How To Take Methadone

How To Take Methadone?

You should only use methadone according to your doctor’s prescription. If you have not been directed to change the drug’s usage, increase the frequency of use, or take in the drug for a prolonged time, then you should never attempt to do so. In particular, elderly patients can be a lot more sensitive to this pain medication and its effects.

  • It is crucial for you to be checked by your doctor for progress when on this medication. This lets your doctor see if the prescription drug is working effectively in your case and if you should go on with taking it regularly.
  • Methadone can strengthen the effects of CNS depressants and even alcohol., Examples of CNS depressants include antihistamines or anti-allergies, sleeping medicine, sedatives, tranquilizers, and narcotics. Anesthetics, a medicine used for barbiturates, seizures, muscle relaxants and a few dental anesthetics are also examples of CNS depressants. S
  • The medication will make you feel less alert and drowsy.
  • Consult with your doctor before you decide to take it with other medications.

Methadone is habit-forming and can cause mental and physical dependence.

If you are in doubt of the drug’s efficacy in your case, never attempt to take in more of the drug than what is prescribed in your prescription. You should also consult your doctor for any desired modification in the treatment plan to receive proper instructions.

Generally, the long-term use of narcotics can lead to constipation. Your doctor may direct you to use laxatives, increase fiber intake, and most importantly drink lots of fluids to prevent and treat severe cases. Just make sure that you follow directions precisely as continued constipation can progress in more serious medical issues.

Do not attempt to change anything in the prescribed treatment plan, especially the dosage and frequency of use because this can have fatal consequences.

Overdose symptoms may be different from one person to another; however, the most commons ones include weakness, extreme dizziness, trouble in breathing, decreased heart rate, cold and clammy skin, and seizures. XIf you notice any of these symptoms, see your doctor as soon as possible.

If you are feeling changes to your cardiac rhythm, experiencing dizziness, fainting or feeling cases of fast irregular heartbeats, you also better seek medical attention immediately. Also, remember that these symptoms are more likely to happen when your family has a history of heart rhythm problems like QT prolongation.

Other symptoms like fainting, dizziness, and lightheadedness may be experienced when you suddenly get up from a sitting or lying position. To avoid this, get up slowly or lie down for some time to relieve the lightheadedness or dizziness.

If you have been medicating on methadone regularly for some time now, do not go cold turkey without consulting with your physician.

Your doctor may direct you to gradually decrease medication before ultimately stopping or replace it with another narcotic for a limited time to avoid risks of withdrawal. Also, before undergoing any medical examinations, consult the matter with your doctor as some test results may be altered by the presence of its metabolites. Furthermore, consider your feelings of drowsiness, dizziness or lightheadedness before driving or using machines as this can result in a fatal turn out.

Using methadone during pregnancy, on the other hand, can result in neonatal withdrawal syndrome to the child. You should consult with your doctor if your baby shows abnormal sleeping patterns, high-pitched cry, diarrhea, weight loss, tremors or shakiness, vomits or is not gaining the normal weight of his age.

 

Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Symptoms: Insomnia, Depression Excessive Worry and Other Signs of GAD

Chronic anxiety, tension and worry are the primary symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). While it is normal to experience some level of anxiety throughout life, people with generalized anxiety disorder experience severe anxiety even in the absence of stress-inducing events. Individuals with GAD are often aware their anxiety is out of proportion to their circumstances, but simply knowing this does little to reduce generalized anxiety disorder symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders


Different types of anxiety disorders can present with similar symptoms. It can be difficult, for instance, to distinguish the symptoms of anxiety attacks (panic disorder) from generalized anxiety disorder symptoms. Symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety, and phobias can also mimic generalized anxiety disorder symptoms.

GAD does, however, differ from other anxiety disorders in one important feature: most other anxiety disorders have specific symptom triggers. Social anxiety, for instance, only causes anxiety symptoms when the individual must socialize. Post traumatic stress disorder symptoms are triggered by sounds, activities or events that trigger memories of the traumatic incident, and phobia symptoms are triggered by the presence (or even just the thought of) the subject of the individual’s phobia.

