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Friday, July 8, 2016

How others' alcohol use became your business: The Toxin-omics


Drinking is 'The American Way,' 'How We Roll,' 'Harmless Fun,' or just 'None of Your Damn Business.' Just ask a drinker. He or she doesn't even need to have the disease of alcoholism: You attempt to get between a person and the beverage of choice and you'll hear defense. The defense is offensive when you know the economics of the toxin and drug alcohol.
The economic impact of drinking – casual drinking and alcoholic use – tallies an eye-popping $250 billion every single year in the U.S. By way of comparison, smoking costs the economy $173 billion… all other drugs combined cost the economy $130 billion. A 2011 study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute determined the cost of all cancer care in the U.S. totaled $124.5 billion in 2010 … half as large as the alcohol toll. How big is the we-don't-have-a-problem alcohol problem, by the numbers?
  • That's enough to buy a 48 inch HDTV for every man, woman and child in the U.S. And an X-Box. Every year.
  • Two-hundred-fifty billion dollars is the same as the annual expenditure on fashion and apparel in the entire U.S.
  • The Treasury in 2008 bailed out the banks with a $250 billion “investment” that created critical echoing still heard in the 2016 Presidential campaign and brought hundreds of 99 Percenters camping in Wall Street. That was just a one year expense.
  • For the ubersmart Keynesian economists out there, $250 billion is a NEGATIVE GDP (gross domestic product) value of $74 billion. (For those of us less-smart: Alcohol shrinks the economy the way it shrinks libido.)
  • For the 216 world economies tracked in the CIA World Factbook, $250 billion is bigger than the 40th largest economy on the planet, and bigger than the output of the bottom one-third of countries COMBINED. 
The costs are in healthcare, lost productivity, legal and corrections costs. Alcoholism is part of the total, but $250 billion is driven by all drinking, even social or moderate use. The CDC readily admits the $250 billion is on the low side, too. The researchers believe that the study still underestimates the cost of excessive drinking because information on alcohol is often underreported or unavailable, and the study did not include other costs, such as pain and suffering due to alcohol-related injuries and diseases.

