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Friday, July 23, 2021

Can Alcohol Cause Diabetes?

can alcohol cause diabetes

Substances such as drugs or alcohol can affect many areas of your physical and mental health. In fact, anything that you eat, drink, or otherwise consume could potentially impact you in ways you may not have realized. It’s especially important to understand whether alcohol can cause diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

When your blood glucose, or blood sugar, is too high you are at risk of having a condition known as diabetes. Your blood glucose, your main source of energy, comes from what you consume. Insulin, which is a hormone made by your pancreas, helps the glucose get into your cells so they can use it for energy.

When your body doesn’t make enough of the insulin or doesn’t use it well, glucose stays in your blood and doesn’t reach those cells. Over time, too much glucose in your blood can cause issues such as diabetes. Over 10% of the US population had diabetes in 2018. Every year, 1.5 million people in the US are diagnosed with the disease. In 2017, it was the seventh leading cause of death in this country.

Alcohol Increases the Risk

Drinking alcohol can impact your body’s functions in many ways. Researchers have found that binge drinking, in particular, causes insulin resistance which can then lead to type 2 diabetes. Their studies concluded that drinking alone, without any additional factors such as overeating, can increase your risk for diabetes.

Alcohol can disrupt your metabolic process as it disrupts the insulin receptor signaling by causing an inflammation of the hypothalamus. This is the area of your brain that is important for the metabolic processes in your body. The main role of the insulin receptor is to control the uptake of glucose within your body. When the signaling of this receptor is decreased, it means your cells cannot take up the glucose and that results in too much glucose in your blood.

Insulin Resistance

When your natural insulin does not bind properly to the receptor, you can experience insulin resistance. Drinking too much alcohol can also cause chronic inflammation of your pancreas, which will then impair its ability to secrete insulin. Even when your pancreas is producing enough insulin, though, insulin resistance can hamper the receptor’s ability to send the right signals to your cells so they can use the glucose for the energy you need.

One of the symptoms you’ll experience as a result of insulin resistance is that you will have high levels of insulin your bloodstream. This condition is part of a group of risk factors that will increase the potential to cause diabetes as well as stroke and coronary artery disease. One of the researchers noted that “Someone who regularly binge drinks even once a week, over many years, may remain in an insulin resistant state for an extended period of time, potentially years.”

Complications of Alcohol Consumption

While alcohol can cause diabetes, there are a number of other complications that can result from alcohol consumption in relation to blood glucose. For example, beer and sweet wine contain carbohydrates that can raise blood sugar levels. In addition, alcohol will usually stimulate your appetite and that can cause you to overeat, which can affect your blood sugar levels as well. Poor food choices often result from eating while consuming alcohol.

Alcohol itself can have a lot of calories, which can affect your ability to lose the excess weight that can be a contributing factor for diabetes. The alcohol you drink can also raise your triglyceride levels, which impacts your potential for diabetes. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, alcohol consumption can interfere with the effectiveness of your medications.

Get Help at Hope by the Sea

Do you need help with an addiction to alcohol? At Hope by the Sea, a drug and alcoholism treatment center, we believe in our patients’ ability to succeed. Our drug and alcohol rehab programs include treatment programs such as detoxification and residential treatment as well as outpatient treatment and long-term care.

We provide you with the top clinical staff, a serene setting, and over fifteen years of experience treating addiction to guide you through a successful recovery from your alcohol addiction. Please contact Hope by the Sea immediately for assistance. Our team is following every CDC protocol for COVID-19 because our clients' safety is of the utmost importance.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Meth Skin-Picking and Abscesses

meth skin-picking and abscesses

Methamphetamine abuse is a growing problem in the US. The drug can cause serious issues for users, affecting their physical and mental health as well as the overall quality of their lives. Meth skin-picking and abscesses are two of the more concerning issues for people who are addicted to the drug.

Dangers of Meth

The most devastating result of sustained meth use is overdose, which can often be fatal. In fact, there has been a surge of overdose deaths over the past several years. From 2011 to 2018, the number of deaths involving methamphetamines increased from 1.8 to 10.1 per 100,000 men and from 0.8 to 4.5 per 100,000 women. There are no currently FDA-approved medications for reversing meth overdoses.

Additional risks are involved in the short-term and long-term use of meth, including damage to the nervous, renal, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular systems. Short-term use can also result in weight loss, anxiety, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and an abnormally low body temperature. Long-term use can cause damage to the kidneys and liver as well as to the heart. Psychological effects such as paranoia, depression, anxiety, and hallucinations are also potential health hazards.

Common Concerns Among Meth Users

Meth is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system. It can produce feelings of increased energy and euphoria. It can be used as a white powder, in a semitransparent crystal form, or in pill form. When the meth is injected, it puts the individual at a higher risk of contracting an infection such as hepatitis C or HIV and at a higher risk for skin infections.

