12 Group Activities For Addiction Recovery

This exercise aims to elicit the cathartic benefits of expressive writing therapy, a popular positive coping intervention that was developed in the 1980s. It’s a slightly adapted take on traditional expressive writing, however, in that it includes some questions and prompts to stimulate and guide participants as they write. This group substance abuse group activities therapy exercise focuses on communication and mindfulness skills in participants and is a great general activity for all types of therapy. Cultivating an awareness of mindful speaking can be an effective way to set the tone for couples group therapy, where emotions management is the focus, or even when working with families.

  • We feel like one of the most important ways to help any recovery is having a great support system of people to help you through the journey.
  • In these positions, she was responsible for creating national visibility, substantial revenue growth, a positive shift in payer mix, and establishing a sales force.
  • Effective problem-solving skills can lead to hope, better self-esteem, self-confidence, improved mental and physical health, and overall well-being.
  • Sound therapy may be most beneficial when offered by a trained practitioner, but music, instruments, or nature sounds may also be incorporated informally into group and peer sessions.
  • These groups offer a haven for members to openly discuss their struggles, triumphs, and setbacks without fear of judgment.
  • We do not receive any compensation or commission for referrals to other treatment facilities.

It creates a sense of safety and security, enabling participants to explore their emotions and vulnerabilities in a supportive environment. Trust also fosters a sense of camaraderie and connection among group members, which can be incredibly powerful in the recovery process. Matt brings over a decade of experience in addiction treatment to the team at Alina Lodge. Having worked in numerous capacities at different treatment centers, Matt brings a unique skillset that helps our organization grow in new ways.

Substance abuse group activities

Her passion is helping clients and families find the best treatment options to meet their individual needs as they embark on their journey to long-term recovery. In 2010, Aaron transitioned into behavioral health with Caron Treatment Centers. At Caron, Aaron was the Corporate Business Development Director responsible for creating national visibility substantiable revenue growth and training of the business development team. Aaron was also a member of the Senior Leadership Team at Caron Treatment Centers. Aaron joined Alina Lodge as the Director of Marketing and Business Development in August of 2020. His role at High Watch is to ensure that we have the financial capacity to deliver the care and services our guests need day in and day out.

substance abuse group activities

75+ free mental health worksheets, handouts, and forms for mental health professionals or self-help. This type of group activity allows individuals to try out responses and actions they will take during a specific situation and practice out loud. These exercises allow individuals to practice with group members how they will handle difficult situations without relapsing. Mindfulness exercises may include journaling, affirmations, and self-care practices.

YouTube Video: Leading Therapy Groups with Adolescents

After playing with them, transition into a discussion about the fallibility of our senses and point of view. Talk about how differently people perceive things based on who they are and the situation at hand. Group therapy provides a cost-effective alternative to individual psychotherapy. It brings people with similar needs together in a supportive, encouraging, and validating way. Closing group therapy treatment is the phase of group development known as termination (Levine, 2011). This is often one of the most difficult aspects of group structure and development.

These include stress management, problem-solving, relaxation, and anger management. Some people from your support group in substance abuse treatment may be your support system after rehab, too. Rather than a one-on-one meeting with a therapist, group therapy is a gathering of several people facilitated by a clinical group leader. Hawaii Island Recovery, the Big Island’s premiere residential substance abuse rehabilitation facility for adults, offers a comprehensive treatment program in a tranquil and healing environment.

What Are Some Ideas for Group Therapy Activities?

This article is chock full of activities, exercises, worksheets, and techniques that can be put to effective use in group therapy. Most of these activities and exercises can be applied to a wide range of group therapy situations. This activity will help group members learn how to set positive, achievable goals and, immerse them in the experience of working toward them. Many of those struggling with depression or anxiety will turn to unhealthy, unhelpful, or even harmful ways to cope. If you are working with members that don’t jump at the chance to speak in front of the group, having a specific set of questions to guide the check-in process can be helpful.

A 10th step-based inventory for self-reflection for counselors and other mental health workers. A printable deck of cards with 128 coping skills for managing stress, anxiety, and other difficult emotions. We also offer psychoeducation groups on a specific topic related to addiction or mental health. For instance, they can help put clients at ease, express themselves, bring them closer, or provide educational information. However, what they all have in common is their ultimate goal of guiding clients toward recovery.

How To Sleep Without Alcohol 5 Simple Tips

Although alcohol may help you fall asleep at first, it will wake you up later in the night. If you’re struggling to sleep, there are a few things you can do to try and break the cycle of drinking yourself to sleep. First, avoid drinking alcohol for at least four hours before bed. This will give your body time to metabolize can’t sleep without alcohol the alcohol and hopefully allow you to fall asleep without it. Find a routine and stick to it, try some natural sleep aids, avoid caffeine before bed, get some exercise, and create a relaxing bedtime ritual. If you’re still struggling to sleep, talk to your doctor about other options such as medication or therapy.

sleeping without alcohol

Both suppress your central nervous system, potentially increasing the risk of a dangerous overdose. Additionally, alcohol can slow your body’s ability to process sleeping pills, giving them greater effects than they typically would. Although alcohol may make it easier to get to sleep, it harms the overall sleep quality and could lead to dependence over time. Practicing good habits to help you get the best night’s sleep is called ‘sleep hygiene’. Alcohol’s use as a relaxant boasts a long history, but other outlets prove healthier and more relaxing in the long term.

Create a Relaxing Environment

Insomnia, the most common sleep disorder, is marked by periods of difficulty falling or staying asleep. Insomnia occurs despite the opportunity and desire to sleep, and leads to excessive daytime sleepiness and other negative effects. “It can be very eye-opening to appreciate how much alcohol affects your sleep,” she said. A lot of people who think they have insomnia, she said, may just be drinking too much or too close to bedtime. Alcohol is a muscle relaxant and relaxes the muscles in your upper airways, disrupting normal breathing.

Whatever anxieties,demands or pressures are making you think you need alcohol to fall asleep – Subconsciously takes you away from it all. Put it on at bedtime and you’ll become immersed in soporific indulgence. Try programmes during the daytime and you’ll feel like a new person. Including giving you the ability to fall asleep without alcohol. You’re also more likely to wake up through the night, and experience fewer periods of deep sleep. Many people rely on alcohol’s calming effect after a rough day.

