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Archive for the ‘Alcohol Abuse’ Category

What Is Emotional Sobriety?

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

What Is Emotional Sobriety?An estimated 20 million people in the United States, struggle with a substance abuse disorder, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Unfortunately, only about 10% of these people receive appropriate treatment. Whether you’re struggling to regain your life or well on the road to recovery, you’re probably focused on attaining or maintaining your sobriety. This is a noble goal, but there is more than one kind of sobriety. While your physical abstinence from substances is a vast and important piece of the puzzle, so is your emotional sobriety, which enables you to live a productive and fulfilled life.

Do You Know What Emotional Sobriety Is?

We use the term “emotional sobriety” to describe a state of mind that goes beyond physical recovery. While giving up drugs and alcohol is an important first step, emotional sobriety is essential in maintaining your positive lifestyle change. Emotional sobriety involves honing the ability to cope with your emotions, especially those associated with drug and alcohol use. Our brain defends us from painful realities by creating defense mechanisms. Unfortunately, addicts usually protect themselves from these feelings with drugs or alcohol. Achieving emotional sobriety is essential for maintaining your physical sobriety, as you will be better equipped to handle the negative feelings and events that are an inevitable part of life.

Addicts often feel that detox is the hardest part of getting clean, and this is partially true. Detox is often the most physically rigorous aspect of sobriety. Learning to cope with your feelings along with addressing and resisting temptation is a lifelong battle. Emotional sobriety is the most important part of finding peace with your past actions and finding confidence in your healthy future. An emotionally sober addict will be able to handle their feelings in all of life’s moments and also acknowledge when they need help.

How Can I Achieve Emotional Sobriety?

There’s no magic class or patented method for achieving emotional sobriety, like physical sobriety, it is a constant effort. Your rehabilitation program, however, will likely address emotional sobriety. Group therapy, family therapy, and individual sessions all help you uncover the factors that have been driving your addiction. This allows you to address them without the help of alcohol or drugs. For example, if your addiction arose in the aftermath of a traumatic event, you’ll have to address the negative feelings associated with that event that you’ve been masking with substance abuse.

How Can I Achieve Emotional Sobriety?

Emotional treatment plans are focused on helping you be comfortable in your reality, no matter what it may be. The aim is to help you find your authentic self, both in good moments and in bad. This is a vital part of living a fulfilling life in sobriety.

Each person’s journey to emotional sobriety is a little different. Since no one shares the same struggle, your treatment will also be tailored to your unique needs.  Treatment will involve helping you find and maintain your healthy emotional balance. You will have to accept reality as it is, stop dwelling on past mistakes, and look forward to all aspects of the future.

Why Emotional Sobriety Is Important

Some addicts take charge of their physical sobriety but never learn how to address and process their emotions properly. These people are more prone to relapse. The most successful addicts are the ones who realize their journey to recovery will never end. Recovery is a lifelong fight to resist temptation and address the negative and positive feelings in their life in equal measure. Life is full of challenges, and recovery is focused on being able to cope with them. Emotionally sober people can resist the urge to turn to substances, not matter what they’re feeling. When you’re comfortable in your own skin, you’re more likely to confront your emotions than avoid them with substance abuse.

Think of emotional sobriety as a healthy mindset. It will take work, but this healthy emotional mindset will put you on the road to a healthy life.

Achieving a Healthy Emotional Balance

Addicts struggle to achieve emotional balance more than most. Since intoxicants dull feelings (often purposefully so), addicts experience emotions in hyper drive after finding physical sobriety. Addressing these feelings as they come is an important part of attaining emotional balance. Learning to cope with life’s highs and lows and become present in each moment is difficult. Your sensations may hit you with more ferocity than before, which can throw you back into temptation. You must live consciously and deal with your life, no matter what its terms. This is the emotional balance.

Finding a balanced state of mind is easier said than done. It’s not so much a process as it is a commitment. To start, commit to having a positive outlook on life, no matter what the circumstances. This could include starting a gratitude journal or taking a few moments to think of what you’re thankful for before you go to bed each night. Meditate. Talk to friends. These little things add up over time to create a well-adjusted, positive sense of self.

At the same time, be careful not to create a veneer of happiness that hides sadness underneath. It’s just as important to address painful experiences, as it is to acknowledge positive ones. When you’re feeling low, talk to a friend or your sponsor. Discuss temptation and your continued road to recovery. By putting these feelings out in the open, you’re allowing yourself the opportunity to process and put them into perspective.

