YOUR HEALTH AND ALCOHOL

See also: AD/HD Attention Deficit Disorder and Alcohol
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See also: Children of Alcoholics
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See also: Heavy Drinking
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See also: Prevention
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See also: Teens and Alcohol
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See also: Women and Alcohol
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"Alcohol drinkers three times as likely to die from injury", ACCIDENT ANALYSIS AND PREVENTION (2005) March. "People who regularly drink alcohol are three times as likely to die from injury as are nondrinkers and former drinkers of alcohol, according new research for the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The researchers found that drinkers, defined as anyone who had at least 12 drinks in a survey year, had a greater risk of dying from each cause of injury when compared to nondrinkers and former drinkers. The greatest increase in risk was for drowning: drinkers were 3.6 times as likely to drown as nondrinkers. The researchers also learned that female drinkers had a greater increase risk of committing suicide or homicide than male drinkers. The study authors said these gender differences might be due to physiological factors. Past studies have shown that for the same alcohol intake, blood alcohol concentrations rise more quickly, reach a higher peak and stay elevated for a longer time in women. The study found that 54 to 64 percent of injury deaths occur in current drinkers. It is clear that drinking is associated with a significantly increased risk for all types of fatal injury.

Alcohol third leading cause of disease, injury@About.com
Alcohol consumption is now the third leading cause of disease and injury worldwide, behind only high blood pressure and smoking tobacco. Alcohol has become the third most harmful cause of disease in spite of the fact that less than half of the population of the Earth consumes alcohol,

At-Risk Drinking--even moderate drinking, under certain circumstances, is not risk free, drinking at more than moderate levels (2 drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women) you may be putting yourself at risk for serious health problems with family, friends, and coworkers.
http://www.verywell.com/what-is-at-risk-alcohol-drinking-67237

 

Assaad, J. M.; Pihl, R. O.; Sequin, J. R.; Nagin, D.; Viitaro, F.; Carbonneau, R.; Tremblay, R. E.; "Aggressiveness, family history of alcoholism, and the heart rate response to alcohol intoxication", EXPERIMENTAL AND CLINICAL PSYCHPOPHARMACOLOGY (2003), 11 (2): 156-66. Some sons of male alcoholics (SOMAs) are characterized by an increased hart rate (HR) response to alcohol intoxication, which is thought to reflect increased sensitivity to alcohol-induced reward. Such a response has also been related to increased physical aggression. Results indicate that aggressive SOMAs had the highest intoxicated HR response that that they reported the most alcohol consumption. This suggests that in some cases the high comorbidity between alcohol misuse and aggression is related to and increased sensitivity to alcohol-induced reward.

Benedetti, Andrea; Parent, Marie-Elise; Siemiatycki, Jack; "Lifetime consumption of alcoholic beverages and risk of 13 types of cancer in men: results from case-control study in Montreal", CANCER PREVENTION AND DETECTION (2009), 32 (5-6), 352-362. Investigates the association between lifetime consumption of alcoholic beverages and caner risk. Results: for several cancers (esophagus, stomach, colon, liver, pancreas, lung, prostate) there was evidence of increased risk among alcohol consumers compared with abstainers and occasional drinkers. For most sites, it was beer and to a lesser extent spirits consumption that drove the excess risks. The results support the hypothesis that moderate and high alcohol intake levels over the lifetime might increase cancer risk at several sites.

Bingham, C Raymond; Shope, Jean T.; Tang, Xianli ; "Drinking behavior from high school to young adulthood: differences by college education", ALCOHOLISM: CLINICAL & EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH (2005), 29(12):2170-2180. "To better understand patterns of at-risk alcohol use and its association with education, this study compared at-risk alcohol use from 12th grade to young adulthood (age 24) in a sample of never-married young adults. Three groups were formed based on completed education when the survey was administered in young adulthood: high school or less, postsecondary education without a four-year college degree, and completed college. Men who completed college experienced the greatest increase in at-risk drinking from grade 12 to young adulthood; however, their at-risk alcohol use did not differ markedly from men in the other education groups in young adulthood. Men who did not complete college had high levels of alcohol risk in 12th grade and maintained or increased those levels in young adulthood, demonstrating a pattern of prolonged risk. Women whose completed education was high school or less experienced the fewest increases in at-risk alcohol use. Education group differences were not explained by place of residence or employment status. Conclusions: These results emphasize the need to intervene early to prevent at-risk alcohol use, and emphasize that at-risk alcohol use is neither unique, nor necessarily the highest among individuals who complete college."

