumps (hives)
  • nasal congestion
  • worsening of preexisting asthma conditions
  • low blood pressure
  • a fluttering of the heart
  • hot flashes
  • nausea and vomiting
  • headaches and hypertension
  • swelling of the lips or tongue
  • coughing
  • fainting or chest pain
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • diarrhea

By definition, the lack of enzymes within the body is the reason for alcohol intolerance. However, since symptoms can present very similarly, it is common for people to confuse alcohol intolerance with an alcohol allergy.

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Alcohol Intolerance Vs. Alcohol Allergy

Alcohol intolerance and an alcohol allergy are often considered the same thing, and in some ways, they are very similar. Symptoms of both conditions will begin immediately after alcohol is consumed. The rapid severity of the onset of symptoms can make it difficult to determine if the cause is an allergy or intolerance. However, while the symptoms may present the same way, the root cause of these health concerns are very different.

Alcohol intolerance is a genetic disorder caused by missing enzymes within the body, while an alcohol allergy is caused by an allergic reaction to the additives or substances used to create alcoholic drinks.

It is usually very rare for a person to be allergic to alcohol (ethanol) on its own. The main source of the allergy stems from components used to create and process alcoholic drinks.

Additives are combined with pure ethanol to make it palatable for consumption. These additives, and sometimes even the fermentation process for beer, wine, or hard liquor, are the main culprits of allergic reactions.

Some common allergens in alcoholic beverages include:

  • barley, hops, wheat, and rye
  • gluten and yeast
  • traces of egg or seafood proteins
  • histamines
  • sulfates
  • artificial fruit flavorings

If trace amounts of any of the above compounds are consumed in a drink by someone with a sensitivity, they will develop symptoms. Alcohol allergies produce rashes, severe stomach cramps, and nausea. The reactions that are caused by an allergy are often more painful, achy, and itchy than those of an intolerance.

Alcohol Flush Syndrome

One of the more commonly known symptoms of alcohol intolerance is alcohol flush syndrome. Immediately after consuming alcohol, the skin on the face, neck, and chest will become red and warm. The flushing of the face is very common in a person who drinks excessive amounts of alcohol.

When a person experiences a facial flush, it is an indication that the body has a problem digesting and metabolizing alcohol. The deficiency of the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) is what causes this intolerance and sensitivity.

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Alcohol Intolerance Prevention And Skin Treatment Options

Some medicines, such as antihistamine creams or oral medication, may be able to help control flushing of the face or rashes caused by alcohol intolerance or allergies. However, some of these medications will mask the symptoms of a drinking problem and not address the root cause of the reaction.

Alcohol intolerance that is genetically inherited cannot be cured. However, there are ways to curb the harmful effects of both allergy and intolerance.

To do this, a person can:

  • Restrict or stop alcohol use completely.
  • Quit smoking or avoid exposure to second-hand smoke.
  • Stop drinking alcohol when taking certain medications.
  • Seek medical attention to identify if your symptoms are intolerance or allergy.
  • Do not just rely on antihistamines to alleviate the symptoms.

Alcohol Intolerance And Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse can still develop if someone has an alcohol allergy or alcohol intolerance.
Even when telltale symptoms of allergy or intolerance present themselves, people may continue to drink through adverse reactions to feel the pleasurable effects of alcohol.

Heavy drinking and alcohol intolerance may increase the risks of developing specific alcohol-related problems, such as:

  • high blood pressure
  • cancer of the mouth and throat
  • esophageal and gastric cancer
  • higher rates of liver disease (cirrhosis)
  • late-onset Alzheimer’s disease
  • hypertension

If someone you know has an alcohol intolerance and is abusing or addicted to alcohol, it’s important that he or she understands the potential higher risk of health consequences. If you abuse alcohol, stopping your alcohol intake may not be an easy process. An immediate bodily reaction to drinking alcohol is the first sign that there is an allergy or intolerance that needs to be addressed.

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Alcohol Abuse And Addiction Treatment Options

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol intolerance and alcohol addiction, a specialized treatment program will be recommended. Depending on the severity of the condition, an inpatient program may be the most effective course of treatment.

When selecting an addiction treatment program for alcohol use, it’s essential to find a rehab center that offers a comprehensive care model for alcohol addiction. At Vertava Health, our state-of-the-art treatment facilities offer both detox and rehabilitation, which together provide a seamless transition from one service to the next.

