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This site is an archive of our Well Written Blog posts until April 2020. For the most up-to-date content visit NWIJournal.com.

The opinions and thoughts expressed here those of the authors and do not necessarily correlate with those of the National Wellness Institute. Read more.

 

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Alcohol is Officially a Cancer Risk

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, January 3, 2018

For the first time, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is recognizing that alcohol consumption is linked to an increase in cancer risk.  According to the ASCO, “even modest use of alcohol may increase cancer risk, but the greatest risks are observed with heavy, long-term use”.

Authors of the study agree that defining the amount of liquor that would constitute “risky” drinking is difficult based off the varying amounts of ethanol in each type of alcohol in addition to the amount consumed by individuals. The daily recommended allowance of alcohol from The American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, and US Department of Health and Human Services is still set at one to two standard drinks per day for men and one standard drink per day for women.

There is likely to be some confusion surrounding these findings due to conflicting research which indicates that in moderation, alcohol can have some health benefits. Despite efforts from both sides, this will likely be a big barrier when trying to offer education on this topic. In areas where alcohol consumption is quite high, offering education may fall on deaf ears.

Ultimately, the ASCO isn’t encouraging people not to drink, they are informing everyone that if they want to decrease their risk of cancer, they should limit their alcohol consumption.  Specifically, the cancers that alcohol is causally linked to are oropharyngeal and laryngeal cancer, esophageal cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, breast cancer, and colon cancer. 

The bottom line is, if you want to reduce your risk for developing some types of cancer, limit your alcohol intake. As with most health-related items, use your discretion to consume alcohol in moderation. 

Tags:  alcohol  cancer  health 

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Quiz: Do you have a problem with alcoholism?

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Updated: Thursday, March 12, 2015

This month, to highlight several alcohol awareness events (See events at the bottom of this article), Wellness News You Can Use is providing the following Signs of Alcoholism questions from the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) (http://ncadd.org/index.php).

To take the quiz online, and to get a full explanation of your results, visit http://ncadd.org/learn-about-alcohol/alcohol-abuse-self-test.

 

1.     Do you drink heavily when you are disappointed, under pressure or have had a quarrel
with someone?

2.     Can you handle more alcohol now than when you first started to drink?

3.     Have you ever been unable to remember part of the previous evening, even though
your friends say you didn’t pass out?

4.     When drinking with other people, do you try to have a few extra drinks when others
won’t know about it?      

5.     Do you sometimes feel uncomfortable if alcohol is not available?

6.     Are you more in a hurry to get your first drink of the day than you used to be?

7.     Do you sometimes feel a little guilty about your drinking?

8.     Has a family member or close friend express concern or complained about your drinking?

9.     Have you been having more memory “blackouts” recently? 

10.  Do you often want to continue drinking after your friends say they’ve had enough?  

11.  Do you usually have a reason for the occasions when you drink heavily?

12.  When you’re sober, do you sometimes regret things you did or said while drinking?

13.  Have you tried switching brands or drinks, or following different plans to control your
drinking?        

14.  Have you sometimes failed to keep promises you made to yourself about controlling or
cutting down on your drinking?        

15.  Have you ever had a DWI (driving while intoxicated) or DUI (driving under the influence
of alcohol) violation, or any other legal problem related to your drinking?  

16.  Do you try to avoid family or close friends while you are drinking?      

17.  Are you having more financial, work, school, and/or family problems as a result of
your drinking?   

18.  Has your physician ever advised you to cut down on your drinking?

19.  Do you eat very little or irregularly during the periods when you are drinking?

20.  Do you sometimes have the “shakes” in the morning and find that it helps to have a
“little” drink, tranquilizer or medication of some kind?     

21.  Have you recently noticed that you can’t drink as much as you used to?   

22.  Do you sometimes stay drunk for several days at a time? 

23.  After periods of drinking do you sometimes see or hear things that aren’t there?

24.  Have you ever gone to anyone for help about your drinking? 

25.  Do you ever feel depressed or anxious before, during or after periods of heavy drinking?

26.  Have any of your blood relatives ever had a problem with alcohol? 

In general, if you answered between 2-8 of these questions with “yes,” NCADD suggests you might want to talk to an alcohol and drug counselor. If you answered 8 or more questions with “yes,” the results suggest that you have an issue with alcoholism and should contact a drug and alcohol counselor. NCADD has affiliates across the United States that offer drug and alcohol counseling. To find a counselor near you visit: http://ncadd.org/index.php/affiliate-network/find-an-affiliate.