Emotional sobriety is not an easy task, but its well worth the effort. Make your commitment to recovery a holistic one, healing your mind, body, and spirit. This enhances your ability to live a long and fulfilling life.

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Why Do We Drink Alcohol?

Monday, February 13th, 2017

The Reasons Why We Drink Alcohol?

Alcohol is one of the world’s most popular and accessible drugs. The ubiquity of alcohol consumption, however, belies the major health risks associated with alcohol abuse. In 2012 alone, according to the World Health Organization, alcohol abuse was responsible for over 3.3 million deaths across the globe.

The dangers of alcoholism are numerous and pervasive. Physical dependence, cancer, liver disease and personal injuries are common among those who consume large amounts of alcohol on a frequent basis.

It’s important to note that these risk factors are widely known. Most Americans are educated on the numerous health risks that accompany alcohol abuse from a young age via school programs, televised health campaigns and social media. However, the effectiveness of this messaging has been inconsistent at best – data collected by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reveals that nearly 27 percent of Americans ages 18 or older participated in binge drinking in 2015.

Considering that Americans are generally well-educated regarding the risks of excessive alcohol use, it is surprising that that so many individuals continue to put their health, well-being and loved ones in danger by abusing alcohol. A closer look at the issue shows that several factors, ranging from social pressures to genetics, encourage people to drink heavily regardless of the consequences. Understanding these motivators is a crucial step toward identifying the factors that drive loved ones into bouts of self-destructive drinking.

Multiple Factors Encourage Alcohol Abuse

Researchers have studied alcohol use for decades, but these investigations have yet to identify a simple explanation as to why people choose to abuse alcohol. Instead, data has revealed that the causes of alcohol addiction are complex and nuanced. It’s common for those who abuse alcohol to do so for multiple reasons and those motivators are often interrelated. Additionally, the causes of alcoholism vary significantly across economic, cultural and generational boundaries.

Compare the typical reasons a college student may fall prey to alcohol abuse to the factors motivating a senior citizen. A desire to meet new people and constant pressure from peers are among the most common reasons that college students choose to drink heavily. Alternatively, older adults with greater financial resources and smaller social circles may be more motivated to abuse alcohol in response to long-term loneliness.

The major takeaway from this comparison is that treating the addiction like a simple cause-effect relationship is an ineffective strategy for identifying the reasons that individuals choose to abuse alcohol. A comprehensive approach provides a more accurate picture of the forces that make friends, family and loved ones vulnerable to the self-destructive cycles that characterize alcoholism.

Peer Pressure and Substance Abuse

Social dynamics play a large part in determining how susceptible an individual is to abusing alcohol. This trend is especially prevalent among college students, many of whom have left the structure and security of their family home for the first time and are coping with a completely new environment. In situations like these, college students are very susceptible to the influence of their peer group. In fact, an article published by the Department of Applied Psychology at NYU Reinhardt emphasized the unique role that peer pressure plays in encouraging students to participate in “risk-taking behaviors.”

While the impacts of peer pressure are typically associated with adolescence and early adulthood, individuals at all ages are susceptible to the influence of their peer group. Many office employees, for example, face social pressure to participate in work-related happy hours on a weekly basis. Scenarios like these can contribute to an individual falling into alcohol abuse just as readily as a college tailgate party.

Early Exposure to Alcohol

Many individuals who struggle with alcohol abuse began drinking long before they were able to understand the long-term side effects of their consumption. Scenarios like these are especially prevalent among children who observe unhealthy drinking habits at home – the natural instinct of children to model their parent’s behavior can become a gateway toward alcoholism.

Data analysis performed by the Kansas State University emphasizes the pervasiveness of this trend. According to KSU, nearly half (47%) of individuals who began drinking prior to the age of 14 eventually developed a dependence on alcohol. Among those who started drinking after the age of 20, however, only 9% began to abuse alcohol later in life. This data suggests that many individuals who fall victim to self-destructive drinking patterns in their adult lives do so as a direct result of early exposure to alcoholism.

Alcohol as Coping Mechanism

It’s not uncommon for an individual to begin drinking more heavily in response to overwhelming or traumatic experiences. A divorce, loss of a family member, career disappointment and a long list of other negative experiences can have severe, lasting emotional impacts and subsequently encourage men and women to turn to alcohol as an escape.

An article published by the Royal Society of Arts noted that individuals turn to alcohol in times of anxiety and emotional turmoil because of the substance’s unique chemical properties. Alcohol is a psychoactive drug that efficiently limits communications between neurons. By hindering the transmission of electrical signals in the brain, individuals feel less affected by negative thoughts and are more able to live in the moment. This state of mental dissociation is an attractive option for people facing extreme emotional hardship, resulting in higher risks for alcohol abuse as individuals leverage drunkenness as a form of self-help therapy.

