If you are not taking part in Dry January you will want to avoid hangovers. If you haven’t already heard about it, a new ‘anti-hangover pill’ that is marketed by the Swedish firm Myrkl, as a probiotic supplement can be bought online, but does it work?
Research into the effects of the anti-hangover pill undertaken by Myrkl indicated the supplement breaks down up to 70% of alcohol after 60 minutes. Broader research also shows bacterium, Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus coagulans, which are contained in the supplement, are known to increase beneficial gut bacteria. Additionally, there are various known health benefits associated with probiotic supplements, and they are safe for most people to take.
Apart from banishing hangovers, theoretically, this anti-hangover pill also makes it possible to drink a higher amount of alcohol before you feel its effects. The possibility of overconsumption raises serious concerns as to whether regular users of the pill could become addicted to alcohol without realising it’s happening. Additionally, the pill may make it easier to consume alcohol during the day without appearing intoxicated, which could increase the potential for alcohol abuse and addiction.
To gain a deeper understanding of this pill’s impact, we spoke to Danielle Byatt, Treatment Director & Co-founder of Step by Step Recovery, an outpatient addiction treatment and residential rehab centre in Essex, for her opinion.
“As the popularity of the anti-hangover pill grows, the risk of people thinking it is safe to drink regularly increases. But drinking alcohol regularly can fast become an issue, and it is easy to abuse alcohol if you become reliant on how it makes you feel.”
Seven Common Signs of Alcohol Abuse
If you drink every day or almost every day, you may not even realise you have a problem until you start to feel withdrawal symptoms as your blood alcohol levels decrease. Alcohol addiction can creep up on you, and if you think you may be at risk, here are seven common signs of alcohol abuse:
1. Choosing to stay home and drink instead of taking part in activities you previously enjoyed
2. Avoiding family and friends to drink alcohol in secret
3. Drinking to help you sleep
4. Drinking to cope with stress and anxiety
5. Making excuses to drink
6. Neglecting personal hygiene
7. Asking other people to fulfil your daily responsibilities, such as collecting your children from school.
Physical Signs of Alcohol Addiction
There are also various physical signs of alcohol addiction. Here are some of the most common symptoms that you can look out for in yourself or someone you are concerned about:
- Red skin, especially on the nose and cheeks
- Skin sores
- Bloodshot eyes
Alcohol Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms
If you are worried you may be abusing alcohol, it is wise to monitor for any symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Symptoms typically start between six and twenty-four hours after the consumption of alcohol has stopped.
Mild symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:
- Hand tremors (shaky hands)
- Fast heartbeat
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle aches and pains
- Fatigue (extreme tiredness)
- Loss of appetite
- Depression and anxiety
- Restlessness and insomnia (difficulty sleeping)
Severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:
- Delusions and hallucinations (seeing, hearing, feeling things that don’t exist or believing things that are not true and have no basis in fact or supporting evidence)
- Noticeable shaking
- Seizures that affect the entire body
- Severe disorientation
- Breathing problems
- Vomiting repeatedly and, or dry heaving
Severe withdrawal symptoms may indicate alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal without medical attention. Always seek medical assistance if you experience any of the above symptoms.
Alcohol Addiction and Treatment
Don’t underestimate the devastating impact alcohol addiction can have on your life and those around you. Your GP can help you find addiction treatment, but if you don’t have a GP or don’t feel comfortable speaking with one, there are several ways to seek treatment for alcohol addiction. Below are some of the organisations in the UK that can help provide advice, support and addiction treatment information:
● Step by Step Recovery — Helpline 0800 170 1222
● Narcotics Anonymous — Face-to-face and online meetings
● FRANK — Find Local Free Addiction Treatment Services online — Helpline 0300 123 6600 24/7
● Addaction — Free webchat advice and support service
● Families Anonymous — online forum, face-to-face and online meetings — Helpline 0207 498 4680