Alcohol revenue does not cover alcohol economic damage
The monetary consequences are something everyone shares: Drinkers and non-drinkers alike. The numbers get complicated, because the drug Americans enjoy and defend so vigorously, also costs the most in health and hard dollars. Each drink consumed has a median cost of $2.05 in economic harm (lost productivity, health care costs, property damage and criminal justice system expenses). That's according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). So the drinker pays for that in alcohol tax, right? No. The median paid in tax per drink is less than a nickel a drink. The Tax Policy Center estimates that state and local taxes on alcoholic beverages bring in about $6 billion in revenue nationwide. The overall economic benefit from the manufacture and distribution is less than a quarter per drink.
Industry watchdog, Alcohol Justice, suggests closing the gap between tax revenue and the economic damage, which may also reduce use. According to Alcohol Justice's Charge for Harm Campaign, "Big Alcohol produces, sells, and promotes products that cause harm and incur costs - to both government and its citizens. Appropriately taxing alcohol at state and federal levels will help reduce related harm and provide needed funds. We support state and federal increases in alcohol taxes and fees."
Even if drinkers bore the full $2.05, everyone else still pays in lost productivity. Show up late, never, hungover or just without your A-game and someone has to step in or step up. It doesn't always happen that way. Which costs the company. So the company charges more for its goods or services. Lost productivity, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is more than 70 percent of the $250 billion annual cost of alcohol use in the United States. Every shopper pays… no matter if we shop Walmart or Macy's.
This is the part of the revenue formula pro-alcohol forces leave out of the dialogue when pushing for more beverage licenses, longer hours of service, and absurd ideas like selling alcohol at college sports venues. With greater access to alcohol, the revenue does go up in a bar, store, or restaurant. But so does the economic damage. And never the twain shall meet.
Need a hospital bed? Wait. And pay more.
Here's another way to look at the economic harm. There is an alcohol-related hospital admission every 30 seconds and, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) 20-40 percent of general use (non-specialty) hospital beds are used to tend to alcohol-related complications. Heroin addicts aren't breaking the healthcare system. Aging Baby Boomers aren't pushing it past capacity. Alcohol use is drowning it.
Health care costs related to alcohol use are not limited to the drinker. There are unintended – and sober – victims in traffic crashes you've no doubt heard about from the impaired driving activists, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). However, children of alcoholics who are admitted to the hospital average 62 percent more hospital days and 29 percent longer stays according to the Children of Alcoholics Foundation.
Nested inside of every major cause of death in the U.S. is the fact that alcohol use is a contributing factor to each of those causes of death or hospitalization. Alcohol is a carcinogen, for example. It is the second-leading cause of oral cancers and is the only dietary connection ever made to an increased risk of breast cancer. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) estimated the price of cancer care for one year of life increased to $207,000 in 2013.
Heart disease, not cirrhosis, is the leading killer related to drinking. Annually, about one in every six U.S. healthcare dollars is spent on cardiovascular disease. By 2030, annual direct medical costs associated with cardiovascular diseases are projected to rise to more than $818 billion, while lost productivity costs could exceed $275 billion. What is the preventative measure hiding in plain sight? Stopping drinking. About 1 in 3 adults—or approximately 86 million people—have at least one type of cardiovascular disease, which means many more Americans could die from what is often preventable through lifestyle changes or managing medical conditions. There are 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes in the U.S. annually. One in five strokes is alcohol-related. One dollar spent on alcohol education (e.g. abstinence) saves $4 in healthcare costs down the road. (Plus $7 in criminal justice system costs for good measure.)
Bottom line: We ALL pay
The healtcare cost equation under mandated insurance means part of every insurance policy premium is gobbled up to care for alcohol-related problems. An insured person doesn't have an account from which he or she dips. Insurance premiums are pooled. You can be a non-drinker… your own premium will be lower because of your relationship with alcohol… but your premium will still reflect the experience of the insurance pool. With insurance mandatory, and 67 to 70 percent of adults using alcohol in the past year, there is a majority of your insurance dollar used to mitigate the expense of drinking.
Binge drinking alone – four or more drinks per occasion for a woman and five or more drinks for a man – accounts for more than 75 percent of costs related to excessive alcohol use in all states, just under $171 billion. Binge drinking is reported by about 18 percent of adults in America. (Wager that the self-reported binge drinking number is MUCH higher, people aren't typically honest about their answer to the non-of-your-damn-business question.) According to the CDC. binge drinkers and their families paid less than half of the costs associated with high alcohol use (41.5 percent) while federal, state and local governments paid about 42 percent, or more than $94 billion, of the costs.
The government doesn't have a separate checkbook funded by drinkers or beverage companies to pay for this: It uses your checkbook.
Visit www.alcohologist.com for more on the health and economic costs of drinking a toxin and known carcinogen. And order The A-Files: Alcohol A-Z for what alcohol does TO you, not FOR you. I Can't See The Forest With All These Damn Trees In The Way is now available in paperback.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Yahoo! I heard another internet alcohol & health lie!



A ridiculous, and dangerous, piece of fiction emerges from cherry-picking observational studies. In that pursuit, anyone can find support for smoking, alcohol use, or use of any other drug. However, the evidence-based science demonstrates ZERO health benefit to even moderate use of a toxin and known carcinogen. (READ THE DELICIOUS PIECE OF FACT-MANUFACTURING YAHOO! UK IS PEDDLING)

Aside from the fact that daily drinking is one of several indicators of the disease of alcoholism, there is no health benefit to drinking any amount, at any age, for either gender. Spend 52 min. with The A-Filesif you want to find out what this drug does TO you, instead of this fiction of what it does FOR you.

For example, Women... this is the ONLY dietary factor shown to increase risk of breast cancer. Each drink daily (10g of alcohol) increases risk by 11 percent. More than four a day brings the same risk as smoking a pack of cigs a day. It's the #2 cause of oral cancers. Was cancer intentionally left from this article? Probably... because alcohol causes eight types of cancer. “The relationship between alcohol and cancer is not widely appreciated by the public and remains underemphasized even by physicians. When it comes to cancer, there is no safe level of alcohol consumption.” American Journal of Public Health Feb. 2014

The heart health myth was discredited more than a decade ago. It causes pre-diabetes, a precursor to type 2… it doesn’t reduce the risk as observational studies claim. Additionally, one in five strokes is alcohol-related. The risk of stroke is both long-term and short-term. In fact, stroke risk increases instantly and remains elevated for two hours after consuming alcohol. There are also consequences for liver, brain, pancreas. More than 60 diseases are caused by even "moderate" use of alcohol and it is the third-leading cause of preventable death and illness in the U.S. and U.K.. This dandy dietary tip just could kill someone.

