Monday, November 28, 2011

Reduced Risk Drinking

I participated in  my second alcohol related motivational interviewing session for college athletes tonight.  Let me quickly clarify that we are using motivational interviewing techniques not to encourage drinking, but to reduce binge drinking and alcohol abuse.  I have used MI with tobacco cessation programming as well.  The idea behind this technique is that you get better results by avoiding paternalism. Instead, persons who might be affected by the issue (smoking, drugs, alcohol, not exercising) tell you what is wrong with the current situation.  The people involved come up with ideas that can prevent the adverse consequences of a behavior or the reasons to start a new behavior (like eating right).  We always begin with what is good about the issue and what is not so good.  You can even do this when asking someone to talk about "that boyfriend" who you personally know is a jerk and all wrong for your friend. If your friend is the one that says he is a jerk - THAT will motivate change.

From the session we held tonight, I share a couple of things that you may not have known or given much thought to:
  • the reason men can drink a little more than women during the same time period has to do an enzyme that breaks down alcohol - they have more of it than women.
  • body fat does not absorb alcohol (women usually have more than men and some people have more than others)
  • carbonated beverages whether mixed with alcohol or drunk in the same time period as an alcoholic beverage, exacerbate the effects of alcohol because the carbonation irritates the lining of the stomach and alcohol is absorbed quicker
  • food can help slow absorption but only if you eat before and during a drinking "event" and only if it is a substantial food - i.e. protein and whole grains, NOT white bread (that is a myth and a bad one)
  • drinking most often includes an initial buzz and then a depressive phase, it is said to be biphasic.  As the alcohol content goes up, the depressive symptoms increase.  One of our talking points tonight was that when a person is fatigued and drinks, the initial buzz phase does not occur.  As we talked about this, it became clear that alcohol seems to emphasize or exaggerate  whatever one is feeling.  IF you are happy, alcohol makes you happier, sad - sadder, angry -angrier.
  • water!  both alcohol and carbonated beverages can lead to dehydration.  To prevent it, one needs to drink water the whole evening, not at the end of the evening.  At that point, it will just be "peed" away.  This has to do with upsetting the body's water table.  I am not sure how that works, but you can cut me some slack for not knowing.  I am the obesity person remember!

I will offer one comment the young ladies made in the what is good about alcohol section - someone said something about feeling grown up - which led her peer to say, "what like being 30 and having wine night."  I could not stop laughing....

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