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15 Habits of Remarkably Effective People

Find yourself staring out the window again? You can quickly get back on track.

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Being productive is a great thing. Not only does it increase your self-confidence and sense of well-being, it can also make you more effective and your company more profitable. The ultimate reward for keeping your focus and being productive is more free time for you. And who doesn’t want more free time?

Everyone hits productivity lows, which is OK as long as they don’t last too long. Here are 15 ways to kick your productivity into high gear.

Don’t know where to begin?

1. The first step is to create a to-do list. When is the best time to create a to-do list? At the end of your workday while everything is still fresh in your mind or Sunday night after (hopefully) a restful weekend. This allows you to shut out work completely once you’re home for the night or weekend and to hit the ground running with your list in hand the next morning. It’s always a good idea to keep some paper handy during your workday to take notes and add things to your to-do list. This allows you to clear your head by getting those thoughts onto paper so you can continue to focus on the task at hand.

 

2. The next step is to choose one difficult, possibly longer task on your list to complete first.

The sense of achievement you experience from checking off that one really hard thing on your list helps set the tone for the easier tasks to follow. They will feel like a walk in the park after you’ve tackled the hard stuff.

When is the best time to be productive?

3. A lot of this depends on who you are as a person.

It is often suggested that we get up early and get to work while things are still quiet–less office chatter, fewer interruptions, just peace and solitude. Although this advice is good for some, it’s not good for everyone–we’re not all early birds. You need to dig deep and figure out when you are most productive. Maybe it’s closer to noon when you begin to feel the stirrings of being alive and able to produce. The point here is, don’t push through your to-do list during times when you tend to be the least productive–choose those times when you function at your best. Save easy to-dos for your less productive times of the day.

Hit a wall?

4. Take a walk outside and get some fresh air.

Even a five-minute walk can wake you up and make you feel rejuvenated enough to dig back into work.

5. Take time out to clean and organize your desk and perhaps redecorate.

Sometimes the clutter, the dust, and the really dirty keyboard can be a distraction. It’s amazing how cleaning your desk and making it an organized, beautiful place to work again can boost your productivity. Consider a new chair or adding some plants or a fish in a small bowl. Research has proved that the simple addition of a plant can increase productivity by 15 percent.

 

6. Take some time to browse the Web–look up things that are of interest to you.

Research has shown that if you take a short break to surf the Web–say five to 15 minutes–you will feel refreshed and ready to throw yourself into work again. You may even find new inspiration and think of a new way to get through the current to-do.

 

7. Try laughter.

Watch a couple of skits from Saturday Night Live or some other comedy show you enjoy, even if for only five minutes. Laughter increases productivity and makes you feel happier too.

 

8. Stand at your desk, stretch, and try deep breathing for at least five minutes.

A good recipe for deep breathing: Inhale through your nose while counting slowly to 7; hold your breath for another slow count to 7; and then slowly exhale through your mouth for a slow count to 7. Go through this process 7 to 10 times. Now pat yourself on the back for completing your first meditation session and because you feel much better and can get back to work.

9. Take a snack break–the high-protein, high-fiber variety.

This kind of snack–search the Web for ideas–will give you the brain boost you need for increased productivity. Sugary, high-carb snacks just bog you down and make it more likely that you will want to take a nap instead of work.

10. Stay hydrated.

The older you get, the harder it is to sense that you’re thirsty. Dehydration can cause sleepiness, confusion, irritability, and other side effects (another great Web search opportunity). What is the best way to hydrate? Water–keep it handy at all times and keep drinking the stuff. It will help you maintain your focus, stay awake, and keep your productivity on high.

 

11. If your wall is still up, try taking a nap for up to 20 minutes.

Yes, you read that right. Go to your car, a couch, or other place you feel comfortable–and take a nap. Naps as short as 15 minutes can increase alertness, improve your mood, and get your productivity juices flowing again.

Do you multitask?

12. Don’t. Research has shown that multitasking can be a productivity crusher, causing wasted time and more errors. Boost your productivity by focusing on one to-do at a time instead of switching from task to task. Occasionally, you will have to switch tasks if something hot hits your desk. Just make this the exception and not the norm. Better to place that hot item at the top of your to-do list and finish what you were doing first, thereby keeping your productivity from ending with a screeching halt.

If nothing seems to be working

13. Sometimes the problem is constant distractions.

Shut off the email ping, put a Do Not Disturb Sign on your office door, or wear some headphones to shut out the noise. Research has shown that each distraction can cause up to a 20-minute delay in productivity. This can really add up, with multiple distractions decreasing productivity significantly.

14. Take a vacation.

Not just a long weekend–a real vacation away from it all. If you can, take a couple weeks. Two weeks is optimal for complete recovery from the stresses of work. It’s amazing how real time away from work can give you a whole new perspective and research has shown that even a weeklong vacation increases reaction time and productivity.

15. Last resort.

Perhaps you are having trouble with productivity because you simply don’t enjoy what you’re doing anymore. Think about your current work choice–is it still resonating with you? Do you ever feel excited about your work? If the answer is no, it may be time to find a new job or career entirely. If you can find your real passion in life, your productivity will go through the roof without your even trying.

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Scientifically Proven Ways to Elevate Your Success – How to Succeed

Even the most success-challenged among us can find great success. So why not reach out and take it right now? You wanna install Our App? Click here HERE

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Are some of us pre-destined at birth for success? Maybe–but that’s not the important thing that matters. Despite how we feel about the odds of success with which we were born, we can always be doing something more to increase our chances of success–and our happiness.