The immune system is sacked by even moderate use: That's basic bioscience, not the junk science in this pro-alcohol piece. Sex problems linger even a year after complete abstinence (http://www.examiner.com/article/sex-problems-last-a-year-after-heavy-drinking-stops-according-to-new-study) and an older 2007 study -- evidence-based -- notes a falloff in sex drive with regular moderate use. And life expectancy? Jeez. The CDC notes a reduction of life expectancy 18 months (moderate use) to 20 years (heavy use).

Get evidence-based facts before succombing to Yahoo!'s dangerous and irresponsible article.

The entire 26 episode HD The A-Files: Alcohol A-Z series is available on disc, along with fact sheets, for helping professions. Visit alcohologist.com for a replay of CBS Sports' Power Up Your Health featuring Scott Stevens.  Another interview is on Alcohol Awareness Syndicated radio program Savvy Central Radio did this interview, too. Lucy Pireel's "All That's Written" included a feature called "When alcohol doesn't work for you anymore."  Details on the third literary award for Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud and the first for Adding Fire to the Fuel also can be found on www.alcohologist.com. Download the FREE Alcohology app in the Google PlayStore today. Stevens also is the public relations officer with AddictedMinds.com 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Selling care: Patient brokering in addiction treatment

health, healthcare, treatment, drug addiction

Ambulance-chasing. Society generally looks on with disgust at the attorney who markets directly to the accident victim in the hours after the ink on the police blotter dries. The practice isn't illegal, but it brings up the subject of ethics. A similar practice has smoldered silently in the addiction care business for the last decade and will be leading to more scrutiny – and crackdown – over the second half of 2016.
Treatment centers provide a service (detox, intensive outpatient, inpatient, partial hospitalization, or some combination of elements) for a fee, which is charged to the client or the client's insurer. It's America. Lawyers charge a fee in a time of need. Mutual fund companies charge a fee to manage the retirement money upon which you'll develop a need. Lawyers are regulated. Fund companies and their sales reps are regulated and supervised. The practice is largely unregulated in the treatment industry.
The ambulance chaser in the addiction care business solicits business in 12-step meetings and detox facilities and even emergency rooms. There are reputable recovery coaches and other addiction paraprofessionals in the service of those struggling with substance abuse who also attend to those venues and offer suggestions. When they are paid by a treatment entity to deliver those struggling heads to the facility's beds is the point in which the practice becomes predatory.
Take for example, Alcoholic Joe. Joe turns up in the emergency department, unconscious due to acute intoxication. (e.g., he's beyond drunk) A responsive ER staff will inquire about what he's had, how much, and how frequently. Maybe even a social worker or staff associate will address the possibility that Joe has a substance use disorder and suggest courses of action beyond the hospital's capability. Other resources may be given to Joe, if he inquires. He takes it to heart (or his wife does) and Joe goes to a 12-step meeting.
So far, so good. When Joe bumps into a counselor, a self-styled recovery guru or a fellow at the meeting, the conversation sometimes turns to treatment. If the person steering the conversation toward a facility is getting paid $1,000 or $5,000 a head to steer Joe toward that facility – and never discloses he or she is on the dole – is where the industry is getting its latest black eye.
It's not unfamiliar territory for the healthcare biz. Rewind the tape back to the early 90's when physicians were accepting elaborate junkets from pharmaceutical companies and medical device makers. The public bristled when the kickback exposed that the patient might not be getting the best medication or device for his condition, just possibly the medication or device offered by the company with the sweetest “conference” destination. In the early 2000's a similar practice in the mutual fund business was discontinued when fund companies were found to have influence over brokers who might not be offering the most suitable investment for the client, just the funds that landed on the “preferred list” because of the extras offered the broker or brokerage firm.
As the opioid epidemic continues to grow within the shadow of the alcohol pandemic, more treatment centers are opening. Which can only be considered a good thing if they are treating the patient and not the one who provided the patient. As start-up facilities – and some established ones – struggle to keep cashflow manageable, a pay-per-client (heads-in-beds) can be an attractive alternative to shelling out for a marketer's salary and benefits. A captive marketer is going to work for one facility or group of facilities. He or she may not have a component of their compensation based on the census of the facility (e.g. percentage of beds filled at a given time). But they are, in theory, still driven by getting the right fit between the client and the facility. Many even network with other centers' marketing staff and refer business to the right fit based on the cost, insurance and most importantly the client's needs. When a consultant makes a referral without accountability to the facility or for the outcome of the treatment for that client, but for what it appears to be the financial gain of a $5,000 payday over a $1,000 payday, the treatment industry's self-policing has a weakness.
There is no inference that every per-client marketer or treatment facility that employs the tactic is sketchy. As with any enterprise, there are scrupulous and unscrupulous sales people. This industry is no exception even though it is commonly referred to as a helping profession which comes in contact with families and clients during a real and human and emotionally charged crisis.
In the early part of this decade, healthcare officials as well as federal agencies have had the practice show up on their radars. In some cases, the fit between the client and facility or program was so poor, litigation ensued. In extreme cases, people have relapsed and/or died while in the care of a program. Not that the relapse is uncommon with the disease of addiction to alcohol or other drugs… it's not a welcome outcome in or shortly after treatment.
For now, the status quo is under greatest scrutiny in California and Florida, two treatment industry hotbeds. However the status quo remains as a practice that is not illegal – like ambulance chasing – just potentially unethical until greater oversight and guidance is provided. For the time being, it pays to ask a question if and how a person is being compensated for making a recommendation of one facility over another.
The entire 26 episode HD The A-Files: Alcohol A-Z series is available on disc, along with fact sheets, for helping professions. Visit alcohologist.com for a replay of CBS Sports' Power Up Your Health featuring Scott Stevens.  Another interview is on Alcohol Awareness Syndicated radio program Savvy Central Radio did this interview, too. Lucy Pireel's "All That's Written" included a feature called "When alcohol doesn't work for you anymore."  Details on the third literary award for Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud and the first for Adding Fire to the Fuel also can be found on www.alcohologist.com. Download the FREE Alcohology app in the Google PlayStore today. Stevens also is the public relations officer with AddictedMinds.com 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Wag the dog: Time to change alcohol education