Use relaxation methods

Fortunately, there are treatments and coping techniques that can help you get better rest, which can help you feel better during alcohol recovery. If you are experiencing sleep problems, be sure to talk to your doctor about your options. There are many medications used to treat insomnia, including benzodiazepine and nonbenzodiazepine medications.

  • Routinely drinking large amounts of alcohol may be a sign of alcohol use disorder — which can come with a host of side effects.
  • Because alcohol can have a depressive effect on the brain, drinking may help some people fall asleep faster.
  • As your body processes the alcohol, and the night goes on, alcohol actually disrupts your sleep.

Because alcohol makes falling asleep easier, stopping alcohol use can make it more difficult, even though sleep quality will improve once you are asleep. The insomnia experienced during alcohol withdrawal is one reason people quitting alcohol use often seek professional help. One of the dangers of drinking alcohol before bed is that it can exacerbate sleep apnea.

How Does Alcohol Impact Sleep?

You may notice some worsened insomnia during alcohol withdrawal. However, you may continue to have trouble sleeping for years after you stop drinking. Alcohol can cause insomnia because https://ecosoberhouse.com/ of the damage that alcohol can do to your sleep cycles and circadian rhythm. This can lead to additional effects like daytime sleepiness and grogginess.

  • If you’re in recovery and having sleep problem, it’s important to discuss the situation with your doctor.
  • This can cause them to rouse hundreds of times while sleeping.
  • All of the reasons and triggers for bad sleep and alcohol that we’ve explained in this blog can be remediated using self-hypnosis with Subconsciously.
  • But alcohol goes on to affect the entire night of sleep to come.
  • Both suppress your central nervous system, potentially increasing the risk of a dangerous overdose.

Doing these activities before bed can help you get into a relaxed state and make it easier to fall asleep. When drinking alcohol, the longer you go without it before bed, the better your sleep will be. One study recommends abstaining from alcohol six or more hours before sleeping for the best results. Avoid drinking caffeine after lunch and try to limit your intake earlier in the day.

Percentage of adolescents reporting drug use decreased significantly in 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic endured National Institute on Drug Abuse NIDA

The resilience of drug markets during the pandemic has demonstrated once again traffickers’ ability to adapt quickly to changed environments and circumstances. Drug markets on the dark web only emerged a decade ago but major ones are now worth at least US$ 315 million in annual sales. Although this is just a fraction of overall drug sales, the trend is upwards with a fourfold increase between 2011 to mid-2017 teen drug abuse and mid-2017 to 2020. The 2023 Monitoring the Future data tables highlighting the survey results are available online from the University of Michigan. Research has improved our understanding of factors that help buffer youth from a variety of risky behaviors, including substance use. Use of trade names and commercial sources is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S.

Drug overdose deaths among adolescents increased substantially beginning in late 2019. Although deaths appear to have begun declining in late 2021, they are still alarmingly higher than in 2019. Collaboration among public health and safety agencies, physicians, mental health and substance use treatment providers, and educators to implement these efforts could save lives. Median monthly overdose deaths among persons aged 10–19 years (adolescents) increased 109% from July–December 2019 to July–December 2021; deaths involving illicitly manufactured fentanyls (IMFs) increased 182%.

Why is CDC addressing youth high-risk substance use?

The resources on this webpage cover a variety of drug-related issues, including information on drug use, emergency room data, prevention and treatment programs, and other research findings. For the purposes of addressing HIV and STD prevention, high-risk substance use is any use by adolescents of substances with a high risk of adverse outcomes (i.e., injury, criminal justice involvement, school dropout, loss of life). For more information about opioids and overdose deaths, see our reports on Fentanyl Abuse and Drug Overdose Death Rates. She adds that schools need to play an important role in addressing this, not just by adopting curricula like the one she and her colleagues created, but also by making naloxone, the overdose medication, easily available to their students.

  • Teenagers in Alaska are 25.67% more likely to have used drugs in the last month than the average American teen.
  • The resilience of drug markets during the pandemic has demonstrated once again traffickers’ ability to adapt quickly to changed environments and circumstances.
  • Teenagers in Michigan are 6.95% more likely to have used drugs in the last month than the average American teen.

For the survey, students self-report their substance use behaviors over various time periods, such as past 30 days, past 12 months and lifetime. The survey also documents students’ perception of harm, disapproval of use and perceived availability of drugs. During July 2019–December 2021, a total of 1,808 adolescent overdose deaths occurred in 32 jurisdictions with available trend data.

Does My Teenager Need Rehab?

Jurisdictions reported deaths for all 6-month periods from July 2019 to December 2021. Illinois, Missouri, and Washington reported deaths from counties that accounted for ≥75% of drug overdose deaths in the state in 2017, per SUDORS funding requirements; all other jurisdictions reported deaths from the full jurisdiction. Educating adolescents about the dangers of IMFs and counterfeit pills, working with public safety to reduce availability of illicit drugs, and ensuring access to evidence-based substance use and mental health treatment could save lives. Quarterly rates of unintentional drug overdose deaths among teens remained elevated well into 2022, according to a NIDA analysis of CDC and Census data. Similar data had previously been reported by CDC and others through Q4 2021, and this NIDA analysis provides an update on trends through Q overall and by sex. These data emphasize that teen overdose continues to be an issue that needs to be addressed, and shed some light on the post-pandemic state of teen overdose.

teen drug abuse statistics

The Massachusetts Alliance for Sober Housing

MASH is an affiliate of NARR and used these standards to create Massachusetts standards for certified sober homes. NARR has since released two updates to the standards, first in October 2015 and then facing your powerlessness in addiction recovery in 2018. The third version of the NARR standards provides more explicit guidance to providers, including metrics for evaluating the peer support components of a residence’s recovery environment.

Legislation in 2014 created voluntary certification of Massachusetts sober homes, and MASH began managing voluntary statewide sober home certification in 2016. The Massachusetts Alliance for Sober Housing, or MASH, exists to support men and women in recovery from addiction by improving access to quality sober houses through establishing recovery home standards and support services. Eco Sober Houses are designed to address physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. We offer comprehensive support in various aspects, including counseling and job-seeking assistance. We strive to provide the best possible opportunities for employment to all participants. Our goal is to facilitate the successful reintegration of our residents into society, supporting them every step of the way on their journey towards recovery.

  1. Our homes and their atmospheres are nurtured by the guests they provide for.
  2. In 2011, the National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR) established national standards for sober houses.
  3. Upon arriving at a sober-living house from rehab or detox, a woman can expect a safe and supportive environment that promotes long-term sobriety.
  4. Eco Sober House at Capen street is now a MASH-certified Sober living home.

