Treatment Options For Alcohol Misuse & Addiction
Alcoholism can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the number of symptoms you experience.
Signs and symptoms of alcohol use disorder may include:3
- Struggling to lessen the amount of alcohol you consume
- Aiming to cut down on how much alcohol you consume or making unsuccessful attempts to do so
- Spending a lot of time drinking, looking for alcohol, or recovering from alcohol use
- Experiencing a strong craving or urge to drink alcohol
- Struggling or failing to fulfill essential obligations at work, school, or home due to consistent alcohol use
- Continuing to drink even though you know it is leading to physical, social, or interpersonal issues
- Giving up or lessening social and work activities and hobbies
- Drinking alcohol in situations where it is unsafe, such as when driving or swimming
- Developing alcohol tolerance so you require more to feel its effect, or you have a reduced impact from the same amount
- Getting withdrawal symptoms when you do not drink or drink to avoid these symptoms
There are various treatment options for alcohol misuse and addiction, including:10
When Is The Best Time To Drink Water
A friend forwarded me an interesting facebook post that claimed that the best time to drink water was just before going to bed. Upon careful reflection, it seems to me that this would be the worst possible time to drink water unless you really enjoy waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.
First off, as we have mentioned before, it is a myth that we must drink 6-8 glasses of water a day to be healthy. So right off the bat, drinking water deliberately to prevent disease is largely a wasted effort. Any excess water you drink must be eliminated from your body in your urine . In short, if you drink more water you will produce more urine.
There is however a commonly held belief that if you drink more water and produce more urine this will cause you to filter your blood to a greater degree and thereby remove any potentially harmful substances lurking within. This logic, however, is flawed for several reasons.
Firstly, I believe most people know that it is your kidneys that produce urine. These unsung heroes of human physiology perform a remarkable task. They are capable of filtering a huge amount of blood. Normal kidneys will filter about 100-120 ml of water per minute. This varies a bit depending on your height and weight, but these numbers will serve us well for our numerical example. For anyone who is interested in knowing how much their kidneys filter, the number shows up on most routine blood tests as the estimated glomerular filtration rate .
Your Chances Of Getting Kidney Stones Increase With The Quantum Of Alcohol
The more you drink alcohol, the greater the chances of your getting kidney stones. The reason is very simple. Substituting alcohol for water can dehydrate you as it acts as a diuretic. You can prevent getting kidney stones by drinking copious quantities of water. Substituting water with alcohol would be counterproductive as your body would be constantly losing water. If your diet has too much salt in conjunction with high alcohol consumption, then your chances of developing kidney stones increase as it causes greater quantity of calcium in your urine. Further, you need to avoid foods high in phosphates like beans, dairy products, and nuts and those which are high in oxalate, such as potato chips, French fries, beets, spinach, and nuts like the plague if your uric acid level is high. This combination of calcium and oxalates leads to the formation of renal calculi.Alcohol might adversely affect magnesium exchange in the kidney tubules caused by a marked increase of magnesium excretion in the urine, leading to hypomagnesemia.
Don’t Miss: Is Apple Cider Bad For Kidneys
Does Alcohol Affect The Kidneys
The kidneys are hard at work on any given day in a healthy person, but the kidneys of a heavy drinker work overtime. A heavy drinker is defined as a woman who drinks more than seven times a week or a man who drinks more than 14 times a week. People who maintain this kind of drinking habit are at double the risk for developing kidney disease compared to the general population, including moderate drinkers.
One form of alcohol abuse that contributes to kidney disease is binge drinking, usually defined as consuming four or five drinks within two hours. Binge drinking causes a personsblood alcohol content to rise to dangerous levels, which in turn causes the kidneys to lose their function so much, the term for this is acute kidney injury. Japans Internal Medicine journal noted that binge drinking can be a risk factor for such an emergency, including acute kidney injury , a condition whereby the kidneys are unable to stop dangerous levels of waste from accumulating in the blood, according to Mayo Clinic.
Alcoholism And Kidney Disease
The human body has dozens of vital organs, and the kidneys are among the most important. They regulate water intake and outtake, they balance the amount of minerals in the body, and they produce vital hormones, according to the Kidney Foundation of Canada. Threats to the normal functioning of the kidneys are serious medical problems, and alcoholism is a contributing factor to kidney disease.
If you or a loved one has pre-existing kidney issues or are concerned about alcohol consumption and kidney health, it may be time to seek professional help. Our admissions navigators are available 24/7 at to discuss treatment options and give you the information you need to begin your road to recovery.
Don’t Miss: What Is Kidney Responsible For
Cutting Down On Alcohol To Eliminate Back Pain
Severe pain relief is one of the reasons why people go binge drinking, but its not a healthy one. In fact, having a drink or two can actually contribute to chronic pain. For some people, it only takes a single glass for their pain and other symptoms to flare up. Given this reason, its worth understanding the physiological links between alcohol and back pain. While alcohol can act as a muscle relaxant for some people, it can also lead to muscle spasms, which in turn leads to back pain.
