New Study: Hangovers Impair Thoughts & Performance Even After Alcohol Leaves the Bloodstream

According to a recent study, the effects of a hangover from heavy drinking on our thoughts and performance may last longer than originally thought.

The study, published in the journal Addiction, indicates that impairments in cognition observed in drunk individuals still occur the day after a session of heavy drinking, when little to no alcohol present in the bloodstream.

The researchers behind the study at the University of Bath, found that hungover individuals have poorer attention, memory and coordination than when sober. Impairment of psychomotor skills can also occur during a hangover when compared to sober.

The researchers suggest their findings have important implications when it comes to activities performed when hungover, including driving.

For example, while hungover, individuals might assume there’s little to no alcohol left in their system and get behind the wheel of a car. This study suggests there may still be impairment of the cognitive processes necessary for safe driving, even after alcohol is no longer in the bloodstream.

Researchers also warn that such impairments can show up at the workplace. Though most American workplaces have policies regarding intoxication at work, few have policies impairment from hangovers. The study’s authors suggest that employers consider revising those policies for worker safety.

A new report from the Center for Disease Control finds that excessive drinking costs the U.S. economy nearly $250 billion annually. The most significant cost was the lost productivity of hungover workers who either showed up for work barely able to function, or who were unable to show up at all, which cost nearly $90 billion. In total, all forms of lost productivity accounted for about $179 billion of alcohol-related costs.

Craig Gunn of the Department of Psychology and lead author of the study at the University of Bath said, “In our review of 19 studies we found that hangover impaired psychomotor speed, short and long term memory, and sustained attention. Impaired performance in these abilities reflects poorer concentration and focus, decreased memory and reduced reaction times the day after an evening of heavy drinking. Our review also indicated limited and inconsistent research on alcohol hangover and the need for future studies in the field.”

Senior author Dr Sally Adams added: “Our findings demonstrate that hangover can have serious consequences for the performance of everyday activities such as driving and workplace skills such as concentration and memory.

“These findings also highlight that there is a need for further research in this field where alcohol hangover has implications at the individual level in terms of health and well-being, but also more widely at the national level for safety and the economy,” Adams said.

The researchers are currently examining the true health and economic costs of hangover and associated risks with the next day effects of heavy drinking.

 

Senator John Cornyn Visits The Council to Host Roundtable Discussion on Opioid Addiction in Houston

Council CEO Mel Taylor welcomes Senator and Mrs. John Cornyn to The Council on Recovery
Senator Cornyn leads roundtable discussion

U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) visited The Council on Recovery on October 30th to host a roundtable discussion on opioid addiction in Houston. The discussion came a week after the President signed into law legislation that was originally introduced by Cornyn and U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA). The new law, called the Substance Abuse Prevention Act, will help local groups in Houston combat substance abuse.

Participating in the roundtable were representatives from The Council on Recovery; Addiction Policy Forum; the Success Through Addiction Recovery (STAR) Drug Court Program; Houston High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA); both the Fort Bend Community and Southeast Harris Prevention Coalitions; and law enforcement leaders from Houston, Galveston, Harris County, Victoria County, and Fort Bend County.

CEO Taylor describes The Council’s efforts to treat addiction

The discussion focused efforts to fight Southeast Texas’ illegal drug supply, divert those with substance abuse problems to treatment and recovery programs, and work with local communities to prevent illegal drug use.

The group was also given a demonstration of how to use a Naloxone overdose kit to revive an opioid overdose victim. During the meeting, more than 100 overdose kits were distributed to law enforcement officials attending the roundtable.

CEO Taylor addresses media questions

The Substance Abuse Prevention Act, part of the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, reauthorizes critical programs to reduce demand for narcotics, provides assistance to law enforcement and service providers so they can better combat opioid addiction, and supports those recovering from substance use disorders.

The Council on Recovery is Houston’s oldest and largest non-profit provider of prevention, education, treatment, and recovery services for individuals and their families affected by substance use disorders. The Council and its Center for Recovering Families are tirelessly at work battling opioid epidemic on a daily basis. If you or a loved one needs help, call The Council at (713) 942-4100 or contact us online.

How Drugs Alter Brain Development and Affect Teens

Changes in Brain Development and Function From Drug Abuse

Most kids grow dramatically during the adolescent and teen years. Their young brains, particularly the prefrontal cortex that is used to make decisions, are growing and developing, until their mid-20’s.

Long-term drug use causes brain changes that can set people up for addiction and other problems. Once a young person is addicted, his or her brain changes so that drugs are now the top priority. He or she will compulsively seek and use drugs even though doing so brings devastating consequences to his or her life, and for those who care about him.

(See moreStudy: Regularly Using Marijuana as a Teen Slows Brain Development)

Alcohol can interfere with developmental processes occurring in the brain. For weeks or months after a teen stops drinking heavily, parts of the brain still struggle to work correctly. Drinking at a young age is also associated with the development of alcohol dependence later in life.

What is Addiction?

No one plans to become addicted to a drug. Instead, it begins with a single use, which can lead to abuse, which can lead to addiction.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines addiction as:

A chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. Addiction is a brain disease because drugs change the brain’s structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long lasting, and lead to harmful behaviors seen in people who abuse drugs.

The good news is that addiction is treatable. The treatment approach to substance abuse depends on several factors, including a child’s temperament and willingness to change. It may take several attempts at treatment before a child remains drug-free. For those teens who are treated for addiction, there is hope for a life of recovery.

The Council on Recovery’s Center for Recovering Families has a broad spectrum of outpatient services for adolescents, including individual therapy, group therapy, high-risk behavior classes, and other education and treatment programs. For information, call 713-914-0556.