Generalized anxiety disorder does not have a specific trigger. GAD causes anxiety about a range of events, activities and thoughts, and can cause symptoms without any identifiable cause of anxiety.

GAD Symptoms: Anxiety, Insomnia and More

Generalized anxiety disorder causes multiple symptoms in addition to tension and anxiety. Insomnia and other sleep disturbances are common amongst people with GAD, as are irritability and fatigue. Common symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder include:

  • anxiety in excess of what the situation demands
  • chronic anxiety over multiple concerns
  • depression symptoms
  • difficulty thinking
  • easily startled
  • feeling constantly “on edge,” or “keyed up”
  • inability to relax
  • incessant worry or anxiety without reason
  • irritability
  • mind “going blank”
  • restlessness

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is a physical as well as emotional state, and triggers a number of physiological responses. With normal anxiety levels these physical responses make people more alert and ready to respond to events. In dangerous situations physical symptoms of anxiety prepare the body for avoiding or confronting potential threats.

Physical symptoms of anxiety are intended to be a short term response to stress or fear inducing events. These physical responses become problems if anxiety becomes chronic. Physical symptoms of anxiety include:

  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • feeling lightheaded
  • feeling out of breath
  • frequent urination
  • headaches
  • hot flashes
  • insomnia
  • muscle tension/muscle aches
  • nausea
  • rapid heartbeat
  • swallowing difficulties
  • sweating
  • trembling or twitching

Unlike other anxiety disorders, generalized anxiety disorder symptoms rarely cause people to avoid the source of their anxiety. Mental and physical symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder do, however, significantly impact all areas of life.

Depression and Anxiety Disorders

Generalized anxiety disorder rarely develops in isolation. More often GAD presents with another anxiety disorder, substance abuse or depression. Anxiety symptoms can be masked by symptoms of depression.

Childhood generalized anxiety disorder symptoms differ slightly from adult symptoms. Both adults and children should seek help if anxiety levels affect quality of life, or if anxiety symptoms occur in combination with depression symptoms or substance abuse.

As generalized anxiety disorder symptoms can worsen over time, the sooner a GAD diagnosis is made the better. GAD can trigger suicidal behavior, which should always be considered a medical emergency.

Acute Anxiety Treatment

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatment and Drugs: SSRIs, Benzodiazepines, and Anti-Anxiety Medication

Treatment for generalized anxiety disorder may require a combination of talk therapy and anti-anxiety medication. Medication for GAD reduces symptoms and improves daily functioning, which in turn improves the outcome of GAD psychotherapy and anxiety management techniques. Depending on individual needs anti-anxiety medication can be long term or designed to treat acute anxiety attacks.

Benzodiazepines and Acute Anxiety Treatment

Benzodiazepines have been used to treat acute anxiety for decades. Benzodiazepines have a sedating effect, reducing muscle tension and anxiety symptoms. Commonly prescribed benzodiazepines include:

  • alprazolam
  • clonazepam
  • diazepam
  • lorazepam.

While effective anti-anxiety medication for acute anxiety attacks, benzodiazepine medication is unsuited for long-term treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. The sedating effect of benzodiazepine medication affects response times, making driving or operating machinery dangerous.

Long-term use of benzodiazepines results in a tolerance to the medication’s effects. Over time patients require higher doses of the drug to achieve the same benefits. The risk of drug dependence increases with long-term use and drug tolerance.

SSRIs and Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatment


Antidepressants that affect the brain’s neurotransmitter levels are, at present, the first choice for anti-anxiety medication. Neurotransmitters are chemical compounds vital for proper communication between brain cells. Low levels of two neurotransmitters – serotonin and norepinephrine – have been linked to depression and anxiety disorders.

SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, block the re-absorption of serotonin, increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain. SNRIs, or serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, affect both types of neurotransmitter.

