Understanding Alcoholism and Drug Abuse

458892257Small lapses of judgment can snowball into life-altering problems. Alcoholism and drug addiction are perfect examples of this stealth dynamic in action, and the subtle nature of the decline they precipitate makes it hard for people with substance abuse disorders to accurately perceive what is happening.

Choosing to drink or take drugs will not automatically lead to addiction. But addiction almost always leads to denial and rationalization, and that is as much a part of this disease as the physical dependency that defines it.

Your willingness to consider the possibility you might have a substance abuse disorder is a positive sign. But unless you understand how addiction distorts your perception you may never be able to face the truth about your plight.

The natural tendency of drug addicts and alcoholics who reflect on their substance abuse is to avoid a full and honest self-appraisal, leading them to underestimate how far down the rabbit hole of dependency they’ve actually fallen.

The best way to ensure your process of self-analysis stays on track is to educate yourself about the symptoms of alcoholism and drug addiction. Not just the physical symptoms but the emotional and psychological mind tricks substance abuse problems play, which can make it difficult to detect addiction from a first-person perspective.

Here are some common warning signs that might indicate your drug or alcohol habit has gotten out of control:

  • You need to drink more or take larger quantities of drugs to get the same effects.
  • You drink or take drugs every day, or always return to alcohol or drugs again after brief periods of sobriety.
  • You’ve started telling “little white lies” to the people you love, most of which revolve around your drinking or drugging.
  • Guilt and shame have become your constant companions, even though you’re not always sure what you’re feeling guilty or ashamed about.
  • In conversations about your behavior you frequently find yourself on the defensive (even in instances where your substance abuse isn’t brought up during the discussion).
  • You’ve gotten into the habit of using drugs or alcohol for mood alteration or enhancement (you can’t relax, have fun or feel comfortable in social situations without it, to give some examples).
  • You’re experiencing more of the troubling mood swings that helped push you toward drugs or alcohol in the first place.
  • Your physical health has started to decline.
  • Your family and friends are worried and they’ve been telling you about it.
  • The real-life consequences of your drinking and drug use have become impossible to ignore (financial troubles, relationship problems, declining performance on the job, etc.).
  • Your internal dialogues are loaded with rationalizations, as you’ve begun making just as many excuses to yourself as you’ve been making to others.

Generally speaking, the more of these symptoms you manifest the worse your substance abuse problem is likely to be.

With Eyes Wide Open, There is Hope

Alcoholism and drug abuse affect the mind, body and spirit. They sneak up on you and catch you by surprise, changing your entire life day-by-day until their ravages are undeniable. You have to notice what drugs or alcohol are doing to your life before you can do anything about them, and that means learning to recognize the warning signs of addiction while there is still time to make a change.

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The Link Between Alcohol, Insomnia, And Suicide

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Insomnia, Depression, Suicide and Alcohol: The links

Recent studies in alcohol consumption and ensuing behavioral disorders reveal that excessive alcohol consumption or alcohol addiction may result in insomnia and other sleeping disorders and these, in turn, can cause acute depression in the affected individuals. The alarming fact is that studies and surveys show that these depression bouts often lead to suicide and suicide attempts.

Alcohol and Insomnia: What is the Relationship?

Alcohol and insomnia share a sort of two-way relationship. People who suffer from insomnia are often known to revert to alcohol as a sort of curative. Since alcohol slows down the functions of our central nervous system, it acts as a kind of sedative. However, this does not mean that this leads to peaceful sleep. The tranquilizing effects of alcohol are known to last only during the first cycles of sleep but gradually wear away when we plunge into deeper sleep. As a result, alcohol-induced sleep may cause repeated waking in the last hours of sleep and this often results in fatigue, anxiety and depression.

On the other hand, people who are already alcohol addicts have high chances of suffering from insomnia and other sleep disturbances when they go off alcohol. This is one of the common withdrawal symptoms noted in alcohol addicts and it is common for many to start drinking again in an effort to escape these afflictions.

A figure shows that 1/5th of all Americans who die when drunk are suicides. Moreover, a large number of suicide attempt survivors are diagnosed with alcohol abuse-related disorders. According to researchers, young adults and teenagers form the greatest number of these suicide victims.

Researchers have found a causal link between alcohol consumption to suicidal action. Since sleeping patterns are impacted negatively by alcohol consumption and since this often leads to disturbing nightmares and hallucinatory or paranoiac vision and images, the affected individual often falls victim to acute forms of depression. And this in turn increases the suicide risk related to alcohol.

For more articles on drugs, alcohol, behavioral topics and more, follow our blog A Calming Tide: Drug, Alcohol and Behavioral Resource…

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.

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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Teens’ Access To Drugs And Alcohol Increasing

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According a recent study, teenagers can now access prescription drugs, alcohol and marijuana much faster and easily than they did last year. Fortunately, easy access does not directly translate to increased drug abuse cases. For instance, marijuana use has been declining over the last few years. This paradox has raised serious questions about what drives teenagers to abuse controlled substances.