Breslow, Rosalind A.; Guenther, Patricia M.; Smothers, Barbara A.; "Alcohol drinking patterns an diet quality: the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey", AMERICAN JOURNAL OF EPIDEMIOLOGY (2006), 163 (4): 359-366. The authors examined associations between alcohol and diet quality (Healthy Eating Index --HEI scores) using cross-sectional, nationally representative data from the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. 3,729 participants aged 20 or older were studied. In the author's stratified analyses, the lowest HEI score, 58.5% (95%CI: 55.6, 61.5) occurred among drinkers who consumed the highest quantity at the lowest frequency. Average volume of alcohol consumed is driven by and masks the contributions of its components. These results suggest the importance of measuring drinking patterns (quantity, frequency, and stratified combinations) in epidemiologic alcohol-diet studies. Healthier diets were characterized by healthier drinking patterns. Breslow stated she believes it is important that women have not more than 1 drink per day and that men have not more than 2 drinks per day--the alcohol consumption recommendations set forth in the sixth edition of DIETARY GUIDELINES FOR AMERICANS, the federal government's science-based advice to promote health and reduce risk of chronic diseases though nutrition and physical activity.

Chakkalakal, Dennis A. ; "Alcohol-induced bone loss and deficient bone repair" ALCOHOLISM: CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH (2005), 29(12):2077-2090. "Chronic consumption of excessive alcohol eventually results in an osteopenic skeleton and increased risk for osteoporosis. Alcoholics experience not only increased incidence of fractures from falls, but also delays in fracture healing compared with non-alcoholics. In this review the term "alcohol-induced bone disease" is used to refer to these skeletal abnormalities. Alcohol-induced osteopenia is distinct from osteoporoses such as postmenopausal osteoporosis and disuse osteoporosis. Gonadal insufficiency increases the rate of bone remodeling, whereas alcohol decreases this rate. Thus, histomorphometric studies show different characteristics for the bone loss that occurs in these two disease states. In particular, alcohol-induced osteopenia results mainly from decreased bone formation rather than increased bone resorption. Human, animal and cell culture studies of the effects of alcohol on bone strongly suggest alcohol has a dose-dependent toxic effect on osteoblast activity. The capacity of bone marrow stromal cells to differentiate into osteoblasts has a critical role in the cellular processes involved in the maintenance of the adult human skeleton by bone remodeling. Chronic alcohol consumption suppresses osteoblastic differentiation of bone marrow cells and promotes adipogenesis. In fracture healing, the effect of alcohol is to suppress synthesis of an ossifiable matrix, possibly due to inhibition of cell proliferation and maldifferentiation of mesenchymal cells in the repair tissue. This results in the deficient bone repair observed in animal studies, characterized by repair tissue of lower stiffness, strength and mineral content. Current knowledge of cellular effects and molecular mechanisms involved in alcohol-induced bone disease is insufficient to develop interventional strategies for its prevention and treatment.

"Drinking in America: myths, realities, and prevention policy", U. S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (2002). Update fro 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Conclusions: "Most Americans abstain from alcohol or drink very infrequently--less than once a week. Our public policies and social norms, however, do no reflect this fact and make alcohol readily accessible at low prices. Alcohol sales are dominated by a relatively small minority that promote alcohol availability support and encourage these problematic drinking behaviors. Most Americans consume very little alcohol, so it is not surprising that large majorities of the population support stricter alcohol policies designed to reduce drinking problems, especially among young people. These policy reforms have been shown to be effective in reducing alcohol consumption and problems.

Elliott, Victoria Staff, "Vigilance urges for patients' lifestyle choices : AMA policy signals a renewed commitment to fight smoking, obesity and underage drinking." AMNEWS, July 7, 2003. "We have allowed companies to create an entire subclass of our society that are neurochemical slaves," said William P. Giffons, MD, a pathologist from Aurora, Ill. and a delegate from the Organized Medical Staff Section.

The AMA will "work to create a higher level of awareness about the harm caused by underage drinking and encourage more research in this area. Taxes on tobacco and alcohol should be increases to fund health care and health education."

Foster, Susan;"Alcohol consumption and expenditures for underage drinking and adult excessive drinking" JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (2003) February Underage drinking and adult excessive drinking (the amount adults drink in excess of two drinks a day) accounts for 50.1 percent of the alcohol consumed in the U. S. and 49 percent of consumer expenditures for alcohol.

The ten-month analysis reveals that in 1999 underage drinking amounted to 19.7 percent of alcohol consumed ($22.5 billion) and that adult excessive drinking amounted to 30.4 percent ($34.4 billion) - together $56.9 billion of the total 116.2 billion spent on alcohol.

"The alcohol industry has consistently underestimated the cost of underage and excessive drinking in the U. S. and the JAMA study give the American people the facts for the first time," said Mrs. Betty Ford and Joseph Califano.

Gunzerath, Lorraine; Faden, Vivian; Zakhari, Samir; Warren, Kenneth; "National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Report on moderate drinking", ALCOHOLISM: CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH (2004), 28 (6): 829-847. In support of the 2005 update of the U. S. Department of Agriculture/U. S. Department of Health and Human Services Dietary Guidelines, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism was asked to assess the strength of the evidence related to health risks and potential benefits of moderate alcohol consumption with particular focus on the areas of cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, obesity, birth defects, breast feeding, and aging. The findings were reviewed by external researchers with extensive research backgrounds on the consequences and benefits of alcohol consumption. This report now serves as the National Institute of Health;s formal position paper on the health risks and potential benefits of moderate alcohol use.