We create a space where individuals are encouraged to pursue their passions, establish their own objectives, and strive to reach them within a nurturing and supportive environment. By engaging in this transformative process, clients at Eco Sober House are equipped to build a fulfilling and sober life, anchored in personal empowerment and community support. Chapter 165, Section 37 of the Acts of 2014 required the Department of Public Health (DPH) to establish a process for the voluntary certification of alcohol and drug free (ADF) housing. This legislation limits state agencies and their vendors to referring to certified ADF housing. DPH awarded a contract to the Massachusetts Alliance for Sober Housing (MASH) to be the certifying body, and the training and technical assistance vendor.


Our homes are smoke free but there are plenty of designated outdoor smoking areas. Discover the solutions you’ve been seeking with this new guide to living free of alcohol. (v) verify good standing with regard to local, state and federal laws and any regulations and ordinances including, how to choose a sober house for your recovery sober living but not limited to, building, maximum occupancy, fire safety and sanitation codes. Sober homes applying for annual recertification must remit payment of certification fees within 30 days or the home may be subject to certification suspension and a lapse in access to grant funding.

MASH serves as the primary agency for accountability for all certified sober homes in Massachusetts. The sober house certification standards set by MASH can be found here. Effective September 1, 2016, state agencies and their vendors are only able to refer clients to certified alcohol and drug-free (ADF) housing.

Eco Sober House is MASH-Certified

Eco Sober House is more than just a residence; it’s a thriving community dedicated to guiding each member towards a healthier, sober life. In July 2014, Bill H.1828 was passed into law mandating the monitoring and voluntary certification of MA Sober Homes. In Massachusetts, state agencies and vendors are only allowed to refer clients to MASH Certified sober houses.

Eco Sober House Is Now Among MASH Sober Living Home

We expect our residents to be actively involved in an individual recovery plan. We facilitate in- house AA and NA meetings, and all residents are subject to supervised drug and alcohol testing. At Eco Sober House, we emphasize self-improvement and resilience as key elements of recovery. We encourage each client to develop their strengths, while learning to navigate life’s challenges in a sober and healthy manner.

Amenities include on site laundry, air conditioning, parking, full kitchens, living/dining rooms and quick access to public transportation.

Vanderburgh House and MASH Certified Sober Houses in Massachusetts

Welcome to Eco Sober Houses, LLC, a network of safe havens established to foster holistic recovery for men facing challenges with substance use. Since our inception in March 2021, we’ve grown from a single location in Dorchester, MA, to multiple houses, each dedicated to providing a supportive and transformative environment. Our focus is on fostering a supportive and inclusive community where each member feels valued and understood. We maintain well-defined guidelines to ensure a balance of discipline and care, aiding clients in their journey towards sobriety. Emphasizing respect and cooperation, our house creates a harmonious living space that encourages personal responsibility and collaborative growth.

Our community provides comfort and guidance for anyone on the journey to sobriety. ”Certified alcohol and drug free housing”, alcohol and drug free housing that has been accredited by the bureau pursuant to this section. The Fire Sprinkler System Program (FSSP) is designed to support and protect sober housing in Massachusetts by providing one-time grants to Massachusetts Alliance for Sober Housing (MASH)-Certified Sober Homes for the installation of sprinkler systems.

All sober homes initially certifying with MASH for the first time will only be certified after the certification invoice has been paid. Homes will not be listed on our website or have access to grant funding until the invoice is paid. (e) The director shall periodically evaluate the quality of training being provided to operators seeking certification and the integrity and efficacy of the accreditation program. Are you looking to start your recovery journey or do you have a loved one who is?

You will also have a peer-based environment that encourages you to stay away from alcohol. The goal is to provide as much support as possible for a successful recovery. The Massachusetts Alliance for Sober Houses is an association that encourages the operation of community-based sober houses. Upon receiving MASH certification, a sober house is recognized for meeting certain standards, which are in line with those set by the National Association of Recovery Residences (NARR).

In July 2014, Massachusetts passed legislation that mandates the monitoring and voluntary certification of Massachusetts sober homes. Effective September 1, 2016, state agencies and their vendors shall only be able to refer clients to certified alcohol and drug free (ADF) housing. Any home not certified will not be able to accept clients from state agencies until certified. A contract the honest truth about being sober that no one talks about medium was awarded to the Massachusetts Alliance for Sober Housing (MASH) to be the certifying body, and the training and technical assistance vendor. Nothing in this section shall prohibit a residence that has not received certification from operating or advertising as alcohol and drug free housing or from offering residence to persons recovering from substance use disorders.

Visit the for a list of all sober houses, including certified sober houses, in Massachusetts and throughout the United States. ATR addresses another critical recovery support for  ATR participants – HOUSING. Sober home services provide  wrap-around support to ATR participants experiencing housing instability by addressing both their housing and recovery needs.

Effect of alcohol on blood pressure

Additionally, alcohol is a diuretic, so drinking may contribute to dehydration. If you’re feeling dehydrated while drinking alcohol, rehydrating with water may help to regulate your heart rate and eliminate the sensation. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults of legal drinking age try to avoid drinking https://ecosoberhouse.com/ alcohol if possible. But if a person decides to start drinking, they should consume it within the recommended limits. Talk with a healthcare professional if you drink and are concerned about your risk of hypertension or if you have high blood pressure and want to learn how to manage your blood pressure levels.

  • For times greater than 13 hours, high doses of alcohol consumption increased blood pressure.
  • This disruption might be due to higher amounts of endorphins and histamine released by alcohol.
  • Both ST and CT independently assessed studies for inclusion or exclusion and assessed the risk of bias of all included studies.

Many people begin as social or occasional drinkers, especially in high school or college. While not everyone who drinks socially will abuse alcohol, those who binge drink are at a higher risk. Binge drinking is defined as consuming four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men in about two hours.

Koskinen 1991 published data only

According to a 2018 study and the World Health Organization, no amount of alcohol intake is safe, so any amount may be considered too much. Red wine contains an antioxidant called https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/how-does-alcohol-affect-your-blood-pressure/ resveratrol, which some studies have shown reduces cholesterol and lowers blood pressure. And people who drink have lowered inhibitions, which may lead to poor dietary choices.

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One common question people have is whether alcohol consumption can cause low blood pressure. At Nao Medical, we offer a range of services to help you manage your blood pressure and overall health. Our experienced healthcare providers can work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that meets your unique needs.

