Tag Archives: Alcoholism

Alcohol Awareness Month: Spread The Word & Help A Struggling Loved One

Embrace-Alcohol Awareness Month-Spread Word, Help Struggling Loved OneApril is the official month dedicated to alcohol awareness. Initiated by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency (NCADD), Alcohol Awareness Month is focused on reducing the stigma of alcoholism and strengthening awareness of the risks of alcohol, as well as the opportunity for recovery.

Understanding The Statistics Of Alcoholism

Many people are surprised by alcohol abuse statistics. Here are just a few to consider:

  • Nearly 17 million Americans can be classified as alcoholics.
  • Approximately 50 percent of college students who consume alcohol are actually binge drinking.
  • Nearly 88,000 individuals die from alcohol-related causes each year, making it the third leading, preventable cause of death in the United States.
  • More than 10 percent of U.S. children live with a parent with alcohol problems.

Do You Have A Friend Or Loved One Who Is Struggling With Alcohol Abuse?

Whether it’s a spouse, a sibling, a friend or a colleague, it is never straightforward and easy to be in a relationship with someone who is an alcoholic. During this month of increased awareness of this progressive disease, you have an opportunity to share information, and perhaps even guide someone you care about towards getting help.

Depending on the depth of their problem, you may want to recommend starting with alcohol detoxification. There are options for alcohol detox in Northern California, such as Pathways Recovery which offers a holistic detoxification program for alcoholics that provides comprehensive treatment protocols, including detailed assessment, individual and group therapy and family education.

An Integrative Approach To Addiction Treatment

Reaching-Alcohol Awareness Month-Spread Alcohol’s Risks, RecoveryAt Pathways Recovery, we are here 24 hours a day if you’d like to speak with an addiction counselor. We can provide you with details of our safe and comfortable detox treatment program that can help you or a loved one begin the journey of recovery. There is no need to struggle alone or to attempt recovery without professional help.

Our inpatient alcohol detox treatment facility is located near Sacramento and offers a comprehensive range of benefits to support a life of sobriety that include medical care by a board certified doctor of addiction medicine, a highly experienced detox staff, a three to one staff ratio, balanced nutritious meals, vitamins and supplements to heal the addicted brain, yoga, meditation, and more.

The first step is calling us now to discuss options for alcohol detox treatment.

Learn More About Our Alcohol Detox Program

Join us in spreading the dangers of alcohol and the first steps of recovery by sharing this post with loved ones, colleagues and friends.

Do You Have A Drinking Problem? Alcohol Abuse Questionnaire

Pathways -- Do You Have A Drinking Problem -- 08-23-16Do You Have A Drinking Problem?

Answering these 20 questions can give you and indication if your drinking habits are safe, at risk for a drinking problem, or harmful. This quiz was developed by the Office of Health Care Programs, Johns Hopkins University Hospital. If you regularly consume alcoholic beverages, this quiz can give you an idea of how your drinking put you into harmful patterns and indicate whether or not you have a drinking problem.

When answering, use the last 12 months as your frame of reference. Be honest with yourself because you can only benefit if your answers are accurate.  A drinking problem can lead to more serious problems with alcohol like alcohol dependence and addiction (alcoholism).

  1. Do you lose time from work from drinking?
  2. Is drinking making your home life unhappy?
  3. Do you drink because you are shy with other people?
  4. Is drinking affecting your reputation?
  5. Have you felt remorse after drinking?
  6. Have you had financial difficulties as a result of drinking?
  7. Do you turn to inferior companions and environments when drinking?
  8. Does your drinking make you careless of your family’s welfare?
  9. Has your ambition decreased since drinking?
  10. Do you crave a drink at a definite time each day?
  11. Do you want to drink the next morning?
  12. Does drinking cause you to have difficulty sleeping?
  13. Has your efficiency decreased since drinking?
  14. Is drinking jeopardizing your job or business?
  15. Do you drink to escape from worries or troubles?
  16. Do you drink alone?
  17. Have you ever had a loss of memory as a result of drinking?
  18. Has your physician ever treated you for drinking?
  19. Do you drink to build up your self-confidence?
  20. Have you ever been to a hospital or institution because of your drinking?

