SIMEDHealth

Get the Facts about Drug and Alcohol Use

People holding up classes of alcohol with the text: Could you be drinking too much alcohol

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week is a health observance week to clarify the truths and myths about drug and alcohol use. SIMED Gainesville Urgent Care physician, Dr. Scott Wilson, shared important information on drugs and alcohol.

Alcohol Facts:

A standard drink is:
A 12 ounce bottle of beer (about 5% alcohol)
- 8 ounces of malt liquor – beer with a high alcohol content (about 7% alcohol)
- 5 ounces of table wine (about 12% alcohol)
- 1.5 ounces (a “shot”) of liquor, like gin, rum, vodka, tequila, or whiskey (about 40% alcohol)

Moderate alcohol consumption: Moderate drinking is up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men, according to a report by the US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health.

Binge Drinking: Binge drinking typically occurs after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men—in about 2 hours. NIAAA defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL.

Heavy Alcohol Use: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration defines heavy alcohol use as binge drinking on 5 or more days in the past month

Certain people should avoid alcohol completely, including those who:
1. Plan to drive a vehicle or operate machinery
2. Take medications that interact with alcohol
3. Have a medical condition that alcohol can aggravate
4/ Are pregnant or trying to become pregnant

Short-Term Consequences of Intoxication (being “drunk”):
1. An intoxicated person has a harder time making good decisions.
2. A person is less aware that his/her behavior may be inappropriate or risky.
3. A person may be more likely to engage in risky behavior, including drinking and driving, sexual activity (like unprotected sex) and aggressive or violent behavior.
4. A person is less likely to recognize potential danger.

Long-Term Consequences of Binge Alcohol Use or Use of Alcohol in Large Amounts:Flat Design Infographic Guide to Drinking Alcohol and Alcoholism
1. Unintentional injuries such as car crash, falls, burns, drowning
2. Intentional injuries such as firearm injuries, sexual assault, domestic violence
3. Increased on-the-job injuries and loss of productivity
4. Increased family problems, broken relationships
5. High blood pressure, stroke, and other heart-related diseases
6. Liver disease
7. Nerve damage
8. Sexual problems
9. Permanent damage to the brain
10. Vitamin B1 deficiency, which can lead to a disorder characterized by amnesia, apathy and disorientation
11. Ulcers
12. Gastritis (inflammation of stomach walls)
13. Malnutrition
14. Cancer of the mouth and throat

Alcohol poisoning occurs when there is so much alcohol in a person’s bloodstream that areas of the brain controlling basic life-support systems—such as breathing, heart rate, and temperature control—begin to shut down. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include: confusion, difficulty remaining conscious, vomiting, seizures, trouble with breathing, slow heart rate, clammy skin, dulled responses, such as no gag reflex (which prevents choking), extremely low body temperature and finally, death.

Alcoholism or Alcohol Dependence consists of four symptoms:
·         Craving: a strong need, or compulsion, to drink.
·         Loss of control: the inability to limit one’s drinking on any given occasion.
·         Physical dependence: withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness and anxiety, occur when alcohol use is stopped after a period of heavy drinking. Serious dependence can lead to life-threatening withdrawal symptoms including convulsions, starting eight to twelve hours after the last drink. The delirium tremens (D.T.’s) begins three to four days later where the person becomes extremely agitated, shakes, hallucinates and loses touch with reality.
·         Tolerance: the need to drink greater amounts of alcohol in order to get high.

Drug Facts:

Drug Addiction is a chronic disease/disorder in which there is drug seeking and compulsive (difficult to control) use of a drug(s) despite the harmful physical and social consequences

Drug addiction risk is made up of a combination of factors such as:
(a) Genetics-genes that you are born with can make up about 50 % risk of developing addiction
(b) Environment-the influence of family, friends, economic status, quality of life
(c) Development-there are critical developmental stages in a person’s life that may be affected by use of drugs which will lead to addiction

Effects of Drug Use on the Brain:

Initial Effects: The initial effects of drug use on the brain is directed at the brain’s pleasure/reward circuit. The drug causes the release of large amounts of Dopamine, a chemical messenger in the brain that controls the body’s ability to feel pleasure and motivates the person to repeat behaviors needed to thrive such as eating and spending time with people we love. If you overstimulate this reward/pleasure circuit with drug use, this creates an intense pleasurable high that can lead people to take the drug again and again to achieve that high

Tolerance: As drug use continues, the brain adjusts to the presence of excess dopamine by either making less of the dopamine and/or reducing the ability of the brain cells to respond to the dopamine. This reduces the high the person feels with continued use of the drug leading to tolerance. Tolerance leads the person to use more of the drug to achieve the same initial intense pleasurable high.

Long -Term Effects: The long-term use of drugs causes changes in the other chemicals in the brain leading to problems with: (a) Behavior, (b) Learning, (c) Memory, (d) Decision Making, (e) Judgement, and (f) Dealing with Stress. Repeated drug use leading to these changes in the brain that challenge an addicted person’s self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs. These brain changes can be persistent, which is why drug addiction is considered a "relapsing" disease—people in recovery from drug use disorders are at increased risk for returning to drug use even after years of not taking the drug.

Drug use/addiction is a treatable and managed condition. Drug use/Addiction are also preventable with involvement of parents, teachers, and health care providers in the education of young people to the hazards/pitfalls of drug use/addiction.

If you have a drug or alcohol problem, seek help from a SIMED Primary Care or Urgent Care physician. SIMED Primary Care doctors in Gainesville, Ocala, McIntosh, Lady Lake, Lake City, and Chiefland are available at (352) 224-2225. SIMED First Care Urgent Care takes walk-ins, but you can also schedule an appointment with Dr. Scott Wilson or another urgent care physician at (352) 373-2340. You can also request an appointment online for SIMED Primary Care and SIMED Urgent Care.

Hurt on the Job? Do you know what to do?

Dr. Martin, a physician at SIMED Urgent Care, states that over 50% of his patients are visiting due to work related injuries. The most common injuries are related to the back, knees and ankles.

There are simple things you can do to reduce the chance of accidental injury: look where you are going, be alert of your surroundings, lift with your legs and not your back, do not lift more than you can carry, and be properly trained with equipment you are using.

However, no matter how hard you try, accidents do happen and SIMED Urgent Care is here to help!

When injured on a job site, report the accident to your supervisor immediately. If you feel you have sustained life threating injuries, call 911. For any other type of minor injury, your options are the Emergency Room or an Urgent Care center.

“Unless the patient has sustained a life threatening injury, visiting urgent care is the patient best option. Compared to the ER, the patient is likely to save time & money by visiting SIMED Urgent Care. Also, if they need to see a specialist, it is likely that we can get them into see a SIMED specialist on the same day.”
– Dr. Martin, MD, SIMED Urgent Care

In addition to diagnosing on the job accidents, SIMED Urgent Care provides physical exams, general medical care and occupational medicine as part of the practice. For whatever medical emergency may arise, SIMED Urgent Care will see, diagnose and treat you the same day! If you have any issues that need to be looked at closer, SIMED offers imaging and lab testing. For most situations, SIMED Urgent Care will have the supplies you need for recovery, and, if needed, can get prescriptions ready for you on site.

SIMED Urgent Care is familiar with the procedures that need to be followed when filling a claim through Workers Compensation and/or Occupational Medicine. For more information on how SIMED Urgent Care can meet your health needs visit  SIMED Urgent Care.

SIMED Urgent Care accepts walk-ins Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Located in Gainesville, FL 4343 Newberry Road
Contact SIMED Urgent Care at 352.373.2340