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For the most part, yes. Also known as antibacterial, some antibiotics usually prescribed to treat various infections can have interactions when combined with alcohol. However, it all depends on the drug type. While not all drugs under this classification result in severe reactions to alcohol, general warning such as “avoid alcohol” has been placed in the product labels as a precautionary measure.
When taken with alcohol, some antibiotics may cause life-threatening symptoms ranging from;
- Liver toxicity
- Fast heartbeat, flushing, and nausea
Other antibiotics may lead to unpleasant side effects like dizziness, or even drowsiness, which can also be worsened by alcohol consumption. For example, Amoxycillin is a very popular antibiotic that has been shown to interact with alcohol. While there isn’t a specific interaction that will lower its effectiveness, you should still avoid drinking alcohol if you’re unwell and being treated for an infection.
In general, alcohol consumption does interrupt normal sleep and lead to dehydration. It only makes perfect sense to avoid it as it may hinder the body’s natural ability to heal itself, which is why your G.P will highly recommend that you keep off alcohol primarily to give your body the best possible chance to fight the infection.
Common over-the-counter antibiotic medication that interacts with alcohol
There are numerous antibiotics where alcohol must be avoided at all costs. Drinking any amount of alcohol with drugs such as tinidazole and Bactrim may result in a severe reaction like flushing, headache, nausea and vomiting, and heart palpitations.
A typical drug such as metronidazole, known as Flagyl, is used to treat a variety of infections ranging from joint pain, lung infection, skin, stomach, intestine, etc. Taking Flagyl with alcohol has been shown to result in a reaction called a “disulfiram-like reaction.” Disulfiram is also a medication commonly used as a treatment for alcoholism, and it does so by producing a very high sensitivity to Ethanol.
Therefore, combining Flagyl with alcohol will produce a “disulfiram-like reaction” or a hangover-like effect with symptoms such as;
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach cramps and vomiting
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pains
- Rapid heartbeat, etc.
If your doctor hasn’t prescribed any antibacterial, be careful when buying over-the-counter medication (OTC), mainly because most antibiotics may contain alcohol as an ingredient.
To be on the safe side, always check the formulation listing on the OTC product to determine if alcohol, which may be indicated as “Ethanol,” is present, especially in;
- Cough syrups
- Cold and flu medicines
- Even mouthwashes
Note that some prescription medications may also contain alcohol. Therefore, caution must be taken, especially if you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol addiction. So, every time you are prescribed new medication that you’re unsure of, do your due diligence and check if your drugs contain a combination that would otherwise lead to severe interactions when combined with alcohol.
It’s advisable that you let your primary physician know of your dependence issue well in advance so that they are aware of what to prescribe and what not to.
Alcohol is a Central Nervous System (CNS) depressant
When something is considered a CNS depressant, be it alcohol or medication, it means that they have the ability to slow brain activity. In medicine, drugs such as sedatives, tranquilizers, and hypnotics that act as CNS depressants play a pivotal role in the treatment of anxiety, panic attack, acute stress, sleep disorders, etc.
Take this as a good example: imagine that you have been prescribed antidepressants that cause drowsiness, sedatives to help you sleep, or even tranquilizers to alleviate anxiety or treat muscle spasms. Can you risk combining such medications with alcohol?
When you consume alcohol with a class of antibiotics such as Flagyl that also has a Central Nervous System depressant effect, it can produce some serious side effects. As such, these effects can have worse repercussions, especially in the elderly, when driving or with patients that are on heavy medications such as Opioid pain relievers, muscle relaxers, anti-seizure medications, antidepressants, and more.
It’s also important to mention that some people do experience stomach problems such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps when they take certain antibiotics. If you fall under this category, you should be careful not to consume alcohol, as doing so can worsen these antibiotic-induced stomach issues.
So, does alcohol affect the efficiency of antibiotics?
For the most part, antibiotics will do their job of fighting infections, but it’s the combination with alcohol that may lead to some unpleasant side effects. However, note that in some cases, the levels of a drug in your bloodstream can be changed after taking alcohol, which in turn may inhibit the effectiveness of an antibiotic.