(Source: Get Smart About Drugs, a DEA Resource for Parents, Educators, & Caregivers)

Magic Mushrooms (Psilocybin) Remain a Popular Hallucinogen

Among the hallucinogens abused by those who have a substance use disorder (SUD), psilocybin mushrooms are still a popular source of getting high.

Similar to other hallucinogens, such as mescaline and peyote, and known on the street as “magic mushrooms”, they contain the hallucinogenic chemical psilocybin and are found throughout the U.S. and Mexico. Fresh or dried, these fungi have long, slender stems topped by caps with dark gills on the underside. Fresh mushrooms have white or whitish-gray stems; the caps are dark brown around the edges and light brown or white in the center. Dried mushrooms are usually rusty brown with isolated areas of off-white.

Psilocybin mushrooms are abused by being eaten or brewed as tea, or added to other foods to mask their bitter flavor. Their effect on the body may include nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, and lack of coordination. The psychological consequences of psilocybin use include hallucinations and an inability to discern fantasy from reality. Panic reactions and psychosis also may occur, particularly if a user ingests a large dose.

Effects of a psilocybin overdose include a longer, more intense “trip” experience, psychosis, and possible death. Abuse of psilocybin mushrooms can also lead to immediate poisoning if one of the many varieties of poisonous mushrooms is incorrectly identified and ingested.

Psilocybin is a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse. There is no currently accepted use  in medical treatment in the United States and no level of accepted safe use under medical supervision.

If you or a loved one is suffering from a substance use disorder as a result of psilocybin mushrooms or any other addictive substance, The Council on Recovery can help. Call us today at 713-942-4100 or contact us online.

Why is Early Childhood Important to Substance Abuse Prevention?

Recent research by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) indicates that substance abuse prevention in early childhood can help prevent drug use and other unhealthy behaviors and that intervening early in childhood can alter the life course trajectory in a positive direction.

The NIDA’s  online guide, Principles of Substance Abuse Prevention for Early Childhoodoffers research-based principles that affect a child’s self-control and overall mental health, starting during pregnancy through eight years old. It addresses the major influences on a child’s early development such as lack of school readiness skills, insecure attachment issues, and signs of uncontrolled aggression in childhood behaviors. Special attention is given to a child’s most vulnerable periods during sensitive transitions, such as a parents’ divorce, moving to a new home, or starting school.

“Thanks to more than three decades of research into what makes a young child able to cope with life’s inevitable stresses, we now have unique opportunities to intervene very early in life to prevent substance use disorders,” said NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D. “We now know that early intervention can set the stage for more positive self-regulation as children prepare for their school years.”

Principles of Substance Abuse Prevention for Early Childhood is published by the NIDA, part of the National Institute of Health.

The Council on Recovery’s Center for Recovering Families offers children’s services as part of our broad range of programs. Read more here or call 713-914-0556 for more information.

CDC Report: Excessive Alcohol Use and Risks to Women’s Health

Recently reported data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are shedding new light on the links between excessive alcohol use by women and the increasing risks to female health. Here are vital the facts from the CDC.

Although men are more likely to drink alcohol and drink in larger amounts, gender differences in body structure and chemistry cause women to absorb more alcohol, and take longer to break it down and remove it from their bodies (i.e., to metabolize it). In other words, upon drinking equal amounts, women have higher alcohol levels in their blood than men, and the immediate effects of alcohol occur more quickly and last longer in women than men. These differences also make it more likely that drinking will cause long-term health problems in women than men.

Drinking Levels among Women

  • Approximately 46% of adult women report drinking alcohol in the last 30 days.
  • Approximately 12% of adult women report binge drinking 3 times a month, averaging 5 drinks per binge.
  • Most (90%) people who binge drink are not alcoholics or alcohol dependent.
  • About 2.5% of women and 4.5% of men met the diagnostic criteria for alcohol dependence in the past year.

Reproductive Health Outcomes

  • National surveys show that about 1 in 2 women of child-bearing age (i.e., aged 18–44 years) drink alcohol, and 18% of women who drink alcohol in this age group binge drink.
  • Excessive drinkingmay disrupt the menstrual cycle and increase the risk of infertility.
  • Women who binge drinkare more likely to have unprotected sex and multiple sex partners. These activities increase the risks of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Pregnancy Outcomes

  • About 10% of pregnant women drink alcohol.
  • Women who drink alcohol while pregnant increase their risk of having a baby with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). The most severe form is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), which causes mental retardation and birth defects.
  • FASDare completely preventable if a woman does not drink while pregnant or while she may become pregnant. It is not safe to drink at any time during pregnancy.
  • Excessive drinking increases a woman’s risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, and premature delivery.
  • Women who drink alcohol while pregnant are also more likely to have a baby die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). This risk substantially increases if a woman binge drinksduring her first trimester of pregnancy.

Other Health Concerns

  • Liver Disease: The risk of cirrhosis and other alcohol-related liver diseases is higher for women than for men.
  • Impact on the Brain: Excessive drinking may result in memory loss and shrinkage of the brain. Research suggests that women are more vulnerable than men to the brain damaging effects of excessive alcohol use, and the damage tends to appear with shorter periods of excessive drinking for women than for men.
  • Impact on the Heart: Studies have shown that women who drink excessively are at increased risk for damage to the heart muscle than men even for women drinking at lower levels.
  • Cancer: Alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon, and breast among women. The risk of breast cancer increases as alcohol use increases.
  • Sexual Assault: Binge drinking is a risk factor for sexual assault, especially among young women in college settings. Each year, about 1 in 20 college women are sexually assaulted. Research suggests that there is an increase in the risk of rape or sexual assault when both the attacker and victim have used alcohol prior to the attack.

The Council on Recovery offers prevention, education, treatment, and recovery services for women experiencing alcoholism, drug addiction, and co-occurring mental health disorders. Contact The Council today to get help.