Bagnardi, Vincenzo; Blangiardo, Marta; La Vecchia, Carlo; Corrao, Giovanni; "Alcohol consumption and the risk of cancer: a meta-analysis", ALCOHOL RESEARCH AND HEALTH, 25 (4). Alcohol consumption has been linked to an increased risk for various types of cancer. A combined analysis of more than 200 studies assessing the link between alcohol and various types of cancer sought to investigate the association in more detail. This meta-analysis found that alcohol most strongly increased the risks for cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, and larynx. Statistically significant increases in risk also existed for cancers of the stomach, colon, rectum, liver, female breasts, and ovaries. Several mechanisms have been postulated through which alcohol may contribute to and increased risk of cancer. Concurrent tobacco use, which is common among drinkers, enhances alcohol's effects on the risk for cancers of the upper digestive and respiratory tract. The analysis did not identify a threshold level of alcohol consumption below which no increased risk for cancer was evident.

The risk assessment confirms that high level of alcohol consumption (more than four drinks per day) results in a substantial risk of cancer development at several sites. Lower levels of consumption result in a moderately increased risk for various cancers.

"Cirrhosis : A Threat to Heavy Drinkers
One of the largest threats to the health of chronic heavy drinkers is the damage that longtime drinking can do to their liver, which can cause cirrhosis, also known as alcohol liver disease. Approximately 10 to 35 percent of heavy drinkers develop alcoholic hepatitis, and 10 to 20 percent develop cirrhosis.

A damaged liver cannot remove toxins from the blood, causing them to accumulate in the blood and eventually the brain. There, toxins can dull mental functioning and can cause personality changes, coma, and even death. Even if a liver donor is found and a transplant accomplished that is still not a 100 percent guaranteed cure. Although survival rates have improved greatly for liver transplant patients in recent years,10 to 20 percent do not survive the transplant surgery." From About.com 01/04/05

Fan, Amy Z.; Russell, Marcia; Stranges, Saverio; Dorn, Joan; Trevisan, Maurizio; "Association of lifetime alcohol drinking trajectories with cardiometabolic risk" JOURNAL OF ENDOCRINOLOGY & METABOLISM (2007), 10:1210+1395. Alcohol intakes may vary considerably over a drinker's lifetime. This study was designed to examine whether lifetime drinking trajectories rea associated with cardiovascular risk factors that are used to define the metabolic syndrome (METS). The population were were ever-regular drinkers (n+2818) selected from health controls for the western New York Heath Study (1996-2001) in which life time lifestyle was ascertained retrospectively. Prevalence of the MetS and its individual components, including obesity, high triglycerides, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, and high fasting glucose, were the main outcomes. Conclusion: Early initiation of alcohol drinking and heavy drinking in adolescence and early adulthood may be associated with an adverse cardiometabolic profile.

Fan, Amy Z.; Russell, Marcia; Naimi, Timothy; Li, Yan; Liao, Youlian; Jiles, Ruth; Mokdad, Ali H.; "Patterns of alcohol consumption and the metabolic syndrome", THE JOURNAL OF CLINICAL ENDOCRINOLOGY & METABOLISM (2008), 93 (10): 3833-3838. Protective and detrimental association have been reported between alcohol consumption and the metabolic syndrome. This may be due to variations in drinking patterns and different alcohol effects on the metabolic syndrome components. This study is designed to examine the relationship between alcohol consumption patterns and the metabolic syndrome. 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination survey of current drinkers aged 20-84 years without cardiovascular disease who had complete data on the metabolic syndrome and drinking patterns (n=1529). The metabolic abnormalities comprising the metabolic syndrome included having the following: impaired fasting glucose/diabetes mellitus, high triglycerides, abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Measures included usual quantity consumed, drinking frequency, and frequency of binge drinking. Results: In multinominal logistic regression models controlling for demographics, family history of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and lifestyle factors, increased risk of the metabolic syndrome was associated with daily consumption that exceeded U. S. dietary guideline recommendations (more than one drink per drinking day for women and more than two drinks per drinking day for men and binge drinking once per week or more. By individual metabolic abnormality, drinking in excess of the dietary guidelines was associated with and increased risk of impaired fasting glucose/diabetes mellitus, hypertriglyceridemia, abdominal obesity, and high blood pressure. Conclusion: public health messages should emphasize the potential cardiometabolic risk associated with drinking in excess of the national guidelines and binge drinking.