Consider this too; Drugs are metabolized (broken down) in the liver by enzymes. So is alcohol. Your alcohol consumption and the amount you consume can cause changes in these enzymes; consequently, this may affect how antibiotics are broken down and assimilated in the body. If you drink copious amounts of alcohol over a short period of time, certain enzymes are inhibited. As a result, the drugs you’re taking will not be metabolized effectively.
And of course, you have to finish your dose of antibiotics, meaning because the drugs are not being broken down, it could lead to drug toxicity and related side effects. Why? The antibiotic in your system keeps increasing because it’s neither being fully metabolized or excreted out of your body. Don’t you agree?
Antibiotics are among the most common and useful prescription drugs we have in medicine today. While the effects of consuming alcohol may not necessarily stop antibiotics from working, it’s better first to finish your dosage and ensure that you rest and drink plenty of fluids other than alcohol.
Remember; while not all antibiotics will interact with alcohol, abstaining from drinking when you’re fighting an infection is highly recommended. Your body will thank you for it.
Most importantly, if you’re staying the course of sobriety and are concerned about taking antibiotics that contain alcohol, consult your doctor first for expert advice on the best way forward.
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Alcohol is associated with more than 200 illnesses, injuries, and conditions. Even though it may take years of heavy drinking to get alcohol-related diseases such as brain damage, the negative impacts of alcohol on the brain can present themselves after just a few drinks. Even though indulging in a drink once in a while may not cause health issues, moderate to heavy drinking can affect your brain. Abusing alcohol can also lead to deterioration over time.
Most people suffering from alcohol dependence have had a delay in thinking and memory problems, all associated with alcohol use. When someone drinks, they may find it hard to remember new information like names or even memories. They might experience a blackout afterward whereby they cannot remember whole events or conversations that happened when they were drinking. Heavy alcohol use can harm the general physiological health of your brain and your mental and physical well-being. Long-term use can also lead to memory and learning problems and cause any existing mental health conditions to develop or worsen.
The brain is one of the most complex and fragile organs in the body. It has to maintain an accurate balance of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals required to function correctly. When you are drunk on alcohol, it can upset this delicate equilibrium and disrupt the natural balance. Chronic, long-term alcohol use makes the brain conform to make up for the impact of the alcohol.
One of the most disturbing long-term impacts of alcohol on the brain is possible physiological dependence. Dependence is when someone experiences psychological and physical cravings and withdrawal symptoms if they reduce or cease their alcohol consumption. Someone with an alcohol dependency can also develop AUD or an Alcohol Use Disorder, a brain disease. AUD makes individuals struggle to reduce their drinking even if it harms their general social functioning, relationships, and health. Even though some of the mental and physical effects caused by alcohol use will diminish when the individual stops drinking, some of the effects may last longer and leave long-term consequences for their health.
Parts of The Brain Affected By Alcohol
Alcohol disturbs the neurotransmission process in the brain, which is how the nerves communicate with each other. Alcohol does this by interacting with the chemical messengers in the brain responsible for communication, also known as neurotransmitters. The three primary neurotransmitters alcohol effects include:
- The GABA receptors: Gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA is the chemical responsible for slowing down the brain. Alcohol binds to these receptors and activates them.
- The Glutamate receptors: Glutamate excites the neurons. Alcohol binds to these receptors and blocks them, preventing them from activation.
- The Nucleus accumbens: This is an essential structure in the center of the brain. It is a component of the reward pathway. This structure manages memories, gratification, pleasure, and motivation. Alcohol boosts dopamine release, which generates euphoric feelings. It is why alcohol has such addictive properties.
Both glutamate and GABA’s interaction with alcohol produces an overall depression of the nerves in the central nervous system and brain activity. This suppresses your gag reflex, slows down thinking and breathing, and causes general drowsiness. A diminished gag reflex affects one’s ability to swallow, increasing the likelihood of aspiration, airway obstruction, choking, and other respiratory complications.
