La Coop P.A.- General and Forensic Psychiatry - Boutique-Private Psychiatric and Forensic Practice in Tampa-Clearwater-Florida



The newsletter this month is about alcohol and it's dangers. All of you know how I feel about it. The reason I feel this way is because I can't tell you how much pain and hurt that I have seen this single legal substance cause.

It not only effects the person drinking, but the others around them. This effect isn't only immediate, but in the years and generations to come. I can't believe the significance that some people place on this. This substance and it's abuse ruins families, careers, and relationships. I have witnessed first hand the death and destruction that the misuse of alcohol has caused. For example, a large percentage of people that complete suicide have alcohol in their system on autopsy.

I have several patients with this problem and I just wanted to fill you in on the latest data about binge drinking and where it comes from.

Until next time.

Dr. L

Informational Sites

The Etiology of Binge Drinking as a form of Alcoholism

This newsletter was inspired by a patient of mine that has a problem with binge drinking as his form of alcoholism. He knows that he has a problem, but he doesn't know what to do about it except for abstinence. This is what he should do, but as most people with alcoholism do - they rationalize the fact that their problem isn't daily and therefore it isn't a problem. But alcohol is a problem, and a costly one for the nation at that. Excessive drinking is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States and the cost of ethanol related health care, loss of productivity, crime, and accidents totals more than $223.5 billion annually (from an article in November 2011 Clinical Psychiatry News).

What is binge drinking? It is defined as 4 or more drinks per occasion for a woman and 5 or more drinks per occasion for a man. Heavy drinking is defined as more than 1 drink per day on average for a woman and more than 2 drinks per day on average for a man. ANY alcohol consumption by a pregnant woman or underage youth is considered heavy drinking. On a personal note when I was on this cruise in the past week, I was surprised to see how many teens are allowed to drink by their parents and they thought it was funny or I was odd when I was shocked by this. So, it is rampant and unacceptable because this allowance further reinforces alcohol use as OK or cool.

So, where does this come from? This data is from an article from the Archives of General Psychiatry - the April 2011 issue. The title of the article is: Rewarding, Stimulant, and Sedative Alcohol Respondeds and Relationship to Future Binge Drinking by Andrea King, PhD, et. al.

The article restates that a primary predictor of alcoholism is Family History of alcoholism. What they found is that people with a Family History of alcoholism have a different physical and psychological response to alcohol which makes them more likely to drink to excess. So, heavy and binge drinkers experience heightened stimulant and rewarding effects and diminished sedative effects of alcohol. Because of this - they are at risk of drinking heavier amounts and binging over time. Because they consume more alcohol overall, they experience more clinically relevant outcomes such as greater alcohol consequences (legally, socially, etc.) and higher rates of diagnosis of alcohol use disorders.

The bottom line message here is be aware. You don't know how many times I ask patients about a family history of Psychiatric disorders and they say "no" and later I come to find out that they have a serious family history of alcoholism. They (Psychiatric illness and substance use disorders) are one in the same and are both serious and should be taken seriously.

Thanks again for reading and if you have a topic you'd like me to address in a future newsletter - please email me.

Dr. L

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