Affects of Alcohol on Women

There have been numerous recent studies revealing an increase in alcohol abuse amongst women, and an especially high increase in the number of college girls drinking to excess.  Studies also are showing alarming evidence that women are more vulnerable to alcohol-related liver, brain and heart damage. These findings regarding alcohol and women’s health, along with the fact that women are drinking more alcohol at younger ages, reinforces the importance of effective and comprehensive treatment centers for women with drinking problems.

In a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, women were shown to suffer more severe health consequences after abusing alcohol for shorter amounts of time than men.  The studies also revealed that women are more prone to liver damage, brain damage, heart muscle disease
(cardiomyopathy), and disorders of other muscles as a result of alcohol abuse.

Additionally, a study in Sweden found that alcohol abuse boosted the risk of death by five times in women compared with three times in men.  Although experts are not completely positive as to why alcoholic women are more vulnerable to the adverse effects of their addictions than men, there are several theories that a large number of metabolic and physiologic differences most likely play a role. Women have a higher percentage of fatty tissue in their bodies and less total body water content compared with men (alcohol dissolves more readily in water than in fat). As a result, compared to a man, a woman has less water in her body to absorb and dilute the alcohol.

Another thing that researchers and physicians point to is the fact that women have lower levels of an enzyme that helps break down alcohol in their system. If you know a woman who is suffering from alcohol addiction, call Passages today.


Fetal Alcohol Effects and Syndrome

It is well known that drinking alcohol during pregnancy is a dangerous and detrimental activity to your baby’s health. Unfortunately, many women still do choose to drink when they are pregnant.  If you are pregnant and take a
drink, whether it is a glass of wine, a beer or a cocktail, your baby is
experiencing the same health effects of the same drink.

When a woman is pregnant, whatever she eats or drinks goes directly through the bloodstream into the placenta.  For an unborn child, alcohol interferes with their ability to get enough oxygen and nourishment for normal cell development in the brain and organs. A developing fetus has very little tolerance for alcohol, and infants born to mothers who drank during pregnancy can have numerous serious side effects.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a condition of mental and physical defects which develops in unborn babies when the mother drinks alcohol during pregnancy. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome results in serious handicaps and can require a lifetime of special care for the child. Some effects of drinking during pregnancy are small body size and weight, slower than normal development and failure to “catch up,” deformed ribs and sternum, curved spine and hip, bent, fused, webbed, or missing fingers or toes, limited movement of joints, small head, facial abnormalities, nearsightedness, organ deformities, heart defects or heart murmurs, mental retardation, or severe learning disabilities If you are pregnant and have an addiction to alcohol, Passages can help.

STDs and Substance Abuse

Many studies have shown a strong correlation between heavy drinking and higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases.  Among people who drink alcohol and use drugs, the risk and occurrence of STD’s is even higher, especially amongst females. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, young adults who drink heavily are twice as likely to have sexually transmitted diseases as those who do not drink or use drugs.  This can be attributed to a number of factors.  When an individual is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors, which have many serious and potentially lifetime consequences.  As we all know, heavy drinking and drug use can lead to serious addictions and dependence-related problems, including loss of friends, family, housing, job, health, and even
life.  According to another study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each time beer taxes go up or the legal drinking age is raised, gonorrhea rates usually dropped among young people.  This shows a direct correlation between underage drinking and sexually transmitted diseases.  In addition to sexually transmitted diseases, alcohol consumption by people below the minimum legal drinking is also associated with higher incidences of adverse alcohol-related health outcomes (motor-vehicle crash-related deaths, liver cirrhosis, suicide, and violent crime, including domestic violence). Providing education, awareness and improved enforcement of minimum legal
drinking age requirements have been highlighted as some potential strategies to
reduce alcohol consumption by minors.

How the Brain Rebounds After Alcohol Abstinence

When an individual decides to give up drinking, there are numerous positive emotional and personal outcomes they can expect. Many people do not realize the psychological and physiological improvements they will experience as well.

In a recent study, scientists have discovered new brain cell development  during abstinence from perpetual alcohol consumption. When alcohol is consumed, it results in detrimental effects on the production and formation of new neurons in the brain. Alcohol particularly affects the region of the brain that controls learning and memory, and the region that is also linked to psychiatric disorders, especially depression. When abused and consumed in excess, alcohol damages the actual brain structure and limits is functions.  This is very apparent in the brains of chronic, long-term alcoholics.