The entire 26 episode HD series is available on disc, along with fact sheets, for helping professions. See the preorder special at tr.im/AFiles

Visit alcohologist.com for a replay of CBS Sports' Power Up Your Health featuring Scott Stevens.  Another interview is on Alcohol Awareness Syndicated radio program Savvy Central Radio did this interview, too. Lucy Pireel's "All That's Written" included a feature called "When alcohol doesn't work for you anymore."  Details on the third literary award for Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud and the first for Adding Fire to the Fuel also can be found on www.alcohologist.com. Download the FREE Alcohology app in the Google PlayStore today. Stevens also is the public relations officer with AddictedMinds.com 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The A-Files, Alcohol A-Z for Alcohol Awareness Month: ZERO Health Benefit

(See online video and article)
Twenty-six episodes of 'The A-Files' ran throughout Alcohol Awareness Month on YouTubeFacebook, LinkedIn, Alcohologist.com and AddictedMinds.com, among other web and social media sites. The final segment, Episode Z, elaborates on the fact there are zero documented, evidence-based health benefits tied to the consumption of alcohol. Since 2010, there have been numerous articles on alcohologist.com challenging the junk science people were willing to believe regarding health benefits related to alcohol use.

There are zero health benefits. Not from wine, not from moderate drinking. There is no evidence that drinking a toxin will make you prettier, healthier, funnier, smarter, immune to disease, improve your sex life or extend your years on the planet. Even the notion that alcohol improves quality of life isn't realistic. Four things to consider when reading a study promoting alcohol.

1) Many of the studies compared ‘moderate’ drinkers with ‘current’ abstainers. These abstainers could be people who had, for example, stopped drinking alcohol because of poor health, the disease of alcoholism, legal issues or common sense. When a 2016 study from the University of Victoria adjusted for these sorts of abstainer biases, only 13 of the 87 studies didn’t bias the abstainer comparison group, and none of these 13 showed any health benefit associated with moderate alcohol consumption anyway.
2.) In 2013, the journal Addiction ran a critical analysis of observational studies vs. evidence-based ones, concluding, “For almost all the diseases, we do not know of any plausible biological mechanism explaining a preventive role for alcohol. Alcohol's possible ability to prevent diseases should probably not be considered as an established fact. The absence of definite knowledge leaves plenty of room for wishful thinking, which we observe frequently on this topic.”
3.) Common sense does not support the notion that a drug that causes a disease can also help prevent the same disease. Alcohol increases blood pressure in the lab and is claimed to protect the heart in pro-alcohol studies. Alcohol use is a documented carcinogen, but pro-alcohol studies claim some prophylactic effect. Alcohol use visibly shrinks the brain in MRIs and cadaver studies, but pro-alcohol studies claim it helps stave off dementia.
Fourth, and not the least, is to ask 'does this study pass the smell test?' What would cause a reputable physician or scientist to expend the time and resources – and risk reputation – to look for a health benefit of consuming a toxin and known carcinogen? Health or otherwise, what causes problems, is one.
The entire 26 episode HD series is available on disc, along with fact sheets, for helping professions. See the preorder special at tr.im/AFiles