A common issue for meth users is the hallucination that they have bugs or parasites crawling under their skin, a condition known as parasitosis. They will try to get rid of the bugs by picking their skin. This type of meth skin-picking will often result in an infection, including the type of infections and abscesses that can make the individual very ill.

Scars left by skin-picking may be embarrassing for the meth user who is seeking treatment for their addiction. However, it’s critically important to get professional medical help for the infection as well as for the substance use, so the individual can return to a healthy life, physically and mentally.

Factors Affecting the Skin

In addition to the neurological sensation of something crawling under the skin, meth users have a number of other risk factors involved that may affect their tendency toward skin-picking and the resulting abscesses. Most seriously, injecting the drug is associated with the development of a condition known as necrotizing fasciitis, a bacterial infection that can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated appropriately.

In addition, a lack of proper hygiene can contribute to skin issues, particularly infections, abscesses, and cellulitis, also a bacterial skin infection. Many of these infections are self-treated by the meth user, in an attempt to heal the skin or to cover up the fact that they have been engaging in skin-picking.

A staph infection known as MRSA has been found in many of the cases of skin issues treated in the emergency room. Since it is not uncommon for meth users to live in unhygienic situations or to inject the drug in an unsafe manner, they can contract the infection easily. Injecting meth with unsterile equipment, in addition to using contaminated drug solutions, introduces a high load of bacteria to the body and to the skin. In fact, the injection of crystal meth has resulted in frequent visits to the emergency room for treatment of cellulitis, abscesses, and other types of skin infections.

Treatment for Skin-Picking

These infections and abscesses resulting from skin-picking need to be treated properly and promptly for them to heal and to avoid more serious consequences. The most effective solution to reduce or eliminate the meth skin-picking behavior itself is to treat that individual for their addiction. Once the person has detoxed and the drug leaves their system, the symptoms of hallucinations as well as the perceived need to pick their skin will typically subside as well, usually within a few days or weeks.

Help for Your Addiction

At Hope by the Sea, a southern California addiction treatment center, we focus on helping you begin your journey of recovery from drug abuse as well as mental health issues. We specialize in treating you as a whole individual, so you can embrace your recovery with as much support and momentum as possible.

Our team continues to follow federal, state, and local public health guidelines regarding COVID-19 to ensure our clients' safety. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and services. Hope Starts Here!

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

What to Say to an Alcoholic

what to say to an alcoholic

If you share your home with an alcoholic drinker, you’re probably all too familiar with exchanges like the following:

“I’ll just stay long enough for one drink.”
“That’s what you said the last ten times.”
“You’re making a big deal over nothing.”
“You call those dents in the car ‘nothing’? And what about the mess you threw up on the floor last night?” 
“I don’t remember any mess.”
“That’s because I had to clean it up.”
“It’s your whining and nagging that’s driving me to drink!” 

After a couple of rounds, it no longer matters who’s right: nothing is left but a pointless battle of two made-up minds. Privately, you blame yourself for not knowing what to say that would make a difference.

What Not to Say to an Alcoholic

What you most want to say may be the worst thing you can say. No one, especially when already feeling put upon, responds well to any of the following:

  • “Why can’t you ever …”
  • “You’re just irresponsible/weak/selfish”
  • “You just need to quit/wise up/do the right thing.”

“Just” is a four-letter word best avoided at all costs. For one thing, true alcoholism is an illness that’s neither simple nor easy to recover from. Plus, alcoholism is dangerous not only in the obvious health effects, but also because physical withdrawal symptoms may include seizures, disrupted heart rhythm, or breathing difficulties: telling someone to “just quit” (presumably without medical supervision) is asking them to risk serious, possibly lethal, illness.

Why “Reason” Doesn’t Work

Even without the accusatory attitude, it’s challenging at best to get across the idea, “You should stop drinking; it’s only hurting you and everyone else.” People with alcoholism usually feel that “no one understands”—and, as seen in the previous section, they’re often partly right. Unfortunately, the next “logical” conclusion is, “I’m the only one who knows what I really need, so I’m entitled to do whatever feels right to me.” From there, it’s easy to rationalize away the best counterarguments.

Even minor habits become too “natural” for anyone to be easily talked out of. Addiction makes the brain virtually incapable of absorbing any thought that contradicts the now-dominant idea, “I can’t live without my regular drink.” So if what you say to an alcoholic is to have any meaningful impact, then context, attitude, and timing are as important as the words.

How to Make Your Words Matter

Start by learning all you can about alcohol use disorder and the mindset it generates. (An Al-Anon or similar group can help.) Then, as you prepare to broach the topic, remember to:

  • Bring up the subject when the drinker is sober and clearheaded and in a receptive mood
  • Be empathetic—avoid treating an illness as a character flaw
  • Be ready to suggest a treatment program or next step, but only after you state what you (the one whose actions you control) have decided to do: e. g., “I will not put any more of my money into our shared account where it could be spent on liquor”
  • Not get distracted into arguments over what you’ve done wrong (you’ve likely played some role in the problem, but that shouldn’t be the focus of this conversation)
  • Focus on concrete evidence of specific problems caused by the drinking habit.

