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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Binge Drinking Changes Your DNA

binge drinking

Here's yet another reason to seek help for binge drinking: It can mess with your very being - your DNA! 

So what does this really mean? Researchers from Rutgers University discovered that consistently overdoing it on alcohol can disrupt the natural effectiveness of two specific genes: PER2, which regulates body clock and POMC, which controls stress.

The researchers discovered that both genes were altered in binge and heavy drinkers and, in the heaviest drinkers, there was a reduction in the rate at which the genes created new proteins. According to, this basically means that binge drinking “stunted both genes.” 

And, what’s worse, these mutations may make it harder to quit. The researchers found that these long-lasting genetic changes sparked a greater desire to drink among binge and heavy drinkers. 

"We found that people who drink heavily may be changing their DNA in a way that makes them crave alcohol even more," Professor Dipak K. Sarkar, senior author of the study and director of the Endocrine Program in the Department of Animal Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, told "This may help explain why alcoholism is such a powerful addiction, and may one day contribute to new ways to treat alcoholism or help prevent at-risk people from becoming addicted.”

Binge drinking is defined as when a person consumes an excessive amount of alcohol in a short amount of time. For men, this means drinking five or more alcoholic beverages in two hours. For women, four or more drinks within a two-hour time period.

College Students and Binge Drinking: What You Should Know
A large percentage of college students participate in binge drinking – and not without consequences. For one, binge drinking can take a toll on the young and still-developing brain of college students, causing cognitive difficulties. (Your brain continues to change and develop up to age 25.) Binge drinking can also increase your risk of life-threatening alcohol poisoning and suicide.

Here are a few more ways that binge drinking can put your health – and the health of others – at risk.
  • Poor academic performance, including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers and receiving lower grades overall.
  • Increased risk of injury - from minor cuts to broken bones to concussions.
  • More vulnerable to physical or sexual assault.
  • Higher chance of committing a crime, including vandalism, property damage and driving under the influence.
  • Greater risk of alcohol-related health complications like liver damage, high blood pressure, inflammation of the pancreas and other health complications.
  • Increased risk of an alcohol use disorder.
Getting Help for Alcohol Abuse
Is binge drinking becoming a problem for you or someone you love? Our young adult alcohol rehab can provide the tools you need to get and stay sober. Reach out to us today to find out how we can help you. To learn more about what a day in the life of Hope Academy looks like, call: 866-930-4673.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Ending Toxic Relationships

toxic relationships
Ending a toxic relationship is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your recovery. That said, it’s not easy and figuring out a way to end it peacefully without feeling emotionally drained is even more challenging. While it’s not likely to be a happy ending, it is possible to walk away with pride and to feel upbeat about your sober future.

What Is a Toxic Relationship?
While we typically think of a toxic relationship as a romantic relationship, the truth is that any relationship can fall into the category of “toxic.” This includes friendships, parent-child, sibling and boss-employee relationships. Certainly, no relationship is perfect all of the time but if someone is constantly disregarding your emotions or physically or mentally abusing you, it’s likely toxic.

Psychology Today suggests asking yourself the following questions to determine if you’re in a toxic relationship:
  • Does your relationship make you feel content and energized or unfilled and drained?
  • Does spending time with the person make you feel better or worse about yourself?
  • Do you feel safe (physically and emotionally) with this person or do you feel threatened or in danger?
  • Do you feel like you're always giving and he or she is always taking?
  • Do you feel like you have to change to make him or her happy?
Creating a Happy Ending for Yourself
Ending a toxic relationship is similar to quitting drugs or alcohol in the sense that you’ll likely experience cravings and feel nostalgia for the good times. You might even feel like you can’t live without the person in your life, despite how damaging the relationship has been. If you know you need to end the relationship but feel powerless, your first step is to seek help. You don’t need to do this alone. Enlist the help of a trusted family member, friend or counselor.

Here are a few more tips adapted from to keep in mind:
  • Cut off all ties. This means blocking the person on your phone, disconnecting on social media and staying away from places where you know that person will be. This will help you break the addiction you have to this person and help you change your habits.
  • Examine your emotions. Create a running list of emotional reminders for yourself. You can include answers to questions like: How did this person make you feel? How do you feel now? What feelings could occur when you’re finally free from this toxic relationship? Sorting through your emotions can help you stay steadfast in your decision.
  • Surround yourself with positive forces. Take time to care for yourself and seek out joy. This means going out of your way to spend time with those who make you feel good about you. Make plans together to go hiking or see a movie of your choosing.
  • Stick with your decision. It’s perfectly normal to miss the person after you end the relationship, but remind yourself that this wasn’t a quick decision and that you’re doing this to benefit yourself and your recovery. Lean on your support system if you feel the urge to allow the toxic person back into your life.
Aftercare at Hope Academy
Upon returning home from rehab, it’s all-too-easy to gravitate to former patterns, dangerous environmental triggers and toxic relationships, so we created a supportive transition between treatment completion and the return home to give you the best chance at sustained sobriety. To learn more, call: 866-930-4673.

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