Fillmore, Kay M., "Moderate alcohol use and reduced mortality risk", ADDICTION RESEARCH AND THEORY (2006), 14 (2): 101-132. Researchers looked at 54 studies in the United States, Australia and Canada that examined the link between alcohol consumption and health risks and premature death to determine if these studies contained a "consistent and serious error". Researchers found only seven studies that included only long-term nondrinkers in the "abstainers" group. Within those studies, results showed no reduction in risk of death among the moderate drinkers compared with abstainers. The findings suggest that caution should be exerted in recommending light drinkers to abstainers because of the possibility that this result may be more apparent than real. The authors said their report does not disprove that moderate drinking may benefit health, but that those benefits ma have been exaggerated. They suggest well-designed research in the future with more precise assessments of the participants alcohol intake and abstinence.

French, M. T., et al. "Easing the pain of an economic downturn: macroeconomic conditions and excessive alcohol consumption," HEALTH ECONOMICS, Sept. 12, 2011. Health economists at the University of Miami and the University of Colorado looked as data from 2001 to 2005 to determine rates of binge drinking, alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. They compared these rates with the rates of unemployment in the state. The researchers found that as state unemployment rates rise, drinkers are: likely to have more binge drinking days, more likely to drive while intoxicated, and are more likely to engage in problematic drinking. Surprisingly, the researchers found that this increase in drinking held true for employees who still had their jobs. "The way were explain this even though employed individuals have a job, they could be affected psychologically (e.g., fear of losing their job) from an economic downturn, leading them to have more drinking days and driving under the influence episodes as the State-level unemployment rate increases," says lead researcher Michael T. French. Other findings of the study include: the increase in drinking was true for all populations groups, blacks and those aged 18 to 24 showed the greatest increases in binge drinking, people who were married and had children were less likely to increase drinking, and those with higher education levels and income levels were more likely to binge drink.

Karlamangla, Arun; Zhou, Kefei; Ruben, David; Greendage, Gail; Moore, Alison; "Longitudinal trajectories of heavy drinking in adults in the United States of America", ADDICTION (2005), November. "Previous studies have suggested that people reduce their average alcohol consumption as they age. In the new study the researchers sought to determine whether the percentage of heavy drinkers--that is, men who have at least five drinks in one sitting and women who have at least four drinks -- also reduced as they aged. This latest study was based on data from 14,127 participants, aged 25 to 74, in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study, first administered between 1971 and 1974, with three follow-ups through 1992.

'While the researchers noted that heavy drinking declined with age, they found it fell more slowly among men compared with women and among smokers compared with nonsmokers. A higher probability of heavy drinking was associated with being unmarried, having less than a high school education, an annual income below the median, and not living in the Southeastern United States. Heavy drinking also declined faster among those who got married or quit smoking between follow ups."

Koop, Dennis R.; Alcohol's metabolism's damaging effects on the cell", ALCOHOL HEALTH AND RESEARCH WORLD (2006) 29(4): 274-80. "Alcohol metabolism's various processes create harmful compounds that contribute to cell and tissue damage. In particular, the enzyme cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1) plays a role in creating a harmful condition known as oxidative stress. This condition is related to oxygen's ability to accept electrons and the subsequent highly reactive and harmful byproducts created by these chemical reactions. CYP2E1's use of oxygen in alcohol metabolism generates reactive oxygen species, ultimately leading to oxidative stress and tissue damage."

Ling, J,; Hefferman, T. J.; Buchanan, t.; Rodgers, J.'; Scholey, A. B.; Parrott, A. C.; "Effects of alcohol on subjective ratings of prospective and everyday memory deficits", ALCOHOLISM: CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH (2003), 27 (6): 970-4. 763 participants: 463 female, and 298 males. Heavy drinking was defined as 25 drinks per week, moderate 10 t0 24 drinks per week and light one to nine drinks per week. (Moderate drinking is defined as no more than 2 drinks per day for males and no more than one per day for females.) Research has shown that heavy alcohol use has a detrimental effect on retrospective memory. Less is known about the effect of alcohol on everyday memory. This study examined self-ratings for two aspects of memory performance: prospective memory (for example, forgetting to pass on a messages) and everyday memory (measured by cognitive failures, such as telling someone a joke you told them before). The results support and extend the findings of previous research: the findings were consistent with the idea that heavy use of alcohol does have a significant and negative effect on everyday cognitive performance. Someone drinking more than 21 drinks per week for women and 28 for men should know they may have significant cognitive impairment from that.

 

"Longitudinal patterns and predictors of alcohol consumption in the United States, AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH (2005) March. The authors confirm that with increasing age, people do drink less. The researchers found that in general, white, married males with better education and income, and who smoked, tended to drink more than others. The but the researchers also noted that the faster age-related decline in alcohol consumption took place among married males with less education, who smoked and were born in earlier years. But the later-born generation is healthier and more accustomed to better healthcare, so they feel safer in drinking more as they age.

