Tag Archives: Substance abuse

Straight, No Chaser: Erectile Dysfunction, Part Two – Causes

In my last post on erectile dysfunction (ED), I gave a simplistic way to understand and address it.  However, the truth of the matter is the overwhelming majority of cases of ED are not related to stress or other psychological issues.  First, some sense of ‘reasonable’, expected performance should be established, especially as one ages (as discussed here).  Beyond that, you should know that approximately 90% of ED cases involve an underlying medical concern, including, but not limited to, the following:

Diabetes

High blood pressure

Changes/disease to your blood vessels

Low testosterone

Kidney disease

Smoking

Alcohol and Drug abuse

Obesity and High cholesterol

Effects of your medications

erectile-dysfunction

Therefore, today’s message is simple and brief, but I’d suggest it’s probably more important than you have previously thought. You should consult your physician if and when you or your partner’s sexual performance becomes an issue. You may actually discover something that will not only save his performance, but his life.
Finally, in the next post we will review the wide variety of treatment options for ED.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Signs-That-You-are-Probably-An-Alcoholic

With all the focus of late on other forms of drug use and abuse (e.g., methamphetamine, marijuana, opiates), alcohol abuse seems to be lacking the attention it deserves. Fully one in six people in the United States has a drinking problem. In this segment of the Straight, No Chaser series on alcohol, we will explore problem drinking.
“Problem drinking” is a way of describing alcohol intake that causes problems with your functioning. Alcohol abuse is an episode or continued excessive alcohol consumption that causes problems with your daily living activities, such as family or job responsibilities. Of course, a single episode of alcohol abuse can cost you your life if you’re an impaired driver who runs into a tree or some other calamity befalls you.

alcoholism

Alcoholism is alcohol dependence, which is composed of two separate considerations:

  • Physical addiction to a drug is defined by tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. Tolerance is when you become acclimated to the same dose of drug, meaning, in this case, the same amount of liquor no longer gives you the same buzz. Withdrawal symptoms occur when you experience effects from no longer having the drug in your system.
  • Mental addiction to alcohol is illustrated by its increasingly prominent role in your life. Your life becomes centered around the pursuit and consumption of alcohol. It creates problems with your physical, mental and social health, controlling your life and relationships.

Many of you ask if alcoholism is hereditary. Hereditary means a specific thing medically, so the answer is no. However, we believe genes play a role and increase the risk of alcoholism. It is most likely that genetics “load the gun,” but environment “pulls the trigger.”

AlcoholicGrayscaleDiagram2

Regarding environment, there’s no fixed equation to if and when you’ll become dependent, but there is a correlation with certain activity and an increased risk. Consider the following activities as suggestive of a significant risk for development alcoholism:

  • Men who have 15 or more drinks a week (One drink is either a 12-ounce bottle of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine or a 1.5 ounce shot of liquor.)
  • Women who have 12 or more drinks a week
  • Anyone who has five or more drinks at a time at least once a week
  • Anyone who has a parent with alcoholism

Here are some less hard signs, but these situations also have been shown to increase risk, according to the National Institutes of Health:

  • You are a young adult under peer pressure
  • You have a behavioral health disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, or schizophrenia
  • You have easy access to alcohol
  • You have low self-esteem
  • You have problems with relationships
  • You live a stressful lifestyle
  • You live in a culture in which alcohol use is more common and accepted

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Do You Drink Too Much?

drinks
It’s one of those Straight, No Chaser (literally) days.  Lets address substance abuse. The problems with most intoxicating substances revolve around the same consideration.  You had the most incredible time and got the most incredible high the first time, and you spend the rest of your life chasing the joy of that first buzz, which for most drugs you’ll never get.  The difference with alcohol abuse is that alcohol is legal and comparatively inexpensive, so you get to keep trying without much fuss (or at least initially).
Let’s set the stage by standardizing some terms:

  • Alcohol intoxication: You’re drunk and under the influence of alcohol.
  • Alcohol abuse: Your drinking habits are unhealthy, resulting in bad consequences (e.g. at work, in your relationships, with the law).
  • Alcohol dependency: You’re physically and/or mentally addicted to alcohol.  You crave liquor and seemingly can’t do without it.  Dependency involves withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is not in your system.  These symptoms may include anxiety, nausea, sweating, jitteriness, shakes and even withdrawal seizures.