A detailed understanding of why individuals turn to alcohol in spite of the numerous health risks highlights the multifaceted nature of substance abuse. If a family member or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse, it’s dangerous to assume that such a complex problem can be addressed with a simple solution. That’s why it’s so vital for those looking to overcome their addiction to identify a reputable, established treatment center where their unique experiences will be respected.

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Facts and Statistics on Alcohol and Health in the United States

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

Facts and Statistics on Alcohol and Health in the United StatesAll over the United States, people drink alcohol in excess, which has not only a detrimental effect on their physical health, but on the mental health of their families. Learn how alcohol affects the mind and body, as well as the health of the nation.

Alcohol Use Versus Abuse: What’s Healthy?

First, it’s important to distinguish alcohol use from alcohol abuse. Drinking alcohol isn’t necessarily detrimental to your health if you’re considered a “light” or “moderate” drinker. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designates “moderate” drinking as one drink per day for women and two drinks a day for men.

A drink is:

  • 12 oz. of Beer
  • 8 oz. of Malt Liquor
  • 5 oz. of Wine
  • 1.5 oz. of Liquor

Moderate alcohol consumption may actually be beneficial to your health, including decreased risk of stroke and heart disease. Experts think part of this may be because moderate drinkers are more likely to drink in a social setting, and strong interpersonal relationships decrease stress.

Drinking alcohol in excess of moderation is called heavy drinking or binge drinking. Binge drinking is defined as more than 4 drinks in a single session for women, or more than 5 drinks for men. Excessive drinking is considered more than 8 drinks per week for women, or 15 drinks a week for men. It’s important to realize that most people who drink, even those who binge drink or drink excessively, are not alcoholics or alcohol-dependent

Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Use Disorder

When alcohol use begins to impair your ability to lead a healthy and productive life, it may be a sign of something more. Prolonged and heavy drinking can lead to alcohol use disorder (AUD).

AUD is a medical condition that requires people meet certain diagnostic criteria. For example, if you experience a strong craving to drink and drinking (or being sick from its aftereffects) interferes with your job, schooling, or ability to care for your family within the same 12-month period, you may have AUD.

You don’t have to have AUD to experience the negative health effects of drinking. Alcohol can be a risk factor for other conditions, like obesity, cancer, and diabetes.

The Prevalence of Alcohol Abuse in the United States

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that, excessive alcohol use led to almost 90,000 deaths annually from 2006-2010, shortening the average lifespan of those who died by 30 years. Excessive drinking is responsible for 10% of deaths among working-age adults in the United States.

The Prevalence of Alcohol Abuse in the United States

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), conducted annually by the National Institute for Health, found that 27% of those surveyed in 2015 reported binge drinking within the previous month. In the same year, 15.1 million adults aged 18 and older had alcohol use disorder. Of these people, only 8% received treatment.

Unfortunately, the death rate associated from alcohol use has increased in recent years, according to federal data. In 2015, the death rate reached a 35-year high, claiming nearly 31,000 lives. The United States has experienced a 37 percent increase in the number of alcohol-induced deaths since 2002. This number only includes deaths directly related to alcohol consumption – victims of drunk driving, accidents, and homicides where alcohol was a factor were excluded.

Alcohol Claims American Lives

Much of the public health headlines dominating the news of late have surrounded the opioid epidemic. Americans focus much less attention on the dangers of alcohol, perhaps because of its legal status. But it’s no less deserving of our attention. In fact, in 2014, alcohol-induced accidents killed more citizens than heroin and prescription opioids combined.

Drinking has increased across all Americans in recent years, but the increase has been more pronounced among women. The percentage of women reporting past month drinking rose from 47.9 to 51.9.

Alcohol Has Negative Health Effects

Heavy and prolonged alcohol abuse can lead to a host of health problems. Long-term drinking often leads to cirrhosis, a liver condition that can lead to death. In 2013, nearly half of all liver disease deaths were caused by alcohol. This was slightly more likely in men than women. Among all cirrhosis deaths in 2013, 48% were alcohol-related. Alcohol-related liver disease is also the primary cause of an estimated 1 in 3 liver transplants.

Alcohol Has Negative Health Effects

Alcohol abuse affects more than just your liver. Drinking also increases your risk of oral cancer, including the esophagus, pharynx, and larynx. In women, alcohol abuse is linked to an increased incidence of breast cancer.