Mukamal, Kenneth J.; Massaro, Joseph M.; Ault, Kenneth A.; Mittleman, Murray A.; Sutherland, Patrice A.; Lipinska, Izabella; Levy, Daniel; D'Agostino, Ralph B.; Tofler, Geoffrey H.; "Alcohol consumption and platelet activation and aggregation among women and men: The Framingham Offspring Study", ALCOHOLISM: CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL METHODS (2005), 29(10):1906-1912. Population studies have shown that moderate drinkers tend to have lower rates of heart disease but higher rates of bleeding type strokes than abstainers. A potential mediator of these two contrasting effects of alcohol may be platelet function. This article confirms that moderate drinking has effects on blood coagulation - primarily as a "blood thinner" - which can have both positive and negative effects.

Mukamal, Kenneth J.; et. al.; "Rise of drinking pattern and type of alcohol consumed in coronary heart disease in men", NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE (2003): 348 (2): 109-118. 38,077 male health professionals aged 40 to 75 who were free of cardiovascular disease and cancer at base line (1986 to 1998). The authors assessed the consumption of beer, red wine, white wine, and liquor individually every four years using validated food-frequency questionnaires. During the 12 years there were 1418 cases of myocardial infarction. Compared with men who consumed alcohol less than once per week, men who consumed alcohol three or four to five to seven days per week had decreased risks of MI. These subjects had a overall decrease in consumption over the course of the study. "Conclusions: Among men, consumption of alcohol at least three to four days per week was inversely associated with the risk of MI. Neither the type of beverage nor the proportion consumed with meals substantially altered this association. Men who increased their alcohol consumption by a moderate amount during follow-up had a decreased risk of myocardial infarction."

"There is insufficient information to encourage patients who do not drink alcohol to start. The data on alcohol and cardiovascular disease are still correlative, whereas the toxic effects of alcohol are well-established."

If alcohol were a newly discovered drug (instead of a drink dating back t the dawn of human history), we can be sure that no pharmaceutical company would Alcoholism and co-occurring Disorders develop it to prevent cardiovascular disease."

Nicholas, J. M.; Fernandes-Sola, J.; Estruch, R.; Pare, J. C.; Sacanella, E.; Urbano-Marquez, A.; Rubin, E.; "The effect of controlled drinking in alcoholic cardiomyopathy", ANNALS OF INTERNAL MEDICINE (2002), 136 (3): 192-200. (30 subjects.)

Cardiomyopathy, a degenerative of the heart muscle, is a potentially fatal complication of alcohol abuse for 15 to 40 percent of cases in the Western world. In alcoholic persons who develop cardiac dysfunction, abstinence is thought to be essential to halt further deterioration of cardiac contractility. Some evidence indicates that reducing alcohol intake may also be beneficial.

In conclusion, patients with alcoholic cardiomyopathy, both abstinence and controlled drinking of up to 60g of ethanol per day (four standard drinks) were comparably effective in promoting improvement in cardiac function.

Nutt, D. J., et. al, "Drug harms in the U. K.: a multicriteria decision analysis," THE LANCET , November 1, 2010. Alcohol is the world's most dangerous drug when you consider the harm it does to drinkers, their friends and families and to society in general. The harm that alcohol does exceeds the dangers of even heroin and crack cocaine when the overall danger to the user and others is taken into account. This is the conclusion of a panel of British experts that assessed and ranked the harm caused by 20 different drugs, both legal and illegal. Member of Britain' Independent Scientific committee on Drugs (ISCD) and two specialists from the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) carefully assessed the harm caused by each drug in 16 separate categories.

The scientists ranked each drug on a scale of 0 to 100 in nine areas related to the harm that the drugs do to the individual and seven categories of harm the do to others. They looked at the physical, psychological and social arm the drugs do to life expectancy, health risks, dependence, mental functioning, loss of tangibles, loss of relationships, crime, costs to society, family adversities and other factors. By applying a multicriteria decision analysis to each drug and then weighing which harms are more important than others, the scientists were able to give each drug a score that would be compared and combined across all 16 criteria.

The panel's analysis showed that heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine were the most harmful drugs to the individual user, while alcohol, heroin and crack were the most harmful to others. When the two harms were combined, the overall most harmful drugs were alcohol heroin and crack cocaine. Here are the scores each drug received for overall harm caused on a scale of 0 to 100:
* Alcohol 72
* Heroin 55
* Crack Cocaine 54
* Methamphetamine 33
* Cocaine 27
* Tobacco 26
* Amphetamine 23
* Marijuana 20
* GHB 19
* Benzodiazepine 15
* Ketamine 15
* Methadone 14
* Anabolic Steroids 10
* Ecstasy 9
* Buprenorphine &
* Mushrooms 6
The ISCD panel, chaired by Professor David Nutt, concluded that the current drug classification systems do no take into account the actual harms done by various drugs and have little relation to that harm caused. "It is intriguing to note that the tow legal drugs assessed -- alcohol and tobacco -- score in the upper segment of the ranking scale, indicating that legal drugs cause at lease as much harm as do illegal substances," Nutt told reporters.