The following organization promote healthy relationships with alcohol and sponsor alcohol awareness events this month:

National Alcohol Awareness Month
SAMSHA’s National Clearinghouse for Alcohol & Drug Information
www.ncadd.org

April 3 – 5 (first weekend in April)
Alcohol-Free Weekend
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.
www.ncadd.org

April 9
National Alcohol Screening Day
Screening for Mental Health, Inc.
www.mentalhealthscreening.org

Tags:  Alcohol  April 2015  Emotional  Physical 

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Alcohol and Reduced Risk of Heart Failure, Research

Posted By NWI, Monday, February 2, 2015
Updated: Thursday, January 22, 2015

New research (January 2015) released by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) provides evidence that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol is linked to reduced risk of heart failure.

According to the study’s authors, evidence already exists linking moderate amounts of alcohol consumption to reducing the risk of developing heart conditions, but this research goes farther to show how moderate alcohol consumption can reduce the risk of developing heart failure specifically.

Moderate consumption for this study is defined as one drink per day or 14g of alcohol (one small glass of wine, less than pint of beer, and less than a shot of liquor).

The researchers, for a period of 24-25 years, looked at nearly 15,000 men and women in early to middle age (45-64) who drank no more than seven drinks per week.  This rate of consumption was associated with a 20% lower risk of men and 16% of women developing heart failure in the future when compared to people who did not drink at all. According to the study’s authors, the difference between men and women was associated with the differences in how men and women metabolize alcohol. Additional findings included an increased risk of death of 47% for men and 89% of women who reported consuming 21 or more drinks a week at the start of the study.

Heart failure describes a state when the heart can no longer pump blood around the body. Heart failure is often the result of heart attacks, high blood pressure, heart disease, heart valve problems, an irregular heartbeat, viral infections, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, consuming recreational drugs, and the side-effects of radiotherapy treatment for cancer.

 Journal Reference:
Goncalves, A., Claggett, B., Jhund, P.S, Rosamond, W., Deswal, A., Aguilar, D., Shah, A. M., Cheng, S., Solomon, S.D. Alcohol consumption and risk of heart failure: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. European Heart Journal, 2015; DOI: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehu514

Tags:  Alcohol  Emotional  February 2015  Heart Failure  Moderation  Physical  Social 

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Alcohol: 5 New Studies

Posted By NWI, Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Updated: Thursday, March 20, 2014

April hosts a few wellness-related events that seek to educate individuals on alcohol use and abuse: 

National Alcohol Awareness Month
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. 
www.ncadd.org

Alcohol-Free Weekend -- April 4 – 6 
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.
www.ncadd.org

National Alcohol Screening Day -- April 10
Screening for Mental Health, Inc.
www.mentalhealthscreening.org

5 New Studies

1. In an experiment conducted on mice, researchers found that male sperm was adversely affected by alcohol consumption leading to fetal disorders. This is significant because it suggests that alcohol consumption by both men and woman can play a role in the overall health of a baby.

Hye Jeong Lee, Jae-Sung Ryu, Na Young Choi, Yo Seph Park, Yong Il Kim, Dong Wook Han, Kisung Ko, Chan Young Shin, Han Sung Hwang, Kyung-Sun Kang, Kinarm Ko. Transgenerational effects of paternal alcohol exposure in mouse offspringAnimal Cells and Systems, 2013; 17 (6): 429 DOI:10.1080/19768354.2013.865675


2. 
University of Tennessee researchers found links between alcohol use, not pot, and domestic violence.

Ryan C. Shorey, Gregory L. Stuart, Todd M. Moore, James K. McNulty. The Temporal Relationship Between Alcohol, Marijuana, Angry Affect, and Dating Violence Perpetration: A Daily Diary Study With Female College Students.Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 2013; DOI: 10.1037/a0034648


3. A March 2014 report spread doubt of the effectiveness of community interventions (on their own) to prevent alcohol related crimes, crashes, and hospital emissions. Interventions such as school and work-based education and training, media messaging on harms, screening and brief advice in general practice, pharmacies and hospital emergency departments, and targeting high risk individuals and high risk times where measured against the alcohol related outcomes. The interventions were, however, related to small drops in reported consumption and verbal abuse tied to alcohol use.