Alcoholism is a chronic disease.  Unfortunately, some of us start with a predisposition based on genes and strong influences based on family and cultural considerations.  It is so much more than either a lack of willpower or an inability to quit.  This disease has a predictable course and defined effects on various parts of the body, leading to specific means of death if unaddressed.  Because I’m Straight, No Chaser, I’m not going to deal with the subjective thoughts you offer about whether or not you can ‘handle your liquor’ or whether you believe ‘you can stop anytime you want’.  I’m going to give you some medical data that defines when you’re doing damage to your body.  It’s actually pretty simple.
Are you this guy or gal (keep in mind a standard drink is defined as one 12 ounce can of beer, 1 glass of wine or 1 mixed drink)?

  • Women having more than 3 drinks at one time or more than 7 drinks a week.
  • Men having more than 4 drinks at one time or more than 14 drinks a week.

If so, you’re causing damage.  We’ll get into the specifics at another time.
That’s damage.  Let’s discuss dependency.  Consider the possibility that you may be dependent on alcohol if you have any of these problems over the course of a year:

  • While you’re drinking, you can’t quit or control how much you drink.
  • You have tried to quit drinking or to cut back the amount you drink but can’t.
  • You need to drink more to get a previous effect (This is called ‘tolerance’.).
  • You have withdrawal symptoms (discussed earlier) when you stop.
  • You spend a lot of your time either drinking, recovering from drinking, or giving up other activities so you can drink.
  • You continue to drink even though it harms your relationships and causes physical problems.

So What?
No one is giving up alcohol by reading this, I’m sure.  I haven’t even touched to the harsh realities of alcoholism (yet).  Alcohol is part of the American social fabric.  We live, celebrate and commemorate milestones with it.  It’s glamorized throughout society.  It’s constitutionally approved.  I appreciate that.  In moderation, it’s a good time.  Just understand that it’s not a free ride.  The danger is in the insidious nature of this disease, meaning issues may creep up on you before you ever know what’s about to hit you.  Then we’re having a completely different conversation.
I look forward to any questions or thoughts on the topic.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Erectile Dysfunction, Part Two – Causes

In my last post on erectile dysfunction (ED), I gave a simplistic way to understand and address it.  However, the truth of the matter is the overwhelming majority of cases of ED are not related to stress or other psychological issues.  First, some sense of ‘reasonable’, expected performance should be established, especially as one ages (as discussed here).  Beyond that, you should know that approximately 90% of ED cases involve an underlying medical concern, including, but not limited to, the following:

Diabetes

High blood pressure

Changes/disease to your blood vessels

Low testosterone

Kidney disease

Smoking

Alcohol and Drug abuse

Obesity and High cholesterol

Effects of your medications

erectile-dysfunction

Therefore, today’s message is simple and brief, but I’d suggest it’s probably more important than you have previously thought. You should consult your physician if and when you or your partner’s sexual performance becomes an issue. You may actually discover something that will not only save his performance, but his life.
Finally, in the next post we will review the wide variety of treatment options for ED.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress
 

Straight, No Chaser: Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Signs-That-You-are-Probably-An-Alcoholic

With all the focus of late on other forms of drug use and abuse (e.g., methamphetamine, marijuana, opiates), alcohol abuse seems to be lacking the attention it deserves. Fully one in six people in the United States has a drinking problem. In this segment of the Straight, No Chaser series on alcohol, we will explore problem drinking.
“Problem drinking” is a way of describing alcohol intake that causes problems with your functioning. Alcohol abuse is an episode or continued excessive alcohol consumption that causes problems with your daily living activities, such as family or job responsibilities. Of course, a single episode of alcohol abuse can cost you your life if you’re an impaired driver who runs into a tree or some other calamity befalls you.

alcoholism

Alcoholism is alcohol dependence, which is composed of two separate considerations:

  • Physical addiction to a drug is defined by tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. Tolerance is when you become acclimated to the same dose of drug, meaning, in this case, the same amount of liquor no longer gives you the same buzz. Withdrawal symptoms occur when you experience effects from no longer having the drug in your system.
  • Mental addiction to alcohol is illustrated by its increasingly prominent role in your life. Your life becomes centered around the pursuit and consumption of alcohol. It creates problems with your physical, mental and social health, controlling your life and relationships.

