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Fight Alcoholism? Get Rid Of The Sugar!

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For long term success, an alcoholic must learn not only how to stop drinking, but also how to start eating.

Most alcoholics that are admitted into detoxification centers are massively malnourished, and seriously depleted of thiamin, vitamins A, B-12, and C, folic acid, and the essential minerals calcium, magnesiuum, potassium, and zinc.  These deficiencies are corrected at the outset with supplementation by mouth or by injection.  However once past the initial stages of treatment, recovering alcoholics often go back to poor dietary choices such as processed foods that contain little apart from sugar, fat, and calories. The sugar is particlarly bad because alcoholics already produce too much insulin, which means that during withdrawl they crave sugar. 


By eating refined sugars they only make the situation worse, because the pancreas pours out even more insulin, and the cravings for not only sugar but alcohol increase.  Inhaled tobacco smoke makes matters even worse, as it leaches a variety of nutrients from the body.   Dr. Joseph Beasley, the medical director of Brunswick House, Amityville, New York, studied a group of hardened alcoholics, forty percent of whom were cross-addicted to oher substances, such as cocaine.  Not the sort of group you would think should set any records in rehabilitation. 

With the standard program of detoxification, behavioral and family therapy, exercise, and follow-up with Alcholics anonymous, a twenty to thirty per cent recovery rate after one year is considered the norm. However, these patients were also given multivitamin and mineral supplements, and a balanced diet high in fiber and low in refined sugars.  At the end of a year, an astonishing 65% of the group were still sober.

To get the best results in treating alcoholism,  one must treat any other dietary and lifestyle indiscretions.  In fact, Bill W., one of the founders of Alcholics Anonymous admitted in his later years that one of his biggest mistakes was leaving sugar, nicotine, and caffeine in AA. 

So when you battle the bottle, shuck the sugar, and cut the butts, so you'll really have reason to say cheers.

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The CAGE Test For Alcoholism

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Alcoholism is a disease, and a remarkably common one at that. Between one third and a half of all patients in general hospitals are alcoholic, and the costs of treating drunkenness are truly staggering, pardon the pun.

An image of drinking too much alcoholThose that suffer from alcoholism typically have an uncontrollable compulsion to consume alcoholic beverages which generally results in problems to their health, personal relationships and social standing. 



Studies have shown alarming figures:

  • A third of all trauma admissions (ie, car accidents) are drunk or intoxicated.
  • Thirty per cent of all male coronary care unit patients under the age of sixty suffer from alcoholism, while twelve per cent of their female counterparts are alcoholic.
  • Alcoholism present with stomach ulcers, liver disease, bleeding from the esophagus , pre-senile dementia or psychosis , or, especially in winter, exposure to the cold.

For years, there has been a sense of collective hopelessness about the condition, a sort of feeling that the alcoholic is beyond help and reason, and is bent on self destruction. New evidence shows that the opposite is true, that, like other diseases, early detection of alcoholism is the best protection. The ideal person to do the initial screening is the family doctor, but alas, the test has not been widely enough publicized.

In an attempt to give the examination a broader hearing, I will list the four easy questions we could all be asking of anyone who drinks and that we suspect suffers from alcoholism. First, have you ever felt that you should cut down on your drinking? Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking or have you ever felt bad or guilty about drinking? Have you ever taken a drink first thing in the morning as an eye opener to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?

The acronym for the test is the CAGE test:

  • Cut down drinking: Do you feel the need to reduce the amount you drink?
  • A for annoyed: Do you feel annoyed by complaints about your drinking?
  • G for guilty: Do you ever feel guilty that you drink?
  • E for eye-opener: Do you ever drink a morning "eye-opener" to relieve the shakes?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, or worse yet, to all of them, you are falling into the alcoholic trap and alcoholism may be beginning to affect your life and your loved ones.

Here's an action tip:
Alcoholism is not a hopeless disease, and it can be treated. This is especially true in its most earliest stages. Take the cage test yourself, and see how you do. It’s a sobering thought.

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