Using Alcohol for Pain Relief: Dangers and Concerns
Alcohol has become a common sight in today’s society. It has become so common that it is sold in nearly every restaurant, at sporting events, and is commonly served at gatherings with family and friends. Alcohol helps people to relax, unwind, and in many cases, be more social. While drinking on occasion is not a problem for many people, for some it is due to addiction issues. Some people may even choose to use alcohol for pain relief. Unfortunately, this can be dangerous and have consequences that individuals may not be aware of in life. Read on to learn more about the dangers associated with using alcohol for pain relief.
Alcohol and Pain
Using alcohol to depress the effects of pain is actually an old remedy, in fact, it is almost as old as the fermentation process itself. Alcohol is believed to be one of the oldest and commonly used drugs in the world. Think about it. Have you seen old movies where no anesthetic is available but a painful procedure needs to talk place? They break out a bottle of whiskey and go to town. Though this is theatrics, alcohol has been used for pain relief in real life. Alcohol depresses the central nervous system by slowing the brain and responses to the nervous system. In this way it brings on a sense of calm and relief. Unfortunately, this does not really remove pain, just numbs it temporarily.
The amount of alcohol needed to serve an analgesic effect far exceeds the guidelines for moderate daily alcohol use, which means this is far from a safe amount. Additionally, using alcohol for pain relief, when stopped, causes withdrawal which can actually increase pain sensitivity for the individual.
Tolerance to Alcohol
For those that use alcohol constantly for pain relief a problem can occur. This problem is known as tolerance. Tolerance to alcohol is much like tolerance to drugs. The more you drink (or take) the less effective it becomes. Over time, it will take more and more to reach the same level of pain relief, drunkenness, or being ‘high’. The continual use of alcohol becomes obsessive and many times this is mixed with other pain killing drugs which can easily create a deadly combination. If tolerance becomes extremely high for an individual, the amount of alcohol necessary to consume to reach the needed level would be deadly on its own. Tolerance may make a person think they need more without realizing that the amount being taken in is extremely dangerous. This is actually a strong signal of addiction, though many may not feel an addiction is present.
Health Risks of Excessive Alcohol
Ingesting large amounts of alcohol over time can lead to health problems beyond the pain the alcohol is being used to treat. This may include everything from liver issues to stomach ulcers. Most of all, this could lead to an addiction to alcohol. Many people who use alcohol to treat pain are also on some form of pain medication for chronic conditions. When you mix alcohol with pain relievers, even over the counter medications like Tylenol, serious interactions can occur.
When mixing alcohol with medications like Tylenol and aspirin liver damage and damage to the stomach lining is likely over time. Other combinations create further problems. Medications like Demerol and codeine when mixed with alcohol over time can impair the central nervous system and can be fatal in certain strengths. Mixing with Valium and Librium can decrease alertness and be fatal in some cases. Mixing alcohol with most high blood pressure medications can reduce blood pressure to dangerously low levels. There is truly no medication that is safe to mix with alcohol without creating potential problems.
If you suddenly stop alcohol drinking after prolonged use, even at a moderate level, you are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms. This is the reason many people do not stop as the process can be scary and hard on the individual physically and mentally. Symptoms may begin as early as six hours after the last drink and last for a week or more. Common symptoms include anxiety, shakiness, headache, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, and sweating. For those with severe withdrawal, hallucinations and seizures are a possibility. These are most common at the 12 to 24 hour mark. If hallucinating, which results from severe alcohol withdrawal, you may also experience confusion, racing heart, fever, and high blood pressure. If alcohol withdrawal is imminent or has already started then seek medical help.
If you or a loved one has an alcohol or substance use problem, diagnosed by a professional or self-diagnosed, seek help immediately. Continued alcohol use for pain relief or otherwise can affect the mind and body very quickly in a negative manner. When seeking help for such a problem you should always look for the best and The River is the best in Southeast Asia. The River, located in Thailand, is an in-patient rehab facility that offers a 12 week program for all patients. The River feels that they are so successful with what they do that if a patient completes the program and still relapses within one year that a complementary month will be given to that patient.
Through a focus on behavioral therapies combined with physical wellness, The River will help patients create the life they want to live, addiction free. The treatment options offered have been successfully used for over 80 years and honed to create just the right environment. Through a focus on the trilogy of the mind, body, and spirit, The River offers an empowering experience that offers a new look into addiction recovery. This can also address chronic pain issues that may be creating a perceived need for alcohol. If you or your loved one is ready to get the help you deserve at a highly acclaimed facility, then give The River a call. You can get better and The River is here to help. Are you willing to take the steps necessary to change your life?