Many of you ask if alcoholism is hereditary. Hereditary means a specific thing medically, so the answer is no. However, we believe genes play a role and increase the risk of alcoholism. It is most likely that genetics “load the gun,” but environment “pulls the trigger.”

AlcoholicGrayscaleDiagram2

Regarding environment, there’s no fixed equation to if and when you’ll become dependent, but there is a correlation with certain activity and an increased risk. Consider the following activities as suggestive of a significant risk for development alcoholism:

  • Men who have 15 or more drinks a week (One drink is either a 12-ounce bottle of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine or a 1.5 ounce shot of liquor.)
  • Women who have 12 or more drinks a week
  • Anyone who has five or more drinks at a time at least once a week
  • Anyone who has a parent with alcoholism

Here are some less hard signs, but these situations also have been shown to increase risk, according to the National Institutes of Health:

  • You are a young adult under peer pressure
  • You have a behavioral health disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, or schizophrenia
  • You have easy access to alcohol
  • You have low self-esteem
  • You have problems with relationships
  • You live a stressful lifestyle
  • You live in a culture in which alcohol use is more common and accepted

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Erectile Dysfunction, Part Two – Causes

Causes-of-Erectile-Dysfunction-ED-Treament-Today
In my last post on erectile dysfunction (ED), I gave a simplistic way to understand and address it.  However, the truth of the matter is the overwhelming majority of cases of ED are not related to stress or other psychological issues.  First, some sense of ‘reasonable’, expected performance should be established, especially as one ages (as discussed here).  Beyond that, you should know that approximately 90% of ED cases involve an underlying medical concern, including, but not limited to, the following:

Diabetes

High blood pressure

Changes/disease to your blood vessels

Low testosterone

Kidney disease

Smoking

Alcohol and Drug abuse

Obesity and High cholesterol

Effects of your medications

erectile-dysfunction

Therefore, today’s message is simple and brief, but I’d suggest it’s probably more important than you have previously thought. You should consult your physician if and when you or your partner’s sexual performance becomes an issue. You may actually discover something that will not only save his performance, but his life.
Finally, in the next post we will review the wide variety of treatment options for ED.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Signs-That-You-are-Probably-An-Alcoholic

With all the focus of late on other forms of drug use and abuse (e.g., methamphetamine, marijuana), alcohol abuse seems to be lacking the attention it deserves. Fully one in six people in the United States has a drinking problem. In this segment of the Straight, No Chaser series on alcohol, we will explore problem drinking.
“Problem drinking” is a way of describing alcohol intake that causes problems with your functioning. Alcohol abuse is an episode or continued excessive alcohol consumption that causes problems with your daily living activities, such as family or job responsibilities. Of course, a single episode of alcohol abuse can cost you your life if you’re an impaired driver who runs into a tree or some other calamity befalls you.

alcoholism

Alcoholism is alcohol dependence, which is composed of two separate considerations:

  • Physical addiction to a drug is defined by tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. Tolerance is when you become acclimated to the same dose of drug, meaning, in this case, the same amount of liquor no longer gives you the same buzz. Withdrawal symptoms occur when you experience effects from no longer having the drug in your system.
  • Mental addiction to alcohol is illustrated by its increasingly prominent role in your life. Your life becomes centered around the pursuit and consumption of alcohol. It creates problems with your physical, mental and social health, controlling your life and relationships.

Many of you ask if alcoholism is hereditary. Hereditary means a specific thing medically, so the answer is no. However, we believe genes play a role and increase the risk of alcoholism. It is most likely that genetics “load the gun,” but environment “pulls the trigger.”