Lastly, heavy drinking is bad for your heart. Over long periods of time, excessive drinking can cause serious health problems. Excessive drinkers are more likely to develop arrhythmias, stroke, high blood pressure, and cardiomyopathy, a condition characterized by the stretching of the heart muscle.

The Alcohol-Obesity Connection

Alcohol also has an indirect effect on our health by causing us to be more prone to obesity. At 7 calories per gram, alcohol is a calorie-dense substance that is often sweetened with sugar and other caloric additives. Excessive consumption of these calories can lead to positive energy balance and weight gain. Excess weight is also associated with numerous negative health outcomes, from cancer to diabetes.

Alcohol and Your Mental Health

Drinking can also increase anxiety or exacerbate feelings of depression. When we drink, our brains are wired to produce more cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. This can lead to increased anxiety when we stop drinking, which in turn may lead to an urge to drink more. It’s easy to see how a vicious cycle of alcohol abuse and stress can develop.

Alcohol Abuse in America

Alcohol use continues to be a major issue in America. Even though the majority of Americans who drink are not alcoholics or alcohol-dependent, they may still struggle with health problems caused by the consumption of alcohol. Alcohol-related health problems cost Americans almost $250 billion each year. It is time we take steps to address the problem.

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How Alcohol Abuse Affects The Major Organs Of The Body

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

How Alcohol Affects The Body Organs

Alcohol abuse has been proven to be deadly if continued over long periods of time, but we often overlook the long-term effects of alcohol abuse, as many believe that “long term” is considered to mean years or decades. This lack of foresight and understanding of just how much of an effect alcohol actually has on the entire body contributes to the high rates of alcohol abuse.

It is often difficult for human beings to truly grasp the repercussions of our actions in the long term, but sometimes taking a little time to learn exactly how our decisions will affect our future is all we need to gain clarity. With this clarity and understanding, making the right decisions may be easier. It is our hope that this article will help readers gain a better idea of just how alcohol abuse affects the body – in particular, the major organs.

Alcohol Abuse’s Effects On The Brain

We will start with the effects that alcohol abuse has on the brain, as that is one of the first places where we begin to feel or notice the effects of alcohol after consumption. First off, we should remind our readers that alcohol has long been used as an antiseptic: Its antiseptic properties come from the fact it can very easily break down cell walls and even tissue. While this is helpful for weakening or destroying viruses, bacteria and other single-celled threats, alcohol will also weaken or damage the individual cells and tissues across your body’s systems – especially the most fragile of cells and tissue, located in the brain.

As alcohol travels through the bloodstream, it runs through the various blood vessels in the brain and through brain tissue itself. This causes damage to the tissue of the brain, especially in certain concentrated areas, including the limbic system, thalamus, hypothalamus, frontal lobe systems and neurotransmitter systems.

While nearly half of the average 20 million alcoholics in the United States show no signs of cognitive damage, the other half show mild to severe neuropsychological difficulties. Of the most common, these difficulties can range from minor shakiness, anxiety and depression to the extreme symptoms of impairment of language, reasoning or learning.

Wernicke–Korsakoff Wet Brain Syndrome From Alcohol Abuse

Also known as alcohol-induced persisting amnesic disorder, this disease is a form of brain damage that results from the leeching of Vitamin B1 (also known as thiamine) out of the body from alcohol. This vitamin deficiency can cause a range of symptoms, including:

  • Confusion
  • Loss in mental activity
  • Abnormal eye movements
  • Loss of muscle coordination

While certain symptoms of Wernicke-Korsakoff can be treated, and vitamin treatment can restore the thiamine deficiency, cessation from alcohol use and abuse is the only way to prevent the disease from progressing any further. If left untreated, this disease can eventually lead to coma and death.

Alcohol Abuse’s Effects On The Heart

Alcohol is well known for causing a wide variety of issues with the heart and the circulatory system. As stated earlier, alcohol is transported throughout the body in the blood stream, doing damage to the blood vessels along the way, and to the heart when it reaches that junction.

Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy

A form of heart disease that is specifically caused by ongoing alcohol abuse, alcoholic cardiomyopathy is a thinning and weakening of the heart muscle. This is where the problem starts, but it spreads from this point, causing further damage and additional ailments. When the heart weakens, less blood will flow readily throughout the body. This lack of blood flow will disrupt ALL major body functions, and most often lead to cardiac failure.

