Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Causes of A Hangover

There are several factors that play an important role in whether or not you'll have a hangover after getting absolutely sh*t-faced. Many of the causes are obvious and most of the time we know what our own limitations are, but still we go on drinking more and more without thinking of the possible outcome.

We can divide the causes of hangovers into 2 main categories...

* Direct Alcohol effects on body systems
* Effects of factors other than alcohol

Direct Alcohol effects on body systems

The direct effect on the body of excessive alcohol consumption seems to produce the most unpleasantness. Here are several ways that alcohol directly contributes to hangover symptoms...

Dehydration & Electrolyte Imbalance
Alcohol consumption increases urine production, which causes dehydration in the body leading to many common hangover symptoms including weakness, thirst, dizziness, dryness of the mucous membranes and light-headedness. And lest we forget, sweating, vomiting and diarrhea can also occur as a result of excessive drinking resulting in more losses of fluids and electrolytes from the body.

Gastrointestinal Disturbances
Excessive alcohol intake will irritate the stomach and intestines causing inflammation of the stomach lining and delayed stomach emptying. Alcohol can also produce gastric acid, a fatty liver, pancreatic and intestinal secretions. All of them can cause abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.

Low Blood Sugar
Alcohol consumption can slow down the glucose production in the body and badly affect the reserves of glucose in the liver. As glucose is the main energy source of the brain, low blood sugar can result in fatigue, weakness and mood swings during hangovers.

Sleep Disruption and other Biological Rhythms
Compared to normal sleep, alcohol-induced sleep is usually of poor quality and short. This can cause the fatigue experienced during a hangover. Alcohol can also interrupt the body's temperature rhythm, nighttime secretion of growth hormones and cortisol release in the body. All of these factors can produce jet lag type feelings during hangovers.

Alcohol intoxication can result in the widening of blood vessels resulting in severe headache. Alcohol consumption also affects several hormones like histamine, serotonin and prostaglandins contributing in headaches.

Alcohol Withdrawal
Heavy drinking depresses the central nervous system. When alcohol is withdrawn, the central nervous system can go into an unbalanced, hyperactive state. This can cause the tremors and rapid heartbeat associated with hangovers. Many of the signs and symptoms of hangovers overlap with the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

Effects of factors other than alcohol

Other symptoms of hangovers can result from the withdrawal of alcohol from the body, the effects of metabolites produced during alcohol consumption, chemicals in alcoholic beverages, drinking behaviors and personal characteristics of the drinker. We'll discuss them in detail...

Most alcoholic beverages contain chemical compounds known as congeners. These chemicals contribute to the taste, smell and appearance of the drink. These compounds can play a role in aggravating the symptoms of a hangover. Research has shown that beverages which contain pure alcohol such as gin or vodka, cause fewer hangover effects. Beverages that contain more congeners, such as whiskey, brandy and red wine are more likely to cause hangover symptoms.

Drug Use
People who drink heavily often use other drugs and cigarettes. These substances can cause their own set of hangover type symptoms. Although the use of drugs like marijuana and cocaine can contribute to conditions leading to a hangover, their exact effects on alcohol hangovers is still unknown.

Family History
People who have a family history of alcoholism have a tendency for increased hangover symptoms, as compared to drinkers with no family history of alcoholism.

What is Hangover?

The term hangover has been defined as:

“A collection of unpleasant and painful symptoms, which can develop after drinking too much alcohol. Those symptoms can range from mild discomfort to more severe symptoms.”

Of course, there's no fixed amount of alcohol that will cause a hangover, as each
individual reacts to alcohol differently, but generally it's thought the more you drink, the worse your symptoms will be.


When you consume alcohol, your body breaks it down into acetaldehyde (CH3CHO – a volatile compound found in alcohol), before converting it into less harmful substances. The acetaldehyde messes with your brain causing adverse affects to your nervous system, lowers your blood sugar and cause headache and dry mouth symptoms. This results in symptoms like nausea, twitchy nerves, unpleasantness, pessimism, brain ache and a temporary suspension of the laws of gravity. The severity of a hangover depends upon following things. . .

