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Does Alcohol Cause Inflammation?

Alcohol is a popular substance and is often consumed without a second thought. Humankind has been making alcohol for at least 12,000 years. Unfortunately, alcohol and inflammation often go hand in hand. This is especially true when alcohol is used for long periods of time or in excess. 

Many people believe that drinking alcohol causes tissue damage and bruising. Some even claim that alcohol makes the body more susceptible to outside pathogens. 

Harmful use of alcohol is accountable for 7.1% and 2.2% of the global burden of disease for males and females respectively. Alcohol is also the leading risk factor for premature mortality and disability among those 15 to 49 years of age, accounting for 10 percent of all deaths in this age group. 

Alcohol can also contribute to ice-pick-like bruises which are small, yet deep. These kinds of bruises have visible dots at the bottom of them which sometimes look black on the surface of the skin. Ice pick scars may take a few weeks or months to heal and may be permanent if left untreated.

Alcohol can even cause the body to become dehydrated. This causes the body to feel fatigued. There are many reasons why alcohol might cause such problems. 

Alcohol can be found in some adult beverages such as beer, wine, or liquor. Drinking alcohol causes dehydration, which causes cell damage leading to swelling. Thus, alcohol and swelling go hand in hand. 

The swelling of cells is known as cellular or interstitial edema. This is where more fluid than normal enters.

What Defines Inflammation?

Inflammation is defined as the body’s reaction to an injury or condition. This way of responding is meant to protect the area of the body affected and remove any harmful stimuli (such as alcohol) from the area. Chronic inflammation can cause damage to the tissues and organs of our body.

Inflammation can cause several symptoms though; generally, we associate inflammation with things like: 

  • Swelling 
  • Redness 
  • Warmth 
  • Pain
  • Loss of function in the inflamed region (e.g., if you’ve ever had a sprained ankle then you know what it feels like to not be able to put weight on your foot). 

Alcohol can be a cause of exacerbated inflammation. Below we go over alcohol’s role in three different types of inflammation: alcohol and swelling, alcohol and bruising, and alcohol and arthritis.

What are the Common Causes of Inflammation and Swelling?

The common causes of inflammation and swelling are: 

  • Infection 
  • Allergies  (e.g., a food allergy, dust mites, insect bites, and stings.) 
  • Injury (e.g., scrapes, bumps, cuts) 
  • Autoimmune condition (the body’s immune system is overreacting to something that it should not be reacting to; this can be anything from lupus to thyroiditis). 

Alcohol and swelling along with alcohol and inflammation will occur to certain people in certain circumstances.

Alcohol irritates bodily tissues such as that of:

  • Skin
  • Gastrointestinal tract
  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • The brain (It causes these bodily organs to be inflammatory.)  

How Do the Effects of Inflammation Impact My Body?

The effects of inflammation on the body manifest differently in each person. Alcohol is shown to increase inflammation in some organs like the heart and brain. This is why alcohol and inflammation often occur together. Alcohol irritates tissues, increasing the risk of heart disease and other conditions like fractures, ulcers, kidney stones, etc.

Inflammation plays a crucial role in the body’s immune response. When your body is fighting an infection, it reacts by sending levels of chemical messengers (called cytokines) through your bloodstream to coordinate an attack on the invaders. This process is known as inflammation. Inflammation can sometimes go wrong, causing autoimmune diseases which occur when the body treats its tissues as if they were bacteria or viruses causing damage to healthy cells.

In What Ways Does Alcohol Cause Inflammation and Swelling?

Alcohol causes the central nervous system to slow down, which can lead to blackouts or alcohol poisoning. Alcohol is also a diuretic. Therefore, it can cause frequent trips to the bathroom. This alcohol use, therefore, causes dehydration. Dehydration thins mucus making it difficult for your body to fight off infections. Alcohol also reduces oxygen in the blood which can cause cardiovascular complications like a heart attack or stroke.

Alcohol does cause inflammation of different organs including pancreatic cells. However, this inflammation may be reduced by drinking certain alcoholic beverages such as red wine. Certain alcoholic beverages, such as red wine, reduce inflammation because it contains tannin, which has anti-inflammatory properties.

Inflammation of the lining of the GI tract is called ileitis. Alcohol can inflame the gut lining and cause inflammation that leads to symptoms such as diarrhea or cramping. 

