Problem drinking and alcoholism are also commonly linked with other forms of addiction. Many people that do seek help for gambling or drug addiction also have a drinking problem or, are alcohol dependent. According to data from Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS), almost 40% of the admissions for substance abuse treatment report Alcohol and Drug combinations.
The effects of alcohol are similar to barbiturates and benzodiazepines which are also central nervous system depressants, effects include slowed breathing, tolerance and dependence. Most people don't realize mixing depressants with alcohol can lead to a lethal overdose because their breathing and heart rate can drastically go down.
Combining Alcohol with Medications
- It doesn't matter if it's a cold medication purchased over the counter or any other medicine, combining medications with alcohol is dangerous and can lead to serious complications and even death.
- Combining alcohol with aspirin can cause stomach bleeding.
- Combining alcohol with acetaminophen can cause liver damage.
- Combining alcohol with cough medications or cold medicines causes drowsiness.
- Combining alcohol with medicines used in treating depression, anxiety, pain or insomnia is also very dangerous.
Alcohol Poisoning Facts
Alcohol poisoning is also known as alcohol overdose and acute alcohol intoxication, and the cause is from consuming "too much alcohol too fast" according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). You may think alcohol poisoning could only occur from drinking too much hard liquor but that's not so, ingesting too much beer, wine, or any alcoholic beverage can lead to alcohol poisoning. If you're not an experienced drinker or are sensitive to alcohol, smaller amounts of alcohol can lead to alcohol poisoning too.
Alcohol as mentioned above is a depressant and slows down breathing, heart rate and blood pressure. Consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time depresses (slows down) major vital functions which can lead to alcohol poisoning. According to the NCADD, "the amount of alcohol that it takes to produce unconsciousness is dangerously close to a fatal dose". They also state that individuals "who survive alcohol poisoning sometimes suffer irreversible brain damage".
If you were around someone who drank too much and they appeared to 'pass out', would you just let them sleep it off? People don't understand how serious this can be, if there's still alcohol in the stomach after the person 'passes out', the substance continues to go into their blood stream which can be dangerous according to NCADD. There are some important signs and symptoms NCADD provides that indicate alcohol poisoning, the following are obvious signs but their list isn't all inclusive. A "strong odor of alcohol" will probably accompany the signs and symptoms below:
- The individual may be passed out, unconscious or semiconscious
- Respirations; slow breaths (8 or less a minute or more than 8 seconds of lapse between breaths)
- Skin (cold, clammy, pale or bluish in color)
Studies and research about alcohol are being done all the time and recently Science News reported the results of a study done shows individuals that consumed 3 or more alcoholic drinks a day could be at a higher risk of having a stroke almost one and a half decades sooner than people who don't heavily drink. The type of stroke is caused from bleeding in the brain, not a blood clot according to the study's author.
Heavy alcohol consumption has a negative effect on a person's bone health because alcohol hinders the body from absorbing calcium and vitamin D. According to MedlinePlus recently, the results of a study done shows that physical activity can help alcoholics that quit drinking "reverse bone loss" that was caused from their addiction.
Dangerous and Bizarre Ways Teens Attempt to Become Intoxicated
Unbelievably today many young people are finding bizarre ways to get intoxicated and I was shocked when I read some of the various ways kids are attempting to get drunk. According to abcnews.go.com, some of the disturbing ways young people are trying to become intoxicated include; vodka soaked tampons, rectal beer bong, eyeball shots, drinking hand sanitizer and soaking gummy bears in alcohol and bringing them to school.
The dangers involved with administering alcohol rectally (alcohol enemas), recently made headlines when a student from the University of Tennessee ended up in a medical center with a blood alcohol level of 0.40 according to cnn.com.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), binge drinking among adults in the United States is a lot worse than once thought. It doesn't matter what state you live in, binge drinking is problematic. Fortunately from 1991 to 2011 the percentage of teenagers in high school 16 and older that drink and drive, dropped by 54%.
- Over 38 million adults binge drink in the U.S. around four times a month
- Eighty thousand deaths in the U.S. result from drinking too much and binge drinking
- 18 through 34 years of age is the age group with the most binge drinkers
- 65 years of age and older is the age group that binge drinks most often
- Binge drinking for men is consuming 5 or more drinks in a short time period
- Binge drinking for women is consuming 4 or more drinks in a short time period
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that sadly destroys lives every day and is one of the most commonly abused substances among people of all ages. The abuse of alcohol can lead to alcoholism but you don't have to be a full blown chronic alcoholic for your life to be destroyed by the abuse of the substance. Remember, when a person has a drinking problem no matter how old they are, they're not the only ones suffering and in need of help, family, friends and society as a whole suffers too.