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Archive for the ‘Alcoholism Info’ Category

Definition of Alcoholism

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Alcoholism is the compulsive need an individual has to drink alcoholic beverages to excess, over and over again. Alcoholism is both physical (physiological) and mental (psychological).

Individuals addicted to alcohol are known as alcoholics, although sometimes the terms alcohol abuser and alcohol dependence are also used. Alcoholics driven by both physical and mental need to continue using the addictive substance, regardless of the consequences.

It’s impossible to tell in advance if any particular individual will become addicted to alcohol. There is some evidence of a genetic component in alcoholism and statistics certainly indicate children of alcoholics are more apt to become problem or alcoholic drinkers. On the other hand, not all children of alcoholics become alcoholic and not every alcoholic has a parent who is also alcoholic. There is also some evidence that people can drink themselves into alcoholism—that is, at least some who drink to excess over time will become alcoholic. Given the uncertainties, the only certain way to avoid alcoholism is to avoid alcohol altogether.

The only solution for the alcoholic is to quit using alcohol in any form entirely. This is most often successfully accomplished through some sort of treatment program. The best-known and most successful treatment program is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). AA members practice the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. These Steps most often learned and practiced through AA meetings. AA meetings can be found all over the world.

There are also programs that eschew the 12 Step approach and provide other methods, largely based on psychology and/or self-control.

Alcoholics may benefit from residential treatment centers, which generally require stays of up to 30 days or longer. Stays in these centers are most often paid for by the family of the alcoholic and are not cheap. The goal of these centers is to put the alcoholic in a supportive environment while new habits of behavior are learned. Most centers also use the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous as part of their program.

Teen Alcoholism: What Are the Indicators?

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Experimenting with alcohol during teen years is nothing new. However, drinking alcohol is increasing at high rates and the age for experimentation is getting younger. Research indicates that those who begin to experiment with alcohol prior to age 15 are six times more likely to develop dependence later. This leads to the belief that early intervention can prevent abuse. This may not be the case. Research must also look at the disease concept of alcoholism.

Treating the Disease

Discouraging underage drinking and drug use has not historically affected outcomes for later dependence. The “Just Say No” government-run anti-drug campaign was a failure in preventing alcohol abuse by teens and pre-teens. This line of reasoning may be faulty, at best, since it implied that alcoholism was a result from choices people made rather than being a disease and real addiction.

However, it is now accepted that alcoholism is a disease, and whether underage kids drink or not does not necessarily determine whether one will turn into an alcoholic. While it is certainly true that drinking patterns, established in the early teens, may indicate a future problem with dependence on alcohol, there are other factors that can help determine alcoholism.

Markers that Indicate a Disposition toward Alcoholism

What does indicate future use of drugs and alcohol in teens are developmental and genetic markers indicating risk-taking tendencies and predilections for low rates of coping among young people. Another factor, labeled resiliency may indicate that those who undergo poor parenting or trauma at a young age can recover from those conditions without seeking escape via drugs/alcohol.

There is great difference between teenage alcohol/drug experimentation and addiction or alcoholism. Preventative education and intervention to reduce experimentation for teens may help to stem the rising incidence of traffic fatalities, overdose and suicide among those who try alcohol due to peer pressure and/or social factors. This is the focus of many of these studies and government programs to improve parental guidance for teens who are considering exploration.

However, for there is treatment for teens who show signs of alcohol dependence. No amount of parental intervention, education or concern will stop alcoholism. What is important to determine is the extent of the problem. Signs to look for  in teenagers who who may have a problem:

  •  lying about where they go and with whom
  • new friends or groups
  • changes in habits and behavior like a drop in grades or disinterest in hobbies
  • mood swings
  • angry or emotional outbursts
  • smell of alcohol on breath or clothing
  • breaking rules of curfew or at school.

These may indicate beginnings of experimental drinking but can also be signs of a more established problem. Parents who suspect their child may be experimenting with alcohol are encouraged to seek help. This may be found in counseling, therapy or treatment if the behaviors persist. Addiction is treatable and family counseling may indicate how deep the problem runs.

Kelly McClanahan has an MSW in clinical social work, with a specialization in substance abuse treatment. Having worked in this field for over 20 years, she is currently working on her certification as an addictions’ counselor.