In alcoholics with ileitis, alcohol exacerbates intestinal inflammation. One study claimed that chronic alcohol intake causes “significant changes” in patients’ intestinal tissues. 

In one study, alcohol-consuming rats developed more severe inflammatory bowel disease than alcohol-abstaining rats when both groups were exposed to bacteria that cause intestinal inflammation. These findings suggest that alcohol makes IBD worse by increasing inflammation in the intestine.

Why is Gut Health Vital to Recovery?

The alcohol industry has downplayed the negative effects of alcohol for many years. Thus, many people are unaware that alcohol is a major contributory factor to many diseases, including cancer, ulcers, and liver disease. Despite all of that, alcohol does still have some well-known anti-inflammatory properties, but only when it is consumed in moderation. 

Researchers believe that alcohol damages the gut lining. This opens up the door to leaky gut syndrome. Such a syndrome can then trigger the appearance of autoimmune diseases that lead to further inflammation. The best way to prevent your body from developing these health issues is to avoid drinking alcohol altogether.

How Do I Prevent and Reverse Inflammation and Swelling Due to Alcohol?

To prevent and reverse inflammation and swelling due to alcohol, ensure you consume alcohol in moderation. In addition, alcohol should be consumed with food rather than on an empty stomach. This is because alcohol taken on an empty stomach increases alcohol’s effects on the lining of the stomach and intestines. This then causes an increase in dehydration, which may then also increase alcohol-related inflammation. All this goes to say that alcohol and inflammation and alcohol and swelling are things that you don’t want to appear together. 

How Do I Prevent Bruising?

To prevent bruising, you should avoid consuming alcohol as it reduces your blood flow to your skin. This is because doing so will make it more likely for a small injury to bleed onto your skin and cause a bruise.

Can Alcohol Cause Swelling or Inflamed Kidneys? 

Because alcohol and swelling and alcohol and inflammation often go hand in hand, alcohol can both cause swelling and inflamed kidneys. Alcohol can also cause dehydration, which then too causes swelling. This is because water is essential for keeping cells hydrated and reducing cell damage.

Are There Natural Methods to Reduce Inflammation? 

Yes, there are many natural methods to reduce inflammation. Eating certain foods containing anti-inflammatory properties, like turmeric, helps to reduce inflammation. 

Other foods that can reduce inflammation include: 

  • Tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
  • Nuts like almonds and walnuts
  • Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
  • Fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges

Chronic Pain and The Relationship With Alcohol

Many alcohol abusers and alcohol addicts experience chronic pain.  Thus, chronic pain is what alcoholics have to avoid while abstaining from alcohol. 

The volume of lifetime alcohol use, the combination of context, frequency of alcohol consumption, and the amount of alcohol consumed per occasion increase the risk of a wide range of health and social harms. 

One study published in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse found that chronic alcohol abuse increased the risk of developing persistent post-surgical pain six fold – six times more than non-drinkers or moderate drinkers. 

It was also found that alcoholics were also more than twice as likely to develop persistent post-surgical pain and three times as likely to be disabled by it compared with non-alcoholic patients. Drinking alcohol before surgery will also increase your chances of developing this type of chronic pain after surgery. 

What are Common Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Consumption?

Alcohol can cause alcohol poisoning, high blood pressure, cirrhosis, cancer of the liver, and other long-term alcohol-related diseases impacting the body. In fact, alcoholism is the third-leading preventable cause of death in the US. 

Men are 3 times as likely as women to die as a consequence of alcohol abuse. The World Health Organization (WHO) has determined excessive alcohol use is responsible for 7.1% of disease among males and 2.2% among females.

How Does Alcohol Affect the Body?

Alcohol is known for its toxicity effect on the brain. This is where alcohol can prevent neurons from communicating with each other properly. Alcohol also affects bones by making them weak. This is because alcohol blocks vitamin D, which is the vitamin that helps regulate calcium levels in the body. 

Thus, individuals that chronically abuse alcohol can develop osteoporosis due to having low bone density. Since alcohol inhibits water absorption leading to dehydration, alcohol slows down the wound healing process, preventing cuts from leveling.

How is Alcohol and Vitamin Deficiency Connected?