According to the Office of Health Care Programs, Johns Hopkins University Hospital if you answered as few as 3 of these answers with a Yes there is an indication that you have a drinking problem and your drinking patterns are harmful and considered alcohol dependent or alcoholic. If this is the case for you, then you should seriously consider seeking an evaluation by a healthcare provider or someone in the substance abuse field to discuss your drinking problem.

Alcohol Dependence Syndrome And Other Alcohol-Related Problems

Alcohol Dependence SyndromeAlcohol dependence syndrome is mental or physical dependence on drinking. Alcohol problems affect more than 16.3 million adults across the nation. People who can recognize the symptoms of alcohol dependence syndrome and similar issues can potentially save themselves and their family members from physical, mental, and social health problems. They may also be able to curtail the situation before a loved one becomes debilitated by alcohol use.

There are a variety of disorders associated with the excessive use of alcohol. Since the terms are so often misused, there’s quite a bit of confusion about the differences between them. Many people mistake alcohol abuse for alcohol dependency or alcoholism. Abuse is defined as drinking too much and/or too often. Dependency is the inability to quit. Both conditions are serious, but not being able to stop poses a bigger issue and a greater risk to the drinker.

Symptoms Of Alcohol Dependence Syndrome

Before it can be fixed, alcoholism must be noticed. There are several things to look for if you suspect someone is alcohol dependent:

  1. Blood Alcohol Level - Developing a pattern to maintain one’s blood alcohol level. People who are dependent on alcohol will start to drink at the same time every day. The point is to remain intoxicated as much as possible and avoid any symptoms of withdrawal.
  1. Prioritizing Alcohol - For addicts, the consumption of alcohol will take precedence over their wellbeing. No matter what condition their bodies or lives are in, drinking will be more important.
  1. Increased Tolerance - The more someone consumes alcohol, the higher the resistance to the effects. A noticeable increase in the amount someone is drinking could be cause for concern.
  1. Signs of Withdrawal - When the concentration of alcohol in the blood lowers, it can trigger some unpleasant side effects. Tremors, nausea, sweating, itching, muscle cramps, hallucinations, and even seizures can occur. Two to three days after cessation, the individual can experience even more severe symptoms from delirium tremens.
  1. Drinking at Strange Hours - Consuming alcohol at random times to stop or prevent withdrawal symptoms is called relief drinking. Some people will wake up in the middle of the night to drink or start with alcohol first thing in the morning.

The Consequences Of Alcohol Dependency

Routine and excessive consumption of alcohol wreaks havoc on the body. The longer that someone is dependent on alcohol, the worse the side effects become. Some of the results are irreversible and even potentially deadly.

Physical Repercussions

Alcohol addicts suffer from neurological, gastrointestinal, liver, cardiac, and skin conditions, among others. One of the most prominent risks is brain damage. The deterioration is both structural and functional, and it can lead to chemical imbalances and cognitive issues. Alcohol also increases the risk of several types of cancer—mouth, throat, and liver cancer are the most common, but it has also been linked to breast cancer.

Someone dependent on alcohol will likely have a damaged heart too. Hypoglycemia, myopathy, arrhythmias, and even cardiac failure can occur. These problems become more dangerous in older individuals, especially if they combine other poor habits such as smoking.

Mental Health Effects

Alcohol works as a depressant and can strongly alter chemistry in the brain. People who become dependent are at risk for a variety of mental health issues. Depression and anxiety are the most common, but mania, hallucinosis, and “blackouts” are recognized as well. There’s a high prevalence of alcohol use found in those who commit suicide as well, presenting a 7% lifetime risk for the addict.

Social Consequences

The most prominent social problem with alcohol dependence is traffic accidents; sufferers are often unable to access when they should and shouldn’t drive. People who drive under the influence are far more likely to wreck, and many accidents involve fatalities. Even without an accident, a DUI or DWI can affect work and social interactions. Other incidents can happen at home. Dependency on alcohol boosts the chances of violence, child abuse, homicide, and general crime.

Alcohol abuse damages personal relationships as well. Divorce can be a result of alcohol addiction, both from the psychological changes that occur and poor decisions like infidelity. It’s not uncommon for people to lose friends in direct relation to their behavior.