Getting Sober without AA

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

A successful road to recovery can be a challenging path when one is looking to find a good fit that isn’t part of the 12-Step process. Here are a few  organizations that offer alternative recovery options:

LifeRing, Begun in 1999, this group provides secular self-help for abstinence from drugs and alcohol. The philosophy is one of the “3S”: 1. Sobriety, 2. Secularity, 3. Self-help.

Moderation Management, This group began in 1993, providing peer support for reduction of drinking-either to lower levels or total abstinence. They state they provide (but do not say how) a variety of behavioral change guidelines and measures for success. They offer 9 Steps Toward Moderation and Positive Lifestyle Change.

SMART Recovery®, SMART=Self-Management and Recovery Training groups teach tools for recovery based on research. They state that they provide a 4-point program: 1. Building and Maintaining Motivation; 2. Coping with Urges; 3. Managing Thoughts, Feelings & Behaviors; 4. Living a Balanced Life. Incorporating the treatment tool of Stages of Change with several of the worksheets from that book, they also have many other types of worksheets and what appear to be lectures. Most of the material is located on the website.

Secular Organizations for Sobriety/Save Ourselves, This group is also non-affiliated with a Higher Power concept and empowers the individual to recover from addiction. They offer 6 guidelines to follow for responsible recovery and abstinence.

Women for Sobriety, This is a for-women-only sobriety group which 1976. They offer a “New Life” program with 13 statements, instead of 12 steps.

While they all appear to eschew both a 12-step format and a Higher Power concept, they all include at least several bullet-point terms to change of behaviors linked to active addiction. A couple of these also include instructional manuals for learning to become a group leader. The more structured of these programs sometimes need to find a group with trained leaders in order to become a new group, taking someone from the group to the new one as their leader or becoming adept at running a gathering by being trained.

Support groups provide a safe haven for those who seek abstinence as a way of life. Just as they had a group with whom they enjoyed the conviviality of drinking/drugging, the companionship and caring of a group of people traveling the path of recovery is important for success.

Alcoholism Defined

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Alcoholism has been defined by the American Medical Association (AMA) as a disease in that it is chronic, progressive and fatal if left untreated. Alcoholism knows no boundaries. It crosses age, race, sex, culture, background and socioeconomic status. The university professor standing at the front of the classroom is just as likely to be afflicted with alcoholism as the college student sitting in the back.

The good news is that alcoholism is treatable with varying degrees of success. It is always the individual who determines how successful alcohol treatment is and their degree of willingness is usually dependent upon the severity of consequences related to their drinking. Most people struggling with alcoholism are unaware they are in the grips of a powerful disease. They make any number of attempts to control it and quite often believe that they can be successful at it. But alcoholism has been described as “cunning, baffling and powerful.” Left to their own devices, those who are in the grips of addiction will likely stay rooted in denial and keep drinking in spite of great devastation wrecked upon themselves and those they love.

Alcoholism is characterized by a powerful obsession and craving for alcohol. This can be unbearable to the point where nothing short of a jail cell can keep an individual from taking a drink. Due to the nature of the disease and the powerful cravings of mind and body, it often takes professional help to arrest alcoholism. Inpatient alcohol rehab is structured to provide a supervised environment where those in the grips of alcoholism can sever their physical and psychological dependency in a safe manner. While physical dependence can be severed in 3 to 10 days, psychological dependency takes much longer. This is why individuals are encouraged to stay in a sober environment for as long as possible. Past associations, friends and places can trigger newly sober individuals to drink and start the spiral down into alcoholism all over again. Like many diseases, alcoholism is never cured. It just goes into remission. All it takes is one drink to trigger the same pattern again.

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism, don’t despair. Alcoholism is treatable and there are hundreds of resources available to help you get started on the path to recovery. Many of them are listed on this website. If you have cravings for alcohol and continue to drink in spite of serious consequences, call and ask for help today.

Alcohol Abuse

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Alcohol abuse may start innocently enough. Letting off steam on the weekends, sporting events where you tie on a few too many, grabbing a buddy to hit the bar scene after a break-up. No one intentionally sets out to engage in alcohol abuse or set the stage for alcoholism, but all too often that’s exactly what happens.

There’s a lot of misconceptions swirling around about the notion of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. While alcohol abuse is often a precursor to alcoholism, this is not always the case. Someone can abuse alcohol and not be an alcoholic. The difference lies in the genetic make-up of each individual. People predisposed to alcoholism have a genetic predisposition that results in processing alcohol differently than others. This makes it difficult for them to stop drinking once they start. This phenomenon is known as craving. Craving for alcohol occurs on a mental and physical level, and can be so intense in alcoholics that everything else goes out the window. Work, school, relationships, responsibilities – all have been known to fall by the wayside in order to satisfy the craving for alcohol.

