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Teens and Alcohol

Experimentation with alcohol and drugs during adolescence is common.  Unfortunately, teenagers often don’t see the link between their actions today and the consequences tomorrow.  They also have a tendency to feel indestructible and immune to the problems that others experience.

Warning signs of teenage alcohol and drug abuse may include:

Physical: Fatigue, repeated health complaints, red and glazed eyes, and a lasting cough.

Emotional: personality change, sudden mood changes, irritability, irresponsible behavior, low self-esteem, poor judgment, depression, and a general lack of interest.

Family: starting arguments, breaking rules, or withdrawing from the family.

School: decreased interest, negative attitude, drop in grades, many absences, truancy, and discipline problems.

Social problems: new friends who are less interested in standard home and school activities, problems with the law, and changes to less conventional styles in dress and music.

Some of the warning signs listed above can also be signs of other problems.  Parents may recognize signs of trouble and possible abuse of alcohol and other drugs with their teenager. If you have concerns you may want to consult a physician to rule out physical causes of the warning signs. This should often be followed or accompanied by a comprehensive evaluation by a child and adolescent psychiatrist or mental health professional.

I had some friends in high school whom I never thought in a million years would drink.  It can be easy to hide for a while.  It’s when it starts getting out of control and ruining their life when it becomes a serious problem.  Just make sure you’re talking to your teen and trying to be aware of their lives and behaviors.



November 16, 2009 at 9:42 am 1 comment

Fetal Alcohol Sydrome

Fetal alcohol syndrome refers to growth, mental, and physical problems that may occur in a baby when a mother drinks alcohol during pregnancy.

A baby with fetal alcohol syndrome may have the following symptoms:
  • Poor growth while the baby is in the womb and after birth
  • Decreased muscle tone and poor coordination
  • Delayed development and significant functional problems in three or more major areas: thinking, speech, movement, or social skills (as expected for the baby’s age)
  • Heart defects such as ventricular septal defect (VSD) or atrial septal defect (ASD)
  • Structural problems with the face, including:
    • Narrow, small eyes with large epicanthal folds
    • Small head
    • Small upper jaw
    • Smooth groove in upper lip
    • Smooth and thin upper lip
Tests & diagnosis

A physical exam of the baby may reveal a heart murmur or other heart problems. As the baby grows, there may be signs of delayed mental development. There also may be structural problems of the face and skeleton.

Tests include:

  • Blood alcohol level in pregnant women who show signs of being drunk (intoxicated)
  • Brain imaging studies (CT or MRI) shows abnormal brain development
  • Pregnancy ultrasound shows slowed growth of the fetus

Avoiding alcohol during pregnancy prevents fetal alcohol syndrome. Counseling can help prevent recurrence in women who have already had a child with fetal alcohol syndrome.

Sexually active women who drink heavily should use birth control and control their drinking behaviors, or stop using alcohol before trying to conceive.

November 14, 2009 at 12:01 am 3 comments

Alcohol and Weight Gain

FE_PR_081202onwomen_weightgainAlcohol can be used as an energy source from the body.  By itself it is high in energy content, it contains 7 calories of energy per gram; this is close to the caloric density of fat, at 9 calories per gram. If you also take into account that many alcoholic drinks also contain added sugars then most alcoholic drinks can add a substantial amount of extra calories to the diet. For this reason many experts recommend limiting consumption of alcohol when trying to lose weight.

The energy from alcohol cannot be stored so it must be oxidised and converted into energy for immediate use by the cells. While our body uses up all the alcohol circulating in the blood, the oxidation of fats, carbohydrates and protein becomes suppressed; because of this more of these macronutrients are forced into storage than under normal conditions without alcohol. Alcohol can make you fat in an indirect manner.

October 31, 2009 at 1:45 am Leave a comment

What is Alcohol in Moderation?

Yes you hear all about not drinking.  But you don’t hear about what is “the norm” or considered acceptable while using in moderation.  I found a news article recently that talks about what they mean when they say moderation..

What is Moderation?

Moderation is often described in the US as two drinks a day for a man and one drink a day for a women. These drinks can’t be “saved” over time and then drunk in one day. A drink is:

Standard Drinks

Standard Drinks graphically illustrates information on the equivalence of standard drinks of beer, wine and distilled spirits or liquor. Its accuracy has been established by medical and other health professionals.

  • a 12-ounce bottle or can of regular beer
  • a five-ounce glass of dinner wine
  • a shot of liquor or spirits (either straight or in a mixed drink)

Remember that the alcohol content of standard drinks are equivalent [learn more about Alcohol Equivalence]. A drink is a drink is a drink. To a breathalyzer, they’re all the same. 6 For more, visit Standard Drinks.

Most countries define moderation at higher levels of consumption than does the US. For example, Australia, Italy and France consider from 3 to over four drinks per day for men to be moderate drinking. People are all different. To decide what level is appropriate for you, consult your doctor.

So there ya go! drink in moderation please.