If youre in the habit of drinking a lot, your muscles are at a higher risk of becoming weak and dehydrated. And of course, lets not forget about your kidneys here, since they need to filter lots of water in order to break down the alcohol in your body. Since youre dehydrated, theres not enough water to filter, so your kidneys will take it out on your muscles.
Its one thing to have the usual symptoms such as swelling of your stomach lining, UTI, or kidney infection, but its another to have a more serious condition. Alcohol-related back pain can also indicate diseases such as chronic pancreatitis or acute pancreatitis , polyneuropathy, alcoholic hepatitis, and Hodgkin lymphoma. This is why you should check in with your doctor regularly if you have an alcohol habit, especially if you start to notice other things, such as neck pain and chest pain, which may or may not be related to your kidney or back pain.
Why Do I Ache After Drinking
Why are muscle aches and muscle pain a symptom of hangovers? What is going on in your body to make your muscles sore? This can happen due to multiple factors including dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, the bodys breakdown of alcohol into toxic metabolites and overall increased inflammation in the body.
Read Also: How Quickly Does Kidney Disease Progress
How Much Alcohol Can I Safely Drink
The American Cancer Society suggests that no one should drink alcohol due to its harmful effects on the body and its potential to increase your risk of cancer. If youve already been diagnosed with cancer, drinking alcohol could also affect your risk of developing a new cancer.
If you do choose to drink alcohol, limit your intake to no more than one to two drinks per day. A drink in this instance is equivalent to a 5 oz glass of wine, 12 oz beer, or a single shot of 80-proof hard liquor.
You Often Have Muscle Cramps Or Spasms
When we sweat, particularly during vigorous exercise, it can lead to a drop in sodium levels. During a high-intensity sweat session, theres only so much fluid to go around once we start to lose water. As a result, the body has to prioritize where the remaining fluid in the body should go. Most often, our circulatory system wins, which means our muscles have to take a backseat. If the muscles arent surrounded by enough water and sodium, they become extremely sensitive, causing involuntary muscle contractions or spasms.
Kidney Pain Kidney Stones And Kidney Infections: An Alcohol Link
What about the kidney pain some people claim to feel after a night of drinking? According to Dr. Bobart, theres no research to suggest a link between alcohol and kidney pain. But alcohol acts as a diuretic and can leave you dehydrated.
Similarly, theres minimal evidence to suggest that alcohol increases the risk of kidney stones or kidney infections. We do know that people who dont drink enough fluids have a greater chance of developing kidney stones. So, people who drink heavily and are often dehydrated may be at greater risk though the science of alcohols role in kidney stones is still unclear, he adds.
What is clear is that heavy drinking takes a toll on your organs, kidneys included. Many people drink more than they realize. In the U.S., heavy drinking is defined as:
- For women: More than seven drinks per week or more than three drinks in a single day.
- For men: More than 14 drinks per week, or more than four drinks in a single day.
I urge anyone who has any trouble with alcohol to seek medical help, says Dr. Bobart. Doing so is nothing to be ashamed of. We have a lot of avenues to help people, and there are resources out there to get people the help they need.
Alcohol May Cause Type 2 Diabetes Which Also Affects Kidneys
Diabetes has proven to be a severe condition which affects many people worldwide. It is a condition which affects the blood sugar, by either spiking it or decreasing it.Can alcohol cause type 2 diabetes? If that is youre your question, the answer is yes. Type 2 diabetes can be as a result of the effects of alcohol on the body, especially when consumed excessively. Alcoholic drinks, especially beer, are usually rich in carbohydrates, which can raise blood sugar levels, leading to type 2 diabetes.The intoxicant increases the risks of developing type 2 diabetes by excessive amounts of calories and carbohydrates. Drinking heavily also makes the body less sensitive to insulin. Liquor can also lead to type 2 diabetes by stimulating appetite, leading one to eat more than normal. It also affects food choices.
You May Like: Can Kidney Function Be Restored After Dialysis
Alcohol Affects The Liver Which Makes Kidneys Work Harder To Filter Blood
A liver is a major organ which can be affected by excess alcohol consumption. When the liver is affected and unable to handle the amount of ethanol consumed, the kidneys take over some part of its work. The rate of blood flow to the part of the body is kept at a constant level for it to filter blood. When the liver is impaired, the balancing act is affected, hence overworking the organ, which leads to its dysfunction.
How To Find Your Hydration Sweet Spot
The best place to start is to estimate how much water your body needs on average. I recommend starting with a half-ounce of water per pound of body weight, says Koskinen. Because muscle carries more water than fat, leaner people may stick closer to this number and those with more body fat may ratchet down, while people who are overweight or obese may want to use their ideal body weight in this calculation.