Visit alcohologist.com for a replay of CBS Sports' Power Up Your Health featuring Scott Stevens.  Another interview is on Alcohol Awareness Syndicated radio program Savvy Central Radio did this interview, too. Lucy Pireel's "All That's Written" included a feature called "When alcohol doesn't work for you anymore."  Details on the third literary award for Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud and the first for Adding Fire to the Fuel also can be found on www.alcohologist.com. Download the FREE Alcohology app in the Google PlayStore today. Stevens also is the public relations officer with AddictedMinds.com 

Friday, April 29, 2016

The A-Files, Alcohol A-Z for Alcohol Awareness Month: Younger Strokes


Twenty-six episodes of 'The A-Files' air throughout Alcohol Awareness Month on YouTubeFacebook, LinkedIn, Alcohologist.com and AddictedMinds.com, among other web and social media sites. Episode Y looks at strokes, especially those at younger ages than anticipated. Strokes, and strokes at earlier ages, have been linked to alcohol misuse in a study by the University of California at San Francisco. "When a young person has a stroke, it is probably much more likely that the cause of their stroke is something other than traditional risk factors," according to one of the lead researchers in the 2013 study reported in the journal Stroke.

The UCSF researchers identified long-term changes in the heart as a result of alcohol abuse or the disease of alcoholism may put younger users at higher-than-average risk earlier in life.

Stroke disables more people in the United States than breast cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year close to a million people have a stroke – either ischemic or hemorrhagic. A study of 2007 data found that almost five percent of people who had a stroke that year were between ages 18 and 44.

"Substance abuse is common in young adults experiencing a stroke,” according to the research team. "Patients aged younger than 55 years who experience a stroke should be routinely screened and counseled regarding substance abuse. One in five of strokes involves drinking.”

The study does not offer evidence that patients' drug or alcohol use directly caused their strokes. It's possible, for example, that people who drink also see their doctors less often.

A separate study in the journal Stroke in Jan. 2015 found that people who average more than two drinks a day have a 34 percent higher risk of stroke compared to those whose daily average amounts to less than half a drink. Midlife heavy drinkers were likely to have a stroke five years earlier in life, regardless of genetic and lifestyle factors. The stroke risk in those two studies, of course, is long term, but there's immediate danger as well. According to a 2010 Canadian study, one drink instantly doubles stroke risk. Two hours following that drink, the stroke risk remains 1.6 times higher than someone who isn't drinking. When it comes to stroke risk, drinking is like walking out into the road, waiting for the truck to hit.
The entire 26 episode HD series is available on disc, along with fact sheets, for helping professions. See the preorder special at tr.im/AFiles

Visit alcohologist.com for a replay of CBS Sports' Power Up Your Health featuring Scott Stevens.  Another interview is on Alcohol Awareness Syndicated radio program Savvy Central Radio did this interview, too. Lucy Pireel's "All That's Written" included a feature called "When alcohol doesn't work for you anymore."  Details on the third literary award for Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud and the first for Adding Fire to the Fuel also can be found on www.alcohologist.com. Download the FREE Alcohology app in the Google PlayStore today. Stevens also is the public relations officer with AddictedMinds.com 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The A-Files, Alcohol A-Z for Alcohol Awareness Month: X and Y Chromosomes

Twenty-six episodes of 'The A-Files' air throughout Alcohol Awareness Month on YouTubeFacebook, LinkedIn, Alcohologist.com and AddictedMinds.com, among other web and social media sites. Episode X is on the X and Y Chromosome (gender) differences in the way we handle alcohol. If you start from the perspective that alcohol damages tissues regardless of gender, you're on the right track. Drinking over the long term is more likely to damage a woman’s health than a man’s, even if the woman has been drinking less alcohol or for a shorter length of time. First and foremost, women have a greater concern for breast cancer. Alcohol is the only documented dietary connection to an increased breast cancer risk.