Alcohol Abuse: Signs, Risks & How To Get Help

Having more than three drinks in one sitting temporarily raises blood pressure. Repeated binge drinking can lead to long-term increases in blood pressure. Heavy drinking is defined as eight or more drinks per week for women or 15 or more drinks per week for men. Heavy drinking contributes to heart disease in men and women, as well as other serious health conditions.

Rather, it is a detailed combination of genetic markers and environmental precursors. There is a hereditary role in developing alcohol dependence, but an alcohol addiction gene has never been isolated. Having a parent who is an alcoholic makes you four times more likely to be one yourself, per the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.Environmental factors are part of the mix, too. Growing up in a household where alcohol is prevalent increases your risk of alcoholism. Your involvement with peers as you grow up and the age at which you begin drinking also contribute. People who drink before age 15 are four times more likely to become addicted to alcohol later in life.

Do I have high blood pressure?

Notably, studies have shown that alcohol dehydrogenase variants occur in different individuals and that categorization according to variant nullifies the protective effect of moderate alcohol intake. We created three SoF tables to show the certainty of evidence and the summary of effects on outcomes of interest (SBP, DBP, and HR) for high (Table 1), medium (Table 2), and low doses (Table 3) of alcohol. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, your health care professional may advise you to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink. Alcohol consumption increases the amount of calcium that binds to the blood vessels.

  • Although some older studies have led many people to believe in the heart-healthy properties of wine, the American Heart Association (AHA) says this may be a myth and that other lifestyle factors, rather than alcohol contribute to heart health.
  • Drinking excessive alcohol is considered one of the most common causes of raised blood pressure.

In the short term, this can cause a temporary decrease in blood pressure. However, as the effects of alcohol wear off, blood pressure can increase to higher than normal levels. This is because alcohol can also stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the body’s fight or flight response.

We will deal with these as described in the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions and only pool them with the other trials if appropriate and using generic inverse variance. N values will be adjusted to avoid double‐counting of participants in both phases of cross‐over trials. The effect of cross‐over trial will be tested by doing a sensitivity analysis excluding them. In the case of multi‐arm trials the placebo group will be divided by the number of arms to avoid double counting. Vijaya Musini (VM) contributed to data analysis, interpretation of the final result, and editing of the final draft of the review.

how does alcohol affect your blood pressure

More RCTs are needed to study the effects of low‐dose alcohol to better delineate the dose‐response effects of alcohol on BP and heart rate. RCTs with measurements more than 24 hours after alcohol consumption are needed to see how long the effect of high‐dose acute alcohol consumption lasts. We are aware of one systematic review on effects of alcohol on blood pressure that was published in 2005 (McFadden 2005). McFadden 2005 included both randomised and non‐randomised studies with a minimum of 24 hours of blood pressure observation after alcohol consumption. This systematic review searched only the MEDLINE database for relevant studies, hence it was not exhaustive.

Focus On: Alcohol and the Immune System PMC

This means that its functioning shifts to focus on breaking down the alcohol and takes its energy from other critical functions such as fighting diseases. While your body is metabolizing alcohol, it has a lower ability to fight off infections and viruses, making you more vulnerable to developing a cold or more serious condition. Another pathway to activate NF-κB is non-canonical signaling, which relies on the tightly-regulated processing of p100, opposed to the rather constant processing of p105 [39].

  • TB outbreaks have occurred in urban homeless shelters and other densely populated residential settings, such as prisons and nursing homes.
  • The clinical implications of such a transient immunodepression still need to be studied further.
  • A lung abscess can lead to cough, chest pain, fever, fatigue, night sweats, appetite loss, weight loss, sputum, and, empyema.
  • For alcoholics, especially those who are indigent or homeless, several social and behavioral factors converge to increase their vulnerability to TB and to hinder their recovery from the disease.

The innate cellular response, which is mediated primarily by monocytes/macrophages and neutrophils, involves the recognition, phagocytosis, and destruction of pathogens—processes essential to subsequent adaptive responses. Acute and chronic alcohol abuse can interfere with the actions of these cells at various levels. Numerous analyses also have evaluated the effects of ethanol exposure on the development of B cells. As described above for thymopoiesis, the offspring of pregnant mice that from gestational day 1 to day 18 consumed a liquid diet in which 25 percent of calories were derived from ethanol exhibited decreased numbers of both immature and mature B cells in the spleens directly after birth.

Impact of AUD on Adaptive Immune Responses

Whereas T-cells are primarily involved with cell-mediated immunity, B-cells play a major role in humoral immunity. In the lungs, for example, alcohol damages the immune cells and fine hairs that have the important job of clearing pathogens out of our airway. Though does alcohol suppress immune system there’s still limited data on the link between alcohol and COVID-19, past evidence shows alcohol consumption can worsen the outcomes from other respiratory illnesses by damaging the lungs and gut, and impairing the cells responsible for immune function.

  • The innate immune response orchestrated by all these components provides the first line of defense against invading pathogens and plays a key role in the activation and orientation of adaptive immunity, as well as in the maintenance of tissue integrity and repair.
  • Cytokines are affected by alcohol on several levels as they are induced by certain pathways affected by alcohol, which again, in turn, can be modulated by other cytokines.
  • The second phase, the development of immunity to the pathogen, is mediated by T cells and B cells.
  • Another mechanism contributing to ethanol-induced apoptosis in human T cells could involve down-regulation of the vitamin D receptor (VDR).
  • According to older research, long-term alcohol use can make a person 3–7 times more susceptible to viral and bacterial infections, including colds.

For example, the interaction of T cells with antigen-presenting monocytes or macrophages requires the presence of several proteins on the surfaces of both the T cells and the antigen-presenting cells (e.g., T-cell receptors and MHC molecules). Finally, reduced T-cell proliferation may be attributed to the increased production of immunoregulatory cytokines (e.g., IL-10 and TGF-β) caused by alcohol. In chronic alcohol abusers, particularly those with alcoholic liver disease, the levels of TNF-α, IL-1, and IL-6 in the blood are significantly elevated.

Drinking impairs immune cells in key organs

Monocytes express Toll-like receptor (TLR) 4, the PRR that is often responsible for recognizing LPS on the surface of Gram-negative bacteria. After binding to LPS, monocytes are activated and mature into macrophages that travel to the site of infection to secrete important cytokines for the inflammatory response. Within the GI tract, alcohol exposure can also alter the number and abundance of microorganisms present within the microbiome, all of which play an important role in normal GI function. In addition to its adverse effects on GI functioning, the impact of alcohol on the GI microbiome can also alter the maturation and functions of the immune system. The adaptive immune system can be further subdivided into cell-mediated immunity and humoral immunity.