There are things we can do that are scientifically backed that can help even the most success-challenged among us. Here are 5 scientifically proven ways to bring you closer to becoming the successful person you were meant to be–whether you were born with it or not.

 

1.Take advantage of the Zeigarnik Effect

The effect states that uncompleted tasks or projects become background noise–a constant nagging within our unconscious brain. This nagging will continue until you make a concrete plan within your conscious mind. Make use of the Zeigarnik effect to further your success–create and write down a plan of action. Include time, place and how you will complete your task or project and get it done and out of your unconscious brain so you can rid yourself of that constant, yet helpful, nagging.

2. Stand up strong

It is scientifically proven that our bodies can have a profound affect upon the feedback cycle of our brains. If we smile, we feel happier. If we begin to slouch, we often feel more tired than we felt before. Sitting up straight or standing with good posture has been scientifically proven to increase our sense of power and can even enhance our sense of well being and positivity. Not only that, others will perceive us as more powerful and successful than our hunched-over colleague. Want to increase your chances of success? Make good posture a priority.

 

3. Meditate each morning

Numerous psychologists tout the clearing of the brain through meditation as an excellent way to achieve a new state of clarity, one that allows our mind to reset and our body to collect itself before beginning a new day. Daily morning meditation helps reduce the stress we feel and helps us focus on the day ahead. Begin your day with a healthy dose of meditation-just a few minutes are all that is needed-so you can increase your chances for a very successful day.

 

4. Interact with others

Other than the obvious benefit of networking, forging relationships with others increases our chemical count of oxytocin and triggers dopamine to release into the brain–chemicals responsible for warm, fuzzy, and fulfilled feelings. Having lasting and substantial relationships with others may be the easiest way to success, as we better ourselves both professionally and emotionally.

 

5. Spend more time alone

 

Contrary to what may seem like the intuitive thing to do, spending time alone has actually been shown to bolster our levels of success. People who are able to exist on their own seek less validation from others, make fewer reckless choices, and are, in general, much more aware of who they are than those who seek out constant companionship.

7 cool Habits for Highly Effective People

Are you working as effectively as your extremely successful peers? If not, there’s something you can do about that.

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As we go through our daily-by-day lives without a pause or a moment to think about what it is we are actually doing, it’s easy to assume we are working as effectively as we can. It is important to take that pause and observe others in action. Are we working as effectively as our extremely successful peers?

Want to become one of those highly effective people and no longer a bystander? Try these 7 habits and find your own success.

 

1. Be proactive

Nothing will ever get done if we do nothing but sit around waiting for things to happen. Effective people know that there is no value in overthinking, in spending more time on our words than our actions. The most powerful thing anyone can do is simply take the reins in their own hands to instigate movement.

 

2. See the end

While the process of action is undoubtedly important, sometimes the impetus for our most powerful, effective actions comes from knowing where the end lies. If we continue to keep that in mind, we’ll be able to maximize our productivity to reach our highly desired, very rewarding end goal.

 

3. Prioritize

When embarking on a task with many steps, it can be tempting to stop something halfway through when the going gets tough. What we should do, however, is actually push through. The difficulty of an action shouldn’t change that it’s our priority.

 

4. Visualize

Effective people can always imagine a favorable outcome–even if one doesn’t seem likely to be written in the books. When you feel bogged down, or your actions are simply not getting you where you want, practice visualization for a couple minutes. Visualize your goals and the steps you need to make to get you there.

 

5. Try to understand things beforehand

Often, people jump into things without properly reading the instructions–ultimately resulting in ineffective actions far from the results they had previously envisioned. Setting aside adequate time to sort through and plan can really benefit your end results.

 

6. Synergize

There is nothing more powerful than combining forces. Regardless of how competent we might be on our own, there is always greater strength in numbers. Synergize on everything you can–how much more effective you are may surprise you.

 

7. Renew and improve

Last, one of the most important habits of all is that of self-care. We need to allow ourselves the time and space–not just once in a blue moon, but a bit here and there every day–in order to mend our burnt-out ends. Make time to regenerate and you will find that you are better able to effectively achieve your personal best.

Reasons why some breast cancers become resistant to treatment.

Most breast cancers are estrogen receptor-positive, meaning that signals received from estrogen, a hormone, promote the growth of the tumors. To stop these cancers from spreading, estrogen inhibitors are usually prescribed. But what happens when tumors develop treatment resistance?
breast cancer patient considering treatment

In around a third of ER-positive breast cancer cases, the tumors become treatment-resistant. Why is that?

Studies suggest that “approximately 70 percent” of all breast cancers are estrogen receptor-positive (ER-positive).

These types of cancer are typically treated with drugs — such as tamoxifen and fulvestrant — that either lower the levels of the hormone or inhibit the estrogen receptors to prevent the tumors from spreading. This is known as endocrine therapy.

However, around a third of the people treated with these drugs develop resistance to them, which negatively impacts their chances of survival. The mechanisms that underlie the tumors’ resistance to therapy is not well understood and currently poses a major challenge.

Recently, however, specialists from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA, have made significant progress in uncovering what exactly happens in the bodies of people in whom endocrine therapy does not work.

Dr. Myles Brown — the director of the Center for Functional Cancer Epigenetics at the Institute — and his colleagues investigated how certain gene mutations render cancer cells more resilient, facilitating metastasis. Their findings, the scientists hope, may eventually lead to more effective approaches for patients who do not respond well to traditional treatments.

The results of the team’s study were published in the journal Cancer Cell.

The mutations that hinder treatment

In a previous study, Dr. Rinath Jeselsohn — who also co-led the new research — and former team saw that mutations of the estrogen receptor gene of cancer cells were largely responsible for the cancer’s resistance to treatment.