While generally well-tolerated treatments for generalized anxiety disorder, SSRIs and SNRIs can cause unwanted side effects, including:

  • headaches
  • insomnia
  • sexual dysfunction
  • sleepiness
  • stomach problems
  • weight gain.

In addition, SNRI can cause mild increase in blood pressure.

Both SSRI and SNRI anti-anxiety medications take time before providing symptom relief. For this reason the antidepressants are sometimes combined with an initial dose of benzodiazepines to treat acute anxiety. Once the antidepressant begins to work, benzodiazepine does are tapered off.

Tricyclic Antidepressants and GAD Treatment

Tricyclic antidepressants were an alternative to benzodiazepines prior to the use of SSRIs and SNRIS as anti-anxiety treatment. Tricyclic antidepressants are still occasionally used to manage anxiety, but as tricyclics can produce serious side effects other medication choices are tried first.

Buspirone and Anxiety

Buspirone, a non-benzodiazepine anti-anxiety medication, is another option for generalized anxiety disorder treatment. Buspirone lacks the sedative and addictive qualities of benzodiazepines, making it suitable for long-term treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. Buspirone does, however, take up to two weeks to begin relieving symptoms.

Anti-Anxiety Medication and Treatment Outcomes

Anti-anxiety treatment works best in combination with GAD psychotherapy treatments. By reducing symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, anxiety medication provides an opportunity to learn the skills offered by cognitive behavioral therapy and anxiety management techniques.

Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (1)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Treatment for GAD: Diagnosis and Treatment of GAD

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) affects twice as many women as men. GAD affects approximately 6.8 million adults in the United States. The disorder develops over time and can begin at any point, including childhood.

Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Symptoms of GAD can vary in severity. Patients can experience a combination of symptoms, which can include:

  • obsessive or constant worry about small to large concerns
  • fatigue
  • irritability
  • trouble sleeping
  • rapid heartbeat or shortness of breath
  • difficulty concentrating
  • trembling or being easily startled
  • restlessness
  • feeling on edge
  • muscle aches and tension
  • sweating
  • nausea
  • diarrhea

People suffering from GAD cannot remember when the last felt at ease or were not consumed with worry. GAD is a chronic condition and symptoms may come and go on a daily basis.

Diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

People who are worrying so much that is has begun to interfere with work, home, and relationships should see a physician for proper diagnosis.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has certain criteria a person must meet to be diagnosed with GAD. The criteria for diagnosis is:

  • Difficulty controlling feelings of worry;
  • Excessive anxiety and worry about multiple events or activities most days of the week, for at least a six month period;
  • Anxiety that is unrelated to another mental health condition; and
  • At least on of the following symptoms must be present in children and at least three in adults: sleep problems, irritability, muscle tension, restlessness, fatigue, or trouble concentrating.

Mental health care providers will conduct a thorough examination. Questions regarding symptoms and medical history will be discussed. Physicians may also perform a physical examination to check for medical conditions which may be related to the anxiety.

Treatment of GAD


Medications and psychotherapy are the two main treatments for generalized anxiety disorder. Combining these treatments could off the best benefit for some patients.

Several medications are used to treat GAD. These medications may be used alone or in combination of one another:

  • Antidepressants, work to influence activity in the brain chemicals. Examples of medications include Paxil, Prozac, Lexapro, Tofranil, Effexor, or Zoloft.
  • Benzodiazepines, used for short-term relief of anxiety. These medications are sedatives and can include Klonopin, Ativan, Valium, Librium, or Xanax.
  • Buspirone (BuSpar), is an anti-anxiety medication used on an every day basis.

Psychotherapy is helpful for many patients. Psychotherapy uses counseling to work on the root causes of stress and making behavioral changes.