AlcoholicGrayscaleDiagram2

Regarding environment, there’s no fixed equation to if and when you’ll become dependent, but there is a correlation with certain activity and an increased risk. Consider the following activities as suggestive of a significant risk for development alcoholism:

  • Men who have 15 or more drinks a week (One drink is either a 12-ounce bottle of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine or a 1.5 ounce shot of liquor.)
  • Women who have 12 or more drinks a week
  • Anyone who has five or more drinks at a time at least once a week
  • Anyone who has a parent with alcoholism

Here are some less hard signs, but these situations also have been shown to increase risk, according to the National Institutes of Health:

  • You are a young adult under peer pressure
  • You have a behavioral health disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, or schizophrenia
  • You have easy access to alcohol
  • You have low self-esteem
  • You have problems with relationships
  • You live a stressful lifestyle
  • You live in a culture in which alcohol use is more common and accepted

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Signs-That-You-are-Probably-An-Alcoholic

With all the focus of late on other forms of drug use and abuse (e.g., methamphetamine, marijuana), alcohol abuse seems to be lacking the attention it deserves. Fully one in six people in the United States has a drinking problem. In this segment of the Straight, No Chaser series on alcohol, we will explore problem drinking.
“Problem drinking” is a way of describing alcohol intake that causes problems with your functioning. Alcohol abuse is an episode or continued excessive alcohol consumption that causes problems with your daily living activities, such as family or job responsibilities. Of course, a single episode of alcohol abuse can cost you your life if you’re an impaired driver who runs into a tree or some other calamity befalls you.

alcoholism

Alcoholism is alcohol dependence, which is comprised of two separate considerations:

  • Physical addiction to a drug is defined by tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. Tolerance is when you become acclimated to the same dose of drug, meaning, in this case, the same amount of liquor no longer gives you the same buzz. Withdrawal symptoms occur when you experience effects from no longer having the drug in your system.
  • Mental addiction to alcohol is illustrated by its increasingly prominent role in your life. Your life becomes centered around the pursuit and consumption of alcohol. It creates problems with your physical, mental and social health, controlling your life and relationships.

Many of you ask if alcoholism is hereditary. Hereditary means a specific thing medically, so the answer is no. However, we believe genes play a role and increase the risk of alcoholism. It is most likely that genetics “load the gun,” but environment “pulls the trigger.”

AlcoholicGrayscaleDiagram2

Regarding environment, there’s no fixed equation to if and when you’ll become dependent, but there is a correlation with certain activity and an increased risk. Consider the following activities as suggestive of a significant risk for development alcoholism:

  • Men who have 15 or more drinks a week (One drink is either a 12-ounce bottle of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine or a 1.5 ounce shot of liquor.)
  • Women who have 12 or more drinks a week
  • Anyone who has five or more drinks at a time at least once a week
  • Anyone who has a parent with alcoholism

Here are some less hard signs, but these situations also have been shown to increase risk, according to the National Institutes of Health:

  • You are a young adult under peer pressure
  • You have a behavioral health disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, or schizophrenia
  • You have easy access to alcohol
  • You have low self-esteem
  • You have problems with relationships
  • You live a stressful lifestyle
  • You live in a culture in which alcohol use is more common and accepted

Feel free to contact your SMA expert consultant if you have any questions on this topic.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2015 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC

Straight, No Chaser: Erectile Dysfunction, Part Two – Causes

Causes-of-Erectile-Dysfunction-ED-Treament-Today
In my last post on erectile dysfunction (ED), I gave a simplistic way to understand and address it.  However, the truth of the matter is the overwhelming majority of cases of ED are not related to stress or other psychological issues.  First, some sense of ‘reasonable’, expected performance should be established, especially as one ages (as discussed here).  Beyond that, you should know that approximately 90% of ED cases involve an underlying medical concern, including, but not limited to, the following:

Diabetes

High blood pressure

Changes/disease to your blood vessels

Low testosterone

Kidney disease

Smoking

Alcohol and Drug abuse

Obesity and High cholesterol

Effects of your medications

Therefore, today’s message is simple and brief, but I’d suggest it’s probably more important than you have previously thought. You should consult your physician if and when you or your partner’s sexual performance becomes an issue. You may actually discover something that will not only save his performance, but his life.
Finally, in the next post we will review the wide variety of treatment options for ED.
Copyright © 2015 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: When Good Drugs Do Bad—Drug Interactions

three-feet-green-iguana-walking-on-the-beach-of-costa-rica

“Be sure to let your doctor know if you grow a third foot.”
Ok, well maybe that is about the only side effect you haven’t heard at the end of one of those commercials that seem to spend half of its time describing the side effects. If you pay attention to a pharmaceutical commercial, though, you’ll appreciate that even though medicines do a world of good, sometimes they cause significant problems. Those problems can become sped up or magnified by the effects of taking several drugs at a time. Alternatively, combinations of medications may make one or more of the drugs less effective. Regarding the medicines you’re taking, you should be clear if drug interactions can be minor and insignificant or serious and  life-threatening. Let’s review the various types of drug interactions.
drug-interactions
Drug/drug interactions: Two or more different drugs taken together may interact and cause an unwanted effect or change how the drug acts in the body. Here are some common examples:

  • An individual who already takes a sedative (e.g., sleeping pill) to help combat insomnia develops an exacerbation of their seasonal allergies. To treat the allergies, they decide to take an over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamine (like diphenhydramine, branded as Benadryl). Diphenhydramine also may cause drowsiness, so the combination of the medications may pose a danger to the person, especially if s/he is operating heavy machinery, such as driving a car.
  • Caffeine (which is a drug) in everyday foods—such as coffee and chocolate—also can interact with certain other drugs. In fact, caffeine is known to interact with over 80 different drugs, including about a dozen with which it produces serious effects. These include commonly used medications like aspirin, ciprofloxacin (branded as Cipro), guafenesin (the generic name for your favorite cough medicines) and diazepam (branded as Valium).
  • Nicotine (another drug) in tobacco products can interact with other medications, especially nicotine-replacement products. So if you’re taking medicine to help with your smoking cessation efforts, and you’re still smoking, you’re making the problem worse!

Drug/food interactions: If you’re a fan of grapefruit or chocolate, then it’s likely that your physician has cautioned you on drug/food interactions. These occur when certain foods or beverages interfere with the metabolism of certain medications. In the example of grapefruit, it’s known to interfere with metabolism of medications used to lower cholesterol levels (called statins). This can lead to adverse drug effects and actual liver damage. Other examples are to be found in the many foods (e.g., red wine, aged cheese) that affect the antidepressant class of drugs known as MAO inhibitors.
Drug/condition interactions: You see these all the time. Many different medication instructions warn you not to take them if you have certain medical conditions, as the medications may make the medical condition worse. Prominent examples include over-the-counter cold, cough and flu remedies that advise you not to take if you have heart disease or high blood pressure. Also if you have kidney or liver disease, any medicine that gets metabolized via one of those routes may have difficulty and delays in getting metabolized and excreted, leading to longer than desired activity of the given drug.
Drug/alcohol interactions: This is actually a subcategory of the drug/drug interaction because alcohol is a drug. It deserves special mention because drinking alcohol while taking certain medications can cause adverse effects related to the additive effects of alcohol and various drugs. Any medication involving the central nervous system or one’s mental state would likely be worsened by alcohol.
The best way to guard against these concerns is to discuss any new medications with your physician or pharmacist prior to taking them. Be smart about medicines you’re putting in your body and don’t be cavalier about them; the wrong combinations can turn a medicine into a toxin.
One final note: don’t be lulled into complacency by herbal preparations as some form of replacement. Herbals are still medicines and work via the same active ingredient as the pharmaceutical drug they’re replacing. As such, they are subject to cause the same types of problems listed above. Even more concerning is that as a class, comparatively less research has been done on herbals. Therefore, the full extent of side effects and drug interactions is not defined. Not knowing the full extend of an herbal medicine’s side effect profile isn’t the same as saying the herbal doesn’t have side effects, and you shouldn’t interpret things that way.
Feel free to contact your SMA expert consultant for any questions you may have on this topic.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2013 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Signs-That-You-are-Probably-An-Alcoholic