 

Ostermann, J.; Sloan, F. A.; "Effects of alcohol consumption on disability among the near elderly: a longitudinal analysis", THE MILBANK QUARTERLY (2001), 79 (4): 487-515. The data on nearly 10000 male and female participants aged 51 to 62 beginning in 1992. The data was collected four times per year. The researchers distinguished between participants with a history of problem drinking and heavy drinkers, those without a problem history but who had three or more drinks a day. Those identified as heavy drinkers at the beginning of the study were 20 percent more likely to report a disability by the end of the study periods. They also found that problem drinkers who were not disabled at the beginning of the study were more likely to report a disability by the end of the study period.

Reinan, John, "Here's not to your health," HEALTH SCOUT NEWS REPORTER, Friday, May 10, 2002. Address: http://www.drkkoop.com/template.asp?page=newsdetail&ap=93&id+506398 (link no longer active)
"And because of cultural changes that have made it more acceptable for women to drink, they are closing the alcoholism gam with men.
"Over the last century, the rate of alcoholism has been 4-to-1 or 5-to-1, male to female," Morse says. "But in the baby boomer generation, it's now closer to 2-to-1. Women are gaining in this area, unfortunately."

Alcoholism's effects ripple though out our society, says Pace, who cites a sobering array of statistics:
*50% of family court cases involve the use of alcohol;
*38% of child-abuse case involve alcohol;
*80% of fire deaths and 40% of industrial accidents involve drinking;
*60% of murders involve alcohol;
*50% of suicides and 50% of fatal auto accidents involve drinking;
*between 20 and 40% of homeless Americans have a drinking problem.
*fetal alcohol syndrome is now the third-leading cause of birth defects in the United States.

Rice, J. P.; Neuman, R. J.; Saccone, N. L.; Corbett, J.; Rochberg, N.; Hasselbrock, V.; Bucholz, K. K.; McGuffin, P.; "Age and birth cohort effects on rates of alcohol dependence", ALCOHOLISM CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH (2003), 27 (1): 93-9. In the sample, they observed higher rates of alcoholism in more recently born individuals; analysis of family history information indicated a higher rate of alcoholism in relatives who were deceased; and co-morbid diagnoses of antisocial personality or depression, as well as cigarette smoking were predictors of risk. The family history indicates that alcoholics may die younger, so that a bias is introduced when only living individual are surveyed.

For example, Rice said, "the rate of alcoholism in female relatives born between 1950 and 1959, as well as those born between 1960 and 1979, was about 30%, compared to 4.5% in female relatives born before 1929. In the controls, the rate was 13% in recently born women, compared to 2.3% in women born during the 1930's. These are dramatic differences. A similar effect is seen in men, but not as pronounced."

 

Roehrs, Timothy, Roth, Thomas; Sleep, sleepiness, and alcohol use", ALCOHOL RESEARCH AND HEALTH, 25 (2). The study of alcohol's effect on sleep dates back to the 1930's. Alcohol has extensive effects on sleep and daytime sleepiness. In healthy people, acute high alcohol doses disturb sleep, whereas in insomniacs, lower does may be beneficial. Date from healthy people suggest, however, that tolerance to alcohol's sedative effects probably develops rapidly. This tolerance development may lead to excessive hypnotic use, and possibly, excessive daytime use for insomniacs.

The effects of alcohol appear to be bidirectional in that nocturnal sleep quantity and continuity and subsequent levels of daytime sleepiness also influence alcohol's sedative and performance-impairing effects. Sleep quality and daytime sleepiness may also relate to rates of alcohol drinking and become a gateway to excessive alcohol use. To investigate these issues and identify the mechanism underlying the relationship between alcohol and sleep remain important tasks, as does documenting alcohol's effects on other psychological functions during sleep.

 

Rosenfeld, Isadore, "Think before you drink,", PARADE MAGAZINE, April 6, 2003, page 6-7.
From a health standpoint, you should regard alcohol as a nonprescription drug legally available to anyone over the national drinking age. It is a sedative-hypnotic with a tranquilizing effect. Almost all the alcohol you drink is absorbed rapidly form the stomach or small intestine, reaching the brain within 5 minutes.

However, though it is listed as a food by the FDA, it has no significant nutrients, vitamins or minerals. Alcohol is mainly empty calories--and its abuse can cause big trouble.

Sense of Smell (Rupp, Claudia I., ALCOHOLISM: CLINICAL & EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH, March, 2003.) Alcohol abuse can lead to Korsakoff's syndrome, a severe mental disorder characterized by memory loss and disorientation. Individuals with Korsakoff's syndrome tend to have olfactory deficits: dysfunctions in odor identification, discrimination, memory, sensitivity, and intensity. New research has found that alcoholics without amnesia or dementia also have olfactory deficits.

"Our findings demonstrate that olfactory impairments exist even in non amnesic and alcohol dependence," said Rupp. "A large number of patients, 57 percent, had hyposmia, a diminished sense of smell. Impairments in odor sensitivity, discrimination and identification abilities were not related to age, gender, or duration of abstinence from alcohol; nor were they attributable to smoking habits or general cognitive abilities.

