How is your liver reacting to your daily or binge consumption of alcohol?

We forget about the damage that alcohol does to our liver until it’s too late. I’m the last resort, so I’m told by my patients, in their quest to stop drinking. Although many have maintained short term sobriety, it’s not too long before they succumb to picking up a drink to celebrate or to numb their feelings. “Why can’t I stop drinking?” is their war cry.

What most people don’t realise is the compulsion to drink is triggered by the first drink, not the fifth or the sixth drink.

A different brain structure enables an alcoholic to manufacture a highly addictive chemical called THIQ out of alcohol in the brain. Once a sufficient concentration of THIQ is formed and attached to the neurones, alcoholics feel a compulsive and over-whelming urge to drink. Even when they see their lives disintegrating around them, they cannot stop drinking no matter how desperately they try.

Social drinkers don’t have this problem as their liver breaks the alcohol down into a very toxic substance where it is broken down again into water and carbon dioxide to be eliminated through the kidneys and the lungs.

Alcohol dependent people get a lot of alcohol in their brain tissue following bingeing or daily drinking. The majority of toxins are disposed of in the normal way, through the liver, but a small part of the toxins go to the brain, where it interacts with the Dopamine Neurotransmitter to form THIQ. Once this has attached itself to the Dopamine Neurotransmitter, it does not go away, even if the alcohol dependent person stops drinking. They have it for life!

That’s why alcohol dependent people can sometimes go on the wagon for a period of three weeks, three months or even three years but once they fall off the wagon and pick up a drink, they are back to compulsive drinking. THIQ is the chemical responsible for the physical compulsion to drink and which differentiates alcoholic drinkers from social drinkers.

If an alcoholic is lucky enough to get help to stop drinking the THIQ dies down and loses its potency within a few weeks. It does not disappear from the brain tissue but lies dormant. It will not and cannot create a physical urge to drink unless more alcohol is consumed to kick it into life again.

When alcoholics begin their drinking careers, they do not know that they are in danger of becoming alcoholics. By the time abnormal daily drinking begins, it is too late. The THIQ in the brain is formed, it is active and highly addictive and it forms the basis of physical compulsion to drink.

Alcoholics are born with a predisposition to the disease of alcoholism and alcoholism is a disease of the emotions combined with a physical allergy to alcohol. Would you keep eating strawberries if your face broke out in hives? I doubt it. But alcoholics keep ingesting a poison called alcohol even though it is eroding their liver, kidneys and brain.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

My Serenity by the Sea program is unique in counselling alcoholics. I look at the big picture:

  • Brain chemistry (the Dopamine Neurotransmitter);
  • Emotions (using Dialectical Behavioural Therapy);
  • Active meditation to change their perception of the real world and their self-worth;
  • The 12 Step Program of Co-dependency Anonymous;
  • Visual aids (DVDs) to help my patients understand their disease;
  • Nutrition and supplements like Tyrosine - to help them focus and achieve satisfaction without reaching for the bottle and Magnesium Ultra Potent - to stabilise the electrical activity of the nervous system. I also recommend Glicemic Balance to help curb sugar cravings, sometimes a legacy from long term alcohol consumption. LivaTone Plus to support phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification pathways, ensuring optimum detoxification of toxic substances. Glutamine to support efficient brain function during the counselling process. L-Glutamine is an integral part of glutathione; the body’s more potent antioxidant and detoxifier.