Second, in 2011, the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor studied alcohol, sleep and genders. According to the lab readings, compared to men, the women slept nearly 20 minutes less and awoke more often for longer periods when they drank. Sleep is underrated in its regenerative value and how it sets up overall health.

Third, women generally are smaller, so the same amount of alcohol will be more impairing – and more damaging. But even if a man and woman are the same weight, the woman is at greater risk because they have less of the enzyme that helps break down alcohol in the body. Fourth, pound for pound, women have less water in their bodies and water is what dilutes alcohol in the bloodstream. Men are 61 percent water, women 52 percent. And that also means alcohol metabolizes slower in women, lingering longer to do more damage. This means, fifth, women are more likely than men to develop alcoholic hepatitis or die from cirrhosis, sixth, that women are more vulnerable than men to alcohol-induced brain damage, and seventh, women are more susceptible to alcohol-related heart disease. Eighth, drinking increases a woman’s risk of becoming a victim of violence and sexual assault. Lastly, there are obvious risks to an unborn child from drinking.

Drinking and drinking problems have increased in every generation of women born after World War II, according to Columbia University. Women in their early 20s are most at risk, but affluent, fit women over 50 may be particularly prone to heavy drinking, according to a 2015 study published in the medical journal BMJ. In one, single health statement, men and women are created exactly equal: Sobriety is better to have than to lack.

The entire 26 episode HD series is available on disc, along with fact sheets, for helping professions. See the preorder special at tr.im/AFiles
Visit alcohologist.com for a replay of CBS Sports' Power Up Your Health featuring Scott Stevens.  Another interview is on Alcohol Awareness Syndicated radio program Savvy Central Radio did this interview, too. Lucy Pireel's "All That's Written" included a feature called "When alcohol doesn't work for you anymore."  Details on the third literary award for Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud and the first for Adding Fire to the Fuel also can be found on www.alcohologist.com. Download the FREE Alcohology app in the Google PlayStore today. Stevens also is the public relations officer with AddictedMinds.com 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The A-Files, Alcohol A-Z for Alcohol Awareness Month: Weight Control

Twenty-six episodes of 'The A-Files' air throughout Alcohol Awareness Month on YouTubeFacebook, LinkedIn, Alcohologist.com and AddictedMinds.com, among other web and social media sites. Episode W looks at weight control, fat loss and the futility of dieting while drinking.

A third of men and nearly one in five women drank on a daily basis. Twenty percent of men and eight percent of women consumed more than 300 calories in alcohol per day. That's from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a study looking not at alcoholism, but a separate American pandemic, obesity. Pilsener or lager beer usually comes in at around 148 calories in 12 ounces. Drinking light beer, offers about a third fewer. Dry wine contains fewer calories than sweet: 106 calories for five ounces of dry wine and champagnes… double it for sweeter wines. If you drink a glass of wine before dinner, another glass with dinner and one for dessert, that’s more than 400 calories in addition to the meal. Liquor calories depend on the proof for whiskey, tequila, gin, rum and vodka. Eighty proof contains 97 calories per shot. One hundred proof has 124 calories. How you mix the hard liquors will add calories faster. A whiskey sour will have 122 calories and a gin and tonic has 171 calories, a pina colada, 262 calories, and a large margarita can have as many as 400 calories.

The body uses as fuel macronutrients stored from the things you eat. Macronutrients are carbohydrates, fat and protein. Pure alcohol has none of those. It's calorie dense, at seven calories per gram but has no nutrient value. The macronutrients in alcoholic beverages come from what carries the alcohol or the mixer used. These carbs do not get burned and no stored body fat is going to get burned until the body first gets rid of the toxin, alcohol.
Alcohol is the first fuel to get burned in other words. Fat burning is postponed for alcoholics and non-alcoholics alike because fat won't burn when there's alcohol in the body.
Adele. Zack Galifinakis. Megan Fox. Three celebrities who in recent months dropped weight, all three crediting a zero-alcohol diet for the pounds lost. Doesn't matter if they're alcoholic or not, and I would suppose not. They wanted to look and feel better. And who doesn't?