Patients who attend our treatment centers can benefit from some of the following treatment methodologies:

  • medical detoxification
  • dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • medication-assisted therapy (MAT)
  • dual diagnosis treatment
  • alternative therapy
  • wilderness therapy
  • gender-specific therapy
  • behavioral counseling
  • group counseling

With the right combination of treatments and therapies, freedom from alcohol addiction and the common complications posed by alcohol intolerance is possible. To learn more about alcohol intolerance and alcohol addiction, contact a Vertava Health treatment specialist today.

The purpose of the Jellinek Curve is to show that alcoholism or drug addiction is a progressive disease that can worsen over time if the proper treatments aren’t received. It also shows how a healthier and more fulfilling recovery from addiction is possible.

Though originally created to detail the stages of alcohol addiction and recovery, the Jellinek Curve has been adapted to represent all other forms of addiction.

By understanding how addiction develops and recovery begins, a person can have a better understanding of the steps they need to take to find treatment, maintain their recovery, and prevent relapse.

About The Jellinek Curve Of Addiction

E. M. Jellinek, the creator of the Jellinek Curve, was one of the earliest pioneers of the disease model of addiction. His research and the creation of the Jellinek Curve helped to change the way addiction and recovery was understood.

While Jellinek outlined the progression of the disease of addiction, Dr. Max M. Glatt revised the curve to include a phase that detailed recovery and rehabilitation.

Because of this, the Jellinek Curve is made up of two, curving halves. The left half curves downward and represents a person’s decline from substance abuse to addiction. The right half curves upward and stands for a person’s rise from addiction to sobriety.

It’s important to understand that the Jellinek Curve shouldn’t be used to diagnose addiction. Instead, as an educational tool that can be used to motivate people towards positive and lasting changes.

Not every person who is struggling with substance abuse or addiction will experience all these changes. It’s critical to remember that even if a person doesn’t show all these signs, they still could have a substance abuse problem that requires help.

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The Crucial Phase Of The Jellinek Curve

Once a person’s drinking accelerates from what Jellinek termed “occasional relief drinking,” their alcohol use will likely begin to cause physical, psychological, and social problems. This can also hold true with other forms of drug abuse.

As drinking or drug use becomes more frequent, a person may become dependent. This means that their body cannot function normally without the substance.

Once this occurs, a person may drink or use drugs on a regular basis to relieve negative feelings, cravings, or withdrawal symptoms. A person may also start drinking or taking drugs shortly after they wake and find they have a hard time stopping once they start.

During the Crucial Phase, an individual’s physical and mental health may begin to suffer at the hand of substance abuse. A person will likely begin to lose increasing amounts of time to finding and using the drug.

People who drink may begin to have more memory blackouts.

Relationships can become strained as a person begins to avoid their loved ones in favor of drinking, taking drugs, or hanging out with people who do.

As substance abuse gains momentum and becomes more compulsive, a person is pushed closer to the Chronic Phase.

The Chronic Phase Of The Jellinek Curve

According to the Jellinek Curve, when a person is chronically drinking or using drugs, levels of abuse have reached compulsive levels.

Here, a person will typically experience a major loss of control over their behaviors. In this state, a person will likely be unable to stop or reduce their use, despite multiple attempts trying to.

Obsessive thoughts, urges, or cravings about substances continue to disrupt a person’s day and overshadow thoughts of most everything else. In this stage, a person has exhausted almost every excuse or alibi to explain their drinking or drug use.

When substance abuse has reached this compulsive level, many people continue to drink or abuse drugs even after it’s started to harm their body, mind, relationships, or job. As they encounter this damage, many people turn back to drugs or alcohol to cope, thus fueling the addiction.

As a person falls deeper into despair and struggles to maintain their life, Jellinek explains that they will likely get trapped in a vicious cycle of obsessive drinking or drug use.

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At this time, many people may experience severe withdrawal symptoms if they try to quit drinking or taking drugs. This could include pain, nausea, and vomiting.

This is often the point many people consider to be rock bottom. If drinking or drug use continues in this way, a person’s health and life could be in real jeopardy.

Fortunately, if a person’s sense of hopelessness pushes them to seek help, opportunities for recovery arise.

The Rehabilitation Phase Of The Jellinek Curve

The rehabilitation stage of the Jellinek Curve begins when a person embraces “an honest desire for help.” At this time, two other critical things happen: a person finds out that alcoholism or drug addiction is an illness, and learn that the harmful patterns of addiction can be stopped.