This is a considerable difference from someone who may begin drinking heavily after the loss of a loved one. Major life trauma or transitions can lead an individual to abuse alcohol in order to cope with grief and stress. While this is not the healthiest behavior, neither does it mean someone is an alcoholic. The best indicator is life management. If someone drinks, even heavily, but maintains significant responsibilities such as family, work, school and health, then counseling may be a more appropriate course of action than alcohol rehab. However, if after a period of time alcohol abuse continues instead of abates, then professional help to determine whether alcohol rehab is necessary should be sought.

Where alcohol abuse generally occurs in response to life situations, alcoholism is a set of behavioral and personality problems that lends itself to drinking regardless of the circumstances. In any event, if you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse or alcoholism it’s a good idea to seek professional help. A counselor, therapist or intake coordinator at an alcohol rehab can help evaluate your alcohol use and determine whether you need the structured environment of alcohol rehab to overcome it.

Alcohol and Drugs

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

What are alcohol and drugs doing to you? You had a big test but were too hungover to think clearly. You were supposed to meet a friend for dinner but had a few too many cocktails and were too drunk to drive. You find that you can’t function the morning after you tied one on unless you take something – another drink, a pill, a line. You’re canceling plans more and more with friends or business associates with excuses when the truth is you want to drink, use or you’re too sick from drinking or using.

How Important is Your Alcohol or Drug Use?

When alcohol and drugs become more important than family, friends or work it can be said you are in the grips of alcoholism or drug addiction. There are people who use alcohol and drugs periodically but still manage the day to day events of their lives without allowing alcohol or drug use to interfere. Then there are people who cannot live life without their alcohol or drug use – it becomes consuming. Their lives revolve around when they can get it, when they can consume it and when they can get more. A person whose alcohol or drug use has escalated to this level is in the grips of alcoholism or drug addiction.

What Is Your Alcohol or Drug Use Costing You?

The cost of alcohol and drugs is immeasurable, not only financially but in terms of relationships, work and opportunities. Your girlfriend or spouse leaves you, your children are taken away, you lose your job, you get passed over for the promotion, you miss out on high school graduation, you flunk the class you needed to qualify for graduate school, you end up in jail with a DUI and now you can’t pursue your dream of becoming a pilot. Any one of these scenarios and thousands more are lived out on a daily basis by people in the grips of alcoholism and drug addiction.

If you or a friend thinks you need help before your use of alcohol and drugs gets worse, call a drug rehab center today. Most centers have professionals on staff who can help you determine if you need help for alcoholism or drug addiction and the steps you have to take next. They’ll walk you through the whole process. Don’t let alcohol and drugs waste one more minute of your life.

Recognizing Alcoholism and Drug Addiction

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

It’s not always easy to recognize alcoholism and drug addiction. For some people the slide toward bottom happens very quickly and it’s easily detected. Someone in the grip of addiction is typically so consumed with alcohol or drugs that little else matters. Personal appearance, responsibilities, normal activities, relationships, sleep and eating patterns all deteriorate. Others are high-functioning and can hide their alcoholism and drug addiction for long periods of time before it begins to interfere with their life.

Recognizing Alcoholism and Drug Addiction: Patterns

Someone who is struggling with alcoholism and drug addiction will typically have certain patterns of usage. For example, the must-have nightly cocktails, always having alcohol available in the house or at social functions, mood swings that could indicate someone is high or coming down off of a high, unusual sleeping patterns, isolating, leaving the house at odd hours, frequent visits to the doctor complaining of symptoms that require pain medication – these are patterns to watch.

If alcohol or drug usage is not interfering with an individual’s ability to manage life or relationships, then it’s not yet at a problem level. Some people can use alcohol and drugs for recreational purposes while others get hooked immediately. The best indication is the manageability of a person’s life.

Recognizing Alcoholism and Drug Addiction: Appearance

Generally a person’s appearance and their surroundings are indicative of what’s going on inside of them. If someone is consumed in their alcoholism and drug addiction, it can’t help but affect what’s going on around them. Their personal relationships, extracurricular activities, school or work attendance and performance will all suffer. Usually family members will be the first to recognize the signs of alcoholism and drug addiction.

