alcoholism

RECENT POSTS

‘Drunkorexia': Smoking Alcohol Is Latest, Dangerous Party Trend

YouTube is humming with videos depicting college-age kids offering how-to tips on inhaling alcohol — the latest, dangerous party fad.  Why all the excitement? Party maestros say the practice allows you to avoid calories, while still getting a buzz.

These calorie-conscious partiers use innovative methods: pouring their drink of choice over dry-ice, heating it up and sucking in the vapors or the bizarre “bike-pump” method where booze is poured into a bottle and then vaporized using pressure.

Health experts are worried, according to a recent piece in The New York Daily News:

Inhaling alcohol is an insidious trend, particularly among college students who may be looking for more extreme ways to get high, said Dr. Harris Stratyner, regional clinical vice president of Caron Treatment Centers in New York. He has also seen it gain popularity among college-age men and women who may restrict calories before a night of partying – what’s popularly known as “drunkorexia.”

Whether it’s “smoked” using dry ice or inhaled as a vapor, consuming alcohol in this way is “unbelievably dangerous,” Stratyner said.

“When you inhale alcohol, it goes directly into the lungs and circumnavigates the liver,” Continue reading

Study: AA Benefits Men and Women In Different Ways

The notion that women and men think, speak and act like they’re from different planets is widely acknowledged and pretty much accepted. So the idea of a gender gap among recovering alcoholics isn’t that surprising — but it is intriguing.

(Jordan/flickr)

Now, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital report that among those participating in Alcoholics Anonymous, men and women found different aspects of the program particularly beneficial in terms of maintaing sobriety. They offer this example: for men, avoiding buddies who encourage drinking and social situations in which drinking is common had more powerful benefits, while for women the increased confidence of being able to abstain from drinking while feeling sad, depressed or anxious was more important.

The study, published online in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, seems to underscore the very different ways in which men and women make AA work for them. Interestingly, the research was initiated in part because, as the authors note, AA began as a male organization and is now only about one-third female. So the question is whether women are getting the same benefits? While the program appears to help both men and women, the researchers note that the magnitude and manner of those benefits are quite gender-specific. Continue reading

Alcohol More Dangerous Than Heroin, Researchers Report

Alcohol does more damage to individuals and society than drugs like heroin, cocaine and ecstasy, a new study finds

NPR reports on a study published in the medical journal The Lancet online today that finds alcohol to be more dangerous than other drugs, including heroin, cocaine and ecstasy.

British experts evaluated substances including alcohol, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and marijuana, ranking them based on how destructive they are to the individual who takes them and to society as a whole.

Heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine, or crystal meth, were the most lethal to individuals. When considering their wider social effects, alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine were the deadliest. But overall, alcohol outranked all other substances, followed by heroin and crack cocaine. Marijuana, ecstasy and LSD scored far lower.

Experts said alcohol scored so high because it is so widely used and has devastating consequences not only for drinkers but for those around them. When drunk in excess, alcohol damages nearly all organ systems. It is also connected to higher death rates and is involved in a greater percentage of crime than most other drugs, including heroin.

Do You Have The 'Tipsy' Gene?

On average it takes only 1.5 glasses of wine, beer or [insert alcoholic beverage here] before I get a buzz. Once I’m ‘tipsy,’ I see no reason to continue drinking (read: would like to avoid making a fool of myself and/or waking up next to a toilet). I’ve been called a lightweight on many occasions because of this. So when I saw a BBC headline about a ‘tipsy gene’ protecting against alcoholism I had to learn more. The long and short of it: turns out my being a lightweight could be a good thing.

Researchers have discovered that 10 to 20 percent of people have a gene variant that is associated with a person’s response to alcohol. The variant is located in the CYP2E1 gene, and a specific version of it makes people more sensitive to alcohol.

“Those first few drinks leave them feeling more inebriated than the rest of the human population, who harbor a different version of the gene,” according to a release about the study.

Why is this important? Studies in the past have shown that those who have strong reactions to alcohol are less likely to become alcoholics.

“We have found a gene that protects against alcoholism, and on top of that, has a very strong effect,” said senior study author Kirk Wilhelmsen in a release. Wilhelmsen, M.D., Ph.D., is a professor of genetics at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. “But alcoholism is a very complex disease, and there are lots of complicated reasons why people drink. This may be just one of the reasons.”

The findings suggest that drugs inducing the specific version of CYP2E1 could be used to give that sense of…lightweightedness, for lack of a better word, to anyone, or even help to sober a person up after one too many drinks.

Think of all the Lindsay Lohans, Snookis and David Hasslehoffs –along with the myriad court dates and wasted tax dollars– we could potentially save. But even more important, think of how many families could coexist in more safe and sane environments.

I guess being a lightweight is not so bad after all.

More: Read the complete study