Considerations on Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Several risk factors increase the likelihood of developing generalized anxiety disorder. Factors can include:

  • Being female
  • Childhood abuse or trauma
  • Chronic illness or serious health conditions
  • Stress
  • Personality type
  • Genetics
  • Drug or alcohol abuse

GAD is a chronic condition. Treatment is available. Lifestyle changes such as eating healthy, exercising regularly, avoiding alcohol, joining a support group, using relaxation techniques, getting proper amounts of sleep, and sticking to a treatment plan will assist in dealing with this condition.

drug addiction

Obesity and Drug Addiction: Fewer Dopamine Receptors in Obese Subjects and Addicts

Eating, Pleasure, and a Chemical Called Dopamine

Eating is pleasurable and we connect all the conditions surrounding a meal with that pleasure. So colors and sounds and of course, smells, can make you remember how happy eating made you feel. A TV commercial can suddenly make you think, “Mmmm, burgers….” when you’re not even hungry.

This happiness comes from a surge of dopamine, a brain-signaling chemical associated with feelings of reward and pleasure. Interestingly, obese individuals and drug addicts often have fewer dopamine D2 receptors than most and it’s speculated that this may make both types of individuals engage in compulsive reward-seeking behaviors.

Imaging the Brain for Dopamine Receptors

To investigate neurological symptoms associated with obesity, researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York used an imaging technique (positron emission tomography or “PET”) to look at the brains of obese and non-obese subjects.

The PET scans revealed significantly lower D2 levels in the striatum of the brain in the obese subjects. The levels of D2 receptors correlated with body mass index. The higher a subject’s body mass index, the fewer D2 receptors he or she tended to have. The levels of D2 receptors did not correlate with gender or brain metabolism.

Obesity Treatments Targeting Dopamine

Consistent with this finding, drugs inhibiting dopamine receptors can lead to weight gain while those that increase dopamine concentrations (e.g., Rimonobant) decrease appetite. It’s possible that low D2 receptor levels cause obese individuals to increase their food intake to make up for the lack of stimulation of their reward centers. But it’s an open question whether the low D2 receptor levels are the cause of overeating or a result of addictive behavior. It’s also an open question whether increasing dopamine release can compensate for lower levels of dopamine receptors over the long term.

Because reward circuits are altered in some obese individuals, overeating may become an involuntary act. So there may be an extra hurdle to overcome in dieting. For example, some individuals struggling to control their food intake may also be dealing with symptoms similar to withdrawal. Unlike a drug addict who can survive without drugs, an obese person still needs to eat, so it may be particularly difficult for a “food addict” to modify his or her behavior. Drugs that reduce withdrawal symptoms may be worth studying as an option for people struggling with diets.

crack cocaine

Crack Cocaine’s Effect on the Brain

Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant extracted from the leaf of the Erthroxylum coca plant. Crack is a crude form of freebase cocaine and is derived from cocaine powder (hydrochloride salt) through a simple, but dangerous chemical process usually performed in illegal, homemade laboratories.

Crack derives its name from the sound it makes when heated to release mind and mood altering vapors, which are ‘smoked’ by inhaling them through small tubes, bottles, pipes, and other devices. Crack is the fastest acting and most addictive form of cocaine, and since there is no accepted medical use for the drug, manufacturing, marketing, and using are criminal offenses in the United States and many other countries.

How does Crack Cocaine Affect the Body?

Cocaine works on the pleasure centers of the brain, particularly as a reuptake inhibiter of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. Several antidepressants are serotonin reuptake inhibiters (Zoloft), and some slow the reuptake of both serotonin and norepinephrine (Effexor, Prestiq). However, cocaine’s effects are much stronger and more pronounced, causing an elevated sense of well-being.

Dopamine is released by the brain in response to pleasurable stimuli. It circulates through the appropriate body systems, then is retrieved by the neuron that released it, ending the pleasure effect. Cocaine interrupts this retrieval process, leaving large quantities of dopamine floating between neurons and sending an overload of mixed emotional and physical signals to the body, creating an overwhelming feeling of euphoria.

What are the Physical Effects of Crack Cocaine?