The following example may help illustrate some of the complex interactions that take place during an immune response. When a person sustains a small injury, such as a cut, bacteria can enter the body and the bloodstream through the wound. Phagocytes (e.g., monocytes and neutrophils) patrolling the blood encounter some of these bacteria; identify them as foreign to the body; and engulf, ingest, and destroy them.

Modulation of Innate Immunity by Alcohol

There is some evidence that sorrow, especially if lasts a long time, can depress your body’s immunity. The effect can linger for 6 months, but may go on longer if your grief is deep or doesn’t ease. Talk to your doctor or a mental health professional if you need help with a loss or traumatic event. If you use it regularly, you may have the same breathing problems you can get from nicotine cigarettes. That means coughing up colored mucus called phlegm and a higher chance of lung infections. Just having anxious thoughts can weaken your immune response in as little as 30 minutes.

Such approaches should also investigate the contributions of noncoding RNAs, such as microRNAs (miRNAs), and epigenetic modifications, which are known to regulate gene expression patterns (Curtis et al. 2013; Sato et al. 2011). A single miRNA can target hundreds of mRNA transcripts, and a single mRNA transcript simultaneously can be targeted by more than one miRNA, ensuring fine-tuned and/or redundant control over a large number of biological functions. Epigenetic modifications are chemical changes that occur within a genome without changing the DNA sequence.

Can You Drink Alcohol If You’re Taking Methotrexate?

TLRs, NLRs, and helicase receptors are expressed on innate immune cells as well as on the functional cells (i.e., parenchymal cells) in most organs; however, activation of pattern recognition receptors triggers proinflammatory cytokine induction most robustly in the immune cells. In summary, several in vitro and in vivo studies demonstrate that ethanol modulates the function of innate immune cells (monocytes and DCs) in a dose and time dependent manner (Figure 1). Acute high dose exposures inhibit whereas long-term treatments stimulate proinflammatory cytokine production. In addition, in vivo consumption of moderate amounts enhances phagocytosis and reduces inflammatory cytokine production whereas chronic consumption of large doses inhibits phagocytosis and production of growth factors.

The observed decrease in expression of NFκB is in line with earlier studies examining decreased pro-inflammatory cytokine production with moderate alcohol consumption. Numerous studies have demonstrated alcohol-related impairment of T-cell responses to various challenges. In other studies, chronic alcohol feeding impaired Th1 responses to a hepatitis C virus protein, a defect that was hypothesized to result from impaired secretion of IL-2 and GM–CSF by dendritic and T-cells (Geissler et al. 1997). This alcohol-induced defect in Th1 immunity correlates with suppression of IL-12 secretion by macrophages and dendritic cells (Waltenbaugh et al. 1998). Thus, it appears that alcohol inhibits Th1 immune responses and may predispose the organism to Th2 responses and that this shift is at least partly mediated by suppression of IL-12.

Plant-based foods also fill you up with fiber, which helps lower your body fat percentage, which can strengthen your immune response. Additional studies in rodents assessed the effects of alcohol on the effectiveness of bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination, which protects against tuberculosis. The studies found that when animals consumed ethanol before BCG vaccination, they were not protected against a subsequent pulmonary challenge with M. In contrast, mice that consumed ethanol after the BCG vaccination were protected against a subsequent M. Taken together, these data suggest that chronic ethanol exposure interferes with immunity to new antigens but not with immunity established before alcohol consumption.

How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your Urine? Timeline & Tests

You’re legally drunk once your BAC hits .08 percent or higher — the point at which it’s considered unsafe to drive. And the only way to know your BAC for sure is with a breath, blood, or urine test. If someone you care about is experiencing any of the symptoms of alcohol poisoning, call 911 and keep alcohol hair tests your friend safe until help arrives. Just as family history plays a role in the development of an alcohol use disorder, how quickly the body processes and excretes alcohol also has a genetic link. Like many other drugs, alcohol can be detected with a hair follicle drug test for up to 90 days.

This is alcohol withdrawal, and it causes uncomfortable physical and emotional symptoms. How long you feel the effects of alcohol depends on the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream, which varies from person to person (even from just a beer). When you’re ready to quit or reduce the harm alcohol is causing to your health and life, there are many resources to help. Many people also turn to support groups, like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). These groups, whether in-person or online, can help you feel supported and less alone as you navigate recovery.

  1. In some cases, alternative tests — such as a breath, hair, or blood test — may be more appropriate and valuable.
  2. Breath tests for alcohol can detect alcohol within a shorter time frame, at about 4-6 hours.
  3. The liver breaks down most of the alcohol, though the substance also passes through the kidneys, urine, skin and lungs.
  4. A person with this condition can have a very high heart rate, seizures, or a high body temperature.
  5. Alcohol can be detected in sweat, urine and the breath for at least as long as the liver is breaking down alcohol.

If you or someone you know shows signs of delirium tremens, go to the emergency room immediately. If a person can answer yes to two or more of the CAGE questions, they should consider seeking treatment. She is also an 11-time marathoner, a USATF Level 1-certified running coach, and an avid traveler.

Time since the last drink

If this happens too many times or too fast, damage to the brain and tissues of the body can develop. Your body absorbs alcohol more slowly when you have food in your stomach. Those who drink on an empty stomach will feel the effects of alcohol more quickly. A person who has not eaten will hit their peak blood alcohol level between 30 minutes and two hours after consumption, depending on the amount of alcohol consumed. Before delving into the calculator, it’s essential to grasp the fundamentals of alcohol metabolism. When you consume alcohol, your body breaks it down through a process primarily carried out by the liver.

Urine vs. breath tests

Alcohol can be detected in sweat, urine and the breath for at least as long as the liver is breaking down alcohol. Generally, the more alcohol your drink has, the longer your body metabolizes it. However, certain factors can affect this alcohol metabolism and absorption rate. Collecting at least two urine samples how to avoid another alcohol relapse around 30 minutes to 1 hour apart is recommended for the most accurate results. Lab tests might also test urine for ethyl sulfate (EtS), another metabolic substance that confirms a person’s most recent alcohol consumption. When a person decides to quit drinking, they should consider seeking professional help.