Anthony Shakeshaft, Christopher Doran, Dennis Petrie, Courtney Breen, Alys Havard, Ansari Abudeen, Elissa Harwood, Anton Clifford, Catherine D'Este, Stuart Gilmour, Rob Sanson-Fisher. The Effectiveness of Community Action in Reducing Risky Alcohol Consumption and Harm: A Cluster Randomised Controlled TrialPLoS Medicine, 2014; 11 (3): e1001617 DOI:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001617


4. A February 2014 study on placentas showed women who drink alcohol at moderate or heavy levels in the early stages of their pregnancy might (specifically) damage the growth and function of their placenta—the organ responsible for supplying everything that a developing infant needs until birth. Placentas studied in a laboratory environment showed that drinking alcohol at moderate (2/3 standard drinks) to high (4-6 standard drinks) rates reduced the cell growth in a woman’s placenta and could damage the fetus.

Sylvia Lui, Rebecca L. Jones, Nathalie J. Robinson, Susan L. Greenwood, John D. Aplin, Clare L. Tower. Detrimental Effects of Ethanol and Its Metabolite Acetaldehyde, on First Trimester Human Placental Cell Turnover and FunctionPLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (2): e87328 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0087328


5.  If you are over 55, you should be extra careful about alcohol consumption. A study out in March of 2014 showed that alcohol has a greater impairment effect on older drivers.

Alfredo L. Sklar, Jeff Boissoneault, Mark T. Fillmore, Sara Jo Nixon. Interactions between age and moderate alcohol effects on simulated driving performancePsychopharmacology, 2013; 231 (3): 557 DOI: 10.1007/s00213-013-3269-4

 

Tags:  Alcohol  April 2014  Emotional  Intellectual  Physical 

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What is Drunkorexia, and why should you care? (December 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Friday, October 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012

Drunkorexia is not a medical term. It's not even in the dictionary (yet), but if the trend continues to grow, it just might end up between "drunk-o-meter" and "drupaceous"in Websters. It is currently defined as swapping food calories for alcohol calories. It is also being compared to eating disorders like anorexia nervosa.

It's safe to say that this "trend" is most common in college females (according to a 2008 Sunday Times article) but men can also fall prey to the philosophy of simply skipping lunch to save room for more alcohol calories.

Not only does this lead to quicker intoxication, it can result in serious health implications and risks.

If there is no food in the body and an individual consumes alcohol, especially in high amounts, the body absorbs the alcohol faster leading to intoxication and rapid impairment of judgment.

According to an article in The Sunday Times, nutritionist Ian Marber explains a possible reason for the unhealthy growing trend, "It's socially acceptable to be drunk, but it's not okay to be fat. Marber also notes that he has seen signs of a drunkorexic lifestyle in clients he knows understand the consequences of this type of behaviour.

And although those with this condition believe they are still getting their daily calories, it's not in the way nature suggests they do so. The body is starving itself which leads to malnourishment, and problems with metabolism.

It's important to eat before drinking alcohol to slow to affects it has on the body and mind and to make sure the body is getting what it needs to survive. From a health and wellness perspective, it's better to eat a big dinner and have extra calories for the day, than to starve and live off of alcohol.

This is also where moderation of alcohol intake comes up quite clearly again. Not only is drinking on an empty stomach that much worse for you, those that try this new "diet" are most often drinking more than the established "heavy" drinking limits. Remembering moderation is essential in ensuring personal safety and making sure drunkorexia isn't a trend that catches on.