Perpetual alcohol abusers display impairments in the ability to reason, plan ahead or remember.  In the new study, researchers found an inhibition of brain cell development in several alcohol-dependent individuals, and then observed a definite increase in new neuron formation and function after four-to-five weeks of abstinence. These findings are significant in regards to treatment of alcoholism and mental recovery.  Alcohol wreaks havoc on the brain and body, and many times a person does not realize how much it has caused them to mentally deteriorate or how their mental function has been impaired until they actually stop drinking.  At Passages Malibu, we see clients every day begin to experience the countless positive results of alcohol abstinence.

Passages Malibu and Pot

Cannabis (or more commonly known as marijuana, weed, or pot) is a very popular and prevalent drug in the United States.  It is even legal for medicinal purposes in some states; however, marijuana is highly abused.  When an individual smokes or ingests marijuana, the individual will experience distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and problems with learning and memory.

Several research studies have shown that chronic marijuana users have difficulty learning and decreased memory function, which can last for days or weeks after the actual physical “high” or effects of the drug wear off.  Therefore, chronic marijuana abuser are functioning at a suboptimal intellectual and physical level of capability all of the time.  Many studies also show a direct correlation between chronic marijuana use and increased rates of anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and various mental illnesses.

There are numerous misconceptions about cannabis addiction and treatment and about the actual addictive qualities of marijuana.  Many pro-marijuana users ridicule the idea that marijuana is addictive.  At Passages, we see people addicted to marijuana every day.  Marijuana is a gateway drug, meaning that individuals who abuse it typically drink alcohol more and abuse other drugs, drastically increasing their chances for becoming addicted to numerous substances.  Cannabis has definite withdrawal symptoms when an abuser stops using, which include vivid dreams (caused by the chemical THC), anxiety, irritability, decreased appetite, paranoia, tension and insomnia.

At Passages Malibu, we treat marijuana addiction and provide a medically supervised detox.

Cocaine Addiction and Treatment

Cocaine is currently the most prevalent and abused stimulant in America.  Cocaine abuse and addiction has numerous physical, emotional, mental, and financial consequences.  Cocaine abuse spans across individuals of all backgrounds and situations, whether it be inner-city crack addicts, teenagers, or middle-class suburbanites.

According to the National Institute on Drug Addiction, cocaine abuse actually causes biological changes in the brain due to altered levels of a specific brain protein that regulates dopamine, causing the brain to adapt quickly and to become severely dependent on cocaine. Consequently, the large number of people using cocaine has resulted in a large increase in the number of people seeking cocaine treatment programs.  Treatment of cocaine dependency is complex and should involve a variety of different and diverse treatment methods.

At Passages Malibu, we frequently treat individuals for cocaine abuse and offer over 16 different treatment modalities for our clients.  Our treatment program is tailored to treat the physical, emotional, and psychological damage cocaine has caused through individualized therapy as well as group sessions, physical activity, and a healthy diet plan. With a staff of over 100, plenty of individual attention and an emphasis on professional care, Passages is by far the most comprehensive and effective cocaine treatment center around.

Staying Sober for the Long Term

Staying sober for the long term is a very rewarding experience, yet in order to maintain permanent sobriety there is certain work that must be put in.  The first part of establishing a long-term sober lifestyle is to first and foremost get a firm baseline of physical abstinence from drugs or alcohol.  Once you are detox and physically sober, then it is time to do the emotional and mental work.

At Passages Malibu, once our clients are clear-minded, sober, and detoxed, they are set up with a team of 10 therapists, doctors, nurses, and after care coordinators to match their specific needs.  We focus a great amount of time and effort in your aftercare planning, giving you many resources to use once you are out on your own and beginning your sober journey. We also conduct weekly groups where the focus is about staying sober, and how to achieve lasting sobriety post-rehab.

Many people who complete a drug or alcohol rehab program end up returning to a chaotic and
busy lifestyle afterwards, and it is very important to allow time for rejuvenation.  Yoga, meditation, and regular exercise are great tools for remaining balanced and clear.  It is also very important to maintain an increased awareness of your moods and emotional stability.  If you are getting stressed out at work, or getting anxious, irritable or upset for no real reason, it is very crucial for you to be aware so that you can identify these symptoms and react accordingly.  Many individuals do not recognize these signs of disturbance early on, allowing them to progressively worsen to the point of relapse.  Balance is truly the key to living a happy, healthy and sober life, and at Passages we believe that supportive friends and family, goals, and fulfilling activities are the key to
maintaining long term sobriety.