On that occasion, the scientists observed these mutations in the metastatic tumors of women who had received endocrine therapy and had not responded to it.

Following on from this discovery, Dr. Jeselsohn and her colleagues analyzed these mutations using laboratory models of ER-positive breast cancer, noting that they supported the cancer’s resistance to the drugs tamoxifen and fulvestrant.

The new study revealed additional mechanisms that researchers had not been aware of previously.

Besides enabling the tumors to adapt to estrogen deprivation, the genetic mutations were also responsible for activating genes that would allow the cancer tumors to spread even further.

Such mutations — which allow genes to gain surprising and novel functions — are referred to as neomorphic mutations.

Therefore, the effect of the genetic mutations is twofold, allowing the cancer tumor to undertake two distinct “lines of attack” at the same time.

“[E]ven though the drug therapies are selecting tumors that can grow without estrogen,” explains Dr. Brown, “the mutations also confer a metastatic advantage to the tumor.”

Combined therapy for resistant cancers

Once they noted the effects of mutations on breast cancer tumors, Dr. Brown and his colleagues turned to modern gene-editing tools — namely, CRISPR-Cas9 — to pinpoint exactly which genes were at the core of estrogen receptor-related alterations.

This revealed that one gene in particular, called CDK7, might lend itself well as a target for new cancer treatments. This gene normally encodes the enzyme cyclin-dependent kinase 7.

Dr. Brown and team took particular interest in the potential of this gene as a target since existing research has already found ways of blocking the expression of CDK7.

Nathanael Gray, also from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, experimented with an inhibitor for CDK7 a few years ago. This experimental inhibitor is called THZ1, and it showed potential as an aid for the drug fulvestrant.

The combination of fulvestrant and THZ1 was effective both in cell cultures of ER-positive breast cancer and in animal models of the disease, slowing down tumor growth significantly.

Dr. Brown and his colleagues believe that by putting two and two together, as it were, through the combined findings of all these studies led by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, specialists may be able to devise effective treatments for ER-positive breast cancers that don’t respond to endocrine therapy alone.

“These results support the potential of this combination as a therapeutic strategy to overcome endocrine resistance caused by the ER mutants,” the researchers suggest.

Dr. Joy and her colleagues are currently trying to develop appropriate CDK7 inhibitors, and they “hope to test these drugs and develop a clinical trial for patients with ER-positive metastatic breast cancer.”

Common causes of hiccups.

Hiccups Quick Overview

Hiccups are brief and involuntary contractions of the diaphragm muscle.

Irritation of the nerves that extend from the neck to the chest can cause hiccups. Many conditions can cause this irritation and result in hiccups, including eating too fast and swallowing air, chewing gum, smoking, eating or drinking too much, strokes, brain tumors, damage to the vagus or phrenic nerve, some medications, noxious fumes, anxiety and stress, and in babies, hiccups may be associated with crying, coughing, or gastroesophageal reflux (GERD).

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Hiccups aren’t a worry normally, but if they become frequent, chronic, and persistent (lasting more than 3 hours), if they affect sleeping patterns, interfere with eating, cause reflux of food or vomiting, occur with severe abdominal pain, fever, shortness of breath, spitting up blood, or feeling as if the throat is going to close up, see a medical personnel.

There are many home solutions to heal hiccups, including holding your breath, drinking a glass of water quickly, having someone frighten or surprise you, using smelling salts, pulling hard on your tongue, and others.

For severe or chronic hiccups that are not cured with home treatment, medical treatments include medications, anesthesia to block the phrenic nerve, and surgical implantation of an electronic stimulator to the vagus nerve. Surgery to disable the phrenic nerve is a treatment of last resort.

The prognosis for hiccups is good. For most people, hiccups usually stop by themselves with no lingering effects. If hiccups continue, they may cause social embarrassment and distress, and chronic hiccups may result in speech, eating, and sleeping disorders.

What Are Hiccups?

Hiccups are sudden, involuntary contractions of the diaphragm muscle. As the muscle contracts repeatedly, the opening between the vocal cords snaps shut to check the inflow of air and makes the hiccup sound. Irritation of the nerves that extend from the neck to the chest can cause hiccups.

Although associated with a variety of ailments (some can be serious such as pneumonia or when harmful substances build up in the blood for example from kidney failure), hiccups are not serious and have no clear reason for occurring. Rarely, their presence causes health problems such as speech changes or interference with eating and sleeping.

What Causes Hiccups?

Many conditions are associated with hiccups, but none has been shown to be the cause of hiccups.

  • If a person eats too fast, he or she can swallow air along with food and end up with the hiccups.
  • Smoking or chewing gum also can cause a person to swallow air and get hiccups.
  • Any other practices that might irritate the diaphragm such as eating too much (especially fatty foods) or drinking too much (alcohol or carbonated drinks) can make a person prone to having hiccups.
  • In these instances, the stomach, which sits underneath and adjacent to the diaphragm, is distended or stretched. As they occur in relation to eating and drinking, hiccups are sometimes thought to be a reflex to protect a person from choking.
  • Strokes or brain tumors involving the brain stem, and some chronic medical disorders (such as renal failure) are reported to cause hiccups; trauma to the brain, meningitis, and encephalitis also may cause hiccups.
  • Damage to the vagus or phrenic nerve may cause hiccups to last a long time.
  • Problems with the liver, including swelling, infection, or masses can cause irritation of the diaphragm, which can cause hiccups.
  • Some medications that can cause acid reflux may also have hiccups as a side effect. Most benzodiazepines, including diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax) and lorazepam (Ativan) can cause hiccups. In addition, medications such levodopa (Larodopa), nicotine, and ondansetron (Zofran) can cause hiccups. Other medications that can cause hiccups include levodopa, methyldopa (Aldomet), nicotine, ondansetron (Zofran), barbiturates, opioid pain relievers, corticosteroids, anesthesia, or chemotherapy medications.
  • Noxious fumes can also trigger hiccup symptoms.
  • A baby may hiccup after crying or coughing. This is common in babies in the first year. In some instances, babies with gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) could be more prone to hiccups.
  • Anxiety and stress can induce both short and long-term hiccups

What Are Symptoms of Hiccups?