Spicer, K (2008). Drunkorexia - too much booze and too little food - is affecting more and more women. The Sunday Times. Accessed November 29, 2010 from http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/features/article3570712.ece

By Jackie Lutze, NWI Intern

Tags:  Alcohol  December 2010  Diet  Emotional  Nutrition  Physical  Social 

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Just say YES to Drinking!!! What the ?#%$! (September 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012
This wellness writer was a little alarmed at news coming out today (August 31, 2010) that drinkers live longer than non-drinkers. Not that I don't enjoy a drink from time to time, but there is an underlying wellness bent in me that makes me want all wellness-related facts to be a bit cleaner (if you will). The article in question was from TIME magazine, Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers, Study Finds. To further stir the pot, there were links at the bottom of the page* to articles suggesting that
  • Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers, Study Finds
  • Why Non-Drinkers May Be More Depressed
  • Does Alcohol Slow Dementia?
  • Study: Women Who Drink Tend to Be Thinner

The good news, don't throw in the towel on your workout for a trip to the bar just yet….Let's look at the main points from the articles:
  • Many of those who show up as abstainers in such research are actually former hard-core drunks who had already incurred health problems associated with drinking.
  • Moderate drinking, which is defined as one to three drinks per day, is associated with the lowest mortality rates in alcohol studies.
  • Those who abstain from alcohol tend to be from lower socioeconomic classes, since drinking can be expensive. And people of lower socioeconomic status have more life stressors—job and child-care worries that might not only keep them from the bottle but also cause stress-related illnesses over long periods.
  • People who have never drank are more likely to die earlier than heavy drinkers. The researchers believe this is due to alcohol serving as a lubricant for social interactions, and social interactions are vital for maintaining mental and physical health…nondrinkers show greater signs of depression than those who allow themselves to join the party.
  • The strongest evidence yet that moderate drinking is not only fun but good for you.
  • Regarding women who drink being thinner, the bottom line is still the good 'ole wellness principles of moderation and balance!

Phew! Despite the shocking headlines, moderation and balance are still kings and queens!

*http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/08599201433200;_ylt=Al0PpnCFG4Zuc01fUT4VtoRv24cA;_ylu=X3oDMTM1dHBvZTVlBGFzc2V0A3RpbWUvMjAxMDA4MzAvMDg1OTkyMDE0MzMyMDAEY2NvZGUDbW9zdHBvcHVsYXIEY3BvcwMxBHBvcwMxBHNlYwN5bl90b3Bfc3RvcmllcwRzbGsDaGVhdnlkcmlua2Vy

Tags:  Alcohol  Diet  Nutrition  Physical  September 2010  Social 

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Binge Drinking (6 drinks two or more times a week): Long-term Detrimental Effects. (August 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Sunday, August 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012
Academics at Northumbria University have demonstrated a link between teenage binge drinking and damage to prospective memory. Prospective memory is an important aspect of day-to-day memory function and is defined as the cognitive ability to remember to carry out an activity at some future point in time.

In the first study to examine the effects of binge drinking on prospective memory in teenagers, researchers tested the ability of fifty students from universities in North East England to remember a series of tasks. The students were shown a 10-minute video clip of a shopping district in Scarborough and were asked to remember to carry out a series of instructions when they saw specified locations.

Twenty-one of the students were categorized as binge drinkers. For women, this meant that they drank the equivalent of six standard glasses of wine or, for men, six pints of beer, two or more times a week. The remaining 29 participants were categorized as non-binge drinkers.

The study found that the binge drinkers recalled significantly fewer location-action/items combinations than their non-binging peers. These findings were observed after screening out teenagers who used other substances (such as ecstasy, cannabis and tobacco), those who had used alcohol within the last 48 hours, and after observing no between-group differences on age, anxiety and depression.

High levels of drinking amongst teenagers is particularly worrying given the mounting evidence that the teenage brain is still maturing and undergoing significant development in terms of its structure and function. Intriguingly, one other finding of the study is that binge drinkers do not perceive themselves to have a poor memory, suggesting teenagers do not appreciate the damage that is being done.

Journal Reference:

T. Heffernan, R. Clark, J. Bartholomew, J. Ling, S. Stephens. Does binge drinking in teenagers affect their everyday prospective memory? Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2010; 109 (1-3): 73 DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2009.12.013

Tags:  Alcohol  August 2010  Health  Intellectual  Physical 

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