* The amount you've guzzled
* Your own natural enzymatic capacity to deal with the poisons
* Your age

This means the more you drink in a short span of time, the more you'll feel the adverse affects of alcohol.

Most of the disagreeable symptoms experienced during a hangover are caused by two major factors:

1. The diuretic effect of alcohol that causes dehydration in the drinker
2. The toxic effects of alcohol poisoning in many systems of the body

It's well known that excess of anything can be dangerous. Similarly, excessive amounts of alcohol can severely affect the liver, brain, gastrointestinal system, central nervous system and not least, your sensory perception. It can also disturb your sleep; badly affect your mood, your attention span and concentration.

Most of the symptoms experienced during a hangover are the result of the direct effect of alcohol on the body's systems, but there are several other factors that can contribute to the unpleasantness of a hangover.

Hangover symptoms can also be caused by...

• The withdrawal of alcohol from the body
• The effects of metabolites produced during alcohol consumption
• Other chemicals found in alcoholic beverages
• Drinking behavior
• Personal characteristics of the drinker

Coming up are a few of the symptoms of a hangover. If you're suffering from most of the symptoms in the list below, simply tell everyone to sod off and leave you alone, because you're dying. Then, just go back to bed and sleep it off for a while. However, if your symptoms persist or get more severe, you should immediately consult your GP or risk dropping dead.

• Dehydration
• Dry mouth
• Anxiety
• Headache
• Nausea
• Weakness
• Tiredness
• Bad breath
• Lack of concentration
• Touchiness
• Glumness
• Sensitivity to light and noise
• Trouble sleeping
• Suspension of the laws of gravity
• Loss of the will to live

Painkillers for Hangover. Read these Tips Before Use

Most people use medicines or pills during a hangover. Aspirin and Ibuprofen may reduce headache and muscular pain, but they shouldn't be used if you're experiencing abdominal pain or nausea. These medicines are gastric irritants and can compound gastrointestinal hangover symptoms.

In addition, Tylenol should not be taken for a hangover, because alcohol's metabolism only enhances the acetaminophen's toxicity.

By all means, use an over-the-counter painkiller such as Aspirin or Ibuprofen to help ease the headache, but keep one thing in mind - take the pills on the morning after and not before going to bed when the alcohol is still in high volume in your system.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Neurosurgery for OCD patients

Psychosurgery is used for the patients of OCD problems and it is only a sub sect of the neurosurgery or surgery for the brain. It is mostly used for patients who do not respond to any other form of treatment and therapy. In olden days, lobotomy was used which has now been replaced with psychosurgery. Lobotomy has been found to damage the brain and there have been cases of memory loss. Psychosurgery disables a part of the brain with the help of electrodes. The area to be disabled is selected with the help of magnetic resonance imaging. Around one third of the patients have reported improvement.

Novel techniques of gamma knife irradiation and the deep brain stimulation have come up as the modern form of neurosurgery. With so much of advancements in the treatments for various illnesses conventional treatments for the OCD has resulted in only temporary relief that too in 20 % of the patients only.

There are various methods used in the treatment of the neurosurgical treatment of OCD. Four of them have gained importance because of their safety and effectiveness.

• Anterior cingulotomy
• Limbic leucotomy
• Subcaudate tractotomy
• Anterior capsulotomy

In OCD patients all the communication areas of the brain always work and never cease to work BCT and the medication can reduce the activity to a certain extent but can not stop it all together. The connection of the areas has to be cut off to control OCD.
The surgical treatment is helpful for patients with severe OCD and chronic anxiety state. Highly skilled and trained team of doctors only should perform the psychosurgical treatment. After surgery the patient has to undergo the psychiatric rehabilitation program. Numbers of patients have been benefited from these surgical treatments. The side effects or the complications are few. Surgical intervention is an option for severely affected patients which are under utilized.

Scrupulosity- Religious OCD- What is it?

OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) can also be termed as anxiety disorder as it is the result of unwanted and uncontrolled repetitive emotions. As far as religion is concerned many people are very faithful and involved in the activities related to God. But there are certain individuals who get extra involved in religious beliefs thus it leads to compulsive behavior that is absolutely joyless. There are number of causes behind OCD such as Cognitive behavioral, biological and psychodynamic reasons. Scrupulosity- Religious OCD is a disorder that is caused due to some religious issue or moral guilt’s. A person suffering from Scrupulosity- Religious OCD mainly focuses upon religious and moral fears. This may includes fear of being a wicked person or fear from god if involved in any sin.

Scrupulosity- Religious OCD is a biological disorder based on several emotional consequences. There are few people who suffer from Scrupulosity- Religious OCD and it is genetic to a little extent. In Scrupulosity- Religious OCD a person starts thinking negatively on any sin and neglects the positive aspect of being religious. Almost every religion aims at making good human beings and there are few people who think that if they are not able to be good human beings they will be punished.

There are many treatments of OCD so is the treatment for Scrupulosity- Religious OCD. Such treatments include CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and medication. Some severe cases require immediate treatment that too accompanied by different techniques. The sufferer has to do self-assessment and has to understand the real causes behind scrupulosity. A psychologist can definitely help to realize the sufferer that this is not the right way to see life and one should always grasp the positive things in the atmosphere. By adopting effective treatments one can get rid of Scrupulosity- Religious OCD and get freedom from all barriers and can start experiencing a rich and faithful life.

Psychotherapy for OCD patients

OCD is anxiety disorder and recognizing it is very difficult. For maximum benefit one has to reveal as much information as possible. There is no cure for the obsessive compulsive disorder. In the past the sufferer had to overcome the issue on his own. Of late some treatments are available for people suffering from this mental illness. One has to find the right therapy and start it early. To reduce complications it is necessary to diagnose the problem and get started with the appropriate form of treatment.

Psychotherapy is an effective form of treatment for the patients of OCD. One should always use it as the first form of treatment. It is a treatment where every patient has to be attended by a professional on one to one basis. It is the only effective form of treatment for the OCD patients. Cognitive behavior therapy is a form of therapy in which the patient is exposed to the obsessions and is asked to resist the resulting compulsion. It studies the changing patterns of thought by altering behavior. The patient is gradually exposed to the anxiety creating situations and asked to withhold the urge to behave in the usual way. The success of the therapy is dependent on the determination of the patient. Gradually the patient learns to relax and is able to handle the anxiety. The treatment is only for a short term.

It can be challenging to find a trained professional who can handle the treatment by CBT for OCD patients. The best place to look for the cutting edge treatment is in the academic medical research centers. The treatment is expensive but there are options which are less expensive. Free treatment is available for people who are ready to participate in the research work of the institute done for the OCD patients.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy for OCD Patients

A combination of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and medication for the patients of OCD has been found to be beneficial. The cognitive behavior therapy is a form of therapy in which the patient has to recognize and challenge the thoughts which are irrational and then has to modify his behavior. It has been found to be an effective treatment. People suffering from the disorder have realized that around 60% to 80 % of the symptoms have been reduced after going through the cognitive behavior therapy. Patient participation is very much required for enjoying the benefits of the therapy. OCD patients are usually unwilling to undergo the cognitive behavior therapy. There are different kinds of cognitive behavior therapies and the most suitable form of it for the OCD patients is called exposure and response prevention.

The traditional talk therapy only improves the psychological condition by getting an insight into the problem which is beneficial at a later point when the patient has recovered to a certain extent.

The form of therapy involves the exposure of the patient to the images, thoughts and objects which make them anxious. The response prevention, as the name suggests, is to restrain from doing the ritualistic things which the patient does whenever faced with the anxiety creating situations. The success of the therapy is dependent on the commitment of the patient. There may be opposition to this form of therapy as the patient has to overcome the sky rocketing anxiety by shear will power. Over a period the anxiety starts to reduce. CBT patients learn to manage or handle their OCD problems for the rest of their lives and can lead a normal life.

The alarm system has been taken over by the disorder and sends false alarms often and jeopardizes the normal life of the person.

Children and OCD – Can Children Also be Affected?