Equipped with this knowledge, a person then realizes a life without alcohol or drugs is possible and that sobriety holds opportunities for personal fulfillment. Paired with the understanding of the harm they’ve been causing themselves, these realizations motivate a person to quit drinking or taking drugs.

Interacting with people in recovery who have successfully found sobriety and achieved a happier life provides encouragement at this transitional and important time. This is one reason why treatment and peer-support groups are such vital resources to those in recovery.

As a person builds strength and overcomes their fears, hope begins to take shape. In order for a person to heal from addiction, the physical, mental, and spiritual harms must be addressed. Group therapy, medical care, spiritual guidance, and other treatments offered at rehab are beneficial at this time.

Developing positive thoughts and behaviors that support sobriety are a main goal of rehab. Here, a person will learn to recognize harmful rationalizations they once used to support their substance abuse. This will help them avoid relapse triggers and develop healthier mindsets.

As a person begins to reinvest in themselves and their life, they should become more self-confident and devoted to their self-care. Eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and maintaining a clean personal appearance, all things that can be ignored during addiction, become once again important.

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Working towards economic stability and regaining the confidence of employers are also valuable goals at this time. As a person progresses through their recovery, they may also find an opportunity to rebuild and reinvest in important relationships.

One of the most critical parts of the recovery process is aftercare. Maintaining sobriety takes hard work and perseverance. According to the Jellinek Curve, group therapy and mutual help groups should continue at this time.

Fortunately, many drug rehab centers offer aftercare and alumni support programs that connect treatment graduates to these and other resources.

One of the most interesting things about the Jellinek Curve is the right side, or the recovery side, doesn’t flatten out on top. Instead, it continues to climb up. This could represent the positive momentum and personal development that accompanies a strong, progressive recovery.

Finding Help For Drug Or Alcohol Addiction

It’s important to note that a person doesn’t have to hit rock bottom or ask for help on their own in order to successfully recover from drug or alcohol addiction. A person can begin their recovery at any stage of a substance use disorder.

Though individuals who choose help for themselves do have the benefit of starting treatment off with drive and ambition, treatment does not need to be voluntary for it to work. People who begin treatment in other ways can also build successful recoveries.

This may include people who are in denial or resistant to the idea of treatment. In these instances, a professional intervention may be necessary to help a person see that they need treatment.

Individuals who are forced to go to treatment, such as those who are attending a court-ordered drug rehab program, can build lasting recoveries from drugs or alcohol as well.

Each person’s path to sobriety is different and based on the unique characteristics of their life. People who are only mildly addicted may only need outpatient treatment. Medical detox and inpatient rehab program are still recommended for moderate to severe addiction.

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Everclear’s high proof and fairly cheap price make it attractive to certain drinkers, especially to teens and college-aged students. Regardless of a person’s age, drinking Everclear can be very dangerous, even in small amounts.

Despite Everclear’s strength and warnings against drinking it, Everclear abuse does happen. When it occurs, the strength of this liquor can quickly place a person’s life in jeopardy.

Everclear abuse can rapidly lead to alcohol poisoning (overdose) and death. Additional dangers include alcohol dependence and addiction, brain damage, motor vehicle accidents, unprotected sex and major illness and disease, such as liver disease and an increased risk of certain cancers.

A person may consume Everclear unknowingly, as it’s often mixed into other popular drinks, such as Jungle Juice, while others fall prey to its allure because of peer pressure. Certain establishments are even creating high-octane craft cocktails that make Everclear more appealing to their patrons.

On the other hand, a person who is addicted to alcohol may purposely drink this substance in an attempt to increase the pleasurable effects of alcohol or to overcome a tolerance. Alcohol addiction causes compulsive behaviors that override a person’s judgment, placing their body and mind in harm’s way.

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About Everclear

Everclear is a grain-distilled spirit. At 151 and 190 proof, 75.5 percent and 95 percent, respectively, Everclear is the most potent liquor on the market. To put this in perspective, many other popular liquors, such as vodka and rum, are less than half the potency of Everclear 190, falling around 80 proof. Drinking one shot of Everclear 190 more than doubles the effect of alcohol on a person’s body.

Because of the potency and dangers that surround it, the stronger proof is illegal in many states across the U.S. But, certain people go to great lengths to find and use this substance. Some go so far as to drive across state lines or have a friend or family member bring them a bottle from out of state.