Many of us guzzle a set number of glasses per day to reach our H20 goals, which is a good way to get past your perma-parched ways in the beginningbut because hydration levels fluctuate day-to-day based on the weather, how hydrating your diet is, how active you are, and other bevvies you sip along the way, the amount of water you drink to fill in the blanks should be adjusted accordingly so as to not overdo it.
One of the easiest ways to fine-tune your hydration habits is to stop looking at it as a water-centric practice, and instead shift your focus to include fluids as a whole. Fluid doesnt just come from water, but from any beverage you drink, as well as many foods, says Koskinen. If soups, fruits and veggies, and smoothies are a regular part of your diet, then you might not need to replenish as oftenthe same goes for foods that melt at room temperature or are held in a gel matrix , she adds. Meanwhile, on days when youre a sucker for anything salty , an increased water intake may be required so the body can maintain equilibrium.
Also Check: How Big Is Your Kidney
How To Drink Safely
Safe drinking may sound like an oxymoron, but it can be done. First off, know your limits. If two drinks makes you feel woozy or you experience some mild kidney symptoms, it may be time to stop for the evening. It also helps to eat while drinking, keep tabs on how many drinks you’ve had, and avoid drinking if you have any medical or mental health issues.
You should also note that there are an increasing number of non-alcoholic alternatives. More and more bars and restaurants carry high-quality, non-alcoholic beers, have a few mocktails on the menu, and may even serve non-alcoholic wine or spirits. Keep in mind that if you put a lime in your club soda, nobody will be any the wiser.
Alcohol And Urinary Tract Infections
The use of alcohol may increase the risk of getting a urinary tract infection . UTIs that move to the bladder will affect the kidneys. Changes in hydration and electrolytes from alcohol intake can increase the risk for a UTI.
Symptoms of a UTI include:
- A persistent urge to go to the bathroom
- A burning sensation when urinating
- Cloudy urine
- Red, bright pink, or cola-colored urine
- Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
Read Also: Can Cashews Cause Kidney Stones
Alcohol’s Effect On The Kidneys
According to the National Kidney Foundation, alcohol harms the kidneys in the following ways.
- Interruption of function: High blood alcohol levels can cause changes in the function of the kidneys, interrupting the prime objective of these organs, which is filtering the blood.
- Interference with fluid levels: Another principle role of the kidneys is fluid regulation, and alcohol as a diuretic forces frequent urination and causes dehydration and possible kidney stone formation .
- Elevated blood pressure: Consumption of alcohol frequently causes high blood pressure, which increases the risk of kidney disease and other cardiovascular health problems.
- Interrelated liver damage: Chronic alcohol consumption can cause liver disease and liver failure, disrupting the rate of blood flow between it and the kidneys and detrimentally impacting all of them.
Some of these impacts won’t be felt until they cause you pain, or lead to other health conditions with recognizable symptoms. If you suspect you’ve overdone it on alcoholic beverages, seek medical advice before being prompted by severe pain: your doctor may be able to detect the early signs of kidney stressors before they cause irreversible damage.
What Can You Do
Always check with your healthcare provider to make sure it is safe for you to drink alcohol. Even if it is safe, it is important to drink in moderation. A good guideline is: no more than one to two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women and people over 65.
If you would like more information, please contact us.
Save this content:
Recommended Reading: Is Tylenol Bad For Your Liver Or Kidneys
If Youre Not Drinking Enough Water You May Experience Weight Gain
If youre not sure why youve put on a few extra pounds, it could be because youre not drinking enough water. As registered dietitian Megan Wong of AlgaeCal told Health Digest, Drinking water increases feelings of satiety, meaning a feeling of fullness. This could be why researchers have found a link between obesity and inadequate hydration.
One study, for example, led by Dr. Tammy Chang and published in the Annals of Family Medicine in 2016, examined the health habits of over 18,000 adults and found that those who werent well hydrated were more likely to have an elevated body mass index .
One reason for the connection between hydration and BMI may be the fact that people often misinterpret thirst as hunger, thus filling up on calories when what they really need is fluids. According to the Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation, 37 percent of individuals mistake thirst for hunger. Registered dietitian Trista Best explained that this mix-up in signals can cause late-night binge eating, overeating at meal times, and chronic snacking. The next time you think youre hungry, Wong suggested drinking a glass of water before immediately reaching for a snack.
Symptoms Of Alcohol Damage To Kidneys
After drinking, you may feel soreness around your kidneys. You will feel this soreness on both sides of your spine under the ribcage. It may be sudden, sharp, or stabbing pain. But, it could be a dull pain. Some people may feel it on one side, while others feel it on both.
Kidney pain can sometimes be hard to pinpoint. You may feel it in the upper or lower back. However, some feel kidney pain between the buttocks and the lower ribs. Alcohol may cause instant kidney pain. But, it may not cause pain until after you stop drinking.
Symptoms of the alcohol effects on the kidneys:
Also Check: How Do You Spell Kidney