Alcoholism – PHYSICAL (#4)


 PREVIOUS: Alcoholic TRAITS #3b

SITE: “Alcoholism & the Brain: An Overview” (extensive)

PHYSICAL characteristics of alcoholism
• Blackouts: blocked memory – a few minutes, several hours or more
• Can cause: many physical problems (see below)

• Control: loss of mental & physical – leading to accidents, fights, falling down, lowered inhibitions (perpetrating rape, incest, assaults, killing..)
• Compulsions: talking for hours & hours – to a captive audience (like one of their children), continually repeating oneself, stalking, unwanted phone calls, esp late at night…

• Patterns of drinking : daily, weekends, periodic, binge, steady…
• Personality changes: chemical changes in the brain, serious blood-sugar level disturbance – like people with low blood-sugar when they’re out of fuel (food): headaches, nausea, very cranky, can’t think…
• Progressive – in 3 stages, from mild to psychosis & then death

🚦 Alcohol & Health
Accidents : burns, fall, fights…. 
Birth defects : binge drinking early in pregnancy is particularly risky for the developing baby

◘ Brain : inflammation, dementia & other neurological deficiencies
◘ Cancer :  alcohol consumption is a risk factor for cancers of the mouth, throat, colon, breast & liver (even 1 drink per day is linked to a 20% increase

◘ Depression : worsens overall mental health & sparks a vicious cycle
◘ Diabetes :  heavy & binge drinking rises the risk

◘ Digestion : alcohol alters the composition of needed bacteria in the GI tract, causing anemia, bleeding, gastritis, ulcers & other lesions, scarring
◘ Heart disease : heavy drinking appears to increase risk – high blood pressure & stoke…

◘ Infections : bacterial, respiratory & viral infections such as HIV, hepatitis (B & C), pneumonia & tuberculosis
◘ Immune System: affects the number of immune cells in a person’s system, alters their functioning, & can often kill existing cells

◘ Kidneys : affects rate of blood flow & disrupt hormones needed to filter the blood of harmful substances
◘ Liver diseases : alcohol poisoning, fatty liver, inflammation, cirrhosis

◘ Obesity : 2nd most calorie-rich nutrient after fat — packing about 7 calories per gram. heavy drinking is linked to increased weight gain
◘ Sex : F – unwanted pregnancies,  infertility, menstrual problems, reduced lubrication, harder to have an orgasm…
M – physical insensitivity, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, loss of sexual desire, ‘brewer’s droop’ into full-blown impotence

◘ Victim : more vulnerable to crimes, sexual & domestic abuse
◘ Death : alcohol abuse is the 3rd main cause of preventable death in the US, including drug OD  (More….)

ONE DRINK: Significant alcohol intake produces changes in the brain’s structure & chemistry, BUT some occur even with minimal use over a short time, to form tolerance & physical dependence

✴︎ 30 seconds after the first sip, alcohol rushes into the brain, slowing down its chemicals & pathways used to send messages. This alters mood, slows reflexes, throws the drinker off balance & they can’t think straight. Alcohol makes it hard to store experiences in long-term memory, so they won’t remember things later …. (More…. )

➡️ MRI scanner forms images using strong magnetic fields & radio waves

🌀 🌀 🌀

Behavioral Addiction is an intense desire to repeat some action that’s pleasurable, believed to improve well-being, or able to alleviating some personal distress – despite knowing its negative consequences

Researcher Jeffrey A. Gray (1981 & 87) proposed 2 brain-based systems which control a person’s interactions with their environment. Emotional situations are identified by the intensity of reaction, AND actions, based on what’s appealing or unpleasant.

⬇️ BIS & BAS brain activity have been connected to a broad range of psycho-pathologies, such as lifetime diagnoses of depression, anxiety, drug & alcohol abuse, ADHD & conduct disorder

Systems controlling actions:
1. BIS – The Behavioral Inhibition System motivates curtailing, stopping, or avoiding ‘dangerous’ behaviors which can lead to disappointment or loss.

People with strong BIS activity have a heightened sensitivity to non-reward, punishment or a new experience – which they avoid to prevent fear, anxiety, frustration & sadness, because they experience punishment as very anxiety-producing

🖤 OPPOSITE: People with low BIS (high BAS) activity have strong urges & desires, & are usually more impulsive & Extroverted

2. BAS – The Behavioral Activation System is the sensitivity to reward – actions that don’t produce punishment. It’s the desire to approach, pursue & achieve goals, with emotions such as elation, happiness & hope, especially when a benefit is imminent. Strong BAS activity produces impulsivity, & punishment is not a deterrent, so pleasurable behaviors will be repeat, such as the instant-gratification use of addictive abubstances

💚 OPPOSITE: People with low BAS activity have weaker urges & desires, & tend to be more careful & Introverted   (MORE….. scroll down)

❤️ FFFS = Fight, Flight, Freeze System


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