Occupational Dangers

High-stress jobs like this are more likely to lead to alcohol abuse. With alcohol dependency syndrome, the individual’s performance can suffer greatly. He or she may be unable to focus because of withdrawal symptoms or simply because of the “urge” to go home and drink. Alcohol dependence syndrome should be treated as early as possible to increase the likelihood of long-term success.

Substance Abuse Treatment In The Military

Substance Abuse Treatment in the MilitaryMany people use drugs and alcohol as coping mechanisms. They find relief and distraction with routine consumption. Stressful jobs or past experiences increase the chance that an individual will turn to substance abuse. Naturally, the strain that those who serve in the military endure puts them at an even higher risk for substance abuse.

The suicide rate among our country’s service men and women is rapidly escalating. Experts agree that repeated deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan are likely connected to this number. Our forces are traveling to hostile lands multiple times; for them, deployments can feel interminable. The result is that more and more military personnel are seeing longer and more frequent tours of duty.

A Rise In Military Suicides

For the past seven years, military suicide rates have been on the rise. Experts are now claiming that this could be the new “normal” statistic. In 2015, there were 256 suicides for active-duty personnel alone. An estimated 18-22 veterans commit suicide each and every day.

Although all suicide rates have increased nationally, the statistics involving soldiers’ suicides are particularly grim. Those in the military—both who have been sent to wars and those who haven’t—suffer the loss of those men and women. The loss of like-minded individuals and friends at such a rate can cause anxiety and stress. This is one of the reasons why so many veterans and active-duty individuals turn to drugs and alcohol.

Searching For Relief With Drugs

Illicit drug use rates are actually lower in the military than they are among civilians. Of course, they are likely being tested during active duty, when there is little downtime. When they are on base, drugs are much more difficult to procure, and drug tests are common. Instead of using illegal drugs, however, many military personnel rely on heavy alcohol and tobacco use. Others will fall victim to cycles of prescription drug abuse.

Unfortunately, searching for relief through these outlets increases the risk of suicide. Alcohol, for example, is a depressant. Despite the fact that it’s associated with fun and socialization, drinking can pull a person’s mood even further down if he or she is already depressed. In more than 25% of suicides, the individual was intoxicated at the time.

Prescription drugs can boost this risk, too. Dependency and withdrawal symptoms, such as hallucinations and mood swings, may be enough to encourage suicide in an already depressed individual. Painkillers, psychotropics, and antidepressants are some of the most powerful drugs available with a prescription, and they are also ones that present the greatest risk of suicide with their use.

Other Drug Risks

Even without considering the increase in suicide rates, abusing alcohol and other drugs is dangerous. Tobacco is known to cause lung, mouth, and throat cancer among users. Different applications offer different targeted risks, although mouth and throat cancer are the most common. Using cigarettes or chewing tobacco also increases the risk of heart disease and damages the physical appearance. Long-term use manifests with yellowed fingers, rotting teeth, and less elastic skin.

Alcohol causes dangerous and often deadly accidents. Driving under the influence is a factor in 28 fatal crashes per day. It also contributes to countless non-fatal but serious accidents, such as slips falls. Regular consumption negatively affects the liver, gastrointestinal system, and esophagus.

The risks for prescription drugs vary widely depending on the drug in question, but most present strong withdrawal symptoms with continued use. These effects can range from tremors and itching to hallucinations.

Seeking Help

It can be remarkably difficult for active duty personnel to seek help for a drug or alcohol dependence. There’s usually a stigma associated with addiction, particularly among the armed forces. Strict no-tolerance policies can leave staff fearful that seeking assistance will cost them their jobs. Such factors prevent many people from finding the guidance that they need.

There are a few veteran programs available, which the VA partially funds. Individuals must qualify for treatment and enroll in one of the care programs. Active duty personnel are left with fewer options, and unfortunately, this inequality is rarely discussed. It’s hard to cope with deployment on its own, but substance abuse can make it even more difficult.

For now, private treatment facilities are the best option for military staff seeking help. These organizations offer special care while catering to their patients’ specific needs. Different options are available depending on the severity of the addiction, so individuals can get the help that they need to abstain and recover.