Symptoms of Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy:
  • Change in the output of urine
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rapid, irregular pulse
  • Swelling of the legs and feet

Alcoholic cardiomyopathy and heart failure are the prime concerns regarding the heart and alcohol abuse, but one must also remember that high or low blood pressure disorders from drinking and diabetes can also be the result of alcohol abuse – either of which will contribute to heart disease and eventual heart failure.

Alcohol Abuse’s Effects On The Kidneys

Binge drinking especially has a profoundly negative effect on the kidneys, though any amount of alcohol consumption over the doctor-recommended safe level will certainly affect the kidneys. Binge drinking and long-term alcohol abuse creates changes in the kidney structure itself, with the glomerulus becoming heavily thickened and the kidney itself enlarging.

Blood flow changes

Again, alcohol abuse affects blood flow: In this case, blood flow to the kidneys. The purpose of the kidneys is to filter blood and to remove toxins from the bloodstream before these toxins leave the body in the form of urine. One such toxin that the kidneys are eager to rid the body of is alcohol, and the kidneys will work overtime during alcohol consumption to not only get rid of the alcohol within the bloodstream, but to keep up with the steady flow of more alcohol into the body from consumption.

While the kidneys are hard at work removing alcohol, they begin to slip when it comes to maintaining the distribution of other elements in the bloodstream such as sodium, chloride and potassium. All of this abuse on the kidneys takes its toll, and can lead to alcoholic kidney failure. Going back to the heart again, let’s not forget that alcohol increases the risk of high blood pressure, and that high blood pressure is the second-leading cause of kidney failure.

Alcohol Abuse’s Effects On The Pancreas

Alcohol can often confuse or impair the judgment of those consuming it, and it can confuse a variety of organs as well, causing these organs to malfunction, or not properly function. The pancreas is quite often confused by the presence of alcohol, and begins to malfunction in its duty of secreting enzymes to the small intestines.

Instead of sending these enzymes to where they are needed, the pancreas tends to build up the enzymes or only secrete them locally. As the enzymes build up in and around the pancreas, inflammation begins to take hold – causing sharp pains in the abdomen, nausea and vomiting.

Alcoholic Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis simply refers to the inflammation of the pancreas, and the severity can vary. In extreme cases of acute pancreatitis, surgery and medication may be needed immediately – coupled with stopping the intake of alcohol. In the worst cases, pancreas function can be forever altered, requiring enzyme replacement therapy, insulin and analgesics. As in the case of all alcohol-induced diseases, the affected patient will have to stop drinking or watch the disease continue to progress.

Alcohol Abuse’s Effects On The Liver

The most profound impact that alcohol has on the body is seen within the liver, and this is where the most serious effects are usually seen. So why did we save the effects on the liver for last? As an example of the finality of the damage of alcohol to the liver.

Quitting drinking early on will help stave off the most devastating damage on the liver, and certain damage can be reversed, but you really need to understand that the majority of the damage taken by the liver from alcohol will be permanent. While it is a frightening fact, when it comes to liver disease, it is quite often considered terminal, meaning it will never go away – and simply keep progressing.

Liver disease is a general name given to several diseases of the liver including cirrhosis, alcoholic steatohepatitis, hepatitis [A, B, C, D and E], non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, iron overload and Epstein Barr. Liver disease is the progressive failure of the liver itself, the largest organ and largest gland in the human body. While specific treatment can extend the life of the organ and the patient, the progression of liver disease often requires liver transplants, and can turn into liver cancer in 4th– and end-stage progressions.

It’s Never Too Late To Stop Alcohol Abuse

We have taken a long tour around a body that has seen its share of negative health effects from long-term use and abuse of alcohol. While much of this information can cause anxiety or even fear, we hope that our readers will take away the true message that we were hoping this article would convey, which is that it is never too late to stop alcohol abuse.

While damage may have already done, a full healthy and happy life can still be achieved by recognizing the problem of alcohol abuse or alcoholism, and consciously taking steps in the right direction. Between medical assistance and alcohol abuse treatment programs, it is possible to heal some of the damage and to guide yourself toward a life of sobriety and recovery.

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The Link Between Alcohol & Cancer

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016
Link-Between-Alcohol-&-Cancer

Alcohol consumption, especially in frequent and/or large amounts, has long been known to negatively affect drinkers in a variety of ways. Alcohol significantly contributes to social and economic concerns–it causes the weakening of relationships, lack of productivity at work, and costs that are detrimental to the community. Alcohol is also the third leading cause of preventable death. An average of six people die every day due to alcohol poisoning in the United States. Other fatal effects of alcohol use include traffic accidents, injuries, interpersonal violence and even suicide. In addition, there are commonly known health risks from long-term alcohol abuse, such as cirrhosis, liver damage, heart disease and stomach bleeding. However, alcohol consumption also poses a lesser-known threat: cancer.