As the name suggests, Everclear is clear, and for the most part tasteless and odorless, a combination that makes it dangerous when mixed into a drink. Because of this, a person may not realize that they are consuming it (as opposed to a different liquor) and drink at the rate they normally do. This is especially dangerous when a person is binge drinking, or consuming a large amount of drinks in a small amount of time.

Even with the knowledge that a person is consuming Everclear, it’s far too easy to drink a dangerous amount of Everclear in a short time. Just one shot of Everclear could make a person sick and endanger their health in a very short amount of time.

According to the manufacturers, Everclear is not meant to be consumed straight, rather it is considered an “unfinished ingredient” intended to be diluted or used to make alcohol of a lower proof. Despite this warning, many people continue to drink this substance in a way other than intended, which can quickly place them at risk of serious harm.

The Dangers Of Everclear Abuse In Teens And College Students

Everclear has gained an almost urban legend status with many, a dangerous perception that is widely held with adolescents, teens and college-aged individuals. Underage alcohol abuse is far too prevalent. The following 2016 findings reported that in individuals aged 12 through 20 there were:

  • 7.3 million current alcohol users.
  • 4.5 million binge alcohol users.
  • 1.1 million heavy alcohol users.

While alcohol abuse is dangerous at any age, especially with such a strong spirit, drinking at these ages carries additional risks.

The developing brain is more vulnerable to alcohol’s effects. The prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for controlling emotions and impulses and overseeing decision-making, does not fully develop until a person is in their mid-twenties.

Because of this, an underage person’s ability to make sound judgments and decisions can be compromised, a fact that can lead to risky behaviors like binge drinking. Additionally, research shows that alcohol abuse at these ages can harm the brain, even to the point of irreversible brain damage.

One study found that heavy-drinking teens could damage the nerve matter, or white tissue, of their brains. Binge drinking at these ages was shown to impair a person’s memory and ability to think. Further, the damage appeared to vary between the genders. Boys suffered attention problems while girls had a more difficult time comprehending and processing visual information. These effects could potentially harm a person’s studies and ability to excel in school.

Everclear’s Tie To Violence

Alcohol reduces a person’s inhibitions, and at a normal alcohol content, drinking can cause certain people to act out in an aggravated or confrontational way. A recent study found that Everclear was one of eight brands closely linked to fights and alcohol-related violence. In fact, it rated higher than any other alcoholic beverage studied.

The study asked 1,031 underage drinkers, ages 13 to 20 years, to self-report on their experiences with alcohol-related fights and injuries. Researchers found that 10.5 percent of youth who experienced alcohol-related fights, injuries, or injury-related medical visits in the year previous had consumed Everclear 190.

The Dangers Of Smoking Everclear

As people look for new ways to increase the buzz of alcohol and avoid some of its unpleasant effects, dangerous methods of consuming alcohol are increasing in popularity. In recent years, smoking alcohol has become more widespread, a behavior that could make Everclear even more dangerous.

Reports suggest that some people are experimenting with smoking Everclear. Smoking alcohol has gained in popularity for several reasons, namely due to the intrigue surrounding it and the assumption that this method bypasses the calories normally associated with drinking.

For this reason, smoking alcohol has been tied to “drunkorexia,” a dangerous behavior where people don’t eat enough, but continue to abuse alcohol. This can cause malnourishment and other health problems. Using alcohol this way can also cause overdose more rapidly, as a person isn’t able to control the amount of alcohol they’re using as well as when it’s in the liquid form.

Alcohol Poisoning: Overdosing On Alcohol

Alcohol intoxication is considered to be socially acceptable by many. A fine line exists between intoxication and alcohol poisoning. Many people may not realize that alcohol poisoning is actually an overdose on alcohol. With Everclear, a person may overdose on alcohol after consuming what they believe to be a small number of drinks.

An alcohol overdose happens because a person’s body cannot keep up with the amount of alcohol flooding its system. This excess amount causes the nervous and respiratory systems to struggle, changes that can be life-threatening. As this occurs, the amount of toxins created from the breakdown of alcohol build up. When severe, these effects can cause basic life support functions in a person’s body to shut down.

Like other overdoses, without prompt medical help, severe alcohol poisoning could be fatal. If a person is unconscious or barely able to stay awake, emergency medical services may be necessary.

The best way to prevent this is to get a person help as soon as there’s any concern that they are overdosing. Knowing the signs of an alcohol overdose aids in getting help faster.