Cocaine-induced euphoria can last from minutes to a few hours, depending on how fast the drug reaches the bloodstream and the brain. Fast, strong hits are desired; however, the faster the ‘hit’, and the stronger the effects, the shorter the duration of the ‘high.’ To maintain the euphoria, abusers tend to ‘binge,’ that is, they repeatedly take increasingly higher doses of the drug as soon as the high passes its peak. This process is harmful to the body and can lead to a heart attack, overdose, and even death.

The euphoric high of cocaine/crack must eventually be interrupted, as the user must, at least for awhile, stop using the drug in order to eat, drink, physically function, and to allow the body to reset so the chemical can continue stimulating the brain. Stopping or slowing the intake of cocaine/crack initiates distressful withdrawal symptoms.

What does Crack Withdrawal Feel Like?

Crashing causes anxiety, depression, irritability, anhedonia (the inability to experience pleasure), and extreme fatigue. Abusers/users often take heroin or other drugs to minimize the extreme distress of crashing, thereby creating a different set of physical, mental, and emotional problems.

drugs in movies

The Symbolism of Drugs in Horror Movies

Drugs began to become a staple of the slasher movie genre of horror movies in the late 1970s. It has been pointed out time and time again that a teenager who does drugs in a horror movie is usually going to be the next one to be killer by the movie’s antagonist. While the original intent of drug use in horror movies was to make the movies more realistic to teenagers, the depiction of drug use has grown into a symbolic statement of the dangers of that kind of action.

Drugs Alter Perception of Reality

In real life, drugs use alters a person’s perception of the events that are going on around him or her. So to are drugs in horror movies. A perfect example would be in the movie, Freddy vs. Jason in which a group of partiers who were drunk, and obviously drugged believed that Jason Voorhees was someone there in costume, even though he was wielding a machete.

Drugs Slow Reaction Time

Hollywood directors realized very quickly that characters in horror movies that take drugs are not able to get away from horror movie killers in a very effective manner. Very few horror movie fans realize that this is a direct statement to drug use. When a person is under the influence of some kind of mind-altering drug, that person is less likely to survive a life-threatening occurrence because of the fact that reaction time is great affected.

Drugs Kill

By taking a tally of character that smoked pot in any of the Friday the 13 movies, a horror fan will soon realize that all of these characters ended up dieing. The argument could be made about how the character of Alice Hardy smoked pot and survived the original Friday the 13th. It needs to be remembered, though, that she was the first character to die in Friday the 13th: Part 2.

The statement that, “Drugs kill,” is the deepest part of the symbolism of drugs in horror movies. By doing drugs, the characters in horror movies open themselves up to grave disasters at the hands of the slasher movie antagonist. Death becomes inevitable for these characters in the short-run, instead of in the long-run that drugs usually take to reek havoc on a person’s insides.

Drugs in horror movies will most likely continue to be a staple of the genre for many years to come as the action not only can be used as a great sub-plot tool, but as it also hold symbolic value towards the younger generations. It will never be known, though, if the message about drugs makes it past the screen, and into the minds of newer generations.

drunk terms

Drunk Definitions Differ by Groups and Gender: Alcohol Abuse Research Shows that Diagnoses Complicated by Terms

Medical professionals assessing a patient’s level of alcohol usage may be mislead by differing terminology to define drunk or state of inebriation.

Medical professionals who are trying to ascertain the level of a patient’s alcohol use or abuse may be misled by differences in language and terminology, which varies between social groups and by gender. It is common for drinkers to mislead their doctor about how much they drink by using confusing language. Alcoholics may mislead doctors intentionally, but there may misunderstandings between doctor and patient because of differences in definitions of alcohol usage.

University of Missouri Study

The University of Missouri has issued a press release reporting on research which will be published in the Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, currently available at Early View.

Alcohol’s effects described by drinkers can be very different from the terminology used by alcohol researchers, limiting the researchers’ understanding of self-reported alcohol use. The report states that new findings show that researchers could benefit by tapping into the wide spectrum of terms that drinkers may use to describe levels of intoxication. Terms also vary by gender, so researchers should study gender differences in reporting as well.