Hiccups can be described as brief, irritable spasms of the diaphragm that can occur for a few seconds or minutes. They infrequently last longer in normal individuals without any underlying medical problem.

Which Types of Doctor Treats Hiccups?

Because hiccups are rarely a medical emergency, you will likely first consult your family practitioner or internist. Children may see their pediatrician.

In the case of an emergency as described above you may see an emergency medicine specialist in a hospital’s emergency department.

Other specialists who may be involved in treating hiccups include an otolaryngologist (an ear, nose, and throat specialist, or ENT), a gastroenterologist (a specialist in the digestive tract), a neurologist (a specialist in the brain and nervous system), a pulmonologist (a lung specialist), or a psychologist.

When Should a Person Seek Medical Care for Hiccups?

A person should see a doctor if the hiccups become chronic and persistent (if they last more than 3 hours), or if they affect sleeping patterns, interfere with eating, or cause reflux of food or vomiting.

Hiccups is rarely a medical emergency. If hiccups last for more than 3 hours, occur with severe abdominal pain, fever, shortness of breath, vomiting, spitting up blood, or feeling as if the throat is going to close up, the person should seek medical attention.

How Is the Cause of Hiccups Diagnosed?

Diagnosis is based on physical evaluation. Laboratory testing is rarely necessary unless the hiccups are suspected to be a symptom of an associated medical condition. The tests to diagnose the associated medical condition will be done and tests will vary according to the associated condition.

How Do I Get Rid of the Hiccups?

There are a variety of home remedies to resolve hiccups, which include holding your breath to drinking a glass of water quickly. The common thread to most of these remedies is that carbon dioxide builds up in the blood or stimulating the vagus nerve will stop hiccups. Medical care is rarely needed to cure hiccups. If a person has hiccups for more than two days, they should seek medical care.

What Home Remedies Get Rid of the Hiccups?

Numerous home remedies to stop hiccups exist. The reason these remedies are thought to work is that carbon dioxide build-up in the blood will stop hiccups, which is what happens when a person holds their breath. Stimulation of the vagus nerve (the nerve that runs from the brain to the stomach) is stimulated, hiccups can also be alleviated (this is what is happening when a person drinks water or pulls on their tongue).

Try these methods at home to get rid of the hiccups:

  • Hold your breath.
  • Drink a glass of water quickly.
  • Have someone frighten you (or better, surprise) the person
  • Use smelling salts.
  • Have the person pull hard on their tongue.
  • Place one-half teaspoon of dry sugar on the back of the tongue. (Repeat this process 3 times at 2-minute intervals, if necessary use corn syrup, not sugar, in young children.)

There are many other suggestions to get rid of the hiccups such as “name 10 famous bald men;” “stick a finger in the ear;” tickling the palate with a swab; or swallowing a tablespoon full of honey (this distracts the person with the hiccups and may help the diaphragm relax). However, a person should only try those methods they are comfortable, and be aware that some methods are not suitable for infants (honey, sugar methods), elderly with swallowing problems, and others with health problems. Call your doctor for further information if individuals have any questions about home remedies or if they fail to stop the hiccups.

What Is the Medical Treatment for Hiccups?

Treatment for getting rid of the hiccups depends on how severe the hiccups are.

  • For the common hiccups that will usually stop on their own, home remedies are generally sufficient to cure the symptoms.
  • For more severe, persistent hiccups (usually lasting over to 2 days), the doctor may try medications to manage the patient’s hiccups. Chlorpromazine (Thorazine) is usually the first prescription medication tried for hiccups, although drugs such as baclofen (Lioresal) and medications for convulsions such as phenytoin (Dilantin) have also been successful.
  • Anesthesia to block the phrenic nerve and surgical implantation of an electronic stimulator to the vagus nerve has been effective. Surgery to disable the phrenic nerve (the nerve that controls the diaphragm) is often the treatment of last resort.

What Is the Outlook for a Person Who Has the Hiccups?

In healthy people, hiccups usually go away by themselves with no serious effects after that. If hiccups continue, however, they may cause social embarrassment and distress, and if prolonged may result in speech, eating, and sleeping disorders.

 

The cure of a hangover

A hangover is a collection of signs and symptoms linked to a recent bout of heavy drinking. A person with a hangover typically experiences a headache, feels sick, dizzy, sleepy, confused, and thirsty.

Hangovers can occur at any time of day, but are usually more common in the morning directly after a night of heavy drinking.

As well as physical symptoms, the person may experience elevated levels of anxiety, regret, shame, embarrassment, and depression. The severity of a hangover is closely linked to how much alcohol was consumed, and whether the sufferer had enough sleep; the less sleep, the worse the hangover.

It is impossible really to say how much alcohol can be safely consumed to avoid a hangover – it depends on the individual and other factors, such as how tired they were before they began drinking, whether they were already dehydrated before the drinking began, whether they drank plenty of water during their drinking session, and how much sleep they got afterward.