Signs of alcohol poisoning are:

  • blue-hued or pale skin
  • breathing becomes slow or irregular
  • confusion
  • difficulty walking
  • low body temperature (hypothermia)
  • a person cannot be roused
  • slurred speech
  • stomach pain
  • stomach and intestinal bleeding
  • stupor
  • unsteadiness
  • vomiting (blood may be present)

While many people recover from an alcohol overdose, others do not. In the worst-case scenario a person could choke and suffocate on their vomit or slip into a coma and die.

Certain information can help the first responders to provide better care. When calling 911, have as much of the following information ready:

  • the person’s age and weight
  • the person’s condition
  • what they drank (ingredients and percentage of alcohol)
  • how much they drank
  • when the alcohol was consumed
  • if they’re using any other drugs
  • if they have any medical conditions

If a person is believed to be overdosing, move them on their side (not on their back) so they don’t swallow or fall face-first into their vomit.

Additional Risks Of Everclear Alcohol Abuse

Both binge and heavy drinking any form of alcohol can cause a host of health and serious medical problems. Drinking alcohol with an extreme alcohol content, like Everclear, could place a person at a greater risk of developing these conditions.

Binge and heavy drinking have been linked to:

  • brain damage
  • cardiac problems (stroke, heart disease)
  • certain types of cancer (breast, colon, esophagus, mouth, throat, liver)
  • fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • an increased risk of falls and injuries
  • liver disease
  • memory and learning problems
  • pregnancy complications (miscarriage, stillbirth)
  • sexually transmitted diseases
  • sudden infant death syndrome
  • suicide
  • unintended pregnancy

Alcohol abuse and the chronic patterns of drinking associated with alcoholism can also cause serious problems in a person’s family, relationships and career.

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Alcohol abuse has also been linked to various mood and anxiety disorders. These harmful drinking patterns can upset a person’s mental and emotional health, to the extent they may cause or aggravate certain mental health problems, including anxiety, ADHD and depression.

The sooner a person is able to conquer their alcohol abuse, the better. Sobriety can help to reduce the short- and long-term effects of alcohol abuse and addiction.

Getting Treatment For Alcohol Abuse And Addiction

Withdrawing from alcohol, especially for those who have drank heavily on a regular basis for a long time, can be dangerous. While certain symptoms of withdrawal can be minor and possibly be treated with outpatient care, others can be life-threatening.

Severe alcohol withdrawal can cause seizures and delirium tremens (DTs). Without immediate, medical help these states can be fatal. Creating a treatment plan that outlines a medical detox, instead of withdrawing without medical supervision, can help protect a person from this risk. Enrolling in a medically supervised detoxification program provides intensive, medical care 24 hours a day until a person is stable.

Once a person’s body has started to heal and regain normal functioning, it’s time to work on treating the mental and emotional impacts of addiction. Chronic alcohol abuse can color the way a person thinks and relates to the world around them. Alcohol rehabilitation programs teach a person to balance their thoughts, emotions and behaviors in a more positive way, commonly by the aid of behavioral therapies.

Much of the damage caused by alcohol addiction is deep-reaching. Because of this, many people find greater success in an inpatient drug rehab program that gives them more time to focus on building a sober life. These problems may also offer dual diagnosis treatment for people who have a co-occurring mental health disorder.

When a person has had too much to drink, we send them upstairs to sleep it off. Other times, we hand them a tall glass of water and force them to drink it or put them in a cold shower to shock their system into sobriety. We do these things without realizing that a person could be suffering from something far more dangerous than just being drunk.

Alcohol Poisoning Defined

Alcohol poisoning is a dangerous and potentially deadly result of drinking too much alcohol in a short period of time. It can affect anyone, regardless of tolerance, age, weight or height. Due to the amount of alcohol that needs to be consumed and the rate at which it needs to be consumed for alcohol poisoning to occur, this condition is often associated with binge drinking.

As a person drinks, the percentage of alcohol in their bloodstream or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) rises. The more a person drinks, the higher their BAC will be and the more they will feel the side effects of the alcohol they are consuming. When a person drinks a lot of alcohol in a short time frame, the body’s BAC spikes rapidly. Even if they stop drinking, the blood alcohol concentration can continue to rise for up to 40 minutes afterward.

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According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), when the body’s BAC reaches anywhere between 0.16 and 0.30 percent, signs of alcohol poisoning will begin to emerge. Signs could include vomiting, loss of consciousness and severe mental or physical impairment. When the BAC increases to 0.31 or beyond, it is considered life-threatening.