Researchers may ask how often a subject drinks to intoxication. Intoxication is perceived differently by different people. Drunk is the oldest English term to describe intoxication, but the word is used to describe varied levels of drunkenness. Drunk may reflect a level of intoxication anywhere between moderate to heavy intoxication.

According to Ash Levitt, a graduate student in the Department of Psychological Sciences at the University ofMissouri and the corresponding author of the study, “Humans have developed a rich and diverse vocabulary of intoxication-related slang to describe the subjective states that are experienced while drinking.”

Levitt went on to state that men tend to use heavy intoxication words more than woman. Men are more likely to describe a drunken state as hammered or wasted. Women may be more likely to call themselves tipsy, underplaying their drunkenness.

Women’s tendency to underplay their level of intoxication can have profound health and social implications. Women who perceive themselves as the relatively benign tipsy may actually be binge drinking.

Effective Communication Helps Assess Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse is a complicated issue with implications that can affect a patient’s health, mortality, psychology and social circle. Medical professionals may be better able to access the level of a potential problem by learning to communicate effectively with patients. Effective communication includes developing listening skills and understanding the language and terminology being used by the patient.

Patients can also help to bridge the communication gap by asking the doctor or medical professional to define a term before answering a question. Although it is in the patient’s own best interest to answer questions honestly, it is up to the medical professional to ask questions about alcohol use in a clear, easy to understand manner.

Findings of the study can help clinicians improve assessments and interventions by helping medical professionals use understand the patient’s terminology.

Drunk Words

The Merriam-Webster Online Thesaurus defines Drunk as being under the influence of alcohol.

Synonyms

  • Drunken
  • High
  • Inebriate
  • Inebriated
  • Intoxicated
  • Loaded
  • Soused
  • Tipsy

Related Words

  • Maudlin
  • Befuddled
  • Stupefied
  • Debauched
  • Dissipated
  • Dissolute.

Researchers at University of Missouri used a web based approach to survey university undergraduates from age 17 to 24 years olds. There were 73 males and 72 females in the study. The study was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

 

women alcohol abuse

The Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Women

Alcohol abuse or addiction hurts all those who use alcohol excessively, but women are especially vulnerable because of differences in their body size and structure and their body chemistry. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that these differences cause women both to absorb more of the alcohol they drink and to take longer to metabolize it (break it down and rid it from their bodies). This is why the immediate effects of alcohol happen more quickly and last longer compared to men. These same differences also explain why women suffer greater long-term health effects from excessive drinking.

Defining Alcohol Abuse by Women

Alcohol abuse or excessive drinking by women can take two forms: heavy drinking on a regular basis and/or binge drinking. These are defined as:

  • Heavy drinking by women is consuming more than an average of one (1) drink a day.
  • Binge drinking by women is consuming four (4) or more drinks on a single occasion or in roughly a two-hour period.

Both forms of alcohol abuse are dangerous but most people who binge drink are not alcohol dependent like alcoholics are.

A standard drink is defined as any one of the following (which all contain about 0.6 ounce of pure alcohol):

    • 5 ounces of wine
    • 12 ounces of beer (or 8-ounces of malt liquor)
    • 1.5 ounces (shot) of distilled spirits such as vodka, gin, rum or whiskey

Reproductive Health Effects of Alcohol Abuse by Women

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report a number of adverse effects of alcohol abuse for women of child-bearing age (18-44) including disruption of the menstrual cycle and higher risks of:

  • Infertility
  • Miscarriage
  • Stillbirth
  • Premature delivery
  • Having a baby that has Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FADS) with the possibility of mental retardation and birth defects

Women of this age group who have drinking binges are more likely to engage in unprotected sex and have multiple partners, increasing the risks both for unplanned pregnancies and for getting sexually transmitted diseases.

No amount of alcohol is safe for a woman to drink while she is pregnant. Women who drink and discover that they are pregnant may, by immediately stopping their drinking, lower their risks of having a child who suffers from physical, emotional or mental problems.