Even if used externally and not ingested, it’s possible that products containing alcohol will cause you to test positive for alcohol consumption. It’s best to avoid anything that contains alcohol, even in tiny amounts. Although urine tests are a relatively inexpensive and noninvasive way to test for alcohol, they may be inaccurate in some cases. For example, senior citizens are particularly vulnerable to alcohol because of age-related changes to their bodies.

A person’s body size and composition are also factors that can impact how fast alcohol is processed. Low-water fatty tissue cannot absorb alcohol to the extent that high-water muscle tissue can, meaning individuals with more body fat generally have higher BAC. Correspondingly, an individual that is extremely muscular but of shorter stature will have a higher BAC than someone taller than them of the same composition. The human body is very effective at processing alcohol, provided that alcohol is not consumed so quickly as to cause alcohol poisoning. It is estimated that between 90% and 98% of all alcohol that enters the body is metabolized and absorbed. The remaining alcohol is then expelled from the body through sweat, urine, vomit, and feces.

Multiple factors can affect how long it may take you to withdraw from alcohol. A doctor will consider all these factors when estimating how long-lasting and how severe your symptoms may be. You can still pursue therapy and support groups as you go through withdrawal.

So, how much alcohol you consume in a specific amount of time gives you an idea of its intensity. For example, having a beer during a baseball game or a glass of wine with dinner is commonplace. Trace amounts of alcohol can be detected in a saliva swab around hours after the last drink. More sensitive or higher quality tests can pick up smaller amounts of alcohol. And because everyone metabolizes alcohol at their own rate, some people will take longer to clear it than others. The liver does the heavy lifting when it comes to processing alcohol.

Alcohol can remain in the breast milk for as long as it remains in the blood. As alcohol leaves the blood, it also leaves the milk, making it unnecessary to “pump and dump” breast milk after drinking alcohol. Some people of East Asian descent lack the enzymes necessary to break down alcohol. This can cause a reaction that includes facial flushing, nausea, dizziness, rapid heart rate, and headache. Though not true for everyone, alcohol tends to stay in a woman’s system for longer than a man’s. This is because women tend to have a higher percentage of body fat and a lower percentage of body water than men.

When can I drive after drinking?

Drinking plenty of water will reduce dehydration and get water back in your system. An electrolyte drink will help your body hold the fluids and rehydrate faster. Your liver is responsible for breaking down the majority of alcohol in your body. As a matter of fact, 90% of the metabolism of alcohol into water and carbon dioxide is performed by the liver. The remaining 10% is removed through the lungs (breathing), kidneys (urine), and skin (sweating). You can feel the effects within 5 to 10 minutes of drinking, however, it takes about 30 to 90 minutes to peak and be carried through all the organs of the body.

How Fast Does the Liver Metabolize Alcohol?

She’s passionate about empowering readers to take care of their mental and physical health through science-based, empathetically delivered information. The only way to get sober or clear alcohol from your system is to give your liver time to break down the alcohol. The legal limit for BAC while driving is .08%, though some states enforce a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under 21. Driving with a BAC of .08% or more can result in serious penalties, including fines, jail time, license suspension, and more.

Over time, however, the body builds a tolerance to alcohol, and a person may have to drink more and more to get the same feeling. Meanwhile, the brain is producing guilt and grief: making a living amends more and more neurotransmitters, making a person further imbalanced. Also, ignore the myth that your body recognizes different liquors differently.

Hangovers make you feel fatigued or sick because of the reduction in vitamin B. That’s why people who attend alcohol rehab often receive nutritional support during recovery. Alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine and liquor break down differently in each person’s body. The substance is absorbed into the bloodstream through the stomach and the walls of the small intestines, affecting the kidneys, bladder, liver, lungs and skin. An ethyl glucuronide alcohol test (EtG test) is an advanced form of urine testing that measures the amount of ethyl glucuronide in a person’s urine sample. Ethyl glucuronide is produced after drinking alcohol and is a byproduct of alcohol metabolism.

Alcohol detection times vary depending on the person and the test used. This is why different tests detect traces of alcohol from a few hours to several weeks. My coconut charcoal can also help to bind to potentially irritating proteins, such as casein and gluten. Alcohol causes dehydration, which is why you get a hangover the next day after a night of drinking.

Alcohol Fuels Pain: Study Reveals Link Between Drinking and Chronic Pain

Like other food allergies, it may carry the risk of a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Sometimes the allergy is really because of an ingredient in the beverage, such as grains or preservatives, and not the alcohol itself. If you use alcohol to relieve your pain, it is important to learn about possible adverse health effects.

Some alcohol intolerance cases are linked to the use of certain medications. When someone has unusual pain in response to alcohol, there are several possible causes. The list of conditions includes Hodgkin lymphoma, but also something called carcinoid syndrome. If you’re taking medications to manage your pain, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any reactions that may result from mixing them with alcohol. Whether it is on one occasion or over many sessions, drinking in excess may produce serious health problems including coma or death. If you’ve been drinking to cope, and you’re having a hard time cutting back on your own, it can be helpful to seek support.

  1. Mild symptoms may arise within 6 hours after a person stops drinking, while more severe symptoms may arise within 12–24 hours.
  2. This finding was surprising given that the hippocampus is a brain region in which new neurons can grow both in adult humans and in adult mice (Mutso et al., 2012).
  3. There is a long history of this association between alcohol and pain in Hodgkin disease.
  4. A study published in Pain Medicine reported that some fibromyalgia patients who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol did experience a mild diminution in pain intensity.

The current review integrated two lines of empirical inquiry (i.e., the effects of alcohol on pain and the effects of pain on alcohol use), with evidence derived from a broad range of epidemiological, clinical, and experimental research. Taken together, these data suggest that pain and alcohol may interact in a bi-directional manner, possibly resulting in greater pain and increased alcohol consumption over time. Bi-directional arrows are used to acknowledge that reciprocal influences may occur across associations between pain and alcohol use, and dashed lines are used to illustrate the modest causal evidence derived from the current literature.

Conditions That May Mimic Alcoholic Neuropathy

In turn, relief from acute pain can be a positive reinforcing factor for maintenance of the pain state as it will lead to reward (alcohol intake and resulting dopamine release), with the alcohol itself acting then as a negative reinforcing factor. Deficiencies in vitamins, like thiamine, reduce your body’s ability to maintain healthy cell development. Moreover, alcohol can also have harmful interactions with both prescription and over-the-counter medications, leading to exacerbated chronic pain symptoms over time.