Short Term Effects on The Brain
Drunkenness is caused by the short-term effects of alcohol on your central nervous system, but the symptoms often differ based on the following factors:
- The individual’s weight
- Unique body makeup
- The quantity of alcohol consumed
- How frequently the individual takes alcohol
Symptoms of intoxication from alcohol, such as moderate physical and cognitive impairment, might present after just a couple of drinks. However, excessive alcohol use can cause an alcohol overdose if one takes too much alcohol at a go.
Alcohol’s immediate effects on the brain are caused by its impact on the organ’s information-processing pathways and communication. Drinking too much too fast can cause some adverse mental effects, including reduced decision-making capacity, impaired motor coordination, and confusion. When one keeps drinking regardless of identifying these signs, it can result in an alcohol overdose or alcohol poisoning, which is dangerous and a possibly lethal repercussion of taking a lot of alcohol within a short duration.
Long-Term Effects On The Brain
People who drink more have a higher risk of developing detrimental alcohol-related complications, specifically if they drink a lot over a long time. Some of the long-term health complications associated with chronic alcohol use include:
- The development of mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression
- Sleep and mood disturbances
- A weakened immune system
- Digestion, liver, and heart problems
Heavy and chronic alcohol users also risk developing a thiamine deficiency due to inadequate nutrition leading to a condition known as Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome (WKS) a.k.a “wet brain.” This disease can result in memory and learning problems, coordination, eye movement disruption, and recurring mental confusion.
Long-term abuse of alcohol can also lead to alcoholism, also known as alcohol addiction or Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), as earlier mentioned. This is a problematic and uncontrollable pattern of drinking that continues despite its adverse repercussions on the person’s relationships, work, and health.
Effects On Mental Health
Alcohol use can also affect one’s daily cognitive functioning, overall mood, and mental health due to its effects on the brain’s chemicals. Excessive alcohol use can also induce or worsen pre-existing psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression.
The negative cognitive impacts of alcohol use can include a severe hindrance of mental functioning, dementia, learning problems, and memory loss.
Brain damage resulting from alcohol use represents a progressive decline in brain health and function. Anyone with an alcohol dependency has time to get help and start the rehabilitation process. Treatment for any alcohol-related diseases or AUDs usually includes detox, abstinence from alcohol, and a healthy diet, which has been proven to undo some of the effects of heavy drinking on the brain and the body. The first step to reduce or prevent the negative influence of alcohol on one’s brain is to seek alcohol addiction treatment if you notice any alarming signs and symptoms.
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Friday is approaching and that means people are having plans for a night out to grab some bottles of beer. This alcoholic beverage provides some health benefits, yet you need to drink moderately to avoid getting drunk.
Basically, people have different reactions to beer, meaning some get drunk easily, while others can finish 12 bottles and still be up. Either way, you need to be mindful of your drinking patterns or else you’ll be dependent on alcohol in the future.
What’s the average alcohol content of beers?
A regular beer typically has an alcohol by volume (ABV) content of 4% to 5%.A standard drink is equivalent to 12 ounces of 5% beer, which contains 0.6 ounces of alcohol.
Conversely, if you’ll be drinking 12 ounces of craft beer, its alcohol content is 0.9 ounces. The higher the alcohol content, the longer it takes for your liver to metabolize it, so your blood alcohol concentration will be high.
How many beers until you get drunk?
Based on US law, if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is higher than 0.08, then you’re considered legally drunk. typically, it takes an average drinker 4 to 5 beers to reach a .08 BAC.
However, various factors are influencing the rate of getting drunk for every individual. For example, heavier people get drunk more slowly than those with a lighter weight. For instance, a 100-lb individual is more likely to get drunk with fewer bottles of beer than a 200-lb person.
What are the factors affecting how fast you get drunk?