More and more research is proving that alcohol consumption increases the risk of at least seven different cancers. A new publication by a scientific journal, Addiction, covers years of research data from around the world and reports that drinking alcohol can cause the following types of cancer: throat, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum and female breast. There is even strong evidence that other cancers could be caused by alcohol as well. The publication states that, according to current estimates, “alcohol-attributable cancers at these sites make up 5.8% of all cancer deaths world-wide.” This actually makes alcohol use one of the main risk factors for cancer, along with tobacco use, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity.

How Does Alcohol Increase the Risk of Cancer?

There are different ways in which alcohol affects the human body that increase the risk of cancer, and they may vary. Here are some ways in which alcohol can cause cancer:

  • Alcohol impairs the body’s ability to absorb important nutrients whose low levels are associated with cancer risk, such as folate, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D and more.
  • The human body converts alcohol into acetaldehyde, a toxic chemical that not only damages DNA, but also prevents our cells from repairing the damage inflicted.
  • Some carcinogenic contaminants added during fermentation may be found in alcoholic drinks.
  • Drinking raises the levels of estrogen in blood, which is linked to the risk of developing female breast cancer because of estrogen’s importance in the growth of breast tissue. In fact, the increased risk of female breast cancer seems to be one of the cancers most affected by alcohol consumption. A study conducted in the UK concluded that in women, for every 10 grams of alcohol consumed per day, there was a 12 percent increase in the risk of breast cancer.

Should Only Heavy Drinkers Be Worried?

You might think the risk of cancer from alcohol is only a concern for heavy drinkers, but that’s not the case. Although the risks are higher for those who consume alcohol regularly or drink large amounts, all drinkers are advised to cut down on their intake.

Studies show that even light to moderate drinking increases the risk for cancer, so there is no entirely “safe” alcohol limit when it comes to cancer risk. It is also important to note that all types of alcoholic drinks are linked to the increased risk of cancer, regardless of whether they are in the form of beer, wine or spirits. The amount of alcohol consumed over time is the main factor in the increase of cancer risk, not the type of beverage.

Those who smoke should especially consider reducing their alcohol intake, because alcohol and tobacco have been proven to work together to harm the cells in our bodies. Alcohol, for example, makes it easier for the carcinogenic chemicals in cigarettes to be absorbed into the mouth and throat. The use of both of these drugs combined presents a much greater risk for cancer than the use of either one by itself–a study conducted in 2012 found that drinkers who also smoked cigarettes were 3 times as likely to develop cancer as drinkers who did not smoke.

What Can We Do?

The answer is simple: reduce your alcohol intake. Scientists have found that over time, the alcohol-related risk of cancer decreases in people who quit drinking. As a factor in more than 200 diseases and injury conditions, alcohol consumption is a dangerous habit that is very much worth kicking. Quitting or limiting your alcohol consumption will not only reduce your risk of cancer and other diseases, but also benefit you in numerous other ways.

Here are just some of the other benefits of being alcohol-free:

  • Better sleep
  • Increased concentration, productivity and work performance
  • Lower levels of cholesterol and glucose
  • Improved complexion
  • Less empty calories consumed
  • More money saved

The negative effects of alcohol are undeniable. Whether it is by dividing families, posing a financial burden, causing traffic accidents or bringing about disease, alcohol consumption has the potential to destroy and end lives. Quitting alcohol isn’t always easy, but it is possible, even for those who suffer from alcoholism.

If you or someone you know needs help recovering from alcoholism, we can help – chat with an admissions counselor or call us at 844-816-1662.

Depression and Substance Abuse: Dealing with a Dual Diagnosis

Monday, May 30th, 2016

Depression and Substance Abuse

Depression and Substance Abuse

Depression is often a gateway into substance abuse. Individuals suffering from depression may turn to drugs and alcohol as a means to escape their negative emotions. Almost one-third of people with major depression also have a substance abuse problem. Unfortunately, drinking and using drugs only makes depression worse in the long run.

What comes first –the depression or the substance use? It’s difficult to discern whether substance use leads to depression, or if people drink and drug because they feel depressed. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, roughly 20% of Americans with an anxiety or mood disorder, such as depression, have a substance use disorder. And about 20% of those with a substance use disorder also have an anxiety or mood disorder.