Alcohol can also be related to Vitamin A, D, E, and K deficiency. This is because alcohol blocks the absorption of nutrients that are found in foods that are considered fatty or unhealthy. Otherwise, alcohol would have been processed by the body with alcohol being absorbed into the blood instead. 

Alcohol causes vitamin deficiency because alcohol cannot be fully digested. Thus, alcohol nullifies any benefits from whatever food or drink contains alcohol. For example, alcohol steals nutrients like amino acids because alcohol harms the liver, making it unable to process proteins such as amino acids normally.

Is Alcohol and Swelling and Alcohol and Inflammation Always Synonymous With One Another?

To manage drinking without causing too much inflammation and swelling, you should drink alcohol in moderation. This is because alcohol here is safe to consume as long as one drinks in moderation. In fact, in moderation, alcohol has been found to have protective effects against cardiovascular disease. You should avoid alcohol though if you are an alcoholic or are recovering from alcohol addiction. 

Deaths Caused by Alcohol

15.1 million adults in the US age 18 and older suffer from an alcohol use disorder. Alcohol causes 10% of deaths among 15- to 49-year-olds. Worldwide, up to 3.3 million people die every year as a result of alcohol abuse. If alcohol has become a dominant force in your life and you can’t seem to quit drinking it, you should consider receiving alcohol addiction treatment. 

There is no single approach to alcohol addiction treatment, however, there are many treatment and therapy options available at your disposal. These addiction treatment programs typically include psychotherapy to discover the root causes of your substance use disorder.

Alcohol addiction treatment can include the following:

Are There Certain Types of Alcohol that One Should Avoid to Prevent Inflammation?

Certain alcohols, such as hard liquor and beer, are recognized for their inflammatory properties. Therefore, to help prevent and reverse inflammation, one should avoid alcohol with large quantities of sugar. 

Alcohol reduces the ability that certain bodily cells have to destroy free radicals. Therefore, if you experience chronic inflammation and swelling, you should avoid drinking alcohol.  

When it comes to swelling, alcohol can have several side effects. First alcohol can lead to fluid building up causing blood vessels to swell, which then causes your body tissues to swell. In addition, alcohol is known to affect cells called phagocytes, which are responsible for protecting your body against invading bacteria and other harmful materials by destroying them.

Tips to Reduce Alcohol Consumption

Reducing alcohol consumption can be difficult for some. One way to reduce alcohol intake is to plan so alcohol isn’t consumed on an empty stomach. 

Eating a meal before having alcohol can help prevent alcohol from being absorbed quickly. This will allow your body time to process the alcohol before it gets too out of hand. 

Practice avoiding alcohol as a coping mechanism or spending time with people who drink heavily. Encouraging yourself to see the long-term benefits of an alcohol-free lifestyle can help prevent cravings. 

Witness Your Growth at Harmony Place

Alcohol and swelling along with alcohol and inflammation can lead to complicated health issues. You may find yourself with a shorter lease on your health if these habits begin to unfold. Thus, it’s important to reach out for help if alcohol is becoming an issue in your life or in the life of someone you care about. 

Harmony Place is dedicated to providing excellent care and an ear to listen to your journey. This marathon does not have to be lonesome. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse, especially alcohol abuse, contact our facility today.

References:

https://www.who.int/health-topics/alcohol#tab=tab_1
https://disturbmenot.co/alcoholism-statistics/
https://drugabusestatistics.org/alcohol-abuse-statistics/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6711399/
https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation

Songs about Sobriety and Addiction Recovery

Music is a powerful tool that can encourage healing. So, for anyone who is recovering from any type of addiction, songs about addiction recovery or songs about sobriety can be a force that can empower and inspire a person to stay on track with their recovery. 

Addiction as an Escape

Addiction can come in many forms, and all of them are destructive. But they all provide a form of escape for those people who find it hard to cope with the harsh realities of life. As a result, addicts are likely to become alienated from reality and frequently become outcasts among their friends and families. But once a habit has become an addiction, it is almost always difficult to break. Read further to find some of the best songs about sobriety and a few that will remind you about the nightmare of addiction. Listen to them when you need encouragement to stay clean and sober.