The findings of the study were recently released by the National Center on Addiction and Substance abuse, commonly referred to as CASA. The report raised nationwide concern as it was released at a time when more teenagers in the country are abusing prescription drugs than most controlled substances, except inhalants and marijuana.

A Calming Tide: Drug, Alcohol and Behavioral Resource is meant to shed some light on some of these substance abuse trends. We understand that substance abuse is a bigger problem now than ever before since kids do not need to find a drug dealer to get their daily dose. All they have to do is open their parent’s medicine cabinet and take as many pills as possible.

According to the study, 23% of teens aged between 12 and 17 years said they could get their hands on marijuana in less than one hour. 42% of them claimed they could get marijuana within 24 hours. These figures are considerably larger than figures obtained from studies in 2007.

While these figures may be scary, there is some good news – marijuana use by teens is falling steadily. Some studies we have looked at indicate teens are using 25% less marijuana than they did less than a decade ago. Unfortunately, usage of prescription drugs has not changed much. Since 2005, the number of teens using prescription drugs has remained at 1 in 5, still a troubling figure. Our experience with teenage drug abuse is that most parents are passive pushers. This is because many homes do not have locks on the medicine cabinet.

One of the main factors affecting drug use by teens is attitudes and perceptions. Before 2001, ecstasy was viewed by teens as a safe drug to get high on, which made it incredibly popular with teens. However, usage declined drastically once ecstasy was linked to several deaths.

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See Just How Beneficial Luxury Rehabs Are For Successfully Treating Addiction

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We at A Calming Tide have long touted the benefits of drug and alcohol rehab programs for addicts — no matter whether it be a local outpatient program, a clinical inpatient rehab, or even a luxury rehab. Getting help in some way is the most important thing, and where you get help from has long been secondary. That being said, a recent article we read in Vanity Fair Magazine really made us go back and visit the subject of luxury rehabs, and why they are so often successful at treating those with addictions, and providing a long-term recovery solution.

This recent article focused on one rehab in particular — The Dunes in East Hampton. Sure, the facility is in a luxurious residential home in one of the most sought after neighborhoods in the country; but the opulence of the grounds aside, it was there approach that really stands out.

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From the very beginning of the article, and the interview with owner Joe McKinsey, it is evident that the success this recover facility and program has endured is more attributed to the caring nature of the staff, and dedication to recovery and sobriety, rather than the rich appointments on the grounds.

The Dunes is much more than just a business that is looking to provide run-of-the-mill care for a large sum of money or insurance payment. The staff is truly looking to provide those in recovery with an environment where they can learn how to integrate sobriety into every aspect of their personal lives. The 7,400-square-foot home on four acres of beautiful property is the perfect setting for recovering addicts to relax, reassess their day-to-day lives, and to formulate a plan for long-term sobriety.

To quote owner Joe McKinsey:

“Their [addicts] lives have become really small as addicts, whether they live on a park bench or on Park Avenue. We try to expand that.”

Read The Full Article In Vanity Fair Magazine Below:

The Dunes East Hampton: What Life in a $75,000-per-Month Hamptons Rehab Looks Like

Long Term Health Effects Of Alcohol Abuse

Impaired memory, slow reaction rate, slurred speech, blurred vision and difficulty walking are just some of the immediate effects of alcohol. Some of these effects will be experienced after just a few drinks and will usually reverse once the alcohol gets out of the system. However, long term and heavy alcohol drinkers might experience most of these effects even after the alcohol has cleared out of their bodies. While science cant tell exactly how alcohol affects the brain or whether it is possible to reverse these effects on different individuals, we know for sure that alcohol affects the brain in various ways. These effects on the brain may range from simple memory slips to permanent conditions that may stay with the patient for life. This article provides you with information on the long term effects of alcohol abuse to the body.

Memory Lapses and Blackouts

Some alcohol related impairments can be detected after just a few drinks. The more alcohol the person drinks, the worse the impairment gets. Taking too much alcohol at a go, and without enough food in the stomach can cause blackouts, which refer to a period of time when the intoxicated person has no memory of what took place during the time they were drinking.

Others Causes of Brain Damage

Consuming large quantities of alcohol for an extended period of time puts a person at risk of developing serious complications in their brains. These complications can be caused directly by the alcohol or indirectly from serious liver damage or deteriorated general health. Alcohol intake eventually leads to poor overall nutrition, which leads to thiamine deficiency. Thiamine is an essential nutrient that your body requires in order for tissues, including the brain, to function properly. Without this nutrient, your brain may develop various disorders.

Cerebellum is the part of the brain responsible for learning and coordinating mobility. Study shows that thiamine deficiency mostly affects this part of the brain, leading to various complications in the body.

Liver Disease

One of the most common effects of alcohol on the body is liver damage. Excessive intake of alcohol can lead to liver problems such as liver cirrhosis and hepatic encephalopathy. Both these conditions can affect the brain in one way or another.

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