Fast facts on hangovers:

  • Hangovers are caused by overconsumption of alcohol.
  • Symptoms include headache, nausea, sensitivity to light, and fatigue.
  • The best method of prevention is to drink alcohol in moderation, or avoid it altogether.
  • The most effective cures are rest, rehydration, and sleep.

Cure

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Unfortunately not. Symptoms can be alleviated by drinking water, replacing electrolytes in the body through food, and resting. In the vast majority of cases, hangovers go away after about 24 hours. Responsible drinking can help avoid hangovers.

There is no “treatment” for a hangover – the best way to avoid one is either not to drink, or to drink sensibly and within the recommended limits. Our article what is the best hangover cure? features some of the common myths and suggests some methods of prevention.

A hangover has to run its course, and that can be best done with rest, drinking plenty of water, perhaps some painkillers, and simply waiting.

Do not go for a “hair of the dog” – an alcoholic drink to get rid of a hangover. This is a myth, and will likely just prolong hangover symptoms.

The following tips may help:

Drink: Sip water throughout the day. Water is the best fluid.

Eating: Go for bland foods, such as crackers or bread, which may raise blood sugar and are easy on the stomach. Fructose-containing foods might help metabolize (break down and get rid of) the alcohol more rapidly.

Pain: Some people may take a painkiller. Be aware that certain painkillers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, paracetamol) attack the liver in high concentrations, while aspirin might not be ideal for a very delicate stomach. If you are not sure what to choose, ask a qualified pharmacist.

Rest: Sleep may help speed up recovery. Have some water next to the bed.

In short, you should not drink more than you know your body can handle.

Symptoms

woman with bloodshot eye

Bloodshot eyes are one of the most visible symptoms of a hangover.

The signs and symptoms of a hangover generally start to occur when the blood alcohol drops considerably.

Typically, this happens in the morning after a night of high alcohol consumption, and may include:

  • accelerated heartbeat
  • anxiety
  • bloodshot eyes
  • body and muscle aches
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • halitosis (bad breath)
  • headache
  • hypersalivation
  • flatulence
  • lethargy, tiredness, fatigue, listlessness
  • nausea
  • photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  • problems focusing or concentrating
  • sensitivity to loud sounds
  • depression (dysphoria)
  • irritability
  • moodiness
  • stomachache
  • thirst
  • trembling or shakiness, erratic motor functions
  • vomiting

If the individual has the following more severe signs and symptoms when or after drinking, they may have alcohol poisoning. This is a medical emergency. Seek medical help as soon as possible if any of the following occur:

  • breathing loses its regular rhythm
  • breathing slows down to less than eight inhalations per minute
  • confusion or stupor – the drinker is in a daze
  • fits
  • the body temperature drops
  • passing out
  • the skin becomes pale, or takes on a blue tinge
  • vomiting continues and does not stop

The symptoms vary in severity, and some people may experience some more strongly than others.

Causes

A hangover is a consequence of having consumed too much alcohol, which causes several adverse effects:

Urination: Alcohol makes a person urinate more, which raises the chances of dehydration. Dehydration can give the individual that sensation of thirst and lightheadedness.

Immune system response: Alcohol may trigger an inflammatory response from the immune system. This can affect appetite, concentration, and memory.

Stomach irritation: Alcohol consumption raises the production of stomach acids; it also slows down the rate at which the stomach empties itself – this combination can lead to nausea, vomiting, or stomachache.

Drop in blood sugar: Some people’s blood sugar levels can fall steeply when they consume alcohol, resulting in shakiness, moodiness, tiredness, general weakness, and even seizures in some cases.

Dilation of blood vessels: Alcohol consumption can cause the blood vessels to dilate, which can cause headaches.

Sleep quality: Although sleeping when drunk is common, the quality of that sleep will often be poor. The individual may wake up tired and still sleepy.

Congeners: These are substances that are produced during fermentation and are responsible for most of the taste and aroma in distilled drinks (whisky or gin, for example). They are known to contribute to symptoms of a hangover. Examples of congeners include esters and aldehydes.

Toxic byproducts: Alcohol metabolism produces toxic substances that can cause many of the symptoms of hangovers.

The body processes alcohol at a certain rate. Consuming more alcohol before the body has had time to recover means the likelihood of a hangover increases.

Prevention

The easiest way to prevent a hangover is to moderate or avoid alcohol intake.

Drinking plenty of water alongside alcoholic beverages or consuming a late-night meal after a session of heavy drinking may also temper the hangover that may occur the following morning.

What to know about alcohol poisoning

A person has alcohol poisoning if they have consumed a toxic amount of alcohol, usually over a short period. Their blood alcohol level is so high it is considered toxic (poisonous).

The person can become extremely confused, unresponsive, disoriented, have shallow breathing, and can even pass out or go into a coma.

Alcohol poisoning can be life-threatening and usually requires urgent medical treatment.

Binge drinking is a common cause of alcohol poisoning. However, it can also occur if somebody intentionally or unintentionally drinks alcohol-containing household products (much less common).

Fast facts on alcohol poisoning

  • Alcohol poisoning is a serious condition.
  • Even when someone stops drinking, there is risk of alcohol poisoning for some time afterward.
  • Symptoms include confusion, abnormal breathing, and vomiting.
  • In severe cases, alcohol poisoning is life-threatening.

Signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning

A man passed out in the street from alcohol consumption.

Alcohol poisoning can cause drinkers to lose consciousness when their blood alcohol concentration reaches a certain level.

Even when someone stops drinking, blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can continue to rise for 30-40 minutes, resulting in worsening symptoms.