More about Depression

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 350 million people suffer from depression worldwide, and only about 50% of these people will ever receive treatment. In fact, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Unlike ordinary sadness, which may occur temporarily after a loss or major life event, the symptoms of depression occur nearly every day for weeks – and sometimes months or years – interfering with every aspect of a person’s life. Depression can increase the risk of chronic illness – including substance abuse.

People often think that using drugs and alcohol may relieve their depression symptoms, but chemical intoxication actually makes depressive episodes worse, increasing the frequency and intensity of symptoms.

Treating Depression and Substance Use

Solely treating one disorder will not eliminate the other. For example, treating the substance abuse will not help with the depression. Instead, it is necessary to treat both disorders together, particularly to decrease the chance of relapse. It is best to enter an integrated dual diagnosis program that will address both the substance use and the depression.

The Treatment Center’s intensive dual diagnosis treatment program will help you recover from substance abuse and mental illness. With the proper treatment, you can find freedom from addiction and relief from depression. For more information on our dual diagnosis program, call (877) 392-3342. Our admissions counselors are prepared to answer any questions you may have on how we can help you or your loved one.


What You Need to Know

• Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide
• Over 350 million people suffer from depression worldwide
• Nearly one-third of people with major depression also have a substance abuse problem
• If you are struggling with both depression and substance abuse, it is essential to enter an integrated dual diagnosis treatment program

Codependency (Part I): Addiction in the Family

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Codependency: What To Do If Your Loved One is Addicted

Codependency: Addiction in the Family

When someone you love has become addicted to drugs or alcohol you may find yourself trying to protect them from the consequences of their own actions. You believe that by doing all in your power to help that person recover, to help that person stay on the straight and narrow path, all will be well. However, there is a fine line between offering healthy support versus harmful enabling behavior.

Enabling is often seen in relationships between addicts/alcoholics and codependents. Enabling behavior occurs when a codependent person, either directly or indirectly, takes on the full responsibility for tidying up the wreckage of the addict’s self-destructive actions or makes excuses for their conduct.

Rescuing someone or solving someone’s problems may seem like a caring and compassionate action, but in the case of the disease of addiction, trying to control another’s harmful and destructive abuse of chemical substances is an impossible task. What you can do is to focus on your own life, your own well-being.

Only when the addicted person is faced with the consequences of their actions, only when the realization that they have hit rock bottom and have no one there to pick up the pieces of their self-destructive behavior/conduct will they be able to come to the realization that they need professional help.

When we find ourselves trying to fix another’s problem or if we find ourselves needing to help the other person for the purpose of feeling our own sense of identity – then we are dealing with co-dependency. There may be times when we all battle some form of co-dependent behavior but when the struggle becomes all-encompassing and affects one’s emotional, spiritual and physical well-being, then it’s time to seek help.

In my next blog we will delve into the patterns and characteristics of codependent behavior (or codependency).

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, help is available. At The Treatment Center, we help our patients experience hope and healing from their addiction. Regardless of what substance you are addicted to, The Treatment Center can help you break free from the chains of addiction. Call us now at 877.392.3342, or chat with an admissions counselor online. Our admissions counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even on holidays.

 

By Judi Jenett

Judi Jenett is the Family Program Coordinator for The Treatment Center.

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Trauma (Part 1): An Often Overlooked Root of Addiction

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

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By Family Therapist, Judi Jenett

Family Therapist, Judi Jenett | The Treatment Center blog

The very word trauma evokes images of major events such as war, rape, kidnapping, and abuse. Natural disasters such as floods, fires, earthquakes, tornadoes and windstorms affect thousands of people every year, causing loss of life, loss of home and leaving economic damage in their wake.

When traumatic experiences occur, they often leave mental and physical scars that may feel impossible to overcome. Our sense of safety and predictability is challenged and this may trigger strong physical and emotional reactions.

The Truth about Complex Trauma

Complex trauma describes the dual problem of children’s exposure to traumatic events that occur within the caregiving system, the social environment that is supposed to be the source of safety and stability in a child’s life. Early experiences such as emotional abuse and neglect, sexual abuse, physical abuse, witnessing unpredictable domestic violence and repeated abandonment, often leave a child unable to develop appropriate language and verbal skills.

Children whose parents continuously dismiss or reject them learn to disregard or distrust their emotions, relationships and even their own bodies. Parental invalidation generates helplessness and hopelessness. The connection (bond) between a parent and a child is broken; the child is then forced to act “as though the trauma never happened.”

