Man is wondering if alcohol can cause stomach ulcers

Can Alcohol Cause Stomach Ulcers?

Experts estimate that 5%-10% of the population will develop stomach ulcers. Even though millions of people have ulcers, this medical condition remains widely misunderstood. For example, many people ask, Do certain foods cause ulcers? Others wonder, can alcohol cause stomach ulcers?

What Are Stomach Ulcers?

Stomach ulcers, which are also referred to as peptic ulcers, are sores or raw areas that occur in the lining of the stomach or the small intestine. 

When an ulcer occurs in the lining of the stomach, it is described as a gastric ulcer. When it is located in the small intestine, it is classified as a duodenal ulcer.

Burning stomach pain is the most common indicator that a person has a peptic ulcer. Ulcers can be successfully treated with a variety of medications, though in certain extreme cases surgery may be required.

Can Alcohol Cause Stomach Ulcers?

Can alcohol cause stomach ulcers? Most experts say no.

The two most common causes of stomach ulcers are bacterial infections and the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs):

  • The Helicobacter pylori (or H. pylori) bacterium is a prime cause of peptic ulcers. According to the Cleveland Clinic, 50%-75% of people throughout the world have this bacterium in their system – but for most people, it thankfully doesn’t cause any ill effects.
  • The NSAID category includes aspirin and ibuprofen. Long-term use of these drugs, using them in greater amounts than recommended, or taking them in combination with certain other medications can lead to ulcers.

Heavy drinking can be a risk factor for ulcers, and continued alcohol abuse can exacerbate the symptoms of ulcers and prevent them from healing properly. However, the general medical consensus is that alcohol use is unlikely to be a direct cause of a peptic ulcer.

If alcohol can’t cause stomach ulcers, why is it considered to be a risk factor? The primary reason for this is that chronic alcohol abuse can lead to an inflammation in the lining of the stomach. This condition is known as gastritis. Having gastritis can be a precursor to developing a peptic ulcer.

Can drinking alcohol cause stomach ulcers

How to Know if You Have a Stomach Ulcer?

Many people who have stomach ulcers don’t experience any symptoms, at least not at first. When symptoms do occur, they are likely to include the following:

  • Indigestion
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Quickly feeling full when eating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Excessive belching or burping

Some people experience more severe symptoms and/or complications from stomach ulcers. As reported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Issues (NIDDK), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), these symptoms and complications can include the following:

  • Bloody, black, or tarry stool
  • Blood in vomit
  • Vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • Severe, sharp abdominal pain that occurs suddenly and doesn’t dissipate
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Elevated pulse

If you have a stomach ulcer and you keep drinking, the continued presence of alcohol in your stomach or lower intestine can irritate the ulcer. This can increase your risk for more intense suffering, as well as the development of symptoms or complications such as the ones listed above.

The NIDDK advises that anyone who has severe symptoms of an ulcer should get immediate medical attention.

What To Do if Drinking Alcohol Has Created an Ulcer?

Anyone who develops an ulcer for any reason should stop drinking alcohol. As we noted in the previous two sections, continued alcohol use can make ulcer symptoms more painful, cause the ulcer to worsen, and prevent healing. 

If you have been living with alcohol use disorder (which is the clinical term for alcoholism), it may not be easy to quit drinking. But it is still necessary. In this case, getting professional care from an alcohol addiction treatment center may be the ideal choice.

Treatment for compulsive alcohol abuse can take many forms, including detoxification, inpatient rehab, and outpatient programming. 

Detox can help you get through alcohol withdrawal safely and with as little discomfort as possible. During inpatient and outpatient care, you can begin to understand the issues that may have contributed to your alcohol abuse, while also developing the skills that will support your successful recovery.

Depending on the severity of your symptoms and which level of care you are in, customized treatment for alcohol addiction may include elements such as the following:

Contact Our Alcohol Addiction Treatment Center in Los Angeles, CA

It’s important to realize that there’s no single path to recovery that’s right for every person. When you’re looking for addiction treatment, focus on finding a provider whose services and treatment philosophy align with your needs and goals.

Worsening stomach ulcers are just one of the many negative effects that can result from untreated alcohol addiction. The longer you remain trapped in the downward spiral of alcoholism, the greater your risk becomes for devastating physical, psychological, and social consequences. 

But when you choose Sanctuary Treatment Center, you can stop drinking and start living a much healthier and more hopeful life. At our alcohol addiction treatment center in Los Angeles, California, you will receive customized services and comprehensive support from a team of highly skilled professionals. With our help, you can build a solid foundation for successful, long-term recovery.

When you’re ready to get started, the Sanctuary team is here for you. To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact Us page or call us today.

Is alcohol a stimulant

Is Alcohol a Stimulant?

