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Posts Tagged ‘Alcohol addiction’

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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Why Are Some People More to Addiction More Than Others?

Friday, September 11th, 2015
Why are some people more prone to addiction than others

What makes one person addicted and another person not addicted? Some people believe the difference between someone who doesn’t get addicted to substances and someone who does is an “addiction gene”. However, this could not be further from the truth.

Genetic predispositions to certain traits can lead to the likeliness of addiction; however, numerous studies show there is no specific gene that determines whether someone is likely to become an addict.

Conditions that include biological, psychological and social factors play more of a role than simply genetics. So if it is not specifically one gene, then why are some people prone to addiction more than others?

Childhood Trauma

Trauma is a negative overwhelming experience. According to the American Psychological Association, more than two-thirds of children experience trauma by age 16. In the United States, an estimated 7.9 million children have unintentional injuries and more than 400,000 children have injuries from violence.

When people experience traumatic events such as physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, neglect, community or domestic violence, or serious injuries, it can cause significant distress in a child’s life. Social factors such as poverty, status, race, gender and sex can increase the risk of exposure to trauma.

According to a study by Dr. Gabor Mate on adverse childhood experiences, a male child who has had at least 6 instances of traumatic events will have a 4,600 percent greater risk of substance abuse than a male child who has no traumatic experiences.

Trauma often affects children from adolescence well into adulthood, especially for those who have developed any psychological or emotional issues that aren’t addressed. For many with childhood trauma, drug and alcohol addiction tends to be less about recreational use and more of a way to self-medicate, escape pain, and survive.

Physical and Emotional Pain

The key to addiction is suffering. As self-medication becomes a way to escape physical and emotional pain, the physical and psychological stress from drug and/or alcohol abuse worsens.

Survivors of childhood trauma often experience chronic health problems such as a lower immune function, sleep problems, chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, headaches, arthritis, and chronic fatigue.

For those with significant past traumas, it is common for them to experience the following:
• Anxiety
• Depression
• Insomnia
• Grief and sadness
• Fear of intimacy or new experiences
• Alienation/isolation
• Anger/irritability
• Guilt/shame
• Helplessness, powerlessness, and hopelessness

If the above issues aren’t addressed in therapy, self-medication becomes a way to escape physical and emotional pain. The physical and psychological stress from drug and/or alcohol abuse often worsens, which increases the cravings to use more.

Set and Setting

Set or the context of why people abuse drugs and alcohol plays a huge role in addiction. When significant trauma, physical and/or emotional pain is experienced, the emotions from stress can trigger drug and alcohol abuse. What’s more, setting or certain situations and events can bring up memories from the past and trigger drug and alcohol addiction.

The environment in which people are raised also plays a significant role in development of the brain. It’s easy for children who are exposed to drug and alcohol abuse to grow up thinking that’s the normal way to cope with problems. If addiction runs in families and communities, there is a greater risk of addiction than someone who has not been raised in that environment.

Loss of Connection

Loss of connection and community is also a huge factor. Often, the disconnection and isolation that a person feels within them or with others plays a significant role in why they begin to abuse drugs and alcohol in the first place. Addiction becomes a replacement for a loss of love and connection. Loved ones, activities and passions that were once enjoyed become second to addiction and it takes over one’s life. This is why underlying psychological and emotional issues must be addressed throughout the recovery process.

No One is Immune to Addiction

Yes, some people are prone to addiction more than others, but none of us are immune to addiction. We all go through difficulties in life. When people have a chance to process their own trauma in therapy, their well-being increases and their relationships improve.

The recovery process is about reconnecting with oneself and developing healthy, loving, intimate relationships with one’s family members, friends, loved ones and community. When a person realizes that they are not alone or as isolated as they feel, it creates a feeling of loving connection with oneself and the chains of addiction slowly break away.

If your loved one is struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, long-term recovery is possible. Find help today by calling us at 855-545-6777 or chat now. Our admissions counselors are glad to answer any questions you may have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Hope Diaries 9: Sober 31 Years

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

This testimonial in the YouTube series, “Hope Diaries,” features Jimmy, an employee of The Treatment Center. In this video, he shares his story of how he entered a life in recovery and why it’s important for others to do so as well.

Jimmy explains, “I always thought you got me drunk. It, situations, they, and all of a sudden I had a realization that I got myself drunk.” Today, he is able to help those who are entering a life in recovery by sharing how it works in his life.

Jimmy and his wife have been sober for 30+ years. Find out how:

We encourage you to share this video with family and loved ones who may be struggling with addiction, or may simply appreciate this powerful story of hope.

Interventions: What You Need to Know

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

If you are searching for a way to reach a loved one battling with addiction, an intervention may be the right choice. We interviewed two professional interventionists, John Chiabai and Michael Counes, to provide families with information about the intervention process: when, why, who and how.

An intervention should take place as soon as the substance abuse is apparent. Some of the signs to look for are weight loss, change in friends, job loss, becoming distant, secretive and most importantly a refusal to accept help. If you are at the point where you’re asking yourself if it’s time to do an intervention, the answer is yes.

The purpose of an intervention is to convince an addict to receive help by entering a treatment program. An interventionist will help family and loved ones handle the situation in a way that will be effective. The interventionist does this by organizing the group and making sure they are going to follow through with each step of the process.