The entire 26 episode HD series is available on disc, along with fact sheets, for helping professions. See the preorder special at tr.im/AFiles

Visit alcohologist.com for a replay of CBS Sports' Power Up Your Health featuring Scott Stevens.  Another interview is on Alcohol Awareness Syndicated radio program Savvy Central Radio did this interview, too. Lucy Pireel's "All That's Written" included a feature called "When alcohol doesn't work for you anymore."  Details on the third literary award for Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud and the first for Adding Fire to the Fuel also can be found on www.alcohologist.com. Download the FREE Alcohology app in the Google PlayStore today. Stevens also is the public relations officer with AddictedMinds.com 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The A-Files, Alcohol A-Z for Alcohol Awareness Month: Vitamin Deficiency

Twenty-six episodes of 'The A-Files' air throughout Alcohol Awareness Month on YouTubeFacebook, LinkedIn, Alcohologist.com and AddictedMinds.com, among other web and social media sites. Episode V returns to the topic of nutrition with Vitamin Deficiency. Even moderate alcohol use destroys vital nutrients –vitamins, minerals, and amino acids – that control mental function, preventing depression, and maintaining physical health. I'll note only two here: It raids the body of B-vitamins and has a dramatic impact on the way vitamin A is handled. A study published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal gives a little more detail on vitamin A first. 

It suggests long-term alcohol use lowers vitamin A levels in the liver, which is the main site of both, alcohol metabolism and vitamin A storage, while bumping up vitamin A levels in many other tissues. Initially 15 percent of the body's vitamin A migrates out of the liver to other tissues. Ultimately, around 60 percent of the vitamin is lost with heavier or more frequent drinking. So it's a wash if liver vitamin A is low and vitamin A in other tissues is elevated, right? Not exactly.

The liver needs the vitamin A to stave off liver disease. And the other tissues don't feed the A into the bloodstream the way the liver does. You'll know you're deficient in the vitamin if you get night blindness or blotchy rashes or both. If it builds up in other tissues, it can become toxic. Self medicating with vitamin A supplements would worsen it, even if the liver stores are low. Vitamin A toxicity usually reveals itself with headaches, nausea, drowsiness, vomiting… which could be confused with the alcohol itself.

The B-complex vitamins are especially vulnerable and destroyed by alcohol. Specifically, B-vitamin absorption is blocked by alcohol use and vitamin-B stores are drained by the by the process of metabolizing the alcohol and ridding it from the body. These vitamins are essential to mental and emotional well being. Vitamin B1 deficiencies can cause neurological and cardiac disorders among drinkers. B2, B3, B12 and folic acid deficiency are all linked to depression and fatigue because they help control how the body uses energy. Vitamin B-6 deficiency can disrupt the formation of neurotransmitters in the brain, which can have the effect of helping make a moderate drinker alcohol dependent. Introducing a toxin into the body's delicate nutrient balance has yet to be proven to increase wellness or longevity.

The entire 26 episode HD series is available on disc, along with fact sheets, for helping professions. See the preorder special at tr.im/AFiles

Visit alcohologist.com for a replay of CBS Sports' Power Up Your Health featuring Scott Stevens.  Another interview is on Alcohol Awareness Syndicated radio program Savvy Central Radio did this interview, too. Lucy Pireel's "All That's Written" included a feature called "When alcohol doesn't work for you anymore."  Details on the third literary award for Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud and the first for Adding Fire to the Fuel also can be found on www.alcohologist.com. Download the FREE Alcohology app in the Google PlayStore today. Stevens also is the public relations officer with AddictedMinds.com 

Monday, April 25, 2016

The A-Files, Alcohol A-Z for Alcohol Awareness Month: Underage Drinking


(online video and article)
Twenty-six episodes of 'The A-Files' air throughout Alcohol Awareness Month on YouTubeFacebook, LinkedIn, Alcohologist.com and AddictedMinds.com, among other web and social media sites. Episode U looks at underage drinking. Impaired driving crashes are the leading cause of alcohol-related deaths among teens, but it is not the only underage drinking concern. Nearly two-thirds of deaths due to underage drinking are not related to intoxicated driving, according to data analysis MADD compiled. Thirty percent of alcohol-related deaths in people age 15 to 20 are from homicides.

Fourteen percent are from suicides. Nine percent are from alcohol overdose. Other causes, such as drowning and household accidents, comprise the remaining 15 percent.
The group's blog also notes, “Compared with non-drinking classmates, teens who drink are more likely get pregnant, fail in school, become sexually assaulted or take their own lives.” They also point to teen alcohol use as an indicator for alcohol use disorders later in life. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse andAlcoholism reports that teens who start drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop an alcohol addiction.