According to the general opinion OCD occurs only in adults but it is not true as children can also suffer from the obsessive compulsive disorder. The arrival of OCD in children and adults is different as there are lots of other differences in them too.

When obsessions and compulsions are noticed in children before the age of puberty it can be categorized as childhood OCD. On an average 1 to 3 % of the children suffer from OCD. It makes its first appearance around the age of 10. OCD has been noticed in children as young as 5 or 6 years of age. The interesting fact is that boys are affected more by the onset of childhood OCD and such boys are also prone to tic-disorders.

Children are generally frightened about the death of their parents. Most of their obsessions and compulsions revolve around the members of the family. They are always in the fear that there will be harm to them or the family members. In general they check and re-check the doors and windows of the house as they are afraid that they may have been left unlocked. The slightly elder kids may fear germs which turns them into compulsive washers of the hands or frequent showers. Children suffering with OCD may start to hoard things.

Often children are frightened to share their problems with others. The fear of being called crazy inhibits them from communicating with their parents about their fears and compulsions. Parents should be observant about their child’s behavior and should try to communicate with the children to understand their problem better. Timely professional help can be obtained to get rid of the problem. It is easily curable with the help of psychotherapy and medication wherever required. Children have to see a children or adolescent psychiatrist to take appropriate action for the complex situation created due to OCD.

How can OCD be Diagnosed?

Obsessive compulsive disorder is a condition of mind. People are usually filled with anxiety. It is prevalent in both men and women. The behavior patterns of these people interfere with the normal life and one has to undergo treatment to get rid of the condition. Usually people feel embarrassed to take help from a professional. OCD is a condition which is curable but one has to be excessively determined towards it, it is all a game of will power.

There is a list of symptoms by which it is easy to recognize if some one is in the need of help. People suffering from OCD keep on repeating their actions; they keep doing the same thing time and again and feel anxious all the time. To find if a person is actually suffering from a disorder one has to meet a psychologist or a psychiatrist. Only a professional can evaluate the situation. Everyone is obsessed with something or the other at some time of their lives. However, it takes the form of neurotic disorder if these kinds of thoughts occur for prolonged periods. It is essential to recognize such thoughts as they cause the anxiety.

Some thoughts or obsessions bring anxiety to the person and they start to behave in a peculiar way (compulsions) which they believe would contain their anxiousness. The hallmark symptom of the OCD sufferer is the repetitive actions. For example, they may feel that by touching a person, they can avert the potential danger to him or her. As a result whenever they feel anxious about their safety the OCD sufferer would go and touch them.

If a person is obsessed for a long period of time then he must surely seek professional help. Only a specialist can help a person to come out of this disorder. He may advice various therapies to the patient which may help him to lead a normal life.

Obsessions and Compulsions – What are they?

Obsessive compulsive disorder is a state in which a person is filled with anxiety. One of the prominent features of the disorder is to have unwanted thoughts which are alarming and to do certain things again and again. Their behavior comes in the way of their daily life. They have very peculiar patterns of behavior which is repetitive in nature. Although many of them know that their obsessions and compulsions are meaning less they can not get rid of them a lead a normal life. It is impossible to ignore them.

People suffering from the OCD are generally nervous and are frightened. They adopt a certain behavior pattern to get rid of the feeling. The rules of the behavior pattern are self made. They feel that that their nervousness has vanished and feel better for a while. The whole ritual starts all over after a short while as the feeling of nervousness returns. These behavior patterns are called the compulsion.

Obsessions are the feelings which arise in the mind of the sufferer. They are the ideas and impulses which run across the mind of a person suffering from the OCD. At times these thoughts just come and go where as there are times when the thoughts not go off.
Some of the common obsessions are:

• One feels disturbed if things are not kept in order.
• To be afraid of dirt and germs.
• Require constant reassurance.

Some of the common compulsions are:

• Washing and cleaning of hands, showers and brushing teeth again and again.
• Always in search of reassurance.
• Arranging things all the time.

There is really no recognizable cause for OCD. It affects both men and women uniformly. There are other illnesses which are associated to OCD. In America alone there is a 2.3 % of the population between the age of 18 and 54 that suffers from OCD.

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