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Posts Tagged ‘Alcohol Addiction treatment’

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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Anti-Nausea Medication to Reduce Alcohol Consumption

Monday, February 7th, 2011

There is new research indicating that alcoholics who were given an anti-nausea medication were able to reduce their alcohol consumption. It is hoped that ondansetron (Zofran) could be an easy therapy for helping alcoholics stay sober.

The study is based on research of 5-HTT, a gene that is crucial to the serotonin levels in the brain. The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, is important, as certain variants of the 5-HTT gene can increase the risk of psychiatric disorders like depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and addiction. The drug is often prescribed by physicians to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy treatments. The drug is in a class of drugs that work by blocking serotonin in the brain. The research study looked at the possibility of the drug blocking serotonin in genetically susceptible people in the hope it might lessen the severity of their drinking.

Probation and Addiction Treatment in Lieu of Jail

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Many of the drug criminals in Kentucky would receive probation and necessary addiction treatment, rather than prison time, under a proposed new reform bill. The Task Force on the Penal Code and Controlled Substances Act will present a report to the Kentucky legislature’s Interim Joint Committee on the Judiciary in a few weeks.

The bill would reduce penalties for drug possession and for drug trafficking in Kentucky. It would also establish a new Class A felony of “commercial drug trafficking” that would result in at least 20 years in prison.

The goal is to find cheaper alternatives to prison sentences. One fourth of the almost 21,000 prisoners incarcerated in Kentucky are serving time for drug offenses. The bill, if passed, would require addiction treatment for people convicted of drug possession.

Drinking and Driving – Sentenced to 51 Years in Prison

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

The man who flew through a red light and killed three people has been sentenced to 51 years in prison. Andrew Gallo, 24, was convicted back in September on three counts of second-degree murder. The April 2009 crash killed Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and two of his friends. A fourth passenger in the car was severely injured in the accident. Police said that Gallo’s blood alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit at the time of the accident.

Naltrexone Can Help People with Alcohol Addiction

Friday, December 24th, 2010

A review of clinical studies confirms that naltrexone can help cut the risk of heavy drinking in people who struggle with alcohol addiction. Naltrexone blocks the high one gets from drinking alcohol. This, in turn, reduces the desire to drink alcohol. Naltrexone can be taken as a pill every day and is also available as a long-acting injection.

“Hundreds of drugs have been tried for relapse prevention [in alcoholism] and basically all others have failed,” said Michael Soyka, M.D., the senior author of the review.

Teenage Alcohol Abuse and its Effects

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Researchers at Baylor University in Texas have discovered the particular cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the age-dependent effect of alcohol in teenagers that may contribute to the reduced motor impairment.

“This study is a significant advancement in understanding why adolescents are insensitive to alcohol and provides some insights into why teens might consequently consume alcohol to dangerous levels,” said lead researchers Dr. Doug Matthews. “This differential effect is not due to different blood alcohol levels. Such reduced sensitivity in teens is troublesome considering that binge and heavy alcohol consumption increases throughout human adolescence and peaks at 21 to 25 years of age. Therefore understanding the mechanisms that underlie the reduced sensitivity to alcohol during adolescence is critical.”

Consumption of Energy Drinks Increases Dependence on Alcohol

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

A new study says that consuming one or two caffeinated energy drinks each week can increase blackouts, binging and dependence on alcohol.

“People that drink these energy beverages daily or weekly need to be careful about alcohol consumption,” said Harold C. Urschel, an addiction expert in Dallas.

The researchers were unsure exactly why these drinks increase alcoholism. It is believed that the combination of caffeine and alcohol increases the risk of alcohol abuse.

“Drinking alcohol and caffeine at the same time is like hitting the gas and brake at the same time,” said John Higgins of the University of Texas Medical School in Houston.

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