Determining who will be part of this group is the first step. The people involved should be family and loved ones who truly want the addict to seek help. This can include parents, siblings, friends, spouses, etc. Everyone must respect the process by following the guidelines laid out by the interventionist. Anyone who has their own agenda or may make personal attacks against others should not be involved. Everyone in the group must be open and honest with each other. Being blindsided the day of can cause unnecessary turmoil that will not help the main goal: to get the addict help.

Once the group is assembled, the interventionist will meet with them to discuss a plan of action and how the intervention will unfold. This plan will include choosing a treatment center, a time and place to meet, and how to get the addict there. In most cases, each person will write a letter to read the day of the intervention. This letter should contain a happy memory when the abuse wasn’t present followed by a hurtful memory during the addiction. The letter should conclude with reminding the addict that they are loved, and asking them to receive help. During this process, the interventionist will be a guide in uncovering these memories and how to present them in a way that will be effective.

Both interventionists explained that whether or not family and loved ones follow through with tough love is what will make or break the intervention. Codependency and enabling are two factors that allow an addict to continue down their path of destruction. It is imperative that the family and loved ones learn how to stop these two behaviors. Although taking care of and protecting the addict may feel like the right thing to do, you are in fact allowing them to keep using. Facing natural consequences is what allows for recognition that things are not okay.

The intervention is only the beginning of recovery. Once an addict is in treatment, interventionists highly suggest families follow through with the treatment center’s recommendations. One of the main causes for failure is when families think that they know better than the professionals. Interventionists also understand that addiction affects the family along with the individual. They suggest looking into family programs that are available to help understand the disease and begin to heal together.

If you or a loved one is ready to begin the recovery process, please call us at 1 (877) 392-3342. We are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have.

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Alcohol Addiction a Chronic Medical Condition

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

 

British Columbia is the first province in Canada to formally recognize alcohol addiction as a chronic medical condition. It is hoped that this recognition will improve treatment for patients struggling with an addiction to alcohol.

The new policy emphasizes preventive measures and gives physicians more time and resources to treat patients. The goal is to identify patients struggling with an addiction to alcohol and to save the Canadian health care system money. The new changes will allow family physicians to spend more time with patients addicted to alcohol.

According to the British Columbia Medical Association, substance abuse cost more than $6 billion dollars in 2006. The British Columbia Medical Association was the organization that recommended the changes.

 

Four Loko Kills Two Teens

Monday, February 7th, 2011

 

Two teenagers in southern California were found dead this week near an empty can of Four Loko.

Aaron Saenz, 15, and Chelsea Taylor, 16, were found in an empty apartment in Huntington Beach. Police had responded to a call from concerned apartment managers. The police found an empty can of Four Loko in the apartment and said that the teenagers died of drug and alcohol-related causes. The Orange County Coroner’s Office has not yet released a cause of death.

Four Loko and other caffeinated alcoholic drinks has been banned in Washington, Utah, Michigan, New York and Oklahoma. The beverages are still legal for sale in California. Four Loko sells four under $3 dollars and contains as much alcohol as five beers and as much caffeine as several cups of coffee.

 

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.

Drug Addiction Could be Caused by Brain Inflammation

Friday, November 26th, 2010

New research has found that an episode of brain inflammation early in life may contribute to drug addiction. Inflammation of the brain is most often caused by a head injury or by a viral infection like encephalitis or meningitis.

The research study discovered that adult rats exhibited the same increased tendency toward an addictive-like response to methamphetamine, even when the rats’ exposure to lipopolysaccharide – a toxin produced by certain bacteria that triggers a strong inflammatory immune response – and the resulting inflammation of the brain – had happened early on in the rats’ development. The response was seen to be greater in male rats than in female rats.

“Our findings suggest that early life brain inflammation leads to long-lasting damage of the brain’s reward system,” said Lir-Wan Fan, PhD, of the University of Mississipi Medical Center and the author of the research study. “But this damage may not become apparent unless later unmasked by exposure to an addictive drug, like methamphetamine.”

Alcohol Abuse Linked to Depression, Suicide and Homicide

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

The medical community has warned for years that alcohol abuse is linked to depression, suicide and homicide. Excessive drinking kills 1,500 people in New York City every year. Alcohol abuse in New York City also results in 100,000 hospitalizations and 78,000 trips to the emergency room every year.

The New York City Health Department said that those numbers more than doubled between 2003 and 2009.

Excessive drinking also contributes to diabetes, high blood pressure, cirrhosis of the liver, heart disease and strokes.

Awareness of Alcohol Abuse – Offered in Classes

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

An art exhibit in Madison, Wisconsin hopes to educate the community on the damaging effects of alcohol abuse.

“Sober Journey” features visual reminders of alcohol abuse by the Dane County Coalition to Reduce Alcohol Abuse. The coalition works in the Madison area to increase awareness about the dangers of alcohol abuse. It is also launching a tool to help families determine if someone they love has a problem with alcohol. It is called eCheckup To Go and people can learn about their risk factors before the problem increases.

“Dane County is one of only two counties in the country using this tool to help people determine whether they have a drinking problem and help them know when it’s time to get help,” said Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk

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