Binge drinking also increases a woman’s risk of sexual assault, especially for young women in college. Rape or sexual assault is more likely when both the attacker and the victim have been drinking.

Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse by Women

Excessive drinking over time can have devastating health effects on women. The CDC cites several, including:

  • Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD) – risks for cirrhosis and other alcohol-induced liver diseases are higher for women.
  • Brain Damage – excessive drinking can result in memory loss as well as shrinkage of the brain; women are more vulnerable and can be affected sooner than men by alcohol damage to the brain.
  • Heart Damage – women who drink excessively have higher risks of damage to the heart than do men.
  • Several Cancers – women who drink have higher risks of cancer of the throat, mouth, esophagus, colon, liver, and breast. Breast cancer risk increases directly with the amount of alcohol consumed.

Women can ruin their health by being unaware of the consequences of alcohol abuse or addiction. A better understanding of the specific harms cited above might provide many women with incentives to limit their drinking.

Avoid Alcohol Abuse or Abstain from Drinking

The safest course for women of child bearing age is to not drink at all. If abstinence from alcohol is not possible for some then care should be taken to avoid both heavy drinking and binge drinking which are serious threats to a woman’s health. Although a smaller percentage of women develop alcohol addictions, those who become dependent on it are more seriously and more quickly harmed over time than are men who consume the same amount. In addition, women of any age can be harmed in more ways than men can, vulnerable as they sometimes are to sexual assault and violence when under the influence of alcohol, and when pregnant.

drunkorexia

Drunkorexia Mixes Disordered Eating with Alcohol Abuse

A dangerous new trend some are calling “drunkorexia” is occurring on college campuses across the country. It combines the dangerous eating behaviors or anorexia and bulimia with alcohol abuse, upping the risk factor for the young men and women who participate.

What is Drunkorexia?

Young women today feel an unprecedented amount of pressure to stay thin. This pressure can come from a variety of sources; friends, family members, media, etc. Young women who want to engage in the drinking culture of college campuses may decide to trade food for alcohol. In other words, they drastically reduce or eliminate their food intake to save their calories for drinking.

Young women see the practice as having multiple benefits. They save calories, save money, and get drunk more quickly. Rather than restricting food intake, some women choose binging and purging instead. They binge eat, then binge drink, followed by throwing everything up.

Dangers of Drunkorexia

Unfortunately, they often don’t see the dangers of this behavior. They may simple see this as an easy way to have fun while still maintaining their desired body weight. Social networking sites, blogs, even conversations with friends help participants learn new ways of drinking and not gaining any weight.

However, severely restricting food intake or getting into a binging and purging cycle are red flags for eating disorders. Up to one third of college women may have disordered eating habits according to the article, Eating Disorders in College Women, and adding alcohol to the mix just makes it more dangerous.

Women who get drunk more quickly also may not realize how impaired they are. Since drunkenness impacts a person’s judgment, decision-making process, and perceptions, this may put them at higher risk for dangerous sexual behavior, sexual assault, or other risks.

Drunkorexia is not an official medical condition, but rather a popular term that has been given to this behavior. But the underlying alcohol abuse and disordered eating are real. When these two addictions co-occur, doctors must treat each one separately.

Men and Drunkorexia

Though many people view eating disorders are primarily effecting women, many men suffer, too. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, more than a million men and boys are effected. Increasingly, our society is pressuring boys and men to look a certain way as well. Conscious of their weight and body shape, college age men are at risk of developing the behaviors of drunkorexia, as well.

Men may also be drawn to the fact that they can get drunker more quickly when they don’t eat. Because drunkenness among young men is often valued socially on college campuses, they often see this as a benefit, but are unaware of the health risks involved.

The key thing to remember is that drunkorexia is not a harmless diet fad. Instead it is flirting with risky health behaviors that could have long term consequences. Young people should always eat before drinking, drink in moderation, and avoid binge eating or drinking. If they suspect a problem, they should contact their campus counseling services immediately.