Exposure to Adversity Early in Life

Other traumatic events such as losing a parent to death or divorce can also leave emotional and psychological scars. Growing up in an alcoholic or addicted home or in any other environment where children are taught to bury their feelings causes intense feelings of fear and pain.

Children who have been exposed to severe adversity early in life are at increased risk of developing mental health problems, including drug and alcohol dependence. What happens within the family unit early in a child’s life will have a huge influence over them later in life.

Self-medicating with Drugs and Alcohol

What most of these young people have in common is the wide range of psychoactive substances used to self-medicate, a way of drowning out emotional and psychological pain. This form of mood management can and often does lead to addiction and the disease of addiction is progressive.

Drug and alcohol use allows a person to disconnect from their feelings rather than think about or relive the traumatic event. By using drugs, alcohol or other substances, feelings of fear and powerlessness, depression and those ever-present intrusive memories are dampened. Likewise, guilt or rage is avoided, thus the cycle of addictive or impulsive behavior begins.

When Psychological Trauma Goes Untreated

The effects of untreated psychological trauma can be devastating and infiltrate nearly every aspect of an individual’s life. Trauma disrupts the body’s natural equilibrium, freezing you into a state of hyperarousal and fear.

The nature of the traumatic event, the level of social and emotional support, past traumatic experiences, ones personality type, and the presence or non-presence of sound coping skills plays a large role in whether one will be more susceptible to trauma.

It is not a sign of emotional weakness or a character flaw to have flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, sleep difficulties or tremendous stress after witnessing a serious accident; debilitation from illness or injury; bullying; separation from home or loved one; incarceration; serious illness; loss of a loved one.

Complex trauma in early childhood can affect adults later in life. In part 2 of this blog, we will explore some of the symptoms of trauma and the feelings that are often attached to traumatic events and situations. Also revealed are some healthy coping mechanisms and therapeutic methods for survivors of trauma.

For Couples in Need of Addiction Treatment

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Couples Addiction Treatment | Couples Drug Therapy | Couples rehab

Addiction is a disease that affects all areas of life. The physical and emotional effects are suffered not only by the addict, but their friends and family as well. These consequences are felt severely by the romantic relationship, possibly more than any other. Whether it’s a lifelong marriage or the earlier stages of a relationship, addiction can quickly destroy a union between two people. When one or both partners are suffering from addiction, the steps to save the relationship are similar. When couples choose to receive help together, they have a higher chance of recovering together.

For couples who are wondering if they are in need of treatment, there are many consequences to consider if they refuse to receive help. Addiction causes a lot of distrust, anger and resentment. When one or both members of a couple are in active addiction, many unhealthy behaviors begin to develop. If these behaviors are not addressed and dealt with, the future of a relationship will be in jeopardy.

Oftentimes, if couples want to save their relationship and family, their only choice is to receive treatment together. With many unhealthy coping mechanisms already in the works, couples need outside help to rebuild a happy and healthy relationship. Whether both members are addicted or only one, the need to heal together remains the same. The first step is admitting there are things to work on for both parties and a willingness to work on healing both together and individually.

It’s important to recognize there are many issues that will still be there once addiction treatment is complete. Long-term treatment in the form of therapy and support groups are key for a lasting recovery. For a non-addicted partner, Al-Anon and Nar-Anon have proven to help many who suffer from a loved one’s addiction. In order for a relationship to last after rehab, the work is far from over.

Couples addiction treatment is the most successful when both members fully support one another. Whether it’s couples rehab, couples drug therapy or other sources, there are many ways to receive help together. If you are ready to receive help for an addiction or better understand your loved one’s substance abuse, we are here to help. Contact us today: 877-412-3342.

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Doctors Do Not Know How To Discover Alcohol Abuse

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

Research reported in Science Daily has found that doctors often miss alcohol problems in patients that are not drunk when they visit the doctor’s office. Researchers cited 20,000 patients who were checked by medical staff for alcohol problems. Doctors identified 40 percent of problem drinkers, hospital physicians found 50 percent, and mental health specialists found 55 percent.

Lead researcher Dr. Alex Mitchell from the University of Leicester stated, “This study highlights that clinical identification of alcohol problems is challenging in busy clinical environments.” He added, “when clinicians try and spot alcohol problems they often miss patients who have serious alcohol problems but who are not currently intoxicated.”

Dr. Mitchell also said that most doctors don’t know what questions to ask their patients to discover whether an underlying alcohol problem was evident. He also stated that if asked the proper questions related to alcohol abuse, most patients answered them honestly.

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