Alcohol triggers immune cells in spinal cord

Recurrent pain is highly prevalent among treatment seeking problem drinkers (Boissoneault, Lewis, & Nixon, 2018; Sheu et al., 2008), and alcoholism is considered a risk factor, both for the development of chronic pain in patients who suffer from AUD, and for relapse in those attempting to remain abstinent. AUD patients with pain also are likely to report current opioid use (Witkiewitz & Vowles, what is a sober living home 2018). But despite numerous reports on the associations between chronic pain and AUD, the underlying mechanisms involved in linking them remain elusive. AUD may share common neural pathways with chronic pain, which may facilitate pain affecting alcohol use patterns, or facilitate modulatory effects of alcohol on pain processing, thereby precipitating the risk of chronic pain development.

Prevalence and Factors Common to Pain and Alcohol Use

This phenomenon is more common in women, affecting around 60% of cases, than in men, in whom it affects around 50% of cases. Pain along with drinking alcohol has been linked to Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of blood cancer that is highly curable. Most people live full lives if Hodgkin lymphoma is detected and treated early. The symptoms also may be related to carcinoid syndrome, or to a genetic mutation more often found in people of Asian ethnicity. If you experience pain or have unusual symptoms after drinking alcohol, make an appointment to talk to your healthcare provider. Laboratory studies confirm that alcohol does indeed reduce pain in humans and in animals.

Before you decide to use whiskey or wine for pain relief, make sure you know the facts. Talk to your doctor before using acetaminophen if you’re not sure if you drink too frequently to use this drug. Once alcohol use has been addressed, your doctor can focus on the neuropathy itself.

How does alcohol cause pain?

Mixing alcohol with Tylenol, for example, can cause liver damage, and combining alcohol and aspirin increases the risk of gastric bleeding. Drinking alcohol while you take acetaminophen causes your body to make more of the harmful substance, and it becomes more difficult for your body to remove it. So, mixing too much alcohol with any acetaminophen (or too much acetaminophen with any alcohol) can make removal of this substance even the cycle of alcohol addiction national institute more difficult. People who drink too much may start to feel pain and tingling in their limbs. Your journey changing your relationship with alcohol and managing chronic pain will be enriched when shared and experienced with others. There’s truth in the saying, “when you heal, I heal.” Adopting a sobriety or moderation goal can afford you the space and energy to find a long-term chronic pain management plan that works for you.

As I often witness with my clients, learning more about how drinking habits affect overall wellness can be incredibly empowering, and lead to both finding self-forgiveness, and adopting new forms of self-soothing. If a person has chest pain after drinking alcohol, it is important to talk with a doctor to determine the underlying cause. Immediate medical attention is necessary for people with symptoms of a heart attack. The investigators found that, of the problem drinkers, approximately 43% of men and 44% of women reported experiencing moderate to severe pain, but in nonproblem drinkers, only 28% of men and 33% of women reported that level of pain.

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This may cause micronutrient deficiencies which may in turn affect a person’s immune system and lead to liver damage. Pain is generally thought of as the unpleasant physical sensation following bodily harm or injury. Equally important, and mechanistically intertwined, is the psychological component of pain, particularly the emotional component of chronic and unrelieved pain. Mechanisms of neuroplasticity are thought to underlie a “centralization of pain” at both spinal and supraspinal levels, and similar phenomena are used to describe how misused substances act on the brain to facilitate the development and maintenance of substance use disorder (SUD). Alcohol can increase blood pressure, cause an irregular heart rhythm, and affect blood flow to the heart.

For instance, while alcohol consumption initially potentiates GABA, a major inhibitory neurotransmitter, the number of GABA receptors declines with excessive drinking over a long period of time (Davies, 2003; Oscar-Berman & Marinkovic, 2003; Valenzuela, 1997). This also may interfere with efficiency in descending pain inhibition at the midbrain level and precipitate development of chronic pain conditions in which deficiency in descending pain modulatory system is thought to be a central cause (Ossipov et al., 2014). There are many risks with using alcohol to treat chronic pain, but there may also be some benefits.

The fear-avoidance model of chronic pain posits that persons who experience chronic or recurrent pain may be hypervigilant to perceived increases in pain (Leeuw et al., 2007), which suggests that persons with chronic pain may be especially sensitive to hyperalgesia during the early stages of alcohol abstinence. Hyperalgesic responses have been observed during withdrawal from other substances (e.g., nicotine), and researchers have proposed that increased pain may precede relapse (e.g., Ditre et al., 2011). Thus, increased pain in the context of alcohol abstinence and withdrawal may have important clinical implications for the treatment of AUD among persons who experience chronic pain. Despite consistent evidence from the animal literature, and well-documented historical use of alcohol as an anesthetic (e.g., Shealy & Cady, 2002), only a few experimental studies have been conducted among humans to test the causal effects of acute alcohol administration on laboratory pain reactivity.

Innovative cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness techniques, for example, can safely improve pain management and tolerance. While liver damage is not likely if you take simple precautions, it’s still important to know the symptoms of liver damage. Call your doctor and stop taking acetaminophen if you have any man serving sentence for attacking parents fails of the symptoms. However, for people who take too much of the drug or who have existing liver problems, the damage can be lasting and even cause death. The most important thing you can do to treat this condition is to stop drinking. Others may be able to stop drinking with outpatient therapy or social support.

If you are having difficulty avoiding alcohol, there are resources that can help you quit. Sometimes alcohol causes such severe damage to the body that a liver transplant may be necessary. In that case, there may be some improvement in the symptoms of alcoholic neuropathy after the liver transplant, but often, the neuropathy is so advanced that there may be little, if any, improvement, even after a transplant. While peripheral neuropathy generally cannot be cured, there are several medical treatments that can be used to manage the pain of alcoholic neuropathy, aiding in your recovery. Alcoholic neuropathy is one of the most common but least recognizable consequences of heavy alcohol use. People with a long history of alcohol misuse might experience loss of balance, pain, tingling, weakness, or numbness after drinking alcohol.