You Can’t Do It Alone

It’s often most effective to plan the conversation as an “intervention”: several people, not just you, confronting the alcoholic in the manner described above. However, a poorly managed intervention can prove worse than no conversation at all, so avoid inviting anyone who’s overbearing or emotionally unpredictable. And get advice from an experienced professional before you plan the intervention. 

Professional help is also necessary in your loved one’s detox and long-term recovery, and for advising you and the rest of the family on how best to help. Ultimately, it’s not so much what you say to an alcoholic that makes a difference, but how well your actions reinforce your words.

It’s Not a Hopeless Battle

Contrary to popular rumor, an alcoholic doesn’t have to “hit bottom” before there’s a chance of convincing him or her to get treatment: any time is the right time to start doing something about the problem. At Hope by the Sea, we offer detox and extended care for alcohol and most other substance use disorders. We also offer intervention services and family counseling. Contact us today to learn more. Hope Starts Here! 

Friday, June 25, 2021

Lorazepam Side Effects

lorazepam side effects

Medications that are prescribed for a particular condition can often be misused or abused. Even when the drug is used as directed and supervised by a healthcare professional, it can cause unexpected results. A benzodiazepine called lorazepam is one of those drugs with a positive purpose; however, lorazepam side effects must be watched carefully.

What is Lorazepam?

The medication lorazepam, also marketed under the brand name Ativan, is prescribed for insomnia, anxiety, or sleep issues associated with stress or anxiety. The drug can also be used to treat seizures and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Primarily prescribed for anxiety, lorazepam has been proven effective for treating the symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), including fatigue, restlessness, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.


Lorazepam is safe and effective when taken properly, as prescribed and monitored by a healthcare professional. However, as a benzodiazepine, it can produce a physical or emotional dependence or addiction, even when taken as directed. Dependence can develop after taking the medication for two or more weeks on a daily basis.

The risk of dependence on the drug will increase with longer term use and with higher doses. The potential for becoming addicted is also increased in individuals who have a history of drug abuse or alcoholism or who have been diagnosed with significant personality disorders. These individuals should remain under careful supervision while taking lorazepam.

In addition, an individual should not take lorazepam if they have been diagnosed with narrow-angle glaucoma or have a history of an allergic reaction to the drug benzodiazepine, including Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, or diazepam. Since there are known lorazepam side effects that can affect breathing, the healthcare professional prescribing the drug should be aware if there have been breathing problems, including COPD and sleep apnea, kidney or liver disease, a history of depression or mood problems, an addiction to other drugs or alcohol, or suicidal thoughts or behavior.

Interactions with Other Substances

Dangerous lorazepam side effects can occur if it is taken with other substances, particularly alcohol and other opioid medications. Serious side effects when taking lorazepam with an opioid drug can include slowed and difficult breathing. In fact, the interaction can be fatal. Opioid drugs include medications used to treat pain such as oxycodone, codeine, morphine, and illegal drugs such as heroin. Cough syrup, sleeping pills, and muscle relaxers can contain medications that will result in potentially life-threatening side effects when combined with lorazepam.

Lorazepam Side Effects

Even when prescribed legally and taken as directed by a healthcare professional, lorazepam can produce side effects in some people. Common side effects include a feeling of weakness, drowsiness, nausea, dizziness, unsteadiness, loss of orientation, headaches, blurred vision, sleep issues, changes in appetite, amnesia, and sleep apnea. It can also cause depression in some individuals.

More serious lorazepam side effects include tremors, jerky movements, restlessness, and muscle spasms. The medication can also cause respiratory depression, seizures, and suicidal thoughts or attempts.

Since the drug has the potential for dependence or addiction, serious withdrawal symptoms can occur if an individual suddenly stops taking it, including agitation and a loss of a sense of self-worth. These withdrawal symptoms can appear when an individual stops using the medication, after as little as one week of taking lorazepam. Gradual tapering off the drug is a much safer approach.


It is possible to overdose when taking lorazepam. If this happens, call 911 or the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately. Overdose symptoms include impaired coordination, confusion, and slow reflexes. An overdose can result in a coma and death. A medicine to reverse the effects of lorazepam, in the case of an overdose, exists and must be given intravenously in a medical setting.

Help for Drug Abuse Issues

At Hope by the Sea, a southern California addiction treatment center, we work with you to begin the journey of recovery from drug abuse as well as mental health issues. We specialize in treating you as a whole individual, as well as your family members who are affected, so everyone can embrace recovery with as much support and momentum as possible.

Our team continues to follow federal, state, and local public health guidelines regarding COVID-19 to ensure our clients' safety. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and services. Hope Starts Here!

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