Recognizing Alcoholism and Drug Addiction: What to Do

If you recognize these behaviors in yourself or a loved one, seek professional advice. Drug rehab centers typically have professionals answering the phones who are former addicts and alcoholics – they can detect the severity of alcoholism and drug addiction through the patterns you describe and advise you on the best level of care. There are inpatient and outpatient programs depending upon how much alcohol and drug usage is interfering with your life or that of a loved one. It doesn’t cost anything to make a few phone calls and find out how to arrest alcoholism and drug addiction before it’s too late.

Alcohol Rehab Centers

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Okay, so now you’ve looked it in the eye and realize that you have an alcohol problem. You’ve decided what you need is help and you’ve decided to go to one of the alcohol detox centers in your community. This is a wise choice and I applaud your courage. Choosing to make a positive change in your life isn’t easy, but the fact that you’ve looked into alcohol rehab centers means you’re serious about sobriety.

When you check in to an alcohol rehab center, the first thing that will happen will be a medical checkup to make sure that you will get the medical support you need. You might have been drinking heavily enough to need a full detox program and the doctors at alcohol rehab centers know just how to help. Of course, you’ll stop drinking alcohol, and you might be given medications to help make your detox process more comfortable. After breaking the physical addiction, you will go on to the counseling process to learn coping skills and habits to support you in your new sobriety. Experienced counselors will facilitate both group and individual therapy to support you in your sobriety journey and help you on with your new, alcohol free life.

Alcohol Rehab Centers are the First Step

Once you’ve gone through your program at one of your alcohol rehab centers, you will often be recommended for an outpatient program or support group. These meetings are a great way to help ensure that you stay sober and are a good way to meet people with the common goal of sobriety. Every bit of support helps, so when an alcohol rehab center recommends a support group for you when you have been successful in the program, don’t be shy about following up. You want to remain sober and they are there to help.

Alcohol Recovery Center

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Alcohol problems can be difficult and scary to overcome. However, a good alcohol recovery center can offer a great chance at hope to overcome the addiction and get into the road to recovery. If you want to break your alcohol addiction and get the help you need, an alcohol recovery center can help you. These centers have caring professionals who understand your needs and will be able to help you.

An alcohol recovery center might seem and overwhelming idea when you first consider it, but you’ll find that the caring, helpful environment and professional counselors committed to helping you heal will overcome any initial intimidation. Finding an alcohol recovery center where you feel comfortable and secure will go a long way to helping you break your alcohol addiction. Many people need medical supervision to help you break the physical addiction. A doctor at your alcohol recovery center will examine you to see what course of treatment you will need during the detox process. After breaking the physical addiction, you will go through a counseling process. Good counselors will be available for both group and individual therapy to ensure that you build the habits and develop the coping skills you need to stay sober and enjoy your alcohol and drug free life.

An Alcohol Recovery Center Will Help You Break Your Addiction

Overcoming an alcohol addiction isn’t easy, but when you’ve been through the process, it feels great to have achieved sobriety and know that you are able to go on with your life. An alcohol recovery center is geared to helping you stay sober and have a fulfilling life.

Alcohol Rehab Hospital

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Choose the Right Alcohol Rehab Hospital for your needs

Do you or a loved one have a problem with alcohol addiction? Have you been looking into finding an alcohol rehab hospital? If so, good move! An alcohol rehab hospital offers a great place to heal, keeping safe while you or your loved one breaks the alcohol addiction.

Some people, when they are considering an alcohol rehab hospital, feel intimidated at the idea. We may have watched one too many movie about what rehab can be like. The average alcohol rehab hospital is a place where people really care about the patients and understand well what you or your loved one is going through. There are doctors on staff to deal with the potential detox issues, counselors to help through the mental processes necessary to break addictive behaviors and even counselors that will help as you move from the alcohol rehab hospital back into the world.

An alcohol rehab hospital will offer both group and individual counseling. You or your loved one will be able to talk to people who have been through the addiction and detox process, so know what’s going on. Mutual support is often a source of great strength when breaking an addiction and in an alcohol rehab hospital, there is always a helping hand available.

An Alcohol Rehab Hospital Prepares You for Life

Once you’ve been through the program offered at the alcohol rehab hospital, sometimes they will offer a transition program where you’ll be able to participate in life out in the world again while still having the support of a structured program. Many people find this useful as they’re going on the journey in sobriety. When you talk to your counselors, you’ll be able to discover what works best for you.