The following signs and symptoms may indicate a progression from being drunk to alcohol poisoning:

  • confusion
  • hypothermia (the person’s body temperature drops)
  • pale skin, sometimes it may take on a bluish tinge
  • the individual is unresponsive but conscious (stupor)
  • the individual passes out
  • abnormal breathing – sometimes up to 10 seconds between breaths
  • very slow breathing
  • vomiting – potential to choke on vomit when confused

In serious cases:

  • breathing might stop completely
  • a heart attack may occur
  • there is a risk of choking on their own vomit – vomit might be inhaled into the lungs causing a serious infection
  • hypothermia
  • if the individual loses too much fluid (severe dehydration), there is a risk of brain damage
  • if blood glucose levels drop (hypoglycemia), they might develop seizures

If the alcohol poisoning is extreme, the patient can go into a coma and potentially die.

This article focuses on the medical aspects of alcohol poisoning, rather than other environmental dangers of alcohol abuse such as getting into fights, losing possessions, or having problems with the law.

Treatment for alcohol poisoning

Alcohol poisoning is a significant medical condition. It requires immediate treatment if suspected.

If a person is thought to have alcohol poisoning, an ambulance should be called. Before the ambulance arrives, the following assistance should be given:

  • try to keep the individual awake
  • try to keep them in a sitting position, not lying down – if they do lie down, turn their head to the side
  • if they can take it, give them water
  • if the person is unconscious, put them in the recovery position and check they are breathing
  • do not give them coffee; caffeine will worsen the dehydration
  • do not lie them on their back
  • do not give them any more alcohol to drink
  • do not make them walk

In the hospital, depending on the patient’s BAC level and severity of signs and symptoms, staff may just monitor them until their alcohol levels gradually drop. However, depending on the severity of symptoms, other treatments may include:

  • a tube inserted into their windpipe to help with breathing
  • an intravenous drip to manage hydration, blood glucose, and vitamin levels
  • a urinary catheter if they become incontinent
  • in some cases, the patient’s stomach may be pumped – fluids are flushed through a tube that goes down their mouth or nose

If the person – who may sometimes be a child – has unintentionally drunk methanol or isopropyl alcohol and has alcohol poisoning they may need dialysis to speed up the removal of toxins from their system.

What causes alcohol poisoning?

A group of young people drinking together

College drinkers are statistically the most at risk of alcohol poisoning.

When somebody consumes an alcoholic drink, their liver has to filter out the alcohol, a toxin, from their blood.

We absorb alcohol much more quickly than food – alcohol gets to our bloodstream much faster.

However, the liver can only process a limited amount of alcohol; approximately one standard drink of alcohol every hour.

If a person drinks two in 1 hour, there will be an extra drink’s worth of alcohol in the bloodstream. If during the next hour, the person consumes another two drinks, they will have two standard drink’s worth of alcohol floating around in their bloodstream 2 hours after the drinking session.

The faster someone drinks, the higher the BAC becomes. Rapid drinking can bring BAC so high that mental and physical functions are negatively affected. If BAC is high enough, physical functions such as breathing and the gag reflex (that prevents people from choking) can be affected.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are “2,200 alcohol poisoning deaths in the United States each year – an average of six alcohol poisoning deaths every day.”

Those at highest risk of suffering from alcohol poisoning are college students, chronic alcoholics, and those taking medications that clash with alcohol.

Recovery from alcohol poisoning

During recovery from alcohol posioning, the individual may experience:

  • headache
  • somach cramps
  • nausea
  • anxiety
  • tremors

It is important to keep hydrated and avoid drinking any alcohol.

What effects does alcohol have on health?

Alcohol is the intoxicating ingredient that is present in wine, beer, and spirits. It is a depressant, which means that when it reaches the brain, it slows down the body’s systems.

It can also be difficult for the body to process, putting extra pressure on the liver, the digestive system, the cardiovascular system, and other functions.

Alcohol is a legal recreational substance for adults and one of the most commonly used drugs in the United States. People consume alcohol to socialize, to relax, and to celebrate.

It is commonly misused among individuals of all ages, resulting in significant health, legal, and socio-economic damage.

In 2017, around half of all Americans aged over 18 years had consumed alcohol in the last month. Just over 9 percent of those aged 12 to 17 years had done so.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 15.1 million people aged 18 years and over in the U.S. had alcohol use disorder (AUD), or 6.2 percent of this age group.

Fast facts about alcohol

  • Pure alcohol is a colorless, odorless, and flammable liquid.
  • Fruits and grains are the foods most commonly used foods to make alcohol.
  • Alcohol is the number one abused drug by minors in the U.S.
  • The liver can only oxidize about one drink per hour.
  • Alcohol is known to be harmful to developing brains, from before birth to adolescence.
  • No amount of alcohol consumption can be considered safe during pregnancy.
  • Combined with other medications, whether over-the-counter (OTC) or prescribed, alcohol’s effects can be deadly.

Short-term effects

moderate drinking

One to two drinks can make you feel relaxed.

Within minutes of consuming alcohol, it is absorbed into the bloodstream by blood vessels in the stomach lining and small intestine.

It then travels to the brain, where it quickly produces its effects.

The short-term effects of alcohol depend on:

  • how much is consumed
  • how quickly
  • the weight, sex, and body fat percentage of the individual
  • whether or not they have eaten

Drinking with a meal slows the rate of absorption, resulting in fewer side effects and less intoxication.

Signs of intoxication

At first, the person may feel relaxed, uninhibited, or giddy. As they consume more alcohol, intoxication may result.