With all the focus of late on other forms of drug use and abuse (e.g., methamphetamine, marijuana), alcohol abuse seems to be lacking the attention it deserves. Fully one in six people in the United States has a drinking problem. In this segment of the Straight, No Chaser series on alcohol, we will explore problem drinking.
For an additional personal look at if you drink too much, click here.
“Problem drinking” is a way of describing alcohol intake that causes problems with your functioning. Alcohol abuse is an episode or continued excessive alcohol consumption that causes problems with your daily living activities, such as family or job responsibilities. Of course, a single episode of alcohol abuse can cost you your life if you’re an impaired driver who runs into a tree or some other calamity befalls you.
Alcoholism is alcohol dependence, which is comprised of two separate considerations:

  • Physical addiction to a drug is defined by tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. Tolerance is when you become acclimated to the same dose of drug, meaning, in this case, the same amount of liquor no longer gives you the same buzz. Withdrawal symptoms occur when you experience effects from no longer having the drug in your system.
  • Mental addiction to alcohol is illustrated by its increasingly prominent role in your life. Your life becomes centered around the pursuit and consumption of alcohol. It creates problems with your physical, mental and social health, controlling your life and relationships.

Many of you ask if alcoholism is hereditary. Hereditary means a specific thing medically, so the answer is no. However, we believe genes play a role and increase the risk of alcoholism. It is most likely that genetics “load the gun,” but environment “pulls the trigger.”
Regarding environment, there’s no fixed equation to if and when you’ll become dependent, but there is a correlation with certain activity and an increased risk. Consider the following activities as suggestive of a significant risk for development alcoholism:

  • Men who have 15 or more drinks a week (One drink is either a 12-ounce bottle of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine or a 1.5 ounce shot of liquor.)
  • Women who have 12 or more drinks a week
  • Anyone who has five or more drinks at a time at least once a week
  • Anyone who has a parent with alcoholism

Here are some less hard signs, but these situations also have been shown to increase risk, according to the National Institutes of Health:

  • You are a young adult under peer pressure
  • You have a behavioral health disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, or schizophrenia
  • You have easy access to alcohol
  • You have low self-esteem
  • You have problems with relationships
  • You live a stressful lifestyle
  • You live in a culture in which alcohol use is more common and accepted

Feel free to contact your SMA expert consultant if you have any questions on this topic.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Straight, No Chaser: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Diagnosis and Treatment

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For a review of PTSD signs, symptoms and those at risk, click here.
Not every traumatized person develops post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In those that do, symptoms typically begin within three months of the incident but may present years afterward. The severity of symptoms is such that they must last more than a month to be considered PTSD. There is significant variation in outcome in those with PTSD; some recover within six months, and in some the condition becomes chronic.
To be diagnosed with PTSD, a person must have the following symptom complex for at least one month:

  • At least one re-experiencing symptom (including flashbacks, scary thoughts or nightmares)
  • At least three avoidance symptoms (a pathologic response to stay away from or forget the episode)
  • At least two hyperarousal symptoms (a constant state of being on edge, sensitive and prone to overreact)

Additionally, PTSD is often accompanied by depression, substance abuse, or other anxiety disorders.
PTSD is typically treated with either psychotherapy (“talk” therapy), medications, or both. Mental health professionals will review and discuss all treatment options with you prior to initiating therapy, because some people will need to try more than one variety to discover what works for their symptoms.
If someone with PTSD is going through ongoing trauma, such as an abusive relationship, both the PTSD and the current problems need to be treated. Other ongoing problems can include panic disorder, depression, substance abuse, and suicidal feelings.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two medications for treating adults with PTSD, sertraline (Zoloft), and paroxetine (Paxil). Both of these medications are also used to treat depression. In PTSD, they help control symptoms such as sadness, worry, anger, and the feeling of numbness inside. Taking these medications often make it easier to go through psychotherapy.
Sometimes people taking these medications have side effects at the beginning of therapy, but they usually go away. Any side effects or unusual reactions should be reported to a doctor immediately. Sometimes the medication dose needs to be reduced or the time of day it is taken needs to be adjusted to help lessen these side effects. The most common side effects of antidepressants like sertraline and paroxetine are the following:

  • Headache
  • Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach)
  • Sleeplessness or drowsiness
  • Agitation (feeling jittery)
  • Sexual problems (occurs in both sexes), including reduced sex drive and problems having and enjoying sex.