 

Sempos, C. T.; Rehn, J.; Wu, T.; Crespo, C. J.; Trevisan, M.; "Average volume of alcohol consumption and all-cause mortality in African Americans: the NHEFS cohort", ALCOHOLISM; CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH (2003), 27 )1): 88-92. Approximately two decades ago the major ethnic groups in the United States consumed alcohol at comparable levels. However, during the late 1980s and early 1990s, as the country experienced a 'drying' trend, there is good evidence that frequently heavy drinking fell among white men and women but not so amount African American and Hispanic individuals. "For African Americans in particular we need to develop evidenced-based interventions, health messages and other prevention programs that will reinforce the acceptability of drinking in smaller amounts while emphasizing the health and social harms of drinking larger amounts."

Truong, Khoa D.; Sturm, Roland; "Alcohol outlets and problem drinking among adults in California", JOURNAL OF STUDIES ON ALCOHOL AND DRUGS (2007), 68: 923-933. A new California study found that bars and nightclubs, not package stores, are linked to heavy drinking in adults who live in the neighborhood. This is especially true when the clubs are adult-only and do not allow minors. Researchers found that "minor-restricted establishments" had the most consistent and sizable effect on the level of adult alcohol abuse in the area.

"If the number of minor-restricted establishments increases, on average, from zero to two in a neighborhood, the prevalence of heavy episodic drinking in the past 30 days would increase from 11.1 percent to 14.3 percent among women and from 19.6 percent to 22.0 percent among men; and prevalence of riding with a driver who perhaps had too much to drink would increase from 2.9 percent to 4.1 percent among women and 4.0 percent to 5.5 percent among men," said author Khoa Truong, Ph.D.

Truong said the research brings into question the effectiveness of laws that limit total retail alcohol licenses based on general population numbers, when it might be better to limit certain types of licenses instead. "What's usually happening is that alcohol outlets are regulated at broader environments. It turns out that the action happens within a micro environment," said Truong.

STATE OF THE SCIENCE REPORT ON THE EFFECTS OF MODERATE DRINKING, NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON ALCOHOL ABUSE AND ALCOHOLISM, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, DECEMBER 19, 2003. In support of the planned 2005 update of the Dietary Guidelines, NIAAA has been asked to assess the strength of the evidence related to health risks and potential benefits of moderate alcohol consumption, with particular focus on the areas of cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, obesity, birth defects, breast feeding, and aging.

The following report was prepared by NIAAA scientific staff experts in areas of basic research (e.g., metabolism, toxicity, neuroscience), nutrition, and epidemiology, and was reviewed by external researchers with extensive research backgrounds on the consequences and benefits of alcohol consumption
http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/study-associates-alcohol-use-patterns-body-mass-index

"Taste test may identify alcoholism risk", ALCOHOLISM: CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH, June, 2003. This study found that individual with parents who has a positive paternal history of alcoholism (PHP) rate salty solutions as less pleasurable and sour solutions as more intense and less pleasurable than individuals with a negative parental history (PHN) of alcoholism. Also sweet taste sensitivity has been linked to impulsiveness and other related behavioral factors associated with alcoholism.

Complications of Cirrhosis, From National Digestive Diseases Clearinghouse, About.com 3/13/03. Loss of liver function affects the body in many ways. Following are common problems, or complications, caused by cirrhosis.

Edema and Ascites. When the liver loses its ability to make the protein albumin, water accumulates in the leg (edema) and abdomen (ascites).

Bruising and Bleeding. When the liver slows or stops production of the proteins needed for blood clotting, a person will bruise or bleed easily.

Jaundice. Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin and eyes that occurs when the diseased liver does not absorb enough bilirubin.

Itching. Bile products deposited in the skin may cause intense itching.

Gallstones. If cirrhosis prevents bile from reaching the gallbladder, a person may develop gallstones.

Toxins in the Blood or Brain. A damaged liver cannot remove toxins from the blood, causing them to accumulate in the blood and eventually the brain. There, toxins can dull mental functioning and cause personality changes, coma, and even death. Signs of the buildup of toxins in the brain include neglect of personal appearance, unresponsiveness, forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, or changes in sleep habits.

Sensitivity to Medication. Cirrhosis slows the liver's ability to filter medications from the blood. Because the liver does not remove drugs from the blood at the usual rate, they act longer than expected and build up in the body. This causes a person to be more sensitive to medications and their side effects.

Portal Hypertension. Normally, blood from the intestines and spleen is carried to the liver through the portal vein. But cirrhosis slows the normal flow of blood through the portal vein, which increases the pressure inside it. This condition is called portal hypertension.