The European model of letting teens experiment with drinking at home – with meals or socially – doesn’t stand up to its alleged benefits of educating them about responsible use. Research from Australia’s National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) studied 2000 families over four years and proved it doesn't work. Ian Hickie from the University of Sydney’s says "In fact, it's the opposite, you've probably increased the chance that they'll drink irresponsibly in another place. It normalizes the behavior of drinking a toxin and known carcinogen, in addition to injuring a developing brain.

The health consequence is the most severe and overlooked part of the equation. According to the Federal Trade Commission, teens don't just drink; they drink excessively. More than one in eight sophomores and one in four seniors report binge drinking. A report from the Surgeon General notes that since the brain continues to develop into a person's mid- 20's, frequent binge drinking can have long-lasting effects on intellectual abilities. The brain’s frontal lobes are among the final pieces of the brain to fully develop in our 20's. They are important for planning, forming ideas, making decisions, and using self-control. When alcohol damage the frontal lobes of the brain, it is permanent. It's like luggage, you're stuck with it forever.

The entire 26 episode HD series is available on disc, along with fact sheets, for helping professions. See the preorder special at tr.im/AFiles


Visit alcohologist.com for a replay of CBS Sports' Power Up Your Health featuring Scott Stevens.  Another interview is on Alcohol Awareness Syndicated radio program Savvy Central Radio did this interview, too. Lucy Pireel's "All That's Written" included a feature called "When alcohol doesn't work for you anymore."  Details on the third literary award for Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud and the first for Adding Fire to the Fuel also can be found on www.alcohologist.com. Download the FREE Alcohology app in the Google PlayStore today. Stevens also is the public relations officer with AddictedMinds.com 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The A-Files, Alcohol A-Z for Alcohol Awareness Month: Tiredness and Sleep

Twenty-six episodes of 'The A-Files' air throughout Alcohol Awareness Month on YouTubeFacebook, LinkedIn, Alcohologist.com and AddictedMinds.com, among other web and social media sites. Episode T looks at tiredness, fatigue and sleep. A mythology seems to have developed around the impact of alcohol on sleep… and it is true the central nervous system depressant drug alcohol will put a person under sedation quicker.
Alcohol increases deep sleep in the first half of the night, too, but short-term alcohol use only gives the impression of improving sleep. Drinking has a major impact on rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. REM sleep is important to physical health, metabolism and mental health. Edinburgh Sleep Centre did the sleep homework (see study in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research) and concluded. "Alcohol on the whole is not useful for improving a whole night's sleep. Sleep may be deeper to start with, but then becomes disrupted. Additionally, that deeper sleep will probably promote snoring and poorer breathing. So, one shouldn't expect better sleep with alcohol."
The majority of studies, across different alcohol dosages, ages and genders, confirm an increase in slow-wave sleep (SWS) in the first half of the night. SWS, or deep sleep, generally promotes rest and restoration. However, when alcohol increases SWS, this may also increase vulnerability to certain sleep problems such as sleepwalking or sleep apnea in those who are predisposed. Alcohol suppresses our breathing. It can turn non-snorers into snorers and snorers into people with sleep apnea - where the breathing's interrupted.
Alcohol's affect on REM sleep is dramatic. REM sleep typically accounts for 20 to 25 percent of the night. Total night REM sleep percentage is halved in the majority of studies at moderate and high doses in so-called “normal” people as well as those with alcohol use disorders, such as the disease of alcoholism. Dreams generally occur in the REM stage of sleep. During REM sleep the brain is more active, and may be regarded as “defragmenting the drive.” REM sleep is also important because it can influence memory and serve restorative functions. Conversely, lack of REM sleep can have a detrimental effect on concentration, motor skills, and memory. When you're tired the next day, blame the alcohol's detrimental impact on solid sleep the whole night through.
There is also a linkage with depression – another thing alcohol mythology says drinking will solve when in fact, alcohol causes and worsens it. The entire 26 episode HD series is available on disc, along with fact sheets, for helping professions. See the preorder special at tr.im/AFiles

Visit alcohologist.com for a replay of CBS Sports' Power Up Your Health featuring Scott Stevens.  Another interview is on Alcohol Awareness Syndicated radio program Savvy Central Radio did this interview, too. Lucy Pireel's "All That's Written" included a feature called "When alcohol doesn't work for you anymore."  Details on the third literary award for Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud and the first for Adding Fire to the Fuel also can be found on www.alcohologist.com. Download the FREE Alcohology app in the Google PlayStore today. Stevens also is the public relations officer with AddictedMinds.com