October 31, 2009 at 1:12 am 1 comment

Alcohol-what it’s visually doing to your body!

anatomy of hangover

The best way to show what alcohol is doing to your body, is by using a visual.


October 31, 2009 at 1:02 am 3 comments

Alcohol Treatment Centers in Utah

If you or a loved one is suffering from alcoholism, here are some treatment centers for them.

Alpine Treatment Services – Offers 30 day & 60 day residential inpatient substance abuse program, transitional living, sober tracking, etc.  (801) 784- 8329.

Joshua House, The – A residential transitional care facility for women overcoming addiction.  (801) 427-2757.  Utah County, Utah.

Ark of Little Cottonwood, The –  Offers 28-day residential substance abuse program, a 90-day residential substance abuse program, transitional housing and sober living. (800) 370-9520.  Sandy, Utah.

Ascend Recovery – Offers 30, 40, 60 and 90 day residential drug rehab programs.  (801) 216-4800.  Highland, Utah County, Utah.

Cirque Lodge – Treatment for alcoholism and drug addiction.  Sundance, Utah.

Positive Adjustments Corporation – Offers outpatient substance abuse services for adolescents and adults.  (801) 466-4484.  Salt Lake City, Utah.

Renaissance Ranch – Residential and outpatient substance abuse treatment at a secluded mountain retreat.  Park City, Summit County, Utah.

Utah Summit Lodge – Adult residential drug and alcohol treatment program.  (435) 427-8808.  Fairview, Sanpete County, Utah.

Wilderness Quest Outdoor Youth Treatment Program – Wilderness living and twelve step, drug and alcohol, treatment center in Monticello, Utah.

YouthCare Residential Treatment Center – Residential treatment for youth ages twelve to eighteen who are experiencing academic, emotional, or behavioral problems including substance abuse.  800-786-4924  Draper, Salt Lake County & Utah County, Utah.

October 31, 2009 at 12:50 am Leave a comment

Binge Drinking in Adolescents and College Aged Students


Binge Drinking on College Campuses

  • According to a 1997 national study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, nearly half of all college students surveyed drank four or five drinks in one sitting within the previous 2 weeks.
  • Students who live in a fraternity or sorority house are the heaviest drinkers – 86 percent of fraternity residents and 80 percent of sorority residents report binge drinking.
  • In a recent study, 39 percent of college women binge drank within a 2-week period compared with 50 percent of college men.
  • Colleges with high binge drinking rates were also much more likely to attract students who were binge drinkers in high school.
  • In one multicampus survey, white non-Hispanic students reported the highest percentage of binge drinking in a 2-week period (43.8 percent), followed by Native American (40.6 percent), Hispanic (31.3 percent), Asian (22.7 percent), and black non-Hispanic (22.5 percent) students. This pattern of binge drinking differences among ethnic groups is also seen in high school students.

Consequences of Binge Drinking

Alcohol poisoning – a severe and potentially fatal physical reaction to an alcohol overdose – is the most serious consequence of binge drinking. When excessive amounts of alcohol are consumed, the brain is deprived of oxygen. The struggle to deal with an overdose of alcohol and lack of oxygen will eventually cause the brain to shut down the voluntary functions that regulate breathing and heart rate.

If a person is known to have consumed large quantities of alcohol in a short period of time, symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Vomiting
  • Unconsciousness
  • Cold, clammy, pale, or bluish skin
  • Slow or irregular breathing (less than 8 breaths a minute or 10 or more seconds between breaths).

Secondary Effects of Binge Drinking

  • In schools with high binge drinking rates, 34 percent of non-binge drinkers reported being insulted or humiliated by binge drinkers; 13 percent reported being pushed, hit, or assaulted; 54 percent reported having to take care of a drunken student; 68 percent were interrupted while studying; and 26 percent of women experienced an unwanted sexual advance


** Frequent binge drinkers were eight times more likely than non-binge drinkers to miss a class, fall behind in schoolwork, get hurt or injured, and damage property.

** Nearly one out of every five teenagers (16 percent) has experienced “black out” spells where they could not remember what happened the previous evening because of heavy binge drinking.

** More than 60 percent of college men and almost 50 percent of college women who are frequent binge drinkers report that they drink and drive.

** Binge drinking during high school, especially among males, is strongly predictive of binge drinking in college.

** Binge drinking during college may be associated with mental health disorders such as compulsiveness, depression or anxiety, or early deviant behavior.

** In a national study, 91 percent of women and 78 percent of the men who were frequent binge drinkers considered themselves to be moderate or light drinkers.


Obviously binge drinking is becoming a growing trend.   Being a college student myself, I have some of my own suggestions:

#1.  Having the right friends.  I’m not saying don’t have friends who drink, I’m saying have friends who are smart with drinking if they drink.

#2.  Put school first.  Yes college is a great time to go out and have some fun, but remember to put your priorities in an order that will be beneficial for you!

#3.  Be smart with how much you drink.

October 19, 2009 at 11:25 pm 1 comment

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