A while ago, we mentioned that certain variables are affecting how fast you get drunk, right? Well, below are those factors:
Generally, the lighter you are, the faster you’ll get drunk. For instance, a 100-lb person gets drunk after one or two drinks, while a 200-lb individual gets tipsy after drinking three or more glasses.
If all factors are constant, who gets drunk faster? Men or Women? The answer is “women”. This is true since women have more fats than water inside their bodies.
Take note, alcohol drinking causes dehydration, and the less water in your system, the faster you’ll get drunk.
As your age increases, your alcohol tolerance decreases as well, and this happens because your muscle mass is depleting as well.
Well, there’s a lesser scientific proof regarding the impact of height on drunkenness. However, in a general sense, taller people get drunk more slowly than those with shorter stature.
Consequently, this happens since the alcohol concentration in the blood for taller people is more distributed than shorter individuals.
If you want to lengthen the time that you get drunk, make sure you have a full meal before your drinking session. By doing this, your small intestine slowly absorbs alcohol due to the food particles inside your gut.
Additionally, you need to drink water at some point to avoid dehydration, which causes you to get drunk fast.
What are the different types of beer?
Technically, there are eleven types of beer in the industry and each type has varying alcohol content. Below are the various kinds with their brief description.
It’s the general type of brown beer you see in many stores and bars. If it’s a pale ale, then its alcohol content is 5%, whereas a dark brown ale is 6.5%.
Compared to ale, this one is fermented for a longer time using bottom-fermenting yeast. It has an alcohol concentration between 4.5%-13%.
It has an alcohol concentration of 5.5%, where its distinguishing trait is its dark black color. Moreover, you’ll smell some notes of roasted malt from it.
Like porter beers, a stout beer also has a dark color. In terms of taste, it’s less sweet and you’ll also feel some coffee flavor in it.
This is considered the favorite beer in the summer because of its aroma and slight malt sweetness. In terms of alcohol content, it’s around 3.8%-5.5%.
Its alcohol concentration is lower than blonde ales, which is 3.3%-4.7%. Likewise, it’s also well-known for its citrus and caramel tastes, with some notes of nuts.
It’s considered as the modern pale lager with an alcohol content of 4.5%. Along with blonde ale, this is also a summer drink in most bars. It has a light golden brown color and minimal bitter taste.
What are the various levels of drunkenness?
Some people are easily drunk when they have one or two drinks, while others can drink as much as 10 glasses and still be up for another round. In relation, there are different levels of drunkenness and you need to know them so that you become vigilant on your drinking habits.
Here are the seven levels:
- Sobriety: You feel relaxed at this level and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.01 to 0.05.
- Blissfulness: At this level, your confidence grows higher and you become more talkative. However, as time passes, your reflexes slow down and you’ll have a difficult time focusing. Your BAC at this level is 0.03-0.12.
- Excitement: You’ll feel nausea, vomiting, and inability to balance. Likewise, you’ll feel mood swings and an inability to speak well. The BAC at this level is 0.09-0.25.
- Blurriness: At this level, you’re prone to injuries since you can barely walk and stand upright. Your pain sensitivity also decreases while feeling dizzy. The BAC at this level is 0.18-0.30.
- Numbness: You’ll be completely helpless and endangered at this level. There is a high risk of injury and inability to control your toilet needs. BAC for this level is 0.25-0.40. Moreover, your body responses are bog down.
- Coma: Alcohol poisoning can happen at this stage, where BAC is 0.35-45. Moreover, your body temperature drops below the normal range.
- Death: Your BAC is higher than 0.45 which leads to multiple organ failure and damages. There will be depressed breathing and heartbeat irregularities for this stage as well.
Need Help Overcoming Alcohol Dependence?
Seek Medical Help
Grabbing one or two mugs of beer during the weekends is the start for binge drinking, and later alcoholism. To prevent that from happening, you need to drink moderately and know your limitations.
Conversely, if you’re already suffering from alcohol dependence, then you need to seek advice from a doctor or addiction specialist. They have the experience and expertise to give you a personalized treatment plan that’ll help you overcome alcoholism.
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