Sometimes, alcohol use leads to diminished inhibitions, elevated mood, and talkativeness. Other times, it causes people to become sullen, morose, and withdrawn. So, is alcohol a stimulant? Is it a depressant? Or is it something else entirely?

Stimulants vs. Depressants

Many common legal and illegal drugs – including several prescription medications – fall into the categories of stimulants and depressants. 

Substances are classified as stimulants or depressants based on how they affect the central nervous system (CNS). 

Stimulants excite neurons in the CNS, prompting them to produce certain hormones that accelerate the transmission of messages throughout the body. Depressants have the opposite effect. They slow the process down, which delays the ability of the CNS to transmit messages back and forth between the brain and the body.

Examples of Stimulants

The following commonly used (and frequently abused) substances are all stimulants:

  • Caffeine
  • Nicotine
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamine 
  • Methamphetamine

Many prescription medications, such as ones that are often used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, contain amphetamines. This means that these medications are categorized as stimulants. For example, Adderall, Ritalin, and Dexedrine are all stimulants.  

Examples of Depressants

The drugs listed below are depressants:

Ativan, Klonopin, Valium, and Xanax are examples of brand-name prescription medications that are classified as depressants.

Is Alcohol a Stimulant? 

You may have noticed that alcohol is in the List of Depressants in the previous section. So, that clearly answers the question, Is alcohol a stimulant?, right?

Well, not completely.

Here’s the deal: Alcohol is not a stimulant. However, when some people drink alcohol, they may initially experience stimulant-like effects. For example, they may become more outgoing and energetic – which is similar to what you would expect to occur when someone takes a stimulant.

However, these effects typically don’t last very long. And as they fade away, they are replaced by symptoms that we commonly associate with depressants, such as sleepiness, slurred speech, impaired coordination, slower breathing and heart rate, and a sense of confusion or disorientation.

Why Does Drinking Alcohol Give Some People Energy?

Now that we have established that the answer to the question, Is alcohol a stimulant? is no, that leads us to another question: If alcohol isn’t a stimulant, why does drinking it cause some people to temporarily become more energetic?

When a person first drinks alcohol, the presence of this drug can trigger the central nervous system to release a flood of a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine has been referred to as a “feel-good” chemical. This is because it’s associated with feelings such as pleasure, reward, motivation, attention, and arousal. 

Drinking alcohol is not the only way to increase dopamine levels. Dopamine releases can be prompted by an array of other experiences and activities. This includes exercising, listening to music, having sex, eating junk food, and meditating. 

The initial dopamine rush that occurs when a person starts drinking can give them a boost of energy. It can also increase their motivation and activity levels. This is why people can become much more gregarious than usual when they have had their first few drinks.

What Does it Mean? 

Feeling a rush of energy or a lifting of your mood when you drink doesn’t mean anything in terms of your character or personality. As we described in the previous section, alcohol can trigger the release of dopamine, which can cause you to temporarily become happier and more outgoing. Your initial pleasurable reaction to alcohol is a factor of chemical processes within your central nervous system that you have no control over.

However, if using alcohol is the only way you can experience pleasure or deal with sadness, this means you may have a serious problem. There’s nothing wrong with using alcohol if you are of legal age and if you drink responsibly. But when the desire to have a drink is replaced by the urge to consume alcohol, then it may be time to get help.

What to Do if Alcohol Causes Problems?

Continuing to use a substance after you’ve experienced many negative outcomes is a symptom of addiction. In other words, if your alcohol use has caused problems, but you have continued to drink, this is another sign that you may need professional help.

The clinical term for alcohol addiction is alcohol use disorder. This condition is also commonly referred to as alcoholism. No matter which words you use, alcohol addiction is a chronic, progressive disease that has the potential to damage your physical, psychological, and social well-being. Thankfully, it is also a treatable disorder.

If you are concerned about how much or how frequently you drink, a good first step is to be assessed by your family doctor or a reputable alcohol rehab center. Being evaluated by a qualified professional can help you understand the scope of your needs. The results of your assessment can also help you determine what types and levels of care may be best for you.

Begin Rehab for Alcohol in Southern California

When you are ready to stop drinking and start working toward successful recovery from alcohol addiction, the Sanctuary Treatment Team is here for you. Our alcohol rehab center in Southern California is a safe and welcoming place where you can receive customized care from a team of dedicated professionals. With our help, you can find your path toward a healthier and more hopeful future. Contact us today to learn more.

We Take Insurance!

Sanctuary Treatment Center accepts most private PPO insurance plans, as well as some private HMO plans. Through private insurance plans, individuals and families can access high quality addiction treatment services. If you have questions regarding insurances, please give us a call.

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