Varices. When blood flow through the portal vein slows, blood from the intestines and spleen backs up into blood vessels in the stomach and esophagus. These blood vessels may become enlarged because they are not meant to carry this much blood. The enlarged blood vessels, called varices, have thin walls and carry high pressure, and thus are more likely to burst. If they do burst, the result is a serious bleeding problem in the upper stomach or esophagus that requires immediate medical attention.

Problems in Other Organs. Cirrhosis can cause immune system dysfunction, leading to infection. Ascites (fluid) in the abdomen may become infected with bacteria normally present in the intestines, and cirrhosis can also lead to kidney dysfunction and failure.

Obesity
Study Associates Alcohol Use Patterns With Body Mass Index
The body mass index (BMI) of individuals who drink alcohol may be related to how much, and how often, they drink, according to a new study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). In an analysis of data collected from more than 37,000 people who had never smoked, researchers found that BMI was associated with the number of drinks individuals consumed on the days they drank. Calculated as an individual's weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared, BMI measures whether or not a person is at a healthy weight - low BMI values generally indicate leanness and higher BMI values indicate being overweight.

"In our study, men and women who drank the smallest quantity of alcohol - one drink per drinking day - with the greatest frequency - three to seven days per week - had the lowest BMI's," said first author Rosalind A. Breslow, Ph.D., "while those who infrequently consumed the greatest quantity had the highest BMIs." A report of the study by Dr. Breslow, an epidemiologist in NIAAA's Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research and colleague Barbara A. Smothers, Ph.D., appears in the February 15, 2005, issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.
http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/study-associates-alcohol-use-patterns-body-mass-index

Sleep
The average adult sleeps 7.5 to 8 hours every night. Although the function of sleep is unknown, abundant evidence demonstrates that lack of sleep can have serious consequences, including increased risk of depressive disorders, impaired breathing, and heart disease. In addition, excessive daytime sleepiness resulting from sleep disturbance is associated with memory deficits, impaired social and occupational function, and car crashes (1,2). Alcohol consumption can induce sleep disorders by disrupting the sequence and duration of sleep states and by altering total sleep time as well as the time required to fall asleep (i.e., sleep latency). This Alcohol Alert explores the effects of alcohol consumption on sleep patterns, the potential health consequences of alcohol consumption combined with disturbed sleep, and the risk for relapse in those with alcoholism who fail to recover normal sleep patterns. ALCOHOL ALERT, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (July, 1998), 41.
http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa41.htm

Costs
Salize, Hans Joachim; Mohler-Kuo, Meichun; Godfrey, Christine; Holder, Harold D.; "Health economics of addiction", ALCOHOLISM: CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH (2005), 29(7): 1288-1291. Proceedings from a symposium health at the meeting of the International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism (ISBRA) in Mannheim, Germany, October, 2004. The symposium covered crucial aspects in the field of health economics research on alcoholism, for example, results of cost of treatment studies, evolution of health economic research in the past, methodological problems of cost-effectiveness studies, and the effects of tax or price policies for alcohol consumption and the increase of alcohol-related problems. Studies from the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Germany were presented underling that even in these highly industrial countries, health economic research is far from providing the essential evidence needed for adequate service planning or effective cost containment strategies int he field of alcoholism or addiction in general.

McMillan, Garnet P.; Lapham, Sandra: "Effectiveness of bans and laws in reducing traffic deaths: legalized Sunday packaged alcohol sales and alcohol-related traffic crashes and crash fatalities in New Mexico", AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH (2006), 96 (11): 1944-1948. The study compared the five years before and after the Sunday ban was repealed. The authors took into account historical trends, holidays and seasons of the year to make sure change s were not attributable to other patterns of risk. This study found that the "blue laws" or Sunday bans saved lives and prevented hundreds of injuries and fatalities from alcohol-related crashes. "The thing we know is accessibility of alcohol increases alcohol incidents, and that includes crashes. . .Now the study's here to prove that." Linda Atkinson, executive director of the Albuquerque based OWI Resource Center.

Sexuality
Research has shown that the sexual effects of alcohol are different for men and women. This is likely the result of both physical and social differences in the way women's bodies and men's bodies react to alcohol and respond sexually.

In thinking about the effect of alcohol on sexuality for men we can consider:
* Short term sexual effects of alcohol
* Expectancy effects (which means the impact of what we think alcohol is going to do for us sexually)
* Long term health and social effects
http://sexuality.about.com/od/sexualhealthqanda/a/alcohol_and_sex.htm

Not surprisingly, the amount of alcohol consumed has a large impact on whether there will be negative sexual effects of alcohol for women. Most of the research in this area has been with women who are, or were alcoholics. The main effects for these women of alcohol on sexuality are:
* Reduced sexual arousal
* Difficulty achieving orgasm, achieving orgasm less frequently
* Overall lower sexual satisfaction as compared to non-alcoholics
http://sexuality.about.com/od/femalesexualhealth/a/alcoholsexwomen.htm

Risky sex
http://sexuality.about.com/od/saferse1/a/alcoholriskysex.htm

 

updated 01/17/17