Doctors may also prescribe other types of medications, such as benzodiazepines (commonly used for relaxation and as a sleep aid), antipsychotics and other antidepressants. There is little information on how well these work for people with PTSD.
If you believe you suffer from PTSD, it’s very simple. Please get evaluated and get the help you need.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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From the Health Library of SterlingMedicalAdvice.com: "How can I get alcohol out of my system quicker?"

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It’s a frequent misconception that there are a ton of remedies you can take to help you eliminate alcohol quicker or get less drunk. Alcohol is eliminated by what’s called zero-order kinetics. This process means that a fixed amount of alcohol is eliminated from the body at a time. Nothing you’re doing, including coating your stomach, eating (including a cheese tray) or drinking coffee is going to make you less intoxicated (referral to the legal definition of how much you have in your system). Now being less dehydrated helps the blood alcohol concentration, and drinking coffee (which is a stimulant and can counter the depressant effects of alcohol) may make you feel more alert, but my best remedy for you is to sleep it off (unless you’re intoxicated to the point that you need medical attention).
Bonus question: “Does vomiting help?”
Vomiting is only of value in eliminating alcohol that hasn’t yet been absorbed into the bloodstream.  Once the alcohol is in your system, it needs to be eliminated as discussed.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) will offer beginning November 1. Until then enjoy some our favorite posts and frequently asked questions as well as a daily note explaining the benefits of SMA membership. Please share our page with your Friends on WordPress, and we can be found on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: Erectile Dysfunction, Part Two – Causes

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In my last post on erectile dysfunction (ED), I gave a simplistic way to understand and address it.  However, the truth of the matter is the overwhelming majority of cases of ED are not related to stress or other psychological issues.  First, some sense of ‘reasonable’, expected performance should be established, especially as one ages (as discussed here).  Beyond that, you should know that approximately 90% of ED cases involve an underlying medical concern, including, but not limited to, the following:

Diabetes

High blood pressure

Changes/disease to your blood vessels

Low testosterone

Kidney disease

Smoking

Alcohol and Drug abuse

Obesity and High cholesterol

Effects of your medications

Therefore, today’s message is simple and brief, but I’d suggest it’s probably more important than you have previously thought. You should consult your physician if and when you or your partner’s sexual performance becomes an issue. You may actually discover something that will not only save his performance, but his life.
Finally, in the next post we will review the wide variety of treatment options for ED.
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Straight, No Chaser: Here's How You Stop Smoking – Quick Tips to START Smoking Cessation

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  • Don’t pick your birthday or NYE to stop. Do it now. Can’t do it now? Do it Monday. In fact, do it every Monday. It’s a fight. If you fall down, start it back up again. It’s the fight of your life (or should I say for your life?).
  • If you decide to quit after your current (last) pack, throw away one cigarette for every one you smoke.
  • Count (figuratively or literally) all the money you’re saving by not smoking.
  • Throw away (not give away) all cigarettes, cigars, matches, lighters, humidors, cigar cutters and anything else you associate with smoking. You’ll realize how sad it is if and when you find yourself rummaging through the garbage to get a fix.
  • Tell everyone (loudly) that you’ve quit. Empower them to help and hold you accountable. Enlist another smoker friend to go through the journey with you.
  • If you do fall off the wagon, smoke a different cigarette brand. Odds are you won’t like it as much, and that will help combat the natural ease you have with smoking.
  • Contact your physician, and ask for help. Here’s a marvelous best-practices schemata of appropriate interplay between a physician and a patient trying to stop smoking.