A Dozen Songs About Addiction Recovery and Sobriety

1. Rehab by Amy Winehouse

This song is one of the most iconic songs about addiction recovery of all time. It’s about the singer’s relationship with alcohol and is a cautionary tale of not embracing recovery when it is offered.  Rehab is focused on the denial of an active alcohol addiction. In the song, Winehouse insists that her relationship with alcohol isn’t that bad and that she drinks because of the fear of a break-up of a romantic relationship. The song was inspired by her visit to a rehab which lasted 15 minutes to satisfy the record label. Sadly, Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning in 2011 at the age of 27.

2. It’s Been A While by Staind

This is a powerful song from 2001 in which the singer is apologizing to an old love who he hurt during hard times with his addiction. The theme that “It’s been a while” since he wasn’t dependent on alcohol and drugs and a while since he could stand alone without drinking,

“And it’s been a while 
Since I could hold my head up high
And it’s been a while
Since I said I’m sorry.”

In the song, he relates that it’s been a while since he could love himself.

3. The Needle and the Damage Done by Neil Young

This song was released in 1972 and describes the damage caused by heroin addiction. In the song, Young talks about losing a close friend through a drug overdose and the “damage done.”

“I’ve seen the needle and the damage done
A little part of it in everyone
But every junkie’s like a settin’ sun.”

4. Under the Bridge by Red Hot Chili Peppers

In this song, lead singer Anthony Kiedis talks about the drug addictions he has had for a big part of his life.

“Under the bridge downtown, I could not get enough. 
Under the bridge downtown, forgot about my love. 
Under the bridge downtown, I gave my life away.”

Anthony Kiedis wrote this song to express how lonely and isolating it is to be in the grip of drug addiction. This song is a reflection of the things he lost while addicted to heroin and cocaine.

5. Amazing by Aerosmith

Pretty much everyone knows that this band has been in recovery for a long time. Lead singer Steven Tyler hit a rough period with painkillers after surgery but went back to rehab and has been okay ever since. This song tells how his life is amazing since recovery. It is known as one of the classic songs about sobriety.

“It’s amazing. With the blink of an eye, you finally see the light.
It’s amazing. When the moment arrives that you know you’ll be alright.”

And you probably thought it was just another love ballad.

6. Not Afraid by Eminem

Not Afraid is from the album titled Recovery. In this song, Eminem speaks about his addiction to prescription drugs and how it almost killed him. He admits recovery is difficult but insists he’ll push through it for himself and his children.

“So starting today,
I’m breaking out of this cage,
I’m standing up, I’m a face my demons,
I’m manning up, I’m a hold my ground.”

This song is a call out to other people who “might still be in that place” to relate to his story.

7. The More I Drink by Blake Shelton

In this song, a man is “sippin’” on a regular coke at the bar and getting harassed by the drinkers who ask why he can’t have just a few drinks. The man in this song understands his addiction and chooses recovery, thus making this one of the classic songs about sobriety. 

The man in the song sings:

“Well, if I have one, I’ll have thirteen,
Naw, there ain’t no in-between
‘Cause the more I drink, the more I drink.”

8. Recover by Natasha Bedingfield

Bedingfield talks about pain, scars, and her fight to survive. In this song she says:

“We will recover
The worst is over now.
All those fires we’ve been walking through,
and still we survived somehow.
We will recover.” 

In this song, Bedingfield is expressing the belief that you can overcome addiction, survive, and thrive.

9. Young Homie by Chris Rene

In this song, Chris Rene describes the clarity of thought that he has experienced since entering recovery. He sings that he’s been able to “put his fears down” and enjoys the encouragement from people around him while he does his best to remain sober. This is one of the many songs about sobriety. 

“Open up my mind with these spoken words
Let this music heal like an overture….
Living life with loved ones close to me
Shh, ahh, this is the remedy”

10. Sober by Pink

Another one of the many songs about sobriety, in Sober, Pink sings, 

“I’m safe up high, nothing can touch me. 
But why do I feel this party’s over? 
No pain inside. You’re like perfection. 
But how do I feel this good sober?”

In this song, Pink marvels at how amazing being sober can feel. She begins to question the old habits of partying late and hard, and of random pleasure-seeking.

She describes feeling safe and perfect in her state of sobriety.

11. Salvation by The Cranberries

“To all those people doing lines, don’t do it, don’t do it. 
Inject your soul with liberty. It’s free, it’s free.”