A challenge to human evolution cognitive dissonance PMC

Our discussion starts with cognitive dissonance—one of the most prominent topics in social psychology. The central thesis of cognitive dissonance theory (Festinger, 1957) is that when two beliefs are inconsistent, individuals experience negatively arousing cognitive conflict (called dissonance). Because the dissonance is aversive, the individuals try to reduce it by changing one or the other beliefs. For example, when making a difficult decision, individuals show attitude change that justifies the decision. In this case, individuals who face such a decision are conflicted because not all beliefs are consistent with the decision.

cognitive dissonance theory is most helpful for understanding

Considering cognitive dissonance and intergenerational trauma may help avoid one-sided responses to the tragedy in the Middle East. My desire to smoke was powerful, but at the same time I was afraid of trying it. However, if a person finds that they have difficulty stopping a behavior or thinking pattern that is causing them distress, they can seek support from a qualified healthcare professional, such as a primary care doctor or therapist. Because of this conflict between new and previous knowledge CD theory suggests that new knowledge should be discarded. This process of resolving CD by discarding contradictions is usually fast, “momentary” and according to CD theory new knowledge is discarded before its usefulness is established. By Neha Kashyap

Neha is a New York-based health journalist who has written for WebMD, ADDitude, HuffPost Life, and dailyRx News.


Providing the space and time to understand their new behavior and justifying it can help to reduce the dissonance. In fact, it is a psychological mechanism that helps us perceive our world (and our place in it) consistently. It is a mechanism that alerts us when we are not acting in line with our beliefs, attitudes, or plans. That slight feeling of discomfort we perceive when noticing this mismatch is called cognitive dissonance. Accepting negative thoughts and emotions rather than judging them may allow individuals to experience less negative emotion and, ultimately, foster better psychological health.

They were then paid either $1 or $20 to tell a waiting participant (a confederate) that the tasks were really interesting. Almost all of the participants agreed to walk into the waiting room and persuade the confederate that the boring experiment would be fun. In their laboratory experiment, they used 71 male students as participants to perform a series of dull tasks (such as turning pegs in a peg board for an hour). When someone is forced to do (publicly) something they (privately) really don’t want to do, dissonance is created between their cognition (I didn’t want to do this) and their behavior (I did it). According to Festinger, there are a few ways that a person might resolve this dissonance. This offers opportunities to discuss the discrepancies, deepen the relationship, and re-align values.

Changing Beliefs

A variety of social psychological theories evolved from CDT to focus on uncertainty-related threats. Like CDT, these certainty theories emphasize the need to supplant aversive, “nonfitting cognitions” with consonant ones, and focus on need for cognitive clarity and consistency. Cognitive dissonance (CD) is a discomfort caused by holding conflicting elements of knowledge. CD is among “the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology” (e.g., Alfnes et al., 2010, p. 147). It is well known that this discomfort is usually resolved by devaluing and discarding a conflicting piece of knowledge (Festinger, 1957; Cooper, 2007; Harmon-Jones et al., 2009); we discuss it in detail below. It is also known that awareness of CD is not necessary for actions to reduce the conflict, and these actions are often fast and momentary (Jarcho et al., 2011).

Cognitive dissonance can even influence how people feel about and view themselves, leading to negative feelings of self-esteem and self-worth. The degree of dissonance experienced can depend on a few different factors. Among them are how highly a particular belief is valued and the degree to which the beliefs are inconsistent.

Cognitive Dissonance Psychology

Cognitive dissonance occurs when a person’s behavior and beliefs do not complement each other or when they hold two contradictory beliefs. It causes a feeling of discomfort https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/five-myths-about-alcoholism-you-probably-didnt-know/ that can motivate people to try to feel better. For example, a small 2019 study notes that dissonance-based interventions may be helpful for people with eating disorders.

cognitive dissonance theory is most helpful for understanding

The women then rated the desirability of eight household products that ranged in price from $15 to $30. The products included an automatic coffee maker, an electric sandwich grill, an automatic toaster, and a portable radio. Brehm (1956) was the first to investigate the relationship between dissonance and decision-making. Saul Mcleod, Ph.D., is a qualified psychology teacher with over 18 years experience of working in further and higher education.

Causes of Cognitive Dissonance

It is recommended that future research investigate the use of cognitive dissonance and Internet-based approaches in schools. Note that social comparison mechanisms and consistency reduction mechanisms are both self-enhancement strategies, yet they cognitive dissonance treatment seem to have little in common. Threat from dissonance rarely has anything to do with the performance of another, i.e., social comparison. Similarly, inconsistency is generally irrelevant to an SEM threat, whereas other’s performance is crucial.

  • Similarly, inconsistency is generally irrelevant to an SEM threat, whereas other’s performance is crucial.
  • When they encounter conflicting values or beliefs in the workplace, it can lead to job dissatisfaction and decreased engagement.
  • To deal with the feelings of discomfort then, they might find some way of rationalizing the conflicting cognition.
  • Notably, the resulting attitude change can be long lasting (Sharot, Fleming, Yu, Koster, & Dolan, 2012).
  • Cognitive dissonance is the discomfort a person feels when their behavior does not align with their values or beliefs.
  • Crafting persuasive marketing messages that resonate with consumers’ existing beliefs can help reduce cognitive dissonance.

When someone acts or behaves in a way that doesn’t align with what they believe to be right, the contradiction causes discomfort. Cognitive dissonance theory, proposed by Festinger, focuses on the discomfort felt when holding conflicting beliefs or attitudes, leading individuals to seek consistency. Festinger’s (1957) cognitive dissonance theory suggests that we have an inner drive to hold all our attitudes and behavior in harmony and avoid disharmony (or dissonance). Sometimes, the ways that people resolve cognitive dissonance contribute to unhealthy behaviors or poor decisions. To deal with the feelings of discomfort then, they might find some way of rationalizing the conflicting cognition. For instance, they may justify their sedentary behavior by saying that their other healthy behaviors—like eating sensibly and occasionally exercising—make up for their largely sedentary lifestyle.

It is the mental tension that arises when we hold conflicting ideas or engage in behaviors that contradict our core principles. This internal conflict can lead to profound implications in our decision-making processes, attitudes, and even our sense of self. The psychology behind cognitive dissonance has long fascinated researchers and philosophers alike, as it delves into the depths of human cognition and the mechanisms by which we strive to maintain internal consistency.

Therapists aim to help their patients by understanding and changing their attitudes, emotions, or behaviors. Dissonance can also be experienced vicariously through people of a social group that we identify with. When they act inconsistently with their attitude, we feel the same discomfort as if we had acted inconsistently with our attitude ourselves (Cooper, 2016). While cognitive dissonance is often described as something widely and regularly experienced, efforts to capture it in studies don’t always work, so it could be less common than has been assumed.