Other signs of intoxication include:

  • slurred speech
  • clumsiness and unsteady gait
  • drowsiness
  • vomiting
  • headache
  • distortion of senses and perception
  • loss of consciousness
  • lapses in memory

How much alcohol?

One drink is the equivalent of:

  • 12 ounces of beer that is around 5 percent alcohol, depending on the type
  • 5 ounces of wine that is around 12 percent alcohol
  • 1.5-ounces of spirits, or a “shot,” at about 40 percent alcohol
  • 8 ounces of malt liquor, at around 7 percent alcohol

In other words, these servings all contain the same amount of alcohol: 0.6 ounces.

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream. It is expressed as the weight of ethanol in grams per 100 milliliter (ml) of blood.

The University of West Virginia suggests that a person may experience the following, depending on individual factors:

Number of drinks BAC Effect
1-2 Up to 0.05 The person feels relaxed, less inhibited, with a slower reaction time and reduced alertness.
3-4 0.05 to 0.10 Fine motor skills, reaction time, and judgment are reduced.
5-7 0.10-0.15 Vision, perception, reaction times, and judgment are affected; the person may become argumentative or emotionally irrational.
8-10 0.15-0.30 The person may stagger, speech become slurred, and vision blurred. Motor skills are severely affected, and the person may vomit or feel nauseated.
Over 10 0.30 and above The person may lose consciousness or be conscious but unaware of what is happening. Breathing rate is slow.

The body absorbs alcohol relatively quickly, but it takes longer to get the alcohol out of the body. The liver needs about 1 hour to process one drink. Consuming several drinks in a short time causes the alcohol builds up in the body. This puts the body’s systems under pressure. It can lead to illness and, in severe cases, death.

Alcohol toxicity

After 8 to 9 drinks, vision becomes blurred and the person is likely to feel nauseated.

It also increases the risk of blackouts, especially on an empty stomach. During this time, a person may do things that they do not remember later.

Binge drinking is defined as drinking within 2 hours:

  • Five or more drinks for a man
  • Four or more drinks for a woman

This is because women and men metabolize alcohol differently.

Intoxication impairs judgment and can result in inappropriate and illegal behaviors such as sexual promiscuity, disorderly conduct, driving while intoxicated and acts of violence.

In 2014, 31 percent of all driving fatalities in the U.S. were alcohol-related.

Alcohol toxicity

When the amount of alcohol in the blood exceeds a certain level, this can lead to alcohol toxicity, or poisoning. This is a dangerous condition.

Since alcohol is a depressant, it can slow the breathing, leading to a lack of oxygen to the brain.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • confusion
  • vomiting
  • seizures
  • slow breathing
  • blue tint to the skin
  • low body temperature
  • loss of consciousness
  • coma

If blood alcohol concentration is higher than 0.4, there is a 50 percent chance of death.

Alcohol intolerance

Some people will feel unwell immediately after drinking alcohol. They may have an intolerance, insensitivity, or allergy to alcohol or another ingredient in a drink.

Symptoms include:

  • facial flushing
  • nausea and vomiting
  • worsening of asthma
  • diarrhea
  • low blood pressure

Alcohol intolerance can be a sign of Hodgkin lymphoma. Anyone who suddenly develops an intolerance may be advised to see a doctor, in case there is an underlying condition.

Combining alcohol with other depressant-type medications—whether over-the-counter preparations, prescription, or recreational drugs—can have serious effects on the respiratory and central nervous systems.

It is especially dangerous to mix alcohol with GHB, rohypnol, ketamine, tranquilizers, and sleeping pills.

Hangover

After drinking too much in an evening, a person may continue to feel the effects of the alcohol on waking up, with what is commonly called a “hangover.”

This is because alcohol is toxic to the body, and the body is still working to get rid of the toxin.

Many of the symptoms are caused by dehydration, but some chemicals in alcoholic drinks can cause a reaction in the blood vessels and the brain that make symptoms worse.

Symptoms include:

  • headaches
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • racing heart
  • dry mouth and eyes
  • difficulty concentrating
  • restlessness

Around 20 percent of alcohol is absorbed through the stomach. Most of the remaining 80 percent is absorbed through the small intestine. Around 5 percent of the alcohol consumed leaves through the lungs, kidneys and the skin. The liver removes the rest.

Since the liver can only process the equivalent of one drink at a time, the body may remain saturated with the alcohol that has not yet left the body.

It can take from 2 to 3 hours for the body to metabolize alcohol from one to two drinks, and up to 24 hours to process the alcohol from eight to ten drinks.

A hangover can last up to 24 hours. Doctors advise not drinking again within 48 hours of a heavy drinking session, to allow the body to recover.

Long-term effects

Alcohol contributes to over 200 diseases and injury-related health conditions including dependence and addiction, liver cirrhosis, cancers, and unintentional injuries such as motor vehicle accidents, falls, burns, assaults, and drowning.

Around 88,000 people in the U.S die from alcohol-related causes every year. This makes it the third leading preventable cause of death.

Long-term alcohol misuse is associated with the following health problems:

alcohol and depression

Drinking too much too often can lead to depression.

  • liver disease
  • pancreatitis
  • cardiomyopathy, or damage to the heart muscle
  • other cardiovascular problems
  • peripheral neuropathy
  • stomach ulcers
  • cancer
  • immune system dysfunction
  • osteoporosis
  • brain and nerve damage
  • vitamin deficiencies
  • mental health problems such as anxiety and depression

Alcohol affects every body system, so it can cause health problems throughout the body.

Research shows that women who drink more alcohol than is recommended on a regular basis tend to develop liver disease, cardiomyopathy and nerve damage after fewer years than men who do the same.