Salvation is a rallying cry to stay clean and sober. The lyrics to this song and its music video tell listeners that whatever “amazing” benefits there are to drug use, the consequences are never worth it.12. Life Wasted by Pearl Jam

“Having tasted a life wasted, I’m never going back again.”

When a person is on the journey to recovery, old temptations are usually there to coax them back to their old lives. However, one way to avoid temptations is to look back on the effect of addiction in your life. As stated in this song about addiction recovery, many view those years as wasted time. 

What are the Benefits of Music Therapy in Addiction Recovery?

Music is known as the universal love language. It connects people together across the world and allows them to express themselves in ways that words alone can’t. Music also has a way of lifting people’s spirits, even when they’re in their lowest periods. 

Due to the remarkable healing power of music, it’s no surprise that it’s become a part of the addiction recovery process and the journey of sobriety in general. 

Music helps people that are in recovery from addiction by:

Releasing Their Bottled-Up Emotions

Playing or listening to music provides a way to spend energy that’s normally spent worrying about one’s next substance fix on a safe activity that makes one feel relaxed and calm.

Increasing Their Motivation

The burst of feel-good energy that music brings about can encourage people to maintain their journey toward long-term recovery.

Increasing Self-Awareness

Music helps people learn more about themselves, how a song makes them feel, and the types of beats that they like or don’t like.

Improving Memory Retention

Research has found that listening to classical music can improve a person’s ability to focus and recall facts and events.

Promoting Positive Social Interaction

Music is a great way to bond with other people. Enjoying music with those around you can create stronger and longer-lasting friendships.

Supporting a Healthy Self-Image

Playing an instrument can bolster a sense of creativity and accomplishment in a person.

Decreasing Anxiety and Depression

When you’re feeling low, it is sometimes good to listen to your favorite tunes for a few minutes. Listening to music can snap you back into a more positive way of thinking.

The Power of Music

Emotionally and physically, music can have a powerful effect. It can cause your mood to shift from negative to positive and vice versa. Music can also cause physical responses like goosebumps or the urge to dance. 

Some music can be a dangerous trigger though for individuals that are actively still struggling with addiction. Positive music though has features that can help you in recovery. For example, positive music can help you: 

  • calm your nerves in stressful situations
  • have a healthy place to process negative emotions 
  • focus

Music can also be an important creative outlet as you work on your recovery, whether you are listening to music or creating it. Furthermore, music can extend a lifeline of inspiration and hope when needed. 

Songs like the ones previously listed address the struggle of addiction and sometimes offer encouragement for recovery. Therefore, the next time you listen to music, examine whether it fuels your addiction or inspires your recovery. If the music fuels your addiction, you might want to replace some songs with music that helps you heal. Ultimately songs about sobriety and addiction recovery remind you that you’re not the only person suffering from substance abuse issues.

Music and Motivation

Music is frequently associated with substance use but not much is known about the music experiences of adults with substance use disorders (SUDs). To explore this topic, surveys of music experiences were collected from individuals in addiction treatment. 

The surveys revealed some interesting results, such as: 

  • Listening to music often intensified the emotional experience of taking drugs and vice versa. 
  • Individuals in residential rehab treatment reported that their preferred music was gloomier or heavier when they were using substances than during their recovery.
  • 43% of people in addiction treatment said that certain music increased their urge to use substances because:

The song was associated with their past experiences of substance use.
The song recalled past experiences of drug or alcohol use.
The song had lyrics about substance abuse.

Despite these negative points, most of the survey-takers believed that music was positively impactful on their recovery journeys.

Facing the Music

Are you or someone you care about struggling with a substance use disorder? At Harmony Place, we can help you get through the worst times of your life so that you can move on to the best times of your life. 

From detoxification, (the first step) to sober living, we will be with you every step of the way. Our multiple levels of care assure that you will be provided with a customized treatment plan that fits your needs. In addition to our treatment programs, we offer therapeutic treatment that also addresses your personal and emotional needs. 

You will work with your counselor to build the treatment program that you want. In addition to behavioral, group, and individual therapy, we have many alternative and holistic therapies. 

Don’t leave recovery to chance. It’s extremely important to get off to a good start in recovery. Thus, take your addiction recovery journey into your own hands and contact us to find out what we can do for you.