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  • If your physician and you decide to place you on a patch or otherwise medicate you, follow instructions carefully and precisely.
  • Practice deep breathing. Part of the euphoria of smoking is nothing more than the physiologic sensations produced by deep inhalations.
  • Keep other things in your mouth. Mints and chewing gum (low-calorie) are great. Brushing your teeth also serves many purposes. Drinking water when you want to smoke will often remove the urge.
  • Make it past the first day. Then make it past the first week.

I personally love the START method, which includes several of the above methods. Let me know if it works for any of you.

S: Set a quit date.

T: Tell your friends, family and associates that you’re quitting, and enlist their help.

A: Anticipate and act on the plan you’ve set and challenges you’ll meet.

R: Remove (trash) cigarettes, cigar and other paraphernalia from your environment.

T: Talk with your physician about options and additional support.

For those of you affected (either first or second-hand), this is huge and important. I really wish you all the best. I welcome any comments or questions.
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Straight, No Chaser: Do You Drink Too Much?

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It’s one of those Straight, No Chaser (literally) days.  I haven’t addressed substance abuse much yet (and you know I will), but the problems with most intoxicating substances revolve around the same consideration.  You had the most incredible time and got the most incredible high the first time, and you spend the rest of your life chasing the joy of that first buzz, which for most drugs you’ll never get.  The difference with alcohol abuse is that alcohol is legal and comparatively inexpensive, so you get to keep trying without much fuss (or at least initially).
Let’s set the stage by standardizing some terms:

  • Alcohol intoxication: You’re drunk and under the influence of alcohol.
  • Alcohol abuse: Your drinking habits are unhealthy, resulting in bad consequences (e.g. at work, in your relationships, with the law).
  • Alcohol dependency: You’re physically and/or mentally addicted to alcohol.  You crave liquor and seemingly can’t do without it.  Dependency involves withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is not in your system.  These symptoms may include anxiety, nausea, sweating, jitteriness, shakes and even withdrawal seizures.

Alcoholism is a chronic disease.  Unfortunately, some of us start with a predisposition based on genes and strong influences based on family and cultural considerations.  It is so much more than either a lack of willpower or an inability to quit.  This disease has a predictable course and defined effects on various parts of the body, leading to specific means of death if unaddressed.  Because I’m Straight, No Chaser, I’m not going to deal with the subjective thoughts you offer about whether or not you can ‘handle your liquor’ or whether you believe ‘you can stop anytime you want’.  I’m going to give you some medical data that defines when you’re doing damage to your body.  It’s actually pretty simple.
Are you this guy or gal (keep in mind a standard drink is defined as one 12 ounce can of beer, 1 glass of wine or 1 mixed drink)?

  • Women having more than 3 drinks at one time or more than 7 drinks a week.
  • Men having more than 4 drinks at one time or more than 14 drinks a week.

If so, you’re causing damage.  We’ll get into the specifics at another time.
That’s damage.  Let’s discuss dependency.  Consider the possibility that you may be dependent on alcohol if you have any of these problems over the course of a year:

  • While you’re drinking, you can’t quit or control how much you drink.
  • You have tried to quit drinking or to cut back the amount you drink but can’t.
  • You need to drink more to get a previous effect (This is called ‘tolerance’.).
  • You have withdrawal symptoms (discussed earlier) when you stop.
  • You spend a lot of your time either drinking, recovering from drinking, or giving up other activities so you can drink.
  • You continue to drink even though it harms your relationships and causes physical problems.

So What?
No one is giving up alcohol by reading this, I’m sure.  I haven’t even touched to the harsh realities of alcoholism (yet).  Alcohol is part of the American social fabric.  We live, celebrate and commemorate milestones with it.  It’s glamorized throughout society.  It’s constitutionally approved.  I appreciate that.  In moderation, it’s a good time.  Just understand that it’s not a free ride.  The danger is in the insidious nature of this disease, meaning issues may creep up on you before you ever know what’s about to hit you.  Then we’re having a completely different conversation.
I look forward to any questions or thoughts on the topic.
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