Of major concern is the number of young people who consume alcohol. Research suggests that 20 percent of college students meet the criteria for AUD, and the condition affects some 623,000 adolescents aged 12 to 17 years.

Alcohol can have a serious effect on the developing brain, from fetal development to the end of adolescence. If a woman consumes alcohol during pregnancy, the child may be born with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). In 2015, this was believed to affect between 2 and 7 newborns in every 1,000.

Symptoms can be similar to those of ADHD.

Addiction and withdrawal

If a person consumes large amounts of alcohol regularly, their tolerance can increase, and the body requires more alcohol to achieve the desired effect.

As the body adapts to the presence of the drug, dependency and addiction can result. If consumption stops suddenly, the person may experience withdrawal symptoms.

Alcohol addiction is a disease characterized by a strong craving for alcohol, and continued use despite a negative impact on health, interpersonal relationships, and ability to work. If the person stops drinking, they will experience withdrawal symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of withdrawal generally occur between 4 and 72 hours after the last drink or after reducing intake. They peak at about 48 hours and may last up to 5 days.

They may include:

  • mild tremors
  • insomnia
  • anxiety
  • depressed mood

Many people will take a drink to stop the discomfort of withdrawal.

In more severe cases, the person may experience Delirium tremens, or “the DTs.”

This condition involves:

  • body tremors (shaking)
  • hallucinations or changes in mental status
  • confusion
  • extreme sleepiness
  • seizures that can result in death

Delirium tremens is a medical emergency. Anyone with an alcohol dependency disorder who desires to stop drinking should seek professional medical care or a treatment center specializing in safe alcohol detoxification.

Treatment for alcohol use disorder

The treatment of alcohol dependency involves a variety of interventions, and it requires medical, social, and family support.

Strategies include:

  • individual and group counseling
  • medication, such as disulfiram (Antabuse), naltrexone and acamprosate (Campral)
  • participation in support networks such as Alcoholics Anonymous
  • A detoxification program in a hospital or medical facility is another option for those who need a higher level of care.

Contacts for help

If anyone who is concerned about their own or a loved one’s drinking habits, they can call or contact the following organizations for confidential help:

  • Alcohol and Drug Helpline: 800-527-5344
  • National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.: 800-622-2255
  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

Making screening part of regular health visits can help with making an early diagnosis.

How binge drinking alters brain activity

Earlier studies showed that alcoholic people have measurable changes in their resting brain activity. And now, for the first time, researchers find similar changes in the brains of non-alcoholic students who binge drink.
Binge drinking students

Researchers uncover changes in brain activity associated with binge drinking.

Alcoholic beverages are consumed worldwide, but drinking to excess and with regularity carries a number of health warnings.

Binge drinking is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women over a 2-hour period.

There is a range of long-term health risks associated with binge drinking, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, and liver disease.

Aside from negative health outcomes, binge drinking also increases the risk of unintentional injuries, risky sexual behavior, and being involved in violence.

An estimated 1 in 6 adults in the United States binge drinks four times every month, consuming an average of eight drinks per session. It is most common in young adulthood but can continue across the lifespan.

Previous studies have also shown that, during cognitive tasks, individuals who binge drink perform significantly worse. For example, spatial working memory and executive function have both been found to suffer.

To date, however, researchers have not investigated whether or not there are measurable changes in a binge drinker’s brain at rest.

The binge drinker’s brain

Researchers from the University of Minho in Portugal – led by Eduardo López-Caneda – set out to investigate measurable differences in the brains of binge drinkers when not carrying out tests. Their findings are published this week in the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.

As López-Caneda explains, “A number of studies have assessed the effects of binge drinking in young adults during different tasks involving cognitive processes such as attention or working memory. However, there are hardly any studies assessing if the brains of binge drinkers show differences when they are at rest, and not focused on a task.”

Students are well known for spending time socializing and partying – activities that are sometimes accompanied by alcohol in excess. So, the researchers recruited 80 first-year undergraduate students from a university in Spain.

Participants were split into two groups: the first never indulged in binge drinking, while those in the second had indulged in a binge drinking session at least once in the previous month. Importantly, none met the criteria to be considered an alcoholic.

Electrodes were attached to the participants’ heads to assess electrical activity across a number of brain regions.

Non-bingers’ and bingers’ brains compared

When the neural activity of the two groups was compared, there were significant differences. More specifically, there was a measurable increase in beta and theta oscillations in the right temporal lobe – particularly the parahippocampal and fusiform gyri – and the occipital cortex.

The parahippocampal gyrus is believed to play a part in coding and retrieving memories. The fusiform gyrus does not have a well-defined role to date but seems to be involved in recognition. The occipital cortex deals with processing visual information.

Interestingly, the increased activity in these areas mirrors those found in the brains of chronic alcoholics.

The researchers believe that the alterations in brain activity might be early signs of alcohol-induced brain damage. Changes in these regions may indicate a reduction in their ability to respond to external stimuli, which may hamper information processing.

Younger brains are still developing, and the researchers believe that this might make them more vulnerable to alcohol damage.

These features might be down to the particularly harmful effects of alcohol on young brains that are still in development, perhaps by delaying neuromaturational processes.”

Eduardo López-Caneda

Of course, this study opens up many new questions to be answered. So next, the team would like to confirm that the changes are down to the binge drinking and whether or not brain development is impaired over the long-term.

Because the changes seen in the brain mirror those found in chronic alcoholics, López-Caneda hopes that their findings will be used “to try to reduce alcohol consumption in risky drinkers” at a young age.

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