Is Non-Alcoholic Beer Safe For Recovering Alcoholics?

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Whether the use of non-alcoholic beer should be used by people in recovery from alcoholism has become a topic of some debate in the recovery community. The question revolves around whether the drink is a safe substitute or whether it will trigger the obsession for the real thing despite its negligible alcohol content.

Non-alcoholic beer, some argue, could be used in social situations as a way for the alcoholic to blend in rather than feeling like the odd man out. Others do not see why it cannot be used in the same way a nicotine patch helps smokers ween off of tobacco, since it only contains 0.5 percent alcohol by volume compared with at least 4.2 percent in true beer.

There likely is no one simple answer to the near beer question, given the variety of ways alcoholism can express itself in the individual. Alcoholics experience their disease as one that is not just physical, but also one of the mind and spirit.

Rather than being a safe choice as a means of staying off the hard stuff, non-alcoholic beer could actually bring back memories of the good old days of drinking. Sight, taste, and smell are known to trigger detailed remembrances, so the taste and smell of the near beer could be a gateway to a return to problem drinking. If the alcoholic can successfully drink this, they may think that perhaps a drink of the real deal will be alright.

We at A Calming Tide: Drug, Alcohol and Behavioral Resource believe it is better to err on the side of caution. After all, non-alcoholic beer cannot truly be compared with a nicotine patch, since the patch does not need to be lit and inhaled to do its job.

For all too many alcoholics, the act of drinking such a close booze substitute is too near to the real act of drinking alcohol that the amount of alcohol in the drink is beside the point. It becomes is slippery slope that those in recovery may not be able to navigate successfully.

Recovery from alcoholism is a process that must take all aspects of the disease into serious account on a daily basis. The sight or smell of alcohol for some sufferers is enough to derail their efforts return to health and sanity. That is why many alcoholics in early recovery stay away from situations where alcohol will be available. That is why we believe non-alcoholic beer should be avoided, as well.

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Emergency Room Interventions And Teen Drinking

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Teenagers seem to think that drinking is cool and many of them do it regularly or as often as they get the chance. However, what these children fail to realize is that alcohol can cause serious harm to the body. Emergency room attendants witness teenagers coming in with alcohol poisoning all the time and they have realized that a intervention program that counsels teens against substance abuse keeps them from returning to the emergency room a second time.

Underage drinking is classified as anyone under the age of 21 consuming alcohol. Teenagers do not comprehend the damage that drinking can cause on relationships and your life as a whole. Under age drinking cause more harm to teens than it does to anyone over the age of 21. Their bodies are still developing and cannot handle the effects of alcohol. Teen drinking occurs as a result if teens wanting to fit in with the cool or popular crowd. Most teenagers do it because they see it as the only way to look cool and socialize.

Studies show that under age drinking affects brain development as our brain still continues to develop well into out early 20’s and drinking too early on in life can hinder this development. Drinking causes inhibition, which means you make poor decisions, engage in spontaneous sexual activity and violence. It also increases the risk of physical and sexual assault in teenagers. Serious injuries occur as a result if drinking and driving and engaging in other activities whilst under the influence of alcohol. In the U.S 190 000 injuries were reported in 2008, related to alcohol.

Hospitals that have introduced Emergency Room Interventions programs agree that education is the best way of addressing the problem of under age drinking. Just a session or 2 with a teen recovering from alcohol poisoning can have a positive effect on the child’s life. All a teen really needs to understand is the consequences of their actions and the problems that can arise from them not heeding sound advice and this could prove extremely thought provoking.

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Social Anxiety and Drug Use

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Many people resort to drugs to break out of their shell or prove some kind of point to society. Over the years, researchers and therapists have established a link between social anxiety and drug use. In theory, initial drug use may be completely unrelated to social anxiety. This proposition could lead into better methods of treatment.

Need to Fit in

One of the basic emotional needs is acceptance; people need to feel loved and accepted by others. If this desire is unfulfilled, it could lead to anxiety and drug use. A study conducted on about 200 adolescent who had sought addiction treatment identified issues with fitting in. The teens seemed to respond well to activities which alleviated social anxiety.

About half of them experienced some sort of social anxiety, with about 15% showing a disorder. The latter were noted to have started exhibiting symptoms of the disorder about two years before they began to use drugs. The study stated that the participants used alcohol and drugs because they provided an outlet to release anxiety. Using these substances helped them take their minds of worries about not fitting in.

After sobering up, the anxiety returned, thus causing the teens to return to using alcohol and drugs. This trend continued and matured into addition. Treating anxiety could thus be an effective solution.

Further Analysis

The next part of the study involved teens who attended AA meetings. It was observed that this particular group made a better recovery after they were treated. The likelihood of relapsing after completing treatment among them was about 50% less.

Social activities were found to be beneficial for young people experiencing social anxiety. In addition to reducing worries about fitting in, it encouraged them to be more friendly, welcoming and outgoing. This goes to restoring a sense of belonging and self-confidence.

Implications

The study revealed that those who didn’t show up for meetings stood a higher chance of relapsing. It would thus be helpful for drug and substance abusers to not only show up for meetings, but also be actively involved. The risk of relapse is usually higher within the first 6 months of completing treatment.

Teens should be observed to see if they’re socially anxious. Involving youths prone to addition in activities that deal with the symptoms reduces the likelihood of them resorting to drugs. Those already suffering from addiction due to social anxiety are advised to seek immediate treatment.

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