The consequences of alcohol poisoning can be lethal. It is not something that a cold shower, a strong cup of coffee or any other self-proclaimed hangover remedy will cure. Alcohol poisoning requires medical intervention and treatment as soon as possible to stabilize an individual suffering from alcohol overdose and decrease their risk of death.

Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms

Knowing the difference between intoxication and alcohol poisoning is a matter of life and death. While the two share many of the same symptoms, the signs of alcohol poisoning tend to be noticeably more severe than the signs of general alcohol intoxication. The following symptoms are considered warning signs of alcohol poisoning:

  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Vomiting
  • Hypothermia
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Cold skin
  • Depressed breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Blue-tinged or pale skin
  • Seizures
  • Choking
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control
  • Loss of motor control

Experiencing any combination of these symptoms is an indication that someone is more than just drunk – they may be suffering from alcohol poisoning. In this situation, it’s essential to get medical help to stabilize a person exhibiting these potentially life-threatening side effects of alcohol poisoning as soon as possible. If left to recover on their own, it can lead to severe brain damage, coma or death.

How Much Alcohol Does It Take To Get Alcohol Poisoning?

The average person will begin to show signs of alcohol poisoning when their body’s BAC reaches anywhere between 0.16 and 0.30 percent. A BAC beyond that is considered deadly. However, how much alcohol it takes for a person to achieve this level of intoxication varies based on various factors.

Some of the most common things that affect a person’s blood alcohol level are:

  • Gender: According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, women are more vulnerable to effects of alcohol because their bodies absorb and metabolize it differently. This puts women at a greater risk of alcohol poisoning if they don’t monitor their drinking.
  • Weight: Weight determines the amount of space that alcohol can be diffused throughout the body. A person that weighs more will typically have to drink more alcohol to match the BAC of someone lighter than them.
  • Medications: Certain prescription medications can have unpredictable and negative interactions with alcohol. In some cases, medications can lower a person’s tolerance for alcohol and make them more susceptible to a high BAC and alcohol poisoning.
  • Tolerance: The more a person drinks, the higher their alcohol tolerance will be. As their tolerance increases, it will require more alcohol for their body to reach a BAC level that will produce alcohol poisoning.
  • Style Of Drinking: Those that consume alcohol at an increasingly fast pace are more at risk for alcohol poisoning. When drinking quickly, the body is unable to process the alcohol fast enough and in turn, begins to shut down.
  • Drinking On An Empty Stomach: Without food in the stomach, alcohol is absorbed more rapidly into the body. This makes it easier for individuals to get drunk faster and with less alcohol.

Since these factors vary from person to person, it’s impossible to correctly estimate how much one has to drink before they’re susceptible to alcohol poisoning. Due to this, it’s crucial that those drinking be mindful of how much their drinking, how quickly they’re consuming it, and how they feel as they continue to drink. If a person is careful about their intake, alcohol poisoning is completely preventable.

Treatment For Alcohol Poisoning

When someone is showing signs of alcohol poisoning, the best thing a person can do is call 911. Afterward, do not leave the person suffering from alcohol poisoning to wait for help on their own. Make sure they are breathing and provide a blanket to regulate their body temperature if possible.

Once the emergency crew arrives on the scene, they will be able to provide supportive care to the person who has had too much to drink.

Supportive care for alcohol poisoning or overdose typically consists of careful monitoring and oxygen therapy in addition to a combination of fluids and vitamins given to help rehydrate the body and bring a person’s BAC level down. Medical staff will also make sure that those suffering from alcohol poisoning don’t choke or have an irregular heartbeat, as both side effects could be deadly.

Who Is Most At Risk For Alcohol Poisoning?

While alcohol poisoning can affect anyone, specific age groups are more prone to over drinking habits that may potentially lead to alcohol poisoning. Since most alcohol consumption by college students takes place in the form of binge drinking, they are one of the most at-risk groups for alcohol poisoning.

Additionally, middle-aged men have been most affected by alcohol poisoning deaths in the United States. This is thought to be caused by higher rates of alcoholism and alcohol use disorder among men ages 30 to 59 according to the NIAAA. Suffering from an alcohol addiction greatly increases the possibility of alcohol poisoning.

An average of 2,200 people dies each year in the United States due to alcohol poisoning. With this in mind, it’s increasingly important to learn the warning signs of alcohol poisoning and how to help someone who may be suffering from this deadly condition. While someone suffering from alcohol poisoning may seem like just another person who’